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U R My Daughter, So…(a tribute to our Olivia)

Our daughter turned 14 yesterday. We redid her room for high school. We shopped. Lunched. Laughed hard through photo shoots with her best friend. Went toilet papering. Celebrated .. and this I wrote for her:

U R My Daughter, So …

Olivia

I promise to live as long as I can and take care of my body, while always remembering my life is eternal and the perfect body is in heaven, only.

I commit to listen long, to respect when you need space, to wait for the invitation to your heart, to gently speak truth to you in tones of humility.

I commit not to wear masks with you — not the mask of anger, when in truth I’m just afraid I’m not doing this mothering right. I commit to love you More than identifying you with your mistakes, for we all make them, and it is grace that saves us.

I promise to ask Jesus every day to help me see you the way He sees you, and to never, ever stop growing. I commit to always seek to be a better reflection of our God who loves us even when we fail and falter and shatter and break and fall right on these pretty faces of ours, feeling ugly and sorry and broken, like we’ve messed everything up when we were trying to do right, but were dead wrong – which is when He picks us up and loves us More.

I will seek to love you the way He has loved me, which seems an impossible task, but only if it’s a task, another thing to do, instead of a life which is only possible because He lives in us. 

I commit to teach you the Word in a way that is relevant to you, in line with the gifts you have and the way you think. I will mother you for YOU, not for me, so that you will grow into the woman God has shaped you to be.

When you know hurt, I will feel it with you. What is big to you will be big to me. What matters to you will always be important to me. I will not sell myself to another god and lose this connection with you, because You Matter. Everything you feel and know and fear and dream matters. You are all that matters sometimes, and other times, you will see others matter More and love how that makes you feel.

I will lead you in the ways I know: the ways of Jesus (the sacrifice, forgiveness, grace, the love that never leaves you); the ways of marriage (the service, forgiveness, honor, the love that never leaves you); the ways of home (the cooking, the food, the laundry, the grace and the gratitude), and the ways of work (the money, the marriage, the mothering, the ministry, the beauty and behavior and the ways they are linked).

And in the ways I don’t know and in the things I am searching for, I will search first His kingdom and say I’m sorry when I need to.

I will take off my masks for you. For me. For us. So that you can see beneath the surface, I’m scared too sometimes. I don’t always know the answer. But we have this in common — we are real. And that, my daughter, will someday make us friends.

Love, Mom

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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

The honesty that Jennifer uses to tell her story drew our young women in and captured their hearts. She provided them with practical tips that the women use daily to transform their lives. These decisions have caused them to do things differently. We loved her so much, we are having her back!

Chrissie Dunham

Chrissie Dunham, Prestonwood Baptist Church, Plano, TX

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

Jennifer has the ability to make you laugh, cry, and see yourself as one of God’s glorious creations — and that is just her warm up! Once Jennifer starts speaking, all you want to do is listen, learn, laugh, and love her. She takes you outside of yourself while helping you see inside of yourself, and does it in such a way that you feel safe, empowered, and capable to embrace all that the Lord is waiting to give you. She opens your eyes and your heart to hear from God in ways you never have. She connects you with others who share similar life experiences — and shines a bright light on the pathway to forgiveness, love, and blessings. Jennifer is also an amazing mother, compassionate, loving wife, and loyal, dedicated friend. Any opportunity women of any age have to hear from her is a gift and one that will produce fruit in their lives.

Lori Kennedy

Lori Kennedy, Outreach Event Coordinator, Riverview Evangelical Church, Bonsall, CA

I just picked up my girls from school today and they both talked all the way home about Jennifer’s presenation. It was a BIG HIT with Middle School and High School kids (both boys and girls). My high school daughter mentioned that she was glad that for once, a speaker focused on girl’s topics instead of sports or boy topics. She said that Jennifer engaged with the boys and made them answer questions too. My middle school daughter said that everyone in the middle school was paying attention too, and that all her friends were very tuned into what Jen was saying. Both girls said that they thought it was fine that the boys were with the girls during the presentation because the boys “needed to hear this stuff too.” 

Mother of two student attendees

Mother of two student attendees of Jennifer's U R MORE school program for boys and girls

If you think Jennifer gets the attention of adults, just see how the teenagers respond! My teenage grandchildren said they wanted to hear more from her and that her book was the only one they’ve ever really enjoyed reading! If teenagers are informed, inspired, and desire more, does anything else need to be said? Jennifer is an unusual voice of truth, integrity, and dignity. She needs to tell the world about her experiences and her victory. She encouraged me, a 70-year-old great grandmother. So, from teens to grans she has something everyone can benefit from.

Dr. Thelma Wells, D.D.

Dr. Thelma Wells, D.D. (Hon.), Speaker / Author / Founder of the Ready to Win Conferences

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