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A Really Big Deal

He walks through the living room, his boots clapping the wood floor, legs like tree trunks, voice booming — he is such a big kid.

In my mind’s eye I see a toddler waddling towards me, saggy diaper swinging, chubby legs like dough, dimples and rolls and innocent eyes looking at me – still.

They say, don’t blink.

I blinked.

“Mom, it hit me, how did I get to be a junior in high school? Like, I’m kind of a big deal.”

I laugh. We laugh. Yes you are (like) a really a big deal, Zach. You are.

He’s quiet and loud, if that makes any sense at all. He’s little and big, humble and proud. He’s our son, and I want to screech the brakes on time because I know how it feels when they stumble and fall and fly from the nest.

So we turn the page on time. We grab every hug we can: the ones that are drenched in sweat and tears from the football game; the ones that are fresh with the scent of cologne in the morning; the off-to-school and out-the-door, and before-the-date and after-dinner ones. I’m always asking for these hugs. And the other day I got my favorite kind, the one that he offers to give me. “Hey mom, come here, let me give you a hug. I love you mom. I see all you do and I appreciate you so much.”

Bigger than me now, his largeness makes me small, that baby I wrestled like an animal to be still on my hip. His voice now is the voice of life, the voice of laughter, the voice of promise.

He had a school project — to write a paper about leaders who have influenced his life — and he chose me as one of the four. He wanted to know how our ministry leads people, so I sent him my bio and description of what we do.

He texts me:

“Wow I really overthought that. U are like a really big deal. What the heck.”

I laugh. “Not really,” I text back.

I told him if I were to die tomorrow I’d say my greatest accomplishments are being a wife, a mom, a daughter, a sister, a friend to some of the greatest people on earth.

But if you really think about it, none of these are accomplishments. They are gifts. Privileges. Blessings.

So today, look at what’s in front of you, not what’s behind you.

See the gifts.

And don’t blink.

Because these little peeps become big peeps.

And they are (like) a really big deal.

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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

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

“The ‘P’ word [perfection] may be the heaviest burden women bear. All the misguided things we do to attain it can keep us away from what we need most – the unconditional love of God the Father. The Girl Perfect Study Guide gives you a map to the wholeness you were created for.”

Nancy Ortberg

Nancy Ortberg, author and former teaching pastor at Willow Creek Community Church

“The Girl Perfect Study Guide shatters the lies girls and women believe and points to the ultimate truth, which really does set us free. I am confident that this study will help thousands discover a beauty, purpose, and worth that truly lasts. Thank you Jen for exposing the ‘perfect life’ and inviting girls to experience God’s ‘perfect love.'”

Allie Marie Smith

Allie Marie Smith, Founder of Wonderfully Made

One of the best testaments to what Jennifer is doing for the young girls and women of today is a comment from my eleven-year-old granddaughter: “Grammy, I want to read this book and hear her again. She’s good and I learned a lot.” This is exactly what I experienced from a grown-up perspective when I was introduced to Jennifer Strickland’s amazing story. Read it and see if you don’t get the real story from an icon model and a powerful speaker of truth.”

Thelma Wells

Thelma Wells, D.D. (Hon), President of Woman of God Ministries
As a teacher, participator, and observer of public speaking for most of my life, I’ve come to realize that many speakers make one of two mistakes when interacting with their audience (especially when that audience is mainly teenagers.) They either expect their audience to climb up to their level (which feels unattainable to the crowd) or they step down to the level of their listeners (which feels cheap and pandering.) The best speakers meet their audience where they are and lead them up to where they want them to be. This feels genuine. This is what Jennifer did over the last few days at our school.
Jennifer Strickland is a funny, engaging, dynamic speaker. She shares truth with authority and credibility that comes from both experience (her story is powerful) and an obvious depth of study in the Bible. The ideas she presents about Value, Identity, and Purpose are truths everyone needs to hear.
I heartily recommend her for your conference, school retreat, or any event where you want your people to be encouraged and challenged with deep, impacting truth.

Andrew Doan

Andrew Doan, Concord Christian Academy, Concord, NH
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