President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf says she has had a good long life-it has not been easy though but she said, she had been lying on God's shoulders.
Speaking first in an exclusive interview with the New Dawn on Saturday, Sirleaf said her life has been peaks and valleys-while at the end of a prayer offered her on Sunday at the First United Methodist Church or FUMC on Ashmun Street in Monrovia, Sirleaf said she's strong because she is on God's Shoulder.
"I'm strong because I'm on God's shoulder; He lifts me even more than I can be... thank you church, thank God," Sirleaf said hours before her 75th birthday celebration on Tuesday.
On Saturday, President Sirleaf took 25 minutes of her time off to tell the New Dawn about her life and her strong desire to see Liberia moves forward. The president said starting up with four children after high school, was a challenge she had to face, but with determination to succeed, she was able to surmount all the challenges.
"It hasn't been perfect," Sirleaf says, "I have had my ups and downs, but I am glad that I have been strong in character, that's based upon my childhood. I had strong parenting, particularly my mother from whom I have strong belief in God."
"My life started in a way you will say upside down," she continues, I got married right after high school. I had four children before going back to school, back to college, back to graduate school, in between working" she added, saying, I tell people, I have done all kinds of work that kept me going." "It takes determination to succeed," she said.
She said it was her classmates with whom she graduated from high school that motivated her to press on.
"You know, when you have high school classmates all of you graduated and you see all of them going to college; they all becoming great professional and there you are, you in a house with four children, your husband, manning children, nursing children or you could become self defeated and say well this is my life. I will always be a house wife-or you could take the other side and say, that's my goal- if they can do it, yes, I have had some interruptions in the process, but I am determined, I will be equal with my classmates and move on."
President Sirleaf said besides challenges from family front, she also experienced some tough times in her career sojourn.
"I had my hard times, whether going to jail, going to exile or being ostracized, not having a job; I had been into all of that," Sirleaf said."But at the same time, I had great achievements, so many first in life- international, but still, I remain a humble person, honest person and hard working person."
The president also did not shy away from expressing her desire as to where she wants to see Liberia.
"And I just want to appeal to all Liberians, (let's) find the way to work for the good of our country; find the way not only to be proud of yourself, but to be proud of your country. That's my message on this 75th Birthday," she said.
President Sirleaf was also quick to silence her critics who questioned her legacy, saying her legacy is made. She said the legacy she now seeks is a legacy for the country and hopes that Liberians will join her in finding the legacy or maintain having it for the good of all.
Sirleaf, who spoke softly, said she would like to reach out to everybody for them to really understand where Liberia could reach.
"If we all were pulling together toward the same goal, that's not to say we can't have difference in society, that's not to say we can't have different agendas - political or otherwise. But that common goal of lifting Liberia, promoting Liberia, standing up for Liberia is something that is missing in too many arguments," she said.
Sirleaf reminded Liberians that it is easy to quiet your country down and to find fault, which she said is a cowardly approach, but that it is not easy to join the forces of correcting those faults.
Also speaking briefly with some motorcyclists on Sunday after the church service attended by several officials, foreign dignitaries and some politicians, President Sirleaf hinted of a legislation that will compel all motor cycle dealers to include helmet in their packages for the protection of motorcyclists.
On her departure from the church, several unemployed youth, including the physically challenged cheered and sang her happy birthday song outside the FUMC edifice, while being guided by her elite Executive Protection Force and UNMIL bodyguards to awaiting presidential van.
On the president's order, the young people were appreciated in thousands of Liberian Dollars, as motorcyclists were issued reflective jackets. Since returning from the United States on 9 October where she underwent a minor surgery, the Liberian leader has remained engaged with her official duties.