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U R the Calm Amidst the Storm (when the winds are blowing and the way is unsure)

They say another storm is coming. We huddle in; we cease to travel; we make soup.

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The way is blurry; we could slip on the ice; we don’t know what it would feel like to fall hard against this hard crack of earth; so we play in the snow. Children laugh; love that school is cancelled; I park myself in the kitchen.

Life has its seasons, and in Texas we go from 75 and sunshine to 28 and ice. The switch up requires flexibility, resilience, and a ready kitchen when the cold comes rushing in.

So like life. Turn your face to the sun and give thanks for the moment; seize the day; be ready for the shifts; stay grateful. Don’t give up trust when you can’t see what’s coming. Trust.

winter day

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My friend’s grand-baby’s heart beats. His name: Judah.

Thump, thump, thump, says the monitor as she asks God to get the glory. The doctors say he won’t survive but a few moments if it all when he touches air. She trusts, relentless. Her daughter’s water breaks. Belly contracts. Young first-time momma and daddy wait. Still waiting for their baby to be born, hope to hold him before they bury him, knowing he is already born again. Hearts ache, tears fall, momma sleeps, but not really. God holds her in the waiting: Peace, be still.

They say the storm is coming, 90% chance. We huddle in, close. Then too close. Personalities flair, we separate, better in separate rooms. Then the storm blows past and we need each other again.

This air of grace: it’s oxygen.

I breathe in God’s graces.  God is my Safe Place, the place I run to, my Conqueror bent on conquest, my Prince coming back, my Rock upon which to stand. He is water, bread, wine, oil; He is All.

With the broken people all around him, squashed close in the boat and afraid of more things than we know, Jesus rested. Calm amidst the storm.

That’s what I want: to be the calm amidst the storm, and to know, when I can’t find my calm, the One who is.

To hear his voice over the rush of waters, and to know He’s got me. He who controls the wind and waves, He’s got you. He’s got your bills and your marriage and your daughter and your womb and your baby. He’s got your every heartbeat, because it’s His heart: thump, thump, thump, that gives you life and breath and air and sun and love and a gentle touch, a kind word, a compassionate gaze. The sweet taste of grace — it all comes from He who is the Calm Amidst the Storm.

“Be strong and courageous,” he tells Joshua, “I will be with you.”(Deut 31:23)

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He’s got you. Be still and know that He’s got you.

Not the doctors, not the fears, not the failures, not the fog, not the demands or the debt or the demons or the doubts — not any of that.

Right before the storm comes, the storm comes. Possibly 100 Christians, now, more? Captured. He’s got them. He’s GOT THEM.  And the enemy, their swords and their masks and their vicious atrocities? Them too. Just watch; ALL, and I mean ALL, will be redeemed.

Today, declare it with me:  U R the Calm Amidst the Storm. U R our Peace, God, and your Presence is with your people.  Knowing this, we can walk straight into the fog and even the fury. We can rise up in this boat and face the squall.

We do not have to be afraid to face the hard thing in our life, to let go of what was His to begin with. We can see all that is good in our lives today and fixate on it. Fixate on the good. See His face in the warmth of the sun, the love of a friend, the blue in your child’s eyes, and remember Judah, the baby whose life on earth may be brief this week — maybe, maybe not — but whose life reminds us that only God commands the wind and the waves and the womb, and we can rest in the storm. God will have the last Word.

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He will speak for us and through us and in spite of us, and we can answer His Word by laying our head in His lap and trusting Him, by kneeling in trust. And then by  getting up and walking straight into the fog, unafraid; marching right into the storm with confidence.

So if the storm comes tonight, or tomorrow, or it’s already been a squall and no one can see,  remember: He is the Calm Amidst the Storm, and we can rest  in Jesus’s sweet words to us:  “Peace. Be still.”

Believing for More of Him for all of us,

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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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