The storm. The rain came down and the wind began roaring like a lion in the eye of Hurricane Harvey — one of the most devastating hurricanes I’ve ever seen. I survived other hurricanes, but this one was the most powerful to me. Pacing the floor back and forth, I wondered what should I do, as a mother. Should I panic? Should I break down in fearful tears?

I had nowhere to run and nowhere to hide. As the water began to rise, my heart began to beat faster and faster.

While watching the local news and receiving the flood and tornado alerts on my phone, my heart began to panic with a new sense of urgency. My child looks up to me for direction, but now my child wonders what mom would do. I just stood in stillness. Meanwhile, I knew I couldn’t just do nothing. I knew my panic wouldn’t stop the water from rising.

I immediately remembered all the many battles I’ve fought through the journey of life as a woman, and I pressed my way to a mindset of strength. I began to be empowered within by a power I’ve had since birth, the power of resilience. I grabbed what I could and scooped up my child in midst of it all — and I leaned on a power much bigger than the storm. I was kept in peace through it all.

Facing a very stressful moment, as traumatic as it was, I stood firm in my resilience against all odds. Preparing for the” storm after the storm” is all I could think about. I thought about all the rebuilding that would be necessary after the hurricane destroys everything in a blink of an eye. Things I’ve worked so hard for throughout my entire life would be destroyed by the storm.

Throughout it all, I was strengthened by my own inner power. I looked forward beyond the total loss and stood strong in the midst of the storm and its raging winds and rain. I never knew what I had within me as a woman until all I had was my strength to lean on. I began to be conscious of my resilience. I became conscious of my own strength to survive against everything, even if I had to lose it all in order to move forward in the end. This empowered me as I listened to local meteorologists and news anchors who spoke with the same voice of panic and fear as they forecasted what Hurricane Harvey would bring to the affected areas in Texas.

Having destroyed homes and lives throughout its path, Harvey’s impact was detrimental. But even in the midst of it all, I remained focused on resilience. I was determined to ensure that every action from this moment forward would come from strength.

For many years, I have had to face many challenges and adversities, both internally and externally, but this storm tested all of the strength inside of me as a woman. My resilience kept me from breaking and losing focus. I asked myself on multiple occasions: “What life lesson will I gain from this storm?” The courage to not give up. The courage to keep going in the face of adversity.

As the storm raged outside, another storm raged inside of my mind. I mentally battled all the dire thoughts that shook all of us in Harvey’s path. I thought about past adversities in my life that nearly took me out. I pondered how I made it through all of the different journeys and experiences. I told myself, “I made it then and I will make it now. Things are going to get better.” I started to motivate and encourage myself as the storm crashed outside.

I knew that the material things that would be gone could all be replaced. What I could not replace was my life. My eyes began to open to see that a brighter day would be in my future. That the rainbow would shine again. I put a smile on my face and pressed my way through every stumbling block — and I stood in joy.

Defeat would not be my answer. I knew that so many others would lose so much more than me — including their loved ones. As I put my needs to the side, I volunteered at the local shelter to help others who lost everything. I wanted to show them my resilience without even speaking a word. I wanted to be an example of how they could make it through the storm. I walked around the shelter encouraging and uplifting women and men of all races and cultures. My goal was to allow the resilience in me to become a domino effect for them.

One thing I learned about resilience in the eye of the storm is that when you help others, you empower yourself. So many women were encouraged, and many of them left the shelter empowered to rebuild their lives for the good.

Resilience: we can’t buy it from the local market. It is a power that dwells deep down within every woman to survive against the storms of life.

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Lawanda Beasley-Jones, Ed.D
Lawanda Beasley-Jones, Ed.D, is a pastor, published author and CEO of a non-profit organization. Contact her at info@victorycareersandeducation.com.

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