Motivating Stories from Local Women
Every woman has a story to tell, and no two stories are alike. Meet the women who have persevered through challenges and tribulations and come out the other side stronger than ever. These unique individuals have seen their fair share of adversity but continue to inspire those around them with the lessons they have learned and their love of life. Read on for a truly motivating story by a woman who experienced them firsthand.
Photography by Emily Pérez Long / Photos taken on location at SideTrack
Edkedsha (KeeKee) Mathis, Chattanooga
When I think of all the good things God has given me, my parents are definitely at the top of the list. Through God’s grace, mercy, and kindness, my sister and I were blessed to have not one but two outstanding parents – a mom who taught us strength, wisdom, and resilience, and a father who taught us strong work ethics, respect, and to fear no one but God.
In 2009, my life would forever be changed. My mother, my twin, and my best friend would leave this place we call earth to be with our Heavenly Father. My heart was broken, and it still is today. I loved her, but God loved her more and called her to be with Him. People would say I’m so sorry for your loss, which is very compelling at first. I did feel a great loss, and I was lost. I felt a massive part of me was missing. Then I started to realize all the great and beautiful things that my mother stood for and believed in – the values that were instilled in me. More importantly, I began to realize how I could continue her legacy and instill these same values in my daughters, my workplace, my family, and my community.
My mother taught me to ignore ignorance. Those two powerful words were enough to bring an extreme amount of success to both my personal and professional life. Consequently, ignorance will always surround us, but we have the power to resist and stand in our faith. She also taught me to love and respect myself. I learned to always know my value and worth and to set high standards. But perhaps, the greatest gift my mother ever gave me was the gift of empowerment. She always let me know I had a voice and that I should use it not only for my benefit, but for the benefit of others.
Will what my mother instilled in me help someone to move past their hurt, pain, disappointment, or anger? I hope so. I hope that I can assist others and provide them the resources they need to get closer to God, love themselves, empower others, and run their own race. We all have different adversities, and life can’t be all about competition. We must pull together and pull each other up and forward so that when one of us wins, we all win. For many, 2020 brought a lot of heartache, more questions than answers, and financial burden. I challenge you in 2021 to be the light at the end of someone’s dark tunnel. Make an impact in someone’s life. Turn adversity into an opportunity.