What Others Are Saying
Thank you so much, Jennifer, for your courage and honesty in writing your book, Girl Perfect. What a message!! Finally, someone has boldly stepped out and yelled, "STOP"!"...STOP believing the lies that have been told to you by our culture, STOP striving to be perfect, and STOP trying to fill the void in your life with counterfeit remedies. We are so grateful that you did not stop at just exposing the lies but went on to provide the solution, the life-giving message of the gospel. The message in "Girl Perfect" is one that has the power to change the lives of each and every woman and girl that dares to scream, "STOP!" If you are tired of empty lies and striving for perfection, we encourage you to join Jennifer on her journey to True perfection.
I just finished Girl Perfect My heart is still so sad that your innocence, worth, and trust were so painfully taken from your sweet little soul. I cried many times, the hardest when you got your yellow journal back. I felt inspired. Each time God sent a messenger (to you) as a beacon of hope and direction, I got goose bumps. I will never forget what a professor told Christina Dimari in her book... "God searches the earth for those who will be willing to SHINE for others. He searches for those who will say, 'Here I am. Use me.' "
Thank you for an AMAZING retreat when you spoke at Saddleback Church. That was my first retreat I've ever attended and boy did I pick the perfect one to go to. Your message was so inspiring. Today, I just finished your book "Girl Perfect." All I can say is incredible!! I am so glad your husband talked you into writing this book. It is such an open, honest, authentic account of your life. And to see what the Lord has done in your life! Only through His love could it all be possible.
As I sat watching the video of the GodChicks conference, I also sat crying as I watched you and became inspired to read your book "Girl Perfect" (for 15 hours, I might add) and cried amazing tears of freedom. God introduced you into my life at a time when I needed it most. Your testimony, your journey, and your freedom were the pieces missing in my puzzle to further my own healing. God used you as an instrument to play a much-needed song in my life. I have struggled with very similar issues in my life, but I never truly went through the process of growing into a woman. I was constantly trying to change the woman God had destined me to be. Eventually I hit rock bottom, just as you had. I found Christ and fell in love with the Man that actually thought I was worth dying for.
Your book opened my heart and spirit to the unresolved issues in my life and got me back on my journey to get totally free. I refuse to live without the freedom that Christ died for me to have. Thank you, Jen, for being 'you'. I feel that you will change many hearts and transform millions of women into the freedom God intended for all His children. Thank you for not giving up.
I was genuinely touched by your story. So much of it hit me so close that I cried as I read the final lines. Thank you for the courage and the trust you have in God, for it has truly inspired me. How true it was what that stranger said to you on the road side: "...You don't go to them....but so many will come to you to hear what you have to say."
The other week I was taking a video out of the machine, and it just so happened that I had come across the last bit of your slot on the 700 Club. I knew that I had to get a copy of your book Girl Perfect. It has helped and blessed me so much. I have been struggling with an eating disorder for 10 years. Over the last couple of years I have been in recovery. My eating is no longer as dysfunctional but I have found it so hard to kick the negative self-criticism, comparison and desire to have the 'perfect' body.
Your book has helped me so much in understanding the deeper roots of my struggles and God's perspective. I also took a lot of hope from what you wrote about your journals. Throughout my whole recovery I have recorded everything that I have been through. I have piles of journals! At the moment it feels too raw to read them but I have always hoped that one day I could edit them and write my story. Your book was a real inspiration that this is possible.
I received your book, Girl Perfect for my birthday. I read the entire book in an afternoon. I could not put it down until the end. I am at a loss for words, but I absolutely loved the book. It is such an inspiration. As I read, it was a reminder of the little girl inside of me. It reminded me that I don't need to strive for perfectionism because God loves all of me, including my flaws and imperfections. It also reminded me that I am made perfect through Christ.
I heard your testimony on LIFE Today the other night and tears started to roll down my face. I was also into some modeling and I had an eating disorder for almost seven years. Doctors said she will not recover if she doesn't stop. I cried out to God to help me and He completely healed me and set me free from it all. My body took a bit of time to heal but God set me free. I also believe God has called me to quit my job and go full time into Bible College. I really believe that like you God is going to use me one day for a testimony to young woman. You are a mighty woman of God and I believe He is so proud of you. You are like Esther, born with great beauty but with that beauty there is a great call: a call to save the nation. You are so beautiful inside and out and I believe God looks down on you with great tears in his eyes and says how proud of you he is. You’re his princess. Thank you so much. You have touched me deeply and blessed my life.
I’m a 36 year old mom of two girls. One of my girlfriends brought a DVD of you speaking on a recent girlfriend getaway, and she also had your book in tow. I was immediately drawn to the book. I was born and raised in the church, but still had some gaping holes in my heart due to some of the circumstances of my upbringing. I have struggled hugely with self-acceptance as there wasn’t a lot of acceptance in my home. Over the past couple of years God has been gradually removing the blinders from me, helping me to see through, and taking down the old wallpaper in my mind. I was completely drawn to your story as we watched the DVD, and even as you were talking about seeing the crosses in the woods in Germany, I could feel the message resonating in my own heart, again, that it’s God’s love that I long for, and that will fill those holes. I live in a very affluent Seattle area, where we are surrounded by “girl perfects”, whether you’re a mom or not. Working out reigns, counting every calorie, etc. I periodically find myself mindlessly striving, going through the motions of trying to get my body to cooperate, and honestly regardless of gym memberships, bike riding, cross training, fill in the blanks, I stay the same size. Thanks so much for exposing some of what’s on the other side of all the images that we are fed. I feel like God has used your story to further help free me.
I'm a 20-year-old college student. Moments ago, I finished reading Girl Perfect. As I read your story, I found that even though I'm not a model, I have a lot in common with you. I really like how you describe that "longing" all girls have. I am a girl who has struggled with feeling accepted. I think it stems from my father, an athlete who is extremely obsessed with body image. Though I am an athletic, pretty girl, I have never been good enough for him. For a long time I thought God expected the same things my dad expected of me. When I read Girl Perfect, I was amazed at all of the verses you put in there that said how God loves us for US---as we are now! I've had a relationship with God since I was a middle schooler, but I always thought I was just not "pretty" enough for God. My dad's high standards and his habit of criticizing my body and beauty have warped my view of God. When you were talking about how the photographers said awful things to you about your appearance, they sounded a lot like the awful things my dad has said to me about my appearance. It's a daily struggle, and for the most part I have come to terms with the fact that my dad is not speaking truth. But your book helped emphasize the truths I need to hear. So thank you for writing Girl Perfect! It helped me continue on my path of healing, and reminded me of just how much God loves me.
Every day I struggle with my identity and who I am, and now every day something you said pops into my mind and helps me through the struggles I face. Thank you and God bless you!
I once saw you speak at a retreat at Biola. I knew then you had a gift, and I saw it again at the Crossroads Church. It was wonderful! I was with my friend when she brought you water in the "Living Room" and it was here that I did see the true beauty you were speaking about. Yes, you have that outer beauty but the passion and compassion you had when these girls were coming to you broken and crying was truly beautiful. One day I hope to be a speaker and writer and a woman's ministries director at the church. All that to say, you give me hope that this can be achieved and the women of this world need to hear us shout this message because they are drowning in the message of the world. Thank you for your honesty, humility, grace and beauty.
My daughter typed this after attending the "Unmasked" Conference:
One day she realized through the grace of God that physical bodies are nothing, they will wither and die. No matter how good she made the mask look, it wasn't healing what was on the inside. She learned that when God looks at her, He doesn't see the physical body; He only sees the spirit and what's in her heart. What was in her heart? Anger, fear, inadequacy, resentment, and self hatred. Though she tried to live a life pleasing to Him, she always knew she was holding back something: her self-acceptance. All she ever wanted was acceptance, but how could she expect others to accept her when she couldn't accept herself? And she realized that by rejecting herself, she was rejecting the God who created her. She began to realize that God made her the way she is on purpose; she is "fearfully and wonderfully made."
Though she is struggling with why God made her the way she is, she knows there is a reason and one day that reason will reveal itself. But until then she has to trust Him and accept who she is. She also realized that her (Heavenly) Father, the Master of the Universe, the Man who died on the cross for her, the Man who healed the blind and gave food to the hungry, the Ultimate Provider and Craftsman is the only Man who will give her the acceptance she craves. He is the only Man that will never leave her side, the only Man that will make her feel complete.
Who is she? A daughter of the King, a princess. She is a Christ fearing, pure living spirit. A holy, white spirit, washed clean of sin and immorality. A lovely, beautiful creation....flawless.
When I heard you speak, I remember you said that God had become your "mirror." Tonight, I stood in front of my mirror crying and begging God to tell me what true beauty was. I then began to let all of my self-hate out. I read Psalm 139 out loud in the mirror like I was declaring and praying those verses as my identity. Hearing God's voice, I then began to hear Scripture about who I am in His eyes and what it means to have eternal beauty. I wrote down all of these words in permanent marker on my mirror. Standing back, I no longer saw myself, but who I am in God's eyes. He became my mirror tonight. The words of this world no longer define me. Only His words define me and I see who I am in him and that is enough for me.
Modeling has not been easy. I am constantly battling to preserve my purity. I am the children's director at my church, and I see freedom and purity in them, and I know that God has given them to me as an example of what I am supposed to be. I have had to walk away from castings because they want me to do lingerie and swimsuits, but I know one day I will be able to testify to girls that I was able to be pure in this dark world. I hope to one day do exactly what you are doing Jennifer. Keep fighting the good fight. When we get to heaven I want to stand before God with the 20 million people with eating disorders. Let's bring every last one of them home to heaven Jennifer.
Images of perfected beauty floated in front of their eyes; the young adults, still throbbing with energy from the pulsating songs of the now stilled band, stood, suspended in moments of anticipation of the experience to come. Gliding onto the stage with the flawless grace from a learned past, now forsaken, Jennifer Strickland snatched the attention of her audience with her opening words: “What posters were on the walls of your room when you were 8 years old?” Still pondering the surprise question, the murmuring of the crowd was interrupted by Jennifer’s own answer to the question: “They were your dreams.”
Jennifer’s story of her dream to be a world famous fashion model unfolded for the audience as she recalled her path to near super model fame. Cover girl for several top selling fashion magazines in Europe, Jen reached the zenith (and nadir) of her career by age 21 when she contracted with Giorgio Armani in Milan, Italy. One could sense the envy of the young women in the audience as Jen’s most famous photos revealed her exquisite beauty. But Jen blew away that envy by revealing the truth of the images that stared alluringly back at the audience from the stage screen. She described the emptiness of the worldly successes her dreams produced, the despairing deceit with which they entombed her, and the freedom from the deception of her dreams, realized through the saving grace of Jesus Christ. “When I looked in the mirror, I saw only an image. That’s all I was to anyone, an image. And when they tired of me, they just threw me away.” The abrupt end to her career also brought her to the day when she cried out to God to reveal Himself and to rescue her from her hopelessness. This prayer led Jennifer back home to California, and in time resulted in the miraculous transformation of her life, told in its entirety in her just released book, Girl Perfect.
As Jennifer masterfully unraveled the deception in the lies of today’s “culture of outer beauty”, you could feel the power of the Holy Spirit moving among the hearts and minds of those now in rapt attention. “Men, what are you asking of your women, or your girls, when it comes to beauty?” Jen put forth to the hundred or so young men listening. “What are you expecting from them?” That dart of a question pierced straight to the heart of the image lie. . . .a woman must be physically beautiful to be counted worthy of love and acceptance by a man. Stressing that true beauty is God grown on the inside of a person’s being, she urged women to spend time beautifying their spirits, though not neglecting their physical appearance. “Make the most of what God has given you” Jen encouraged.
Jennifer beseeched the audience to embrace the Cross and to gaze upon the image of Christ, using Him as the measure for reflection of true beauty. At that point the pastor called on those who were so moved, to join in prayer for salvation, spiritual cleansing, and rededication of their commitment to Christ. The evidence of God working through Jennifer’s testimony was the forty-four young women who asked Jesus Christ into their lives that night and the hundreds of others who asked for prayer to seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness in their lives. Hallelujah! All glory, praise and honor be to God!
I heard your story on Daystar. I am a recovered anorexic from age 16-27 and now I'm 45. I still struggle with not having the perfect body, but God has taken away my ability to diet extremely and exercise obsessively to maintain the "perfect body". Today I have to be content with the body He has blessed me with and this is an ongoing work of His love and grace. I just wanted to say thank you for sharing your story. It blessed me, and I know God is using you to share truth and break the enemy's lies and deceptions he is feeding millions of girls and women.
I am 17. I attended Districts in Green Bay and it was life-changing. I attended your seminar "Men, Mirrors, and Magazines." Five of my family members have died this year, and I have been struggling with eating and cutting myself. I have always grown up knowing God sent His Son and I asked for salvation at age 6, though I don't remember any of it. But that day sitting there listening to you talk I looked up and raised my hand when everyone put their heads down and closed their eyes. It was so amazing to finally feel as if someone really loved me for me and I had a Father who thought I was beautiful the way I am.
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