Jen's Journal

Jen's Journal

Christmas Waits for No Man

Dear Friends, I’m sharing a message I wrote seven years ago about the meaning of Christmas. I hope you’ll take the time to soak in the true reason we celebrate on December 25th. My hope is this message will shine a ray of meaning into your days as you prepare for celebrations to come with friends and family. Love, Jen

“This is the Amazing Race!” I kept calling to the Cowboy as we panted through the last few days to Christmas.  Ribbons and bows, toys and rows, wish lists and dreams and Santa big schemes … we did it all.

True meaning of Christmas Joy of Christmas Keep your lamps burning

Ready or not, Christmas came. We sprinted to the finish, napped, and woke to the wonder of how God always comes through for us.

It’s a wonder to me how blessings rise from the ashes of what once was, how beauty comes in so many forms. Laughter, surprise, love unadulterated, achy tired and satisfied, grateful and sure of one thing, One: that He is faithful. Faithful to allow pain to result in praise, hard times to rise to hallelujahs, and brokenness to become belonging.

In Him, insecurity becomes security, being unsure leads to So Sure.

Yet everybody longs. Daily, we seek bread, wine, oil, salt, water … nourishment to the soul. What will fill us? We ask. We look to see: where can we escape? Hide. Run. Be still. Hear. We seek, find. We drink, fill. Then empty. All is temporary – Christmas comes to us, Christmas goes. And we long for more. Whether it be more things or less, more space or less, more community or less, we long.

Christmas waits for no man.

It comes, ready or not, and so will his returning. A few days after Christmas we watched Left Behind, a film that prompted questions like, “Am I really a believer?” “What if God doesn’t think so?” and “What’s pre-trib? Post?” Good discussions fireside. While the flames warmed my back I listened to the children’s grandmother explain that faith in Jesus Christ is all that is needed to walk into an eternity of rest. The children are sponges — they soak in, they accept, they taste truth and eat.

Not as easy for all in the room, the thought of the rapture, the tribulation, the return of Christ.

15514093463_01bd3eec27_o Keep your lamps burning

There’s this parable where Jesus talks about keeping your candle burning – how there are five women who are wise, five who are foolish. The wise store extra oil so their wick is lit when the bridegroom appears, but the foolish store no oil. The bridegroom is a long time in coming and they all fall asleep waiting for him. When he arrives in the middle of the night with not a hint of warning, the ones who stored oil in preparation for his coming trim their lamps, but the foolish go running back to be ready. The wise enter into the presence of the bridegroom, but when the foolish five return, the door is shut.

They knock, and when he answers, he says what none of us want to hear: “I don’t know you.”

Christmas waits for no man.

Light of the World Believe The Ten VirginsPsalm 37 at Christmas

If you’re not sure about Left Behind or the rapture or the fate of those who deny him, read Psalm 37. You will find that all He asks is simple trust.

“Trust in the Lord and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture. Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him and he will do this: He will make your righteous reward shine like the dawn, your vindication like the noonday sun. Those who are evil will be destroyed, but those who hope in the Lord will inherit the land.” (Ps 37:3,4,6,9).

Safe Pasture Trust in the Lord and do goodLegacy 8 Cows

As you enter a new year, ask yourself, in whom do I trust? Do I trust in my own wisdom, in the way I would have written the Book? Am I relying on myself for a secure future, or am I resting in the goodness of God?

Trust in God

Let’s store oil this year. Let’s fill these lamps of ours with His richness — the oil that will keep our lamps lit. Everything else fades. All else leaves us wanting, longing, searching for a way to fill this aching emptiness. But He will fill us forever.

Trust in Him this year. Delight yourself in Him. And be prepared for Christmas to come any time, even in the middle of the night. For He is coming soon – and I know you want to hear His voice say, “Yes, come in, I know you. I’m glad you were ready for my return.”

In gladness,

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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