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World Class Aerial Performer: God Made Me a Warrior

Born without legs, Jen is a professional gymnast and acrobatic performer who has never let any obstacles stop her from pursuing her dreams. She believes that faith in God is everything, and “can’t” is just not an option. Read Transcript


[MUSIC PLAYING]

A spiritual warrior, physical warrior all over the world--

god made me a warrior.

NARRATOR: Jen Bricker's rise as a world-class aerial performer

was like every other accomplishment in her life.

She had to fight for it.

She was born without legs.

But to Jen, that's just a detail.

I don't think like, oh, my identify

is because I don't have legs.

Like, no, not really.

It's just kind of a part of me like I have dark hair

or I like to have my nails done, you know?

So when you're raised like that, you just

don't think of it like that, as some huge issue,

because it never was.

NARRATOR: She was born to a Romanian couple who gave her up

for adoption at birth.

Sharon and Gerald Bricker, a Christian couple

from a small town in Illinois, adopted her into their family.

They taught Jen to tackle life using a simple rule,

never say "can't."

They raised me with that kind of strength.

It is a warrior's strength.

So I came to them and said, I want

to play softball, basketball, power tumbling.

I even want to go roller skating.

And instead of them coming at me with negativity and questions

and all the reasons why I couldn't, they said OK.

I know you're going to figure it out.

Oh, so, we'll put the roller skates on your hands.

NARRATOR: They gave her the courage to pursue her passion,

gymnastics.

As a tumbler, she insisted on competing

alongside able-bodied girls.

ANNOUNCER: From Illinois, Jennifer Bricker.

[CHEERING]

NARRATOR: In high school, she even won

the state championship.

But most importantly her parents raised

her to be a woman after God's heart.

I read the Word every morning.

I pray.

And when I started doing that and making

that a daily part of my life, that changed my whole life.

Everything stems from that.

NARRATOR: Jen was going on 16 when she asked her parents

about her biological family and why they'd given her up

for adoption.

JEN BRICKER: They were poor immigrants.

They already had one kid.

And they didn't know if there was

going to be extra money involved because they didn't know if I

was going to need medical care.

And I didn't have legs.

My parents said, it doesn't matter what the reason was.

This is the way it was supposed to be.

We prayed for you.

You were our answered prayer.

You were our miracle.

And we wanted you.

And you were supposed to be with us.

NARRATOR: She also discovered that Olympic gold medalist

Dominique Moceanu was her sister.

JEN BRICKER: And I knew that name because, as a kid,

I watched her on TV.

I knew she was Romanian, and I knew I was Romanian.

And we looked alike.

And then I find out she's my biological sister.

And it's like, OK, but what?

NARRATOR: She reached out to her and began

building a relationship with her biological family.

Her father passed away before they could meet,

but she learned that he drove the decision

to give her up for adoption.

JEN BRICKER: The thing I didn't know, though,

and that I did learn when I met my biological mother is

she wasn't even allowed to hold me after I was born.

And it was a really dark and sad time for her

in her life and something that she's still getting over.

NARRATOR: After high school, Jen did an internship

at Disney World.

It was then she decided to pursue a career

as an acrobatic performer.

It was a fight from the start.

I'm overweight.

I'm a newbie.

I'm not an aerialist.

I'm not an acrobat.

No one like me had ever been an acrobat or an aerialist,

so nobody wanted to hire me.

Everybody was afraid of how an audience would

react, what people would think, how it made people feel.

NARRATOR: The one person who did believe in her

was her partner, Nate Crawford.

They pressed on and soon started booking gigs.

Then, in 2009, they got their big break

performing with Brittany Spears on her world tour.

JEN BRICKER: We were a featured act

on the highest-grossing tour in the world.

When we were on, everybody was watching us.

I had a choice to either totally succeed or fail miserably.

They were not afraid to fire anybody.

The pressure was unbelievable.

NARRATOR: The tour was a success.

But afterwards Jen would face one of the toughest

battles in her life.

Back into training, she started obsessing about her weight

and appearance.

She constantly looked into mirrors,

unable to control the thoughts that told her she was ugly.

JEN BRICKER: It didn't matter if everybody

in the whole entire world would have told me

that I was beautiful.

That wasn't the point.

The point was like what was going on in my own head.

My quality of life was so low.

And I just was not who I was.

And I didn't know how to get out.

NARRATOR: Jen realized she needed

to take action when a close friend asked her

about her drastic weight loss.

Lent was approaching, so she decided

to cover up her mirror with a collage of pictures of family

and friends for 40 days and seek God for help.

JEN BRICKER: And the most amazing thing happened.

When I did it, I realized that there was so much

joy and excitement and happiness coming back from the mirror.

No one could get me out of that, only God

and literally repeating scriptures

out loud multiple times today, choosing joy

when I did not want to be joyful,

choosing that I was going to overcome that day

and it was not going to overcome me,

choosing to love myself and feel beautiful

when I felt so fat even though I was so small.

It was a long time to come on the other side of that.

I learned so much from that.

And I came out a warrior.

NARRATOR: Jen performs her act all over the world.

She's also a motivational speaker

and recently released her autobiography.

God totally protected me from so many things

to give me that strength and that backbone

that I need today.

And that is not something you think of when you say warrior,

but that is absolutely a warrior trait.

It's just a spiritual warrior and allowing

God to shine through me with His joy and His love.

And seeing how it touches others is unbelievable.

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