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7 Ways to Ready ourselves for the New Year (in no particular order)

There are 7 things I love about Christmastime that help us start a New Year right.

  1. The Birth of Jesus
  2. Mornings by the Tree
  3. Deadlines
  4. December 26th
  5. Everyone Home
  6. A Time to Look Back & Forward
  7. God Speaks

In the early or not-so-early mornings, I spend the first moments of each day by the Christmas tree, in full view of the mantle with all its trimmings. I look out the window at the blue barn doors and the glistening tree on the back porch. Thankful and quiet, I think about all we’ve been given, humbled and grateful for the gifts.

It doesn’t take long for the to-do list to emerge. It’s as if my pen goes straight from thanking God to the things that must be done.  Without a deadline, I’d keep shopping. Decorating. Cooking. And that means, spending! So ready or not, Christmas comes, and I HAVE to stop. This is brilliant for people like me.

December 26th is my favorite day of the year, and everyone in my family knows it. On the 26th, there is no to-do list. Everything’s marked off and there is absolutely nothing to do but enjoy. We cuddle by the fire, watch movies, and tinker with our new toys.

Each morning I think about what was and what may be. In the final days of December we get to look forward to an unknown year with hope and faith. God speaks to my heart in these moments. I know He can do that any day of the year, but at Christmastime I think He’s a big ‘ole softie and a little more sentimental about it all.

The Birth of Christ, of course, is the reason for the season, and I can’t imagine doing Christmas without understanding all that it means. Jesus’s birth symbolizes renewal, regeneration – and eternity with God.

When we put our faith in Christ, we are reborn as a new creation.

Walking with Jesus as the Lord of our lives is the most beautiful way to live. It is fresh with possibility and marked by awe and wonder. We are stunned by Grace. Renewed by Mercy. Strengthened by Faith. We are Known. Seen. Loved. Redeemed.

Between Christmas and New Years, our family heads to the ranch. The boys hunt, we make chili, we work on the property and become co-Creators. Whether it’s an old bone we find on the path, a wild root we dig up, or dead trees we drag to the burn pile, we get to carve and shape the land to make it all the more pristine.

As I sit on the back porch and watch the rain this morning, I think about the direction I’m heading and seek  Him for His counsel.

The New Year is coming, ready or not. Don’t let the to-do list take over, and don’t go your own away. Seek His direction. Get alone with God and wait for His voice.  Put tomorrow in His hands. and He will never lead you wrong.

For just as He came as a baby, He will return as a King – and only He knows the deadline.

To read our 2020 wrapup for U R More as we look ahead to a New Year, click here.

May you find the peace and stillness only His Spirit can bring,

Yours,

Jen

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About the Author: Jennifer

Jennifer Strickland is a wife, mom, TEDx speaker, and former professional model. She is the author of Girl Perfect, More Beautiful Than You Know, and Beautiful Lies, among other books and Bible studies that teach women their worth in God’s eyes. Since leaving the modeling industry, she founded URMore.org, a non-profit ministry that provides resources to hurting women and girls. Her favorite moments are found working on the family ranch with her husband, who she calls “the Cowboy”; in her kitchen, concocting a new version of her famous spaghetti; or spending time with their three precious children.

WHAT OTHERS ARE SAYING

The honesty that Jennifer uses to tell her story drew our young women in and captured their hearts. She provided them with practical tips that the women use daily to transform their lives. These decisions have caused them to do things differently. We loved her so much, we are having her back!

Chrissie Dunham

Chrissie Dunham, Prestonwood Baptist Church, Plano, TX

Jennifer is a captivating speaker. She keeps the listener hanging in wonder of what’s coming next! Her presentation is not only absorbing, it reveals the truth of God’s power to heal a wounded spirit.

Barbara Brown

Barbara Brown, Former Stonecroft Ministries Regional Representative, San Diego, CA

Jennifer has the ability to make you laugh, cry, and see yourself as one of God’s glorious creations — and that is just her warm up! Once Jennifer starts speaking, all you want to do is listen, learn, laugh, and love her. She takes you outside of yourself while helping you see inside of yourself, and does it in such a way that you feel safe, empowered, and capable to embrace all that the Lord is waiting to give you. She opens your eyes and your heart to hear from God in ways you never have. She connects you with others who share similar life experiences — and shines a bright light on the pathway to forgiveness, love, and blessings. Jennifer is also an amazing mother, compassionate, loving wife, and loyal, dedicated friend. Any opportunity women of any age have to hear from her is a gift and one that will produce fruit in their lives.

Lori Kennedy

Lori Kennedy, Outreach Event Coordinator, Riverview Evangelical Church, Bonsall, CA

I just picked up my girls from school today and they both talked all the way home about Jennifer’s presenation. It was a BIG HIT with Middle School and High School kids (both boys and girls). My high school daughter mentioned that she was glad that for once, a speaker focused on girl’s topics instead of sports or boy topics. She said that Jennifer engaged with the boys and made them answer questions too. My middle school daughter said that everyone in the middle school was paying attention too, and that all her friends were very tuned into what Jen was saying. Both girls said that they thought it was fine that the boys were with the girls during the presentation because the boys “needed to hear this stuff too.” 

Mother of two student attendees

Mother of two student attendees of Jennifer's U R MORE school program for boys and girls

If you think Jennifer gets the attention of adults, just see how the teenagers respond! My teenage grandchildren said they wanted to hear more from her and that her book was the only one they’ve ever really enjoyed reading! If teenagers are informed, inspired, and desire more, does anything else need to be said? Jennifer is an unusual voice of truth, integrity, and dignity. She needs to tell the world about her experiences and her victory. She encouraged me, a 70-year-old great grandmother. So, from teens to grans she has something everyone can benefit from.

Dr. Thelma Wells, D.D.

Dr. Thelma Wells, D.D. (Hon.), Speaker / Author / Founder of the Ready to Win Conferences
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