Dearest sisters in the Lord Jesus Christ, I want to share my heart with you. I’ve been struggling. Struggling with how inept I am at nearly everything. Struggling with this “fog” I’ve been in for several months now. Struggling just to make a complete sentence that would prove that I’m still somewhat coherent. But like someone flailing around in quicksand, all my struggling only caused me to sink even faster and deeper. It’s when I stopped and was still, that I was able to cry out to our compassionate and merciful Father for help.
Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!
~ Psalm 46:10
Why am I sharing this? I’m sharing this because God has providentially chosen to use this month’s cover girl, Jennifer Rothschild as one of the vessels to help me out of my quicksand. The Lord showed me that I’d been talking to myself and what I’d been saying wasn’t based on His truth; but on my insecurities and lies I’ve heard all my life. Well…that’s enough about me, let me tell you about our wonderful sister Jennifer…actually, I think it’s best if she shares a bit of herself – personally. Please watch and be blessed:
As Jennifer said in the video, God has certainly given her an extra measure of grace, and from my personal experience, He’s also given her an extra portion (or two) of wisdom! Amen?
Our sister Jennifer has been a guest on Living the Life (Christian Broadcasting Network), Dr. Phil, Good Morning America, Life Today, and The Billy Graham Television Special. She’s authored six (6) books, including best sellers: Lessons I Learned in the Dark, and Walking by Faith Bible study. In February of 2009, she released her third DVD-based Bible study, Me, Myself and Lies: A Thought Closet Makeover (2009, LifeWay Church Resources) which was adapted from her latest book, Self Talk, Soul Talk: What to Say When You Talk to Yourself (2007, Harvest House Publishers). Jennifer is also a wonderfully talented songwriter and recording artist. She’s a witty, authentic and biblically-based speaker who captures her audience with her transparency and God-given insight as she shares “it may not be well with my circumstances, but it is well with my soul.” Jennifer has been a featured speaker for numerous events, including Women of Faith as well as her own conference Fresh Grounded Faith.
I’m so excited about this interview! Not only because of the way God has used Jennifer to personally edify me, but because of my anticipation of how much I know, God will use her to exhort and edify all of you!
Sunny: Precious sister Jennifer, we’re so delighted to have you here at Christian Women Online! Would you please share with our readers, what it was like to have had sight for nearly 12 years of your life, then have it slowly deteriorate by the time you were 15.
Jennifer: Any loss or transition is often best understood in retrospect. At the time, I wasn’t as aware of the depth and impact of the changes because they happened gradually and subtly. What I do remember was what felt like the apparent suddenness of blindness. Because I was living with it daily, it would often not seem as drastic. And then it was as if one day I was struck by how radical it was. It would sneak up on me; I would misjudge an angle and run into a wall; bend down to grab something I dropped and realize I didn’t see a chair and bang my chin. Things like this happened more and more frequently confirming I really couldn’t see what I once did. Of course, it was very soon that I could no longer read or see my face. I was full of thoughts, feelings and prayers during that time. I experienced confusion, frustration and oddly enough, peace. I think I was so enveloped and cushioned by God’s grace that the full impact of blindness has been more like a trickle than a downpour-not something that totally overwhelms me so I drown in it; more like a subtle sprinkling of difficulty that is always with me.
Sunny: What an awesome and compassionate God we serve! His kindness towards you is humbling, which brings me to my next question. I saw your story on Good Morning America where you said, “Maybe this is a way of God giving me a really great gift in a very difficult package.” Most people wouldn’t call blindness “a really great gift”. Why do you?
Jennifer: Blindness itself doesn’t feel like a gift, but what came with it certainly is. Blindness has given more than it has taken. I have received an opportunity to choose gratefulness, strengthen my faith and learn how to live trusting God more than my feelings. Anything that decreases our dependence on self and increases our dependence on God really is a gift. We just need to be grateful to recognize it.
Sunny: Amen sister! I couldn’t have said it better myself. Now, I’d like to ask you another question about a statement you made during your Good Morning America interview, you said, “We should never assume we can’t. Because what that does is grant us a limitation that’s far greater than blindness.” What did you mean by this statement; what limitations do you believe are far greater than blindness?
Jennifer: Most people aren’t disabled when they say “I can’t.” I think they’re using the wrong word. What they really mean is “I won’t,” they’re defiant. To me it’s a far greater disability to be angry, bitter or defeated by our own emotions-saying “I won’t”. Why choose to be handicapped by anger or fear when God says we “can” do all things through Christ who strengthens us? He strengthens us to lose the anger and overcome fear. I choose to focus on the abilities we have in Christ that equip us to change, not what possible disabilities we have that we can’t change.
Sunny: That’s so funny you say that, because I’ve often asked myself that, “Is it because I can’t, or because I won’t?” And as you said, most often, it isn’t a matter of ability, but it’s a matter of will.
Truly, our God, who is the God of all glory and the God of the impossible has certainly worked many miracles in your life, things that wouldn’t seem possible or even expected of a blind person i.e., writing music/songs, playing the piano, writing books, applying your own makeup, etc. How does this affect you? I mean, what is it like to constantly see God part the Red Sea right before you, so that you are not trapped, nor inhibited by your physical limitations, but are able to walk safely and securely in Christ’s infinite power?
Jennifer: I feel like a spectator sometimes, not a participant! God’s faithfulness has allowed me to live in the “what is” rather than the “what if.” Here’s what I mean. “What if” is a statement of fear and uncertainty based on speculation. “What if I can’t get a ride to the store?” “What if I can’t take care of my boys like I need to?” What if is based on speculation, but “what is” is based on truth. When I start to wonder about my future, I remember the past faithfulness of God. “What is?” God is faithful, that’s what is! “What is?” God has always provided each and every need I’ve ever had-often before it even arises!
Sunny: Oh, I love that! Live in “what is!” Thank you Jennifer! Even I can remember that! 🙂 Let’s talk about your book, Self Talk, Soul Talk: What to Say When You Talk to Yourself . I’ve got to admit, when I first read the title, I thought “We’re not supposed to be talking to ourselves.” Then I realized I just did! 🙂 So with an open heart and mind to Christ, I began to read this wonderful book in which you share the truth of Proverbs 15:4 and Proverbs 18:21. Can you share with us how and why God inspired you to write on this topic and the impact of speaking truth to yourself has made in your life?
Jennifer: I entertained a steady stream of self talk over the years. And unfortunately, lots of it was destructive. God began to show me when I was in my twenties the damaging effect of what I was saying to my soul and that if I didn’t control my thoughts, my thoughts would control me. He showed me the best way to control my thoughts was to make them truthful. I went on a journey going from destructive self talk to constructive, life-giving soul talk! Once I learned how to recognize lies I was telling myself, I refused them into my “Thought Closet,” relabeled them with truth and I’ve repeated the habit for years now. How has it changed me? I am “wardrobed” in the liberating garment of truth and know who I am in Christ-that makes a girl far more comfortable with herself!!
Sunny: Thank you sister for showing us a sure fire way we can captivate every thought to obey Christ [2 Corinthians 10:4-5].
Earlier in this interview, you shared with us how you’ve received your blindness as a “gift” from God. You’re married and have two sons. Do you feel that God has used your blindness as a “gift” to your family as well? If so, how?
Jennifer: Well, I am sure it’s been a burden at times-let’s be honest! But, I do see how it is a gift in that they have each been able to see through it God’s faithfulness and favor. The fact that I am not in a heap of despair on the living room floor is a great indication that God’s grace is real and He is the One who sustains us and gives us joy. My family has seen first hand the sorrow of blindness but also the goodness of God. It has clarified my commitment in front of my family and given them even more reason to trust God. I am intensely loyal to God and if my boys take the same path because of my blindness, I am a deeply satisfied and grateful woman.
Sunny: I’m humbled by the wisdom and depth perception God has generously granted you. I’m greatly intrigued and amazed that you are not only an author of six (6) books, a gifted songwriter and recording artist, but you are also the founder and publisher of womensministry.net as well as the founder of Fresh Grounded Faith women’s conferences. Would you please share with us why you started these two ministries to serve and inspire women in their faith?
Jennifer: womensministry.net is an on-line resource center and community for women in ministry to give and receive encouragement and equipping. It’s chock full of tips, inspiration and even a blog where women can share ideas. We need each other and womensministry.net helps connect us with each other. Fresh Grounded Faith is our women’s event. It’s an event where women can meet with God and get their cup of faith filled to overflowing. The fun part of the conference is called “Spill the Beans” where women in the audience can ask anything they want of me and my special guest. I always have a “girlfriend blend” at each event-another woman who is walking with God sharing her story. I offer several fresh grounded teachings and challenge women to give their lives a “taste test.” Check it out at www.freshgroundedfaith.com.
Sunny: Your story reminds me of what God said to Abraham in Genesis 12:2. Our heavenly Father has generously given to you and you are faithfully and generously giving to others. The Lord has taught me much through you. Precious sister Jennifer, I have truly enjoyed this interview as God has used you to draw me nearer to Him. I would be so delighted if you would please share with us Scripture(s) that God is using right now to help you press on toward the goal God has called you heavenward in Christ Jesus?
Sunny: Oh sister, I can’t believe you just said that! 🙂 2 Corinthians 4:16-18 is one that carries me through most of my days and has provided me great hope in all that God has in store for me here and in Heaven. And Psalm 199:92-93 is a new one for me, but one I have highlighted in my Bible and I will surely treasure in my heart. Thank you so much! I can not fully express how God has used this interview with you to lift me from my miry pit. Bless you sister, bless you!
If you’d like to participate in promoting Jennifer’s ministry, please visit Sole Sisters.
To grow deeper in God’s word and delight in His goodness and sovereignty in the midst of your trials, please visit our beautiful sister Jennifer at:
Congratulations to the following commenters who have been randomly chosen as winners in Jennifer Rothschild’s giveaway:
Sharon Neff (#10)
Becky B. (#23)
Jennifer offered us three (3) incredible giveaways: an autographed, Fresh Grounded Faith Daily Devotional; or a Brown Fresh Grounded Faith Tote Bag w/Walking by Faith DVD; or Jennifer’s most recent DVD-based Bible study workbook entitled: Me, Myself and Lies: A Thought Closet Makeover.