She is my favorite for so many reasons and I still can't believe I had the opportunity to listen to her in person last night. She was as humble and hilarious and beautiful as I imagined she would be. Everything she said came straight from her heart. I could feel her love for each of us there and her sincerity in the message she shared.
We got to the event early only to find a line that circled the whole building. Sisters that have been touched like me by Stephanie. I thought "Wow the power of one woman." It really was amazing.
Surprisingly, we did get pretty good seats (we focused on the prize and walked very quickly to where we wanted to go...dodging a lot of women on the way). There were so many woman there that they had to force people out of the isles for fire code reasons. It was literally standing room only before she even entered the huge ballroom area. When they introduced her they said that the first thing she said when they asked her to speak was, "Do you think anyone will come?"
She started off by saying that she wasn't a very good public speaker (she did great. I loved that is wasn't a polished speech...more like sitting down with an old friend). She said she was sorry to the ladies who had to move out of the isles for fire code but she said, "believe me, fire codes are pretty important." :)
I thought I'd share some notes I took for those of you who love her as much as I do and couldn't be there:
She talked about the fact that she didn't see her children for five months. Her oldest turned 7 yrs. while she was in a coma and her youngest turned 2. She said that when she saw her children, her second daughter Jane couldn't look at her and didn't for many weeks. She finally did one night when Stephanie walked into the bathroom while Jane was bathing. She exclaimed "Jane you are doing it! You are looking at me!" and Jane excitedly replied "I"m doing it Mom!" She said that since that time Jane hasn't had a problem.
She talked about how she worried and worried that her children wouldn't know her or would be ashamed of their mother. But she finally realized that they could see "my mother heart" and when she realized this, she "began the journey of relearning to be their mother."
Some other quotes:
"Be women of Christ. Cherish and love your place in his eyes".
"The love inside of each one of you will teach you. Find what is hidden inside through love."
"Our beauty is a gift given to us by God. It is in you and can never be taken away. It is our spirit that makes us beautiful."
She talked about a special blessing she received that told her that her beauty would be restored. She is realizing what that means, she said:
"My beauty is being restored daily - as a daughter of God. Beauty is in my children, the sun, the people who love me, my husband who knew me then and knows and loves me now. I am his wife. It is in the covenants we have made. It is health, harmony, confidence and acceptance."
"Respect your bodies. No matter the shape or size. Love them."
When she ended, the whole room roared in applause. Everyone stood. I was sobbing and when she turned my way, I blew her a kiss. Totally not something I do...but I just wanted her to know that I love her. She didn't see me but I hope she felt that kiss.
For me, words really can't express the respect and love I have for this woman. Not because I feel sorry for her and all she's been through. I think it's because I so deeply respect how she has turned to her God and how she has happily given her life to the role of wife and mother and how I know that she cherishes it so deeply. It makes me want to do the same. Today as I was showering, I looked at my arms and thought of the picture she showed of the skin graphs on her arms. I touched my perfect skin and felts so completely blessed. She reminds me to cherish every wonderful thing I have and to remember to thank my God for the bounty He provides daily. For that, Stephanie will always be one of my favorites.