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Choose to Pause

December 26th has always been my favorite day of the year. Of course this makes no sense to my kids. They can’t imagine any day being better than Christmas.

But for me, it’s about the "pause." It’s knowing I don’t have to go anywhere or do anything. There is no rush, no requirement. We can stay in our PJs all day if we want and play with our new toys; we can leisurely put things away or just make piles all over the house. We can nap; not answer the phone; pretend the whole world has stopped.

That’s what happened when Christ was born: the world stopped. Everything changed. Hope came down; peace became possible; love held new meaning. Of course the world has turned it all around and made Christmas so hectic that there seems no time for pause. In our rush, mankind even abbreviates it: "XMAS." We literally "cross" the Christ out of Christmas.

No matter how many things I have to do in the month of December, I refuse to scribble through the word "Christmas". It is about Christ’s coming and I will not cross that out. My entire life went on "pause" when Christ came into it. When God showed up on the path of my days, it’s as if someone took a picture that I forever treasure in my mind — it was the turning point. It was the end of the darkness and the beginning of the light. I can see it in my mind and my desire is to return to it always.

My husband Shane got a great gift from Santa this year: a picture of a baby pine growing up out of the snow in the shape of a cross — beneath which it is written, "Christmas began in the heart of God." "I wish we could keep this up all year," Shane said. Maybe we will. Maybe it would make us pause. God designed Christmas for the "pause," for the time to reflect on the Savior of the world and the very personal meaning of His coming in each of our lives.

The world will not tell us to slow down, so it is up to us to create the time to sit around the tree and recall the memories each ornament represents; to make the time to read stories in front of the fire with our children or write down the thoughts of our hearts in love letters to those we cherish; to intentionally carve out the time to snuggle up with the Word and fill our cups with Living Water; to make the time to jot down goals for a new year and a new season; to put the world on "pause."

I hope you take the time to pause before the New Year …and take time throughout the year … to pause.

Merry Christmas and Best to you 2010,

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

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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