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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

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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