So you need a miracle. I get that — I really, really get that. This is an exciting moment for both of us. We are the children of the God of the impossibles.
I’ll never forget my pastor preaching on the 10 tests every minister must pass, and he was on the perseverance test. He translated the word perseverance as the dig deep, standing firm, don’t-throw-in-the-towel grit you need to endure a long and severe trial. Not a short trial; a long and severe one. Apparently, the “original language” determined the trial had to be long and severe. Lovely.
Yet this endurance — this long standing firm – develops the character you need to match your destiny.
Here it is:
We rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us (Romans 5:4-5).
If we rejoice in our sufferings …
Suffering produces endurance …
Endurance produces character …
Character produces hope.
So hope has a formula. It’s Romans 5:4-5.
And hope never — never — fails us. So if you rejoice in what you have, stand firm in your faith, endure no matter how hard it gets, you’ll get hope, and hope prevails.
The coolest thing about this truth is there is no shame. No shame in the pregnancy out of wedlock, no shame in the marriage gone sour, no shame in the financial hole you think you can’t climb out of (even though God rescued Joseph from a hole), no shame in the addiction you can’t seem to shake or the aimlessness getting you nowhere fast. There is no shame in the pain no one knows about — the depression, the envy, the sexual desire, the loneliness, the loss. If the wrong person knew about your pain, he might say, “Shame,” but there is absolutely no condemnation for those who are in Christ (Rom 8:1).
So if we start at the beginning, we rejoice. Because the Lord is near. (Phil 4:4-5). He is not far. “For I have heard your cries and seen your tears, and I will heal you,” He says (2 Kings 20:5).
We can give thanks, present our requests to God, and the peace of God, which transcends all understanding (in other words it makes no sense), will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Phil 4:6-7)
Rejoicing sounds ridiculous until you try it.
Right now I am rejoicing in all that is good in my life — fixing my eyes on the good (Phil 4:8-9). And I have peace – (or at least I did the moment I wrote this!)
[pullquote]I still have mountains that need moving, but I believe in miracles.[/pullquote]
This is what I see in the Word: Mary was a teenager when she became pregnant with Jesus, and she believed the angel at his word.
And she gave birth to hope.
Abraham believed his wife would have a baby when she was beyond her years.
And he gave birth to hope.
So believe in your miracle, friend. Believe against all facts. Believe.
And while you are in the middle of the trial, find reasons to rejoice. Just try it. Be glad that you have this great opportunity to develop your character and draw near to the one who is the mountain-mover.
The conditions may look hopeless. I know. But they are not. Because we serve a God of the impossibles. Lift up your eyes to the hills, from where your hope comes!
WHAT OTHERS ARE SAYING
At the age of 18, I was recovering from an eating disorder, cutting, and suicide when I read Jennifer Strickland’s book Girl Perfect and it changed my life. At the age of 33, as I travel the world reaching youth for the gospel, this is the only book I recommend to girls who are struggling. The Lord has truly anointed Jennifer’s words through her story, not only to address the struggles of today’s generation of girls, but also to walk them through the healing necessary for victory.
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, 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, 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.”