Words to inspire and support
A survivor of childhood traumas, Stephanie Williams always longed to write a book and share her story.
It wasn't as easy as she thought.
Each time she sat down to document her journey, painful emotions would resurface and a stream of negative thoughts would follow.
Two years passed and she grew more and more discouraged. Then a glimmer of hope presented itself. She was invited by American author Lesley George to submit a chapter for a book she was writing with seven other women, International Day of the Girl: A Walk in our Life.
“The purpose of the book is to celebrate each woman's story of triumph, while inspiring and empowering others through our words and testimony,” Ms Williams said. “This book shares vulnerable moments and true transparency as if someone was writing in their own, personal journal.
“It's not the typical book, as it really and truly allows you to take a step into another woman's shoes as you dive deep and read what that author endured and experienced during a difficult time in their life. It allows the reader to be empowered, encouraged and uplifted to know that they are not alone. That they are able to connect with someone's story or can relate with that particular subject and understand the fight.”
Ms Williams, whose chapter speaks to “physical, emotional and mental” abuse she suffered as a child, hopes the book will give readers that “extra push” sometimes needed when life gets tough.
Feedback will come tonight at Leopard's Club on the first stop of a planned book tour that will take her to Maryland, West Palm Beach, New York, Connecticut and Argentina. The keynote speaker will be Juanae Crockwell; Ms George, Shawnette Somner, Tina Laws, Kama Simmons and K'Maria Seaman are among the panellists.
“The event is to intentionally honour all women and their stories of strength and amazing courage, and for them to recognise that they don't have to carry the burden alone,” said Ms Williams, who will serve as the host. “The vision is that each guest will leave with an empowering feeling to chase their purpose, to find strength and healing to free themselves of the past, to speak and own their truth.”
As a child she attended church every Sunday however it wasn't until years later that she began to have an intimate relationship with God.
“That's when I came to truly understand who God is, what He means in my life and how He carries me through my storms,” she said. “My faith is what kept me during those hard times. It was my foundation.
“It kept hope alive knowing that one day my pain would no longer hold me hostage — that God knew me before I was formed in my mother's womb, that I am fearfully and wonderfully made. I am more than a conqueror, I am the apple in God's eyes.
“Knowing the fact that my destiny and my future were already laid out before me, there was no need to fret, as God already had everything under control. I knew that one day I would find my place of value, to break the vicious cycle in my life.”
She feels honoured to share her story in the book and plans to complete her own, Shattered Survivor, in the near future.
“I realise that sharing my story isn't just about me,” she said. “This is about the young girl, boy, teenager, women or man who will take these words up and read it. I believe this could be something that saves them or ignites the warrior within them to become that survivor. It can give them that glimpse of hope towards the future and help them to see no matter what the past holds they don't have to become a statistic.”
Understanding who she is as a person and knowing where exactly God stands in her life gives the freedom to live abundantly and “build a legacy”, she said.
• Tickets to A Walk In Our Life are $100 and available at www.ptix.bm. Part proceeds will go to the Women's Resource Centre. Stephanie Williams, Kate Priest, Brenda Stacy, Shawn Shazier, Sarah Smith, Ella Gilbert, Rose Price, LaTasha Turner and Lesley George are the authors of International Day of the Girl: A Walk in our Life, which is available on Amazon. Ms Symonds will sell and sign copies of the book on Tuesday between 6pm and 9pm at the Bermuda National Library. For more information: email@example.com; 535-5161 or https://www.facebook.com/shatteredsurvivor/