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Beginning with Thanks and Praise

This week on Jen’s Journal, I’d like to welcome my longtime friend and sister Megan Carter to the writing chair.  Megan and I have shared hundreds of prayer calls across the phone lines over the years, supporting one another’s families and walks with God. Megan is a prolific writer, a genuine friend, and a dedicated mother of three growing children. Her family is near and dear to our’s, as we have sat on back porches with them many times. Megan and her family of five reside in Southern California where they look for splashes of joy, glimpses of grace, and love making memories as a family. 

It’s an honor to welcome her to the Journal this morning. . . .

We are well into that first week of December, when many hearts are pitter-pattering with excitement, anxiety, anticipation, stress, wonder, distraction, peace, and tension. The Christmas season is upon us and can represent the greatest Light for some or the deepest dark for others.

As the season begins to unfold, I find myself reflecting on the traditions our family holds, the ones we want to maintain and where our focus should be.  A good friend asked me yesterday if I started my day with praise and thanksgiving.  I hadn’t yet, so that’s how I started my morning today. My heart did wake up with praise. It was an old song by Maranatha music entitled, “He has made me glad” —
            
I will enter his gates with thanksgiving in my heart,
I will enter his courts with praise,
I will say this is the day that the Lord has made,
I will rejoice for he has made me glad.
 
He has made me glad,
He has made me glad,
I will rejoice for he has made me glad.
 
Understanding the source of my gladness allowed me to then give thanks. I sit in silence until I can physically write down items, events, and people in my life that I can be grateful for.
 
Whether you have a heart that is fully focused on His Light today, or you’re in a funk that you just can’t get past, take to heart that if Jesus is the source of your gladness the result will be a thankful heart.
 
In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind.
The light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it.
John 1:4-5
 
 
 
God is good all the time.  Will you give him the opportunity to make your heart glad today?
 
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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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