2021 Bold Beautiful Perfect: Sheila
“Discovering I was adopted at birth confirmed the feelings of rejection and insecurity I experienced throughout my childhood. But now I see how my story of adoption and redemption was a beautiful picture of how God sees us in the world, rejected and afraid, and adopts us into His family where we are loved and accepted.“
Tell us about yourself, Sheila!
First and foremost, I am a follower of Jesus. I am 55 years old and I have two adult children, a 29-year-old son and a 24-year-old daughter. They mean more to me than anything on earth. I love them dearly and I am very proud of them.
I’m creative and I have many interests – maybe too many! I love to paint, draw, craft, garden, read, and write. I also love being outdoors. Although Louisiana is home, I dream of moving to the mountains someday.
How did you come to understand your inner beauty?
I grew up an only child, painfully shy and very afraid. Even though I had very loving parents, I struggled with feelings of rejection and insecurity throughout my childhood and a large part of my adult life. I never fit in or felt that I truly mattered. Those feelings affected everything: school, work, relationships. I came to know the Lord as a teenager, but I never fully surrendered to him until I was much older. Once I did, I sought His guidance and direction for my life. I began to deal with the rejection and fear. I began to feel more confident about who I was and where my life was going. For the first time in my life, I felt I belonged.
Shortly before my 50th birthday, I confirmed I had been adopted at birth. It explained so many of those feelings and answered so many questions. It also helped me see things differently. Now I see how my story of adoption and redemption was a beautiful picture of how God sees us in the world, rejected and afraid, and adopts us into His family where we are loved and accepted. If we allow Him, He will take those fears and ill feelings away and bring out who He intended for us to be.
Now I understand that my identity is in Christ and I see myself as a Royal Daughter of The Most High King! He chose me and loves me unconditionally. In Him, I am whole; I am no longer a slave to fear! As a way to process these discoveries, I’ve written about my adoption journey and finding my identity in Christ through it. I hope to put it all together and publish it someday soon, I’ll call it Who I’m Not.
This project is all about inspiring women to see their beauty. What parts of your story can you share to help women to understand their own beauty?
Proverbs 31:30 says, “Charm is deceitful and beauty is fleeting, but a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised.” The world puts too much emphasis on outward beauty when true beauty comes from the heart. Give your heart to Jesus and allow Him to bring out your true beauty like only He can. When we invite Him into our heart, His love radiates from within and there is nothing more beautiful than a godly woman who knows that her worth and identity is found in Christ. That is what radiant joy looks like!
Tell us about your experience with the photoshoot.
It was a very busy couple of days before the date of the shoot. I was feeling emotional over some things that had happened recently, and I had a late night before the day of the photoshoot. I didn’t feel prepared at all. I was tired and I didn’t feel like going. I got a later start than I should have, got stuck in construction on the interstate twice, and was almost an hour late getting there, crying off and on all the way. I finally arrived in the parking lot and just sat in my car thinking, “I’m late so they’re not even going to answer the door” (there was the rejection coming back). Then I got a text letting me know that everyone was there waiting for me. From there, everything changed and it was great!
I think when there’s so much opposition to something, there is a reason you should push through and do it anyway. It might be that God wants to use you or bless you through it somehow. For me, the photo shoot was so far out of my comfort zone and unlike anything I’ve ever done, so I really needed to do it. It took me a little while to relax and actually enjoy the experience, but I truly did enjoy it. Brandi and Kasper (the makeup artist) made me feel very comfortable. It was a lot of fun! They were great guides during the photoshoot, very encouraging and patient with me.
Now that I know what to expect, I want to go again! I would recommend every woman do this; it’s a great experience and a fun way to pamper yourself. Often as women we are pulled in so many directions, busy taking care of everyone else. It’s easy to deny ourselves fun things like this but this was such a great way to take care of myself. You can’t give you best if you’re not at your best.
You are more beautiful than you know!
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International Award-Winning Portrait Photographer
Brandi Stage is an international award-winning portrait photographer based in Bay St. Louis, MS. She creates an exceptional magazine-style photo shoot and timeless heirloom portraits for women, men, children and pets in her studio or on location.