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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

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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