Jen's Journal

Jen's Journal

The Gifts We Receive (seeing all God has for you on Thanksgiving)

We put up a Thanksgiving tree this year. When I sit in front of it, I see simplicity and abundance at the same time. While Christmas is in a league of its own, Thanksgiving has special meaning. On this day, we give thanks for all God has given us and hopefully recognize everything we have is from the grace of His hand.

Through no virtue of our own, He gives us the gift of our families. Our homes, our talents, our children, our provision, our beds,  our shelter — our salvation, peace, and joy also come totally from Him.

On Thanksgiving we acknowledge God as the Giver of Gifts, and we are most blessed if we understand this.

If you are in a painful season, and it feels as though God has given; God has taken away — a season of trial and loss, grief or regret — you will do yourself a favor to look outside at Creation and give thanks. Gaze upon His majesty and beauty, the flickering birds in the trees or squirrels on the lawn, the falling crunch of the rust-colored leaves, the joy of a child in front of you unexpectedly, learning new tricks, the light in his eyes.

Count the gifts.

Through the endurance of trial, we change. As hard as it sounds, through pain, we are refined. On the other side of our pain, we have grown. We have learned to see our Creator’s movement in our lives as an act of grace.

So at Thanksgiving, we sit around our tables and honor Him, knowing that all these gifts are earned through nothing we have done. His gifts are unrelated to our virtue or merit. He gives to us because we are His children, and it brings Him joy to see us enjoying the simplicity and abundance. So the gifts we give and the gifts we receive on Thanksgiving are all grace. And for all the food and all the laughter and all the family around the table: He gets the glory.

Happy Thanksgiving Y’all — and if you need a great family recipe for your leftover turkey, you’ll find that here.

Love, Jen

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About the Author: Jennifer Strickland


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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