I'm Jeri, the founder of Blessed Girl. During the 1990's I was able to take teen girls to a girls conference near our city. This was an awesome experience and included great challenges and inspiring worship. When I began looking again about 10 years ago, there were no conferences available without driving for many hours. I was praying and searching when I felt the Lord laying on my heart to gather girls and ladies who could teach them. This was the beginning of the Blessed Girl Teen Conference. The goal remains for young ladies to hear challenging and encouraging messages from godly women and to enjoy worshipping together with a group of their peers.
My own story includes a poor beginning, rich childhood, and then poor again after my father left our family when I was 13. During my teen years, I rarely saw or had contact with him, leaving my mother to raise 3 kids on her own. As a normal teen girl, without a father, I sought the attention of male friends and rarely felt accepted. Thankfully, with God's help, I did follow through with going off to college, getting a Social Work degree and afterwards meeting and marrying a stable young man, whose goal was to live a life of integrity. We had both made commitments to Jesus earlier in our lives and, although we strayed from God's path, made our way back to God and to working in ministry.
My husband began college after we were married, received his Bachelors in Church Ministries with a Youth Ministry emphasis, and began working as a part-time Youth Director in 1985. After finishing his Masters in Religious Education, his first full time ministry position was in Ohio, then moved to his next position as Youth Minister in Ashland, KY. In 2000 we returned to the Roanoke Valley where he was a youth minister in Salem, then a Pastor for 3 years in Roanoke, before returning to Youth Ministry, which is still continuing today. My "position" for 36 years has been as a Youth Minister's wife; much has been learned and experienced during these years.
I received my Masters in Counseling at Liberty University before we moved to Ohio, and have held various levels of counseling positions in Kentucky and Virginia. For the past 9 years I have been working with Straight Street, a ministry to teenagers in downtown Roanoke. Spending a large amount of time with teenagers, both at church and in the inner city, has increased my burden to see them grasp God's truths. I believe if students, and adults alike, can accept the deep love of God for us and His infinite grace and mercy, we could spend less time and energy on searching for meaning and acceptance.
Forthcoming blogs will be focusing on teen girls, ages 11-18, and the many facets of their lives during this time. Reflecting on those years in my own life, and how easily it is to succumb to the culture around us rather than resting in the arms of a loving God, it is imperative that we are intentional about increasing support for these young ladies. We will be looking at examples and resources from the Bible, as well as Christian writers, musicians, communicators and organizations. This will provide a framework for assisting young ladies, and those who work with them.
Blessings to each of you! I look forward to walking this journey with you.