It seems high time for an honest letter from me to you. So here goes…
Yesterday I organized the book closet. Today our bookkeeper is here. Recently three precious souls made three donations. Three. Donations. In. A. Row. So did our faithful five: the five faithful givers who donate their precious resources, every single month so this ministry can teach people their identity in Christ. Five. Faithful. People. Every. Single. Month.
They give so I can speak to kids in public schools, so we can go to that women’s prison I’ve been wanting to go to — the huge one. So I can work on this new book for young women that we pray can save them from the pain I went through when I was a young woman.
Our ministry’s helping one precious girl right now who was sexually abused, is cutting herself and battling umpteen years of bulimia. We want her to know she matters more than she thinks she does; she is worth more than what meets the eye.
And we’ve got our daughter, Olivia. Our One Precious Daughter, three steps down the hall, two left. She’s entering high school this year. We’ve got four more years with her at home. Four.
Our son Zach is 12. Six years. Six. Till he goes away to college.
And then there’s Sam. He’s four. One more year at home and he’s off to school. When Zach started kindergarten I cried every day for weeks. My friends were happy to have their days back and I was bawling and begging God for another child to be with.
God, what do you want me to do? I’ve asked. Do you want me to continue in the ministry or serve you somewhere else?
He tells me to choose: the ministry or not. It is my choice.
I chose in February.
I chose my marriage a long time ago. I’ve chosen my children — my family is first. It’s one thing to pick a marriage on your wedding day, and then you pick it in the storm. Same with kids. You choose them, and you keep choosing them, even when the winds against you are fierce.
It’s not that different with ministry. I chose it in 2007 when it began.
And in 2015, I’ve picked it again.
Why am I telling you this? Because I’ve gone crazy? No. Because I want you to know that I don’t know where this ministry is headed exactly. I feel like I’m walking on water. At times I’ve made elaborate plans and at times I’ve let those plans go. I’m writing a lot and speaking locally, but I’m being real choosey about when I travel. I want to be close to home where my children are.
I’ve chosen to keep walking on water (like Peter, not Jesus, clearly!). I’m going to keep my eyes fixed on Jesus and keep trusting that this is my calling and although it takes on different forms, it’s what I’m meant to do.
The other day I told Val, the head of our Prayer Team, that I chose the ministry.
“Good.” She said, “Glad you’re catching up with the rest of us!”
But there’s something about the choosing. God gave us the power to choose, and He loves us so much that He wants us to choose to trust Him at His Word.
So far the walking on water has served me well. It’s brought my dreams to life. God has touched others through us. Like Peter, I’m weak, and in my weakness He has brought forth strength.
I don’t know what the future holds, and right now it’s one foot in front of the other. But it is better “to stand in the place of audacious trust than in a place of cautious, timid clinging to the shore.”1
If I take my eyes off of Jesus for a single moment, if I turn my head to the wind instead of the Creator of it, my heart will flood with doubt and I will sink.
This I know: He who calls me to “Come” is faithful. So I am not going to cling to the safe shores of insecurity. I am going to walk towards Jesus in faith, in the unsure, knowing He is unyielding in His commitment to me.
So many of us start out with great faith — “Jesus,” we cry, “Call me to walk on the ceiling of the lake — use me to do mighty things!”
But midway, we crumble. “I’m scared, God,” we say. I don’t believe. I doubt.
Jesus says to us, “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid” (Mat 14:27).
If our mind reels — What if? What if not? What then? — we start to feel like we are sinking. But here’s the good news: when we cry out for Him, immediately He reaches out His hand and catches us. “You of little faith,” He says, “Why did you doubt?” (Mat 14:31).
Sometimes the only security Jesus gives us is the fact that He is standing on the water with us.
His unending love speckles the pathway between our nimble feet and His able hands. In His eyes are Love. Love that says — I am with you, I am calling you to walk this way though you see no assurance other than me on the other side.
I’m tired of living fearful, doubtful, anxious. I’m leaving those weighty chains in the boat. I am letting go of the shore, standing up and stepping onto the glass ceiling in faith that if I fix my eyes on Him, He will lead me.
Today, I want you to ask yourself — What are you choosing?
You pick what you focus on. You choose it. Are you focused on the doubts, the anxiety, the fatigue? Are your eyes fixed on the force of the winds against you or the strong One who calls you and says, “Do not be afraid. I am with you. Trust in God; believe also in Me”?
Let go of the shore. Walk. On. Water. With. Me.
He who has called you is faithful and He will do it.
Get up. Out of the boat. Drop the chains, and walk on water.
As Theodore Roosevelt said, “Believe you can and you are halfway there!”
1 L.B. Cowman, Streams in the Desert, Zondervan, 1996, p. 104
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.”