Strong Girl Saturday: Different? That’s Way Okay! By Elaine Stock

Today’s Strong Girl post is written by friend and fellow author, Elaine Stock. Can you see her? She’s the kindergartener reading a book in the corner because a speech impediment tossed bricks between her and the ability to make easy friends. She’s the one whose mom pushed her into awkward social situations that made her feel as if she were an elephant balancing on a tightrope while she watched her mom seclude herself behind a closed door. She’s the serious one, yet a dreamer, the one who writes stories. She’s the one who clung to God even before she understood the full meaning of faith. She’s me. And I used to struggle with being what others typed as “different.” The red and gold bracelet shimmy down her arm The ankle bells clanks and rings She hears music and dances steps that calm Closing her eyes to life’s stings. Others laugh They tease, they taunt They think they’re cool, but they’re only half If they really had it all, they wouldn’t have to flaunt. She hears the One who loves her so much Her confidence isn’t dependent on the cruel Her esteem, rather, comes from Him who has her in His clutch She learns to love the others, but lives on His fuel. (© Elaine Stock) It’s taken me many years to learn that it’s okay to be me. Really, I’m not a bad person. Not freaky. Don’t mess with drugs or drink. I do no harm to others. I admit to owning a few quirks, but nothing in the too-seriously-weird category. What I’ve come to realize the past decades of my life is that everyone—without an exception—is singular, as well as we should be. God created each of us in His image, but like each kitten with patches and zigzag stripes or like each snowflake that falls, we are all unique. If we obey God’s words, then our individuality is very okay. The popular singer, Taylor Swift, recently said, “Maybe you’re not meant to fit in. Maybe you’re supposed to stand out.” Yay, Taylor! What a bold statement from someone in today’s times who is pressed to be outrageous, but instead is creating her own way and is enjoying each day. Be true to yourself. Be a good person. Believe in the One who created you with an expressed purpose. You won’t go wrong. Rejoice in the good stuff. Ignore any discouragement. Author Bio: Elaine Stock never expected that a college major in psychology and sociology would walk her through the see-saw industries of food service and the weight-loss business; co-ownership with her husband in piano restoration; and ten years in community leadership. All great fodder for creating fiction. In the...

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Strong Girl: Malala Yousafzai

Imagine riding the bus home from school and being ambushed by the taliban because you blog about girls getting an education. This is what happened to Malala Yousafzai on a Tuesday, October 9, 2012. The young militants opened fire on the bus, shot Malala in the head and neck, wounded two others, and left them for dead. They thought they’d silenced Malala forever but they were wrong. She survived and has continued to spread her message that a girls’ education benefits everyone. It reduces mortality rates, increases lifetime wage earnings, and strengthens democracy. Malala’s miraculous recovery has taken her from a remote valley in northern Pakistan to the halls of the United Nations in New York. She is the youngest person to have ever been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. Malala’s father sounds a lot like my dad. My dad never limited me because I was a girl. He always told me I could accomplish whatever I set my mind to. Malala’s dad owned a school and encouraged his daughter to write and go to school even though he lived in a society that prized sons more than daughters. In July 2013, on her 16th birthday, Malala addressed the United Nations General Assembly: “We must not forget that millions of people are suffering from poverty, injustice and ignorance.  We must not forget that millions of children are out of schools.  We must not forget that our sisters and brothers are waiting for a bright peaceful future.  So let us wage a global struggle against illiteracy, poverty and terrorism and let us pick up our books and pens.  They are our most powerful weapons.” Malala reminds us that some girls face death for going to school. Terrorist groups in Afghanistan and other oppressed areas of the world continue to threaten and attack female students and teachers. Things were improving in some places but with limited presence of the United States in these oppressed areas, girls lives are in danger if they read books and go to school. Clearly, Malala is a strong girl with big dreams. The next time you’re tempted to skip school, think of the price other girls in the world pay for the right to learn. Strong girls are readers. Strong girls are educated. Strong girls, like Malala, have the courage to stand up and not sit down for what is right. How much better [is it] to get wisdom than gold! and to get understanding rather to be chosen than silver! Proverbs 16:16 Tweet this: Strong girls want an education and are afraid of no one....

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