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“…I came to realize that God never shows us something we aren’t ready to understand. Instead, He lets us see what we need to see, when we need to see it. He’ll wait until our eyes and hearts are open to Him, and then when we’re ready. He will plant our feet on the path that’s best for us…but it’s up to us to do the walking.”

—Immaculee Ilibagiza, Author

As our series continues to highlight women around the world who have achieved extraordinary greatness against all odds, please enjoy this excerpt from my book, The Have It All Woman about Immaculee. 

While in Malawi, Africa, I stopped by a bookstore to find something to read on the long plane ride home. I was drawn to the book Left to Tell, by Immaculée Ilibagiza, a story of a woman who

survived the Rwandan genocide by seeking refuge, with seven other women, in the cramped bathroom of a local pastor.

During the ninety-one days of torturous concealment, Immaculée could hear the brigade of murderers calling her name outside the Pastor’s home.

With very little food, her weight plummeted and because of the filthy conditions of the bathroom, the women contracted scabies in addition to numerous open sores on their bodies.

Throughout, Immaculée continued to pray. She focused on not only surviving, but living beyond what seemed to be a situation with only one possible outcome—death.

Although all of her family had been slaughtered, with the exception of one brother studying abroad, Immaculée did not blame God, which would have been easy to do.

Instead she kept her focus on the future as the uncertainty of war raged on.

When the war ended, Immaculée narrowly escaped death as she and the other women sought asylum in a UN camp.

As she continued to focus on what she wanted, her life transformed. Immaculée is now a published author, speaker, and mother, and continues to bring awareness to the ongoing healing required in Rwanda.

Let me ask you a question – what do you have going for you in your life right now that you are not appreciating?

Do you have at least one person who supports you?

Do you have a roof over your head and a warm place to sleep?

Do you have clean food to eat and water to drink?

You have already set yourself apart.

Know that you can always have more in your life. You may have to work for it.

You may have to make radical changes. It may not happen overnight.

It may take months or even years.

You may have to face what seems like insurmountable odds; however, the bottom line is that regardless of what is happening right now, you can have it all and it begins with shifting your mindset.

Susan Sly is a best-selling author, speaker, trainer and entrepreneur.  She specializes in helping individuals, and organizations, become more productive.  She resides in Scottsdale, Arizona with her husband, Chris.  Susan is the mother of five children and loves her life! To connect with Susan, visit



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