Wednesday, October 6, 2010

She Walks in Beauty...

Justin Hackworth (used by permission)

Who do you think the people seated together in this photo might be? Where do you think they are, and what would you guess is their purpose in assembling there?

I almost feel like I'm initiating a game of "Clue" here. In a way, I am, because while this audience is not playing Clue, they are definitely a group that has a clue when it comes to knowing what's important. Indeed, this assortment of fine men and (mostly) women were gathered in the Wilkinson Center at BYU to hear Stephanie Nielson speak about what being beautiful really means. Although the room capacity was only 1700, hundreds more crowded in last week to hear the beloved Nie talk about where true beauty really comes from...and if anyone knows the answer to that, it is surely Stephanie, because this amazing woman definitely has a clue. More than a clue.

Justin Hackworth (used by permission)

This is what Sister Nielson had to say on the subject at hand: "...As for beauty," she explained, "it comes in the red hair of Jane, in the freckles on Claire, the tender spirit of Oliver and the bright white hair of Nicholas. It is the sun, rising over the mountains every day without fail. It is my painted toenails and the people who love me, my friends all around me. It's my sweet husband who knew me then and knows me now and will forever know me just the way I am. With or without freckles on my face or flawless skin. I am his wife, and my beauty is apparent in the way he loves me."

No doubt she changed the paradigms of many women when she declared, "I know I came back to earth after my almost fatal accident, because I wanted my body. I didn't care what it looked like. I wanted to experience this life on this beautiful earth with my children and family."

Sister and supporter, Paige Checketts, shared her insight: "The coolest thing about Stephanie is she's in touch with this inner beauty. At first, it is a little startling because she is a work in progress and in the middle of cosmetic surgery...but as you get talking to her...it just melts away and you see these beautiful green eyes with a light in them. It takes over all the scars and everything else and you truly do see beauty. It is amazing."

Justin Hackworth (used by permission)

Checketts is right. Just look at this woman, who is nothing short of beautiful. The spirit that she emanates draws the eye of every beholder. And have you noticed the way her husband is looking at her? Of course, there are scars...obvious scars...but the beauty overpowers them, for it does not come from the assortment of flesh and bone that make up Stephanie's body. It comes from the way she inhabits that body––the marvelous way her spirit inhabits it.

Looking over the sea of faces that assembled to hear Nie's message makes me realize how much women need to hear that message and be reminded what really matters when it comes to beauty. All of us know people with perfect (or nearly so) face and form, who walk around feeling empty and worthless. We may even be those people, at one time or another. Stephanie teaches us that the beauty we seek comes from knowing that we are daughters of God, loved by Him and worthy of receiving love from others and from ourselves. Even more important, we are capable of giving love and receiving Christ's image in our countenances.

Justin Hackworth (used by permission)

Stephanie Nielson is a woman of courage and grace, who battles every day (and it surely is a battle) to overcome adversity. No wonder these words by Washington Irving are among her favorites: "There is in every true woman's heart a spark of heavenly fire, which lies dormant in the broad daylight of prosperity; but which kindles up and beams and blazes in the dark hour of adversity."

Stephanie, without a doubt, beams and blazes. She is all things bright and beautiful. And the blessing to all of us is that she knows it. Early in her recovery process, while studying her image in the mirror, she had this epiphany: "I saw glimpses of happiness; I saw God in my eyes," she said. "It was as if He was looking back at me, reassuring me and giving me hope."

Now, she shares that hope with others.

.
Justin Hackworth (used by permission)

21 comments:

Lisalulu said...

you express the love and feelings around her (nienie) so well. Thank you. I told my mother to watch for this on the BYU channel.

jen said...

I'm also hoping this ends up on BYUTV. Of course my SON is in Provo, and it mattered little to him. Wish I could have been there. She is truly amazing.

Jess said...

If I could drill one message into my young women's heads- it would be that. Thanks for posting this Sue, it's a good reminder

Laraine Eddington said...

How fortunate you were to be there. Nie is changing the world with her goodness.

Sue said...

Oh, I didn't get to be there. Unfortunately! (Sorry if my post was misleading in that regard.) I just read the quotes in the newspaper and asked the photographer if I could use his photos. I only wish I could have seen her in person. Fortunately, they are going to make the video available, and I am looking forward to that.

=)

Grandma Honey said...

She has influenced so many all over the world, and continues to do so. We are all blessed by her goodness. We are blessed by her teaching us what is really important in this life.

Dixie Mom said...

I wanted to go there so bad! I tried to get my daughter to go that night but she was afraid to skip her class. I read the review through BYU and it sounds like it was incredible. They didn't anticipate the success of the night and were way overwhelmed and underprepared. She is definitely a chosen girl with a specific message to deliver and it's one we should all listen to.
Thanks for posting this!

yaya said...

I hope it gets put on TV...how wonderful to show a Relief Society group or YW group. I've seen her on TV before and she's awesome. So inspiring and so beautiful. This also brings home to our YW the importance of choosing to marry the right person, at the right time, and in the right place..The Temple..he's a fabulous person also.

Karen said...

She is truly beautiful, thanks for the boost!

Hugs

Jocelyn Christensen said...

That is just so cool!

karen said...

Really - this brought tears to my eyes. I know she affects most people this same way. What grace and beauty she has under such extreme pressure, and especially for one so young! I would love it if they made the video available for RS groups. At the very least I'd like to see the video myself.
Sometimes I feel that people like NIe must have very old and wise spirits.

Grandma Yellow Hair said...

Sue I have thought of this sweet lady many times in the last year and then come over here and you have her on your site.
Beautifully written and only you could of shared this with us he way you did.
I was amazed at her the first time I saw her and still am in awe of the way she lives. Truly amazing
Love ya
Maggie

Momza said...

loved this so much, Sue.
I follow her blog and have for some time as you know...but wow! she is a gift to the rest of us sad saps, isn't she?

Lovely post, Sue. Thanks.

Pat @ Mille Fiori Favoriti said...

She is a very beautiful and inspirational person! Thank you for telling her story so wonderfully.

Darlene said...

As you know, I read her blog each day and I am overwhelmed with her great patience. That woman suffers daily and the spirit that she exudes is just so inspiring. Whenever I start to feel sorry for myself with my aches and pains, I only have to think of Nie Nie and I am actually ashamed of myself.

I too am looking forward to seeing and hearing the video. She has said that she will share it as soon as possible. I looked at the BYU TV schedule for the whole month and she isn't on it. Maybe next month. If you hear any more about the video, let us all know. It was neat reading all the good things you had to say about her. Thanks.

Heidi said...

So nice to read something so inspirational! Thank you for stopping by my site and commenting. :)

Caroline of Salsa Pie said...

Sue, this is so beautifully written. Stephanie continues to remind us all what is truly important in life. I am thankful to have found her blog and to have "met" her. Her message about inner beauty is so important to share with women of all ages. It is so evident that the Holy Spirit resides within her--the ultimate form of beauty.
Thank you for this lovely post.

BECKY said...

What a beautiful and brave woman. Thank you, Sue, for sharing this with all of us!

GardenofDaisies said...

What an inspiring woman she is!

Just ME the MOM said...

This must have been an awesome inspiring event. So sorry to have missed out . . .

Kristin

michelle said...

Wait? What? You were there? (Oh, wait, you weren't.)

I was unable to go and still am sad that I couldn't. I felt happy to run into her NieNie at the store today. She really is a beautiful person, radiating so much light, love and goodness. And goodness, her children are really that cute.

Another place to keep an eye out for a rebroadcast or at least audio might be BYU Women's Services website.

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