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When the Voices are Taking You Down … (how to grab hold of your worth and rise)

She came to me crying, her sweatshirt tugged over face so I could only see the eyes. It took a while to get her to say out loud why she had rushed to the front. She sucked air, fearful of what would happen if truth came to light

“I feel worthless,” she said.

2016.12.27 U R Not Worthless

The words tore through the paper dark. Quiet sobs heaved and it felt like the truth was the whole big world and it rained all over the floor.

School assemblies are places to find broken hearts. I used to feel intimidated by seas of dark faces, mine too white. But as I discovered in prisons, churches, in the hearts of dear friends, the darkness threatens to strangle the best of us, all of us. Being draped in chains happens in poor neighborhoods this side of Fort Worth and weighs heavy over California dreamers and it can be a load we wear in rural New Jersey. Whether behind bars or in schools or in roomfuls of grownups, hurt happens. People betray. Hearts break. Dreams seem to pass as the calendar rolls by.

I remember a time when I felt worthless, when I hated the girl in the mirror and told her so.

When the noose is around our leg and it’s pulling us into the deep, what is the answer?

Here’s a sneak peek from my new book:

When our pits have turned from mud to quicksand, it feels like there is a rope tied to our ankles, yanking us deeper. The more we pull against the noose looped around our leg, thinking our willpower can break us free, the firmer the grip tightens.

Tugging against the rope is like denying it is there, and the more we deny it’s there, the firmer its grip. But one day, we come to our senses. We admit: I need up and out. I need help. We cut the rope. We leave everything behind. Like the prodigal son, we speak our truth in the light what has us trapped in the darkness. And we walk into our futures.

The future is paved with light. For His Word is “a lamp to my feet and a light unto my path.”

The Word says we are filled from the abundance of His house; He lets us drink from His refreshing stream, for with Him is life’s fountain. In His light we will see light.” (Ps 36:7-9)

It takes courage to cut the rope. To grab onto the tether of grace, and accept the offer to be pulled up and out, to allow Him to place you in an expanse of light. This is the offer I’m making to you now. Grab hold. Let your body go loose, but hold your grip firmly to the rope that is pulling you out. Cut the tether to the pit, and rise.

Jesus really is the only answer. When he finds us, we may be clamped shut, slimed over and buried at the bottom of the sea, but He sees a priceless pearl.

When we feel steeped in darkness — the deep dark (the counselor told me there are 2-3 suicide interventions a week in that junior high school) — we have to speak. We have to put truth into light and say I need help.

Girls asked me that day how to heal from sexual abuse; eating disorders; moms who abandon; dads who discard. And how do we stop anybody from feeling worthless?

Give a Gift. Teach Value. Inspire Purpose: that is what we do at U R More.

You, my friend, are valuable. You have purpose. You have worth — so much that the Lord of the universe sent His Son to buy you back — to resurrect all that you have lost.

The moment I gave my life to Christ was the moment He breathed new life into me. And he’s been breathing into me, through every joy and sorrow, ever since.

You are More than how you feel right now. You are God’s chosen vessel to bring what only YOU can bring to the world. You are not worthless. You are worthwhile. We need your unique gifts; we need your light.

Jesus paid a price for you — the highest price.

The kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls, who, on finding one pearl of great value, went and sold all that he had and bought it. (Matt 13:45-46)

God sold all that He had to buy you: the one pearl of great value.

And let’s not forget, when a merchant finds a pearl, it is clammed up, slimed over, buried at the bottom of the sea.

He brings it to light, opens it up, and extracts what is valuable — you.

Open up to Him today – and to others who can help you. Speak truth in the light. Cut the rope, grab onto His hand, and rise. 

Your Friend,

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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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