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U R Not in Control (but I know One who is…)

How is it we both resist and pursue being out of control? Not having control makes me uneasy. But I love the taste of surrender, the throwing hands up, tossing off weights, and running in the direction of my Savior.

Guess that’s what Christmas time is about, when we do it right: believing in what we cannot see, trusting in what we do not know, finding a way to stop these dashing hours and say, whatever is happening in my life right now, including all that isn’t perfect, with all my ducks NOT in a row, I celebrate Christmas.  I believe in the lights, for He lights me; the ornaments, because He adorns me; the garland draped on mantles, as He is my covering.

12.3.14 U R Not in Control 2 12.3.14 U R Not in Control 6 meaning of Christmas Christmas blessing

When the calendar strikes Advent, December 1: we hit the stores, the lists, the world wide web, combing. We stoke fires, lavish loved ones, bake till the house brims with cloves and cinnamon. Shuffle in slippers, gaze at twinkling lights, give surprise gifts. We illuminate our neighborhoods and lawns to light our children’s eyes with wonder.

And I wonder, what about all the need, God? The children who suffer want? What about the lost ones, the ones Momma and Daddy on the news can’t find? The teens whose minds are wild with pain, mothers who don’t have answers?  And it sounds horrible but honest: what about my needs, God? The ones I don’t see answers to? What of this wrestle to see what I can’t, to know what I don’t, to want control while only you cast wind and waves?

Breakfast is a sip of coffee, a bite of the Word. Under lights and ornaments of silver and gold, I journal. We wrestle. And in our time on the mat, somehow I let go. Surrender.

I don’t know the answers, but I sure know One who does.

Jennifer Strickland 12.3.14 U R Not in Control 3 12.3.14 U R Not in Control 5

“Thank you for this trial,” I exhale, hands pried open wide, fingers lifted toward the lights. “Thank you.”  Because breaking bread and giving thanks always precedes the miracle.

So Advent has come — the anticipation of the miracle is here. We slow to celebrate. We wait. We prepare for the Christ child. The One who knows what we do not. The One who will rise from the furthest depths to forever show us, “With man, this is impossible. But with God, all things are possible.” (Matthew 19:6).

Shall we pray?

God, I am in not in control of this circumstance: (you fill in this blank.) But God you have shown me by your life that you raise the dead; you blow breath into dry bones. you make my soul live, you rise victorious from ashes. You live in me, so I too will rise!  Upward these hands go, palms open. I believe and proclaim that you will take this circumstance: (you fill in this blank) and turn it for the good, because you love me and promise you will always take care of me.

In your name, I pray, Jesus.

Amen.

(p.s. During this season of Advent, pray for our ministry?  Share your thoughts? Share posts? Believe with me that in the waiting, the miracle is coming?)

Love,

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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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