5/13/20244 min read

man standing beside rock formation
man standing beside rock formation

This article was featured in the Girl Behind the Fence series.
These books and more written and edited by Deborah can be found on her Amazon Author page.

I think of all the books in the Girl Behind the Fence series, this subject matter has proven to be the most difficult for me to write. For people who know me, this might seem shocking. People generally tell me I am strong and confident and can be overwhelming and intimidating. And I can be. And I am – a lot.
In my younger years, I also could do weights almost twice my own body weight and was excellent in martial arts and a crack shot.

I have always worked in male dominated arenas and excelled in them.

I made up my own rules and have proven myself to be successful, both financially and with areputation of being trusted and honest.

But for me, that doesn’t seem to be about strength.

I have suffered. I have suffered loss, emotionally, mentally, physically and spiritually.

Many people believe I have suffered more tragedy in my life than most. I am shocked to even think that way. Life is just life.

So I looked up on Google, (Google is my friend as I love to research things) women who were thought of as being strong. And then I looked up strong men.

And what came to me is that all of these people were put into unusual and challenging positions for many different reasons and they strived to do their best and they strived to make the place that they were in not just stable but BETTER.

Ok, so now I felt like I was getting somewhere.

I do that. I try to make things better.

I try to improve myself, to grow and to help others as well.

I teach, counsel and coach (and sometimes nag).

I give to charities.

I give of myself and my time.

I protect the weak, both in my profession and out on the street when I see things where someone needs help.

Doesn’t everyone?

So to speak about strength, it almost seems that we are saying that it is not the norm for most people. And maybe it isn’t.

But I can’t imagine not doing what I describe as being not strong but decent. Not strong, but kind. Not strong but steadfast. Not strong but knowing who you are, especially when you have to stand alone. Not strong, but having enough fortitude to do things, even when you are afraid.

Afraid? So is strength the opposite of fear?

I didn’t say these things are easy. And yes, I think I have done some of my best work when I was afraid. But I didn’t just push through it. I had help.

My go to first, middle and last is God. Ironically, I didn’t get a lot of support as a child so this is how I came to this, early in my life. Through a “tragic” life circumstance, I learned by experience what many people seem to learn much later in life, if even then.

In Luke 1:45 - "And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her from the Lord."

And easy way of understanding this is - When we ask for anything from the Lord, He listens and provides. I can’t remember a time when I didn’t think this was true.

I am not saying I am one of those peaceful Christians who hits her knees at a moment’s notice, having quiet and holy communion, only to stand up and move with peaceful dignity.

OH NO, I have had some knock down drag out fights with God. I cry, I scream, I call Him things I probably wouldn’t call the average person in a fight. I stomp my feet at times. I wail and rail at Him. This is called Lamenting. There is a book in the Bible about this. It is called Lamentations. So I feel like I am doing exactly what God expected us to do.

God wants us to tell Him what is on our minds and what is breaking our hearts and tearing at our souls. He already knows, so I think this is some kind of weird, spiritual psychology that we can pray to Him, talk to Him and express ourselves in our full personalities. After all, we are in His image. These emotions of pain, hurt, fear, anger and grief came from somewhere, right?

So I purge myself of what I am feeling. Yes, that is a relief and a release. But something more comes to me over the next day. Sometimes, it even comes immediately. There is no reason, but I know peace. I know things might not come to me as I would like. But things will come to me in a way that makes my life better. It will be more full. It will be more enlightened. It will give me more experience and experiences. And if I pay attention, with all the knowledge that can be gained, I also become wiser. And then I have more to share with others as well.

This cycle has let me help people who are homeless, have mental health issues, are suicidal, discontent in their marriages, their families and struggle to know themselves.

Having a relationship that is intimate and reciprocal with God is not the easiest thing I have done or do. FAITH takes strength. Believing in what faith tells you takes strength. Acting on what faith tells you takes strength. God is my strength.

And there is a task and a reward that goes with it. In Proverbs 31:26 "She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue." Simply put, women think before they speak, but when they do, it is with kindness and good deeds. They are the some of the first to spread God's word. I ask that God give me the strength to do this, especially when people have taxed my soul. I really do want to make this world a better place. I really do want to be part of the comfort and joy that I think God wants for us. But honestly, people really get on my nerves. And I need strength daily to deal with most.

Mark Nepo said “We are stronger, gentler, more resilient, and more beautiful than any of us imagine.” We don’t know it, but God does. And that is where strength comes from.