Jen's Journal

Jen's Journal

Choose Surrender

I am walking down the aisle in the airport when I get rushed by an overwhelming feeling: the girl in the big black sunglasses carrying the Louis Vuitton bag needs to read Girl Perfect. That woman, barely able to walk upright, balancing her overly large breast implants with high heels and way too much collagen in her lips, needs to read my book. So does that teen girl with pink hair in the corner, looking angry and staring at her laptop, immersed in MySpace while her mother talks nonstop on her cell phone. Now that I think of it, her mom could read it too.

The pink-haired girl reminds me of the line of girls tortured by bulimia and anorexia and sexual abuse that I met at last week’s conference. I have this insane urge to run through the airport passing out books and screaming, "There is a better way! There is a better way! Take this! It will bring you hope!"

I suddenly understand crazy people with megaphones on the side of the street.

I resist these unrealistic urges but they still linger while I board the plane. The lady sitting next to me in the white Juicy sweatsuit, entranced in the latest Michael Crichton mystery, could probably dig her teeth into my crazy adventures, and maybe that would inspire her towards God. The guy sitting on the other side of me begins talking about his sister who is living with her boyfriend and their baby, struggling to get by. Then during a lull, we both pull out our books, and I read mine, the very first time reading the final copy. Right before we land, he starts telling me how he just met his girlfriend at a local modeling agency and wants to help her to honor God with her life.

Without a word from me, he asks about the book on my lap. "Oh, it’s about this girl who had all this pressure to be perfect and it just took her over until finally she found the only Perfect there is."

There are so many things we as people want to control. Personally, I spent an insane amount of time pouring my guts out in this book, with desperation and tears and dreams that it could change someone’s life. And now, I want to figure out some brilliant plan to get it in the hands of every person in the airport. But the truth is, that is out of my control.

On the flight home, an old man from Alaska sits next to me. Without me asking, he claims that he has spent his life building some clever contraption that will free our country’s dependence on fuel; he is trying with all his might to figure out how to get it in the hands of the people. In a weird way, I understand. We all have our passions. We all have our dreams – those things that we believe will leave the world a better place. All I can say to the old man is give your invention to Palin! And then, trust God with the rest!

"Wasn’t this God’s book from the very beginning?" a friend asked me a few days ago. "Now give it back to Him."

So I lay it at His feet. It is His gift to me, and I give it back. What happens is beyond my control. God can part the Red Sea for it if He wants, or He can use it touch one girl and that is all. It doesn’t matter. What matters is that today, I choose surrender.

There is something in your life that you need to surrender control over. It may be a child, a marriage, a plan, a hope or a dream. It may be an addiction to self, or to drugs or to a guy. It may be that you are suffering in silence over something and have yet to speak of it. It may simply be an acceptance that the future is in His hands and He will do nothing outside of His great love for you. Let’s make a choice to surrender – all.
And then, He can surprise us! And we can say, Wow, Lord, I never could have seen that coming!

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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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