The word “tenacious” describes her personality. Her accomplishments make her one of those women who causes you to inquire “Is there anything she can’t do?”
Her name is Jennifer Rothschild and she lives by the belief that there are “no limitations”. She is the author of nine books, conference speaker, Bible Study teacher, founder of womensministry.net, blog author at aholyexperience.com, vocalist, television guest, mom to Clayton and Connor, and wife to Dr. Phil! Not that Dr. Phil, but her college sweetheart Dr. Phil Rothschild.
Jennifer has accepted invitations from across the country to appear with Beth Moore, Henry Blackaby, Grammy Award winner Larnell Harris, Nancy Leigh DeMoss, Glenn Beck and Kirk Cameron. Jennifer has a passion for nature walks, visits to theme parks, and fearlessly bungee jumping from seven and a half stories.
Oh, and I can’t forget to mention how people who know Jennifer view her; full of grit, yet, poised, polished and graceful. I think what most people don’t notice about Jennifer is the fact that she is blind.
SCH: Jennifer, you are so incredibly talented and gifted. The fact that you are blind is almost incomprehensible because of all you accomplish. What in life has given you that determination and sense of all things are possible?
JR: Well, I grew up with a mother who always told me that I could do anything I put my mind to. Some people might hear that as a humanistic comment, but my mom used it in the context of being a Christian-I had the Mind of Christ. In my home, a Christ centered, faith filled upbringing taught me that I could do all things through Christ, Philippians 4:13.
I had the blessing of truth being poured into me. I had a tenacious spirit; I call it a “holy defiance”. When the blindness came in, that holy defiance became something that fueled me. It was God’s grace that moved me and gave me the ability to say “I Can”. I have walked by faith into that truth.
SCH: You have authored several books. How does someone who can’t see, write a book?
JR: When I wrote my first book, I didn’t know how to type. I was in the 10th grade when I lost my sight and that was before computers. Let alone typing, first of all, I had to learn to be blind. I felt intimidated when I began to write my first book, but in faith picked up a black flair pen and some blank paper.
My good friend Karen transcribed it. She would type and read it back, and repeat. That is how my first book, “Lessons I Learned in the Dark” was written. During a subsequent book, Karen was diagnosed with cancer and had to stop working. I however, still had a deadline and had to finish.
I found software that would talk to me, learned to use the computer, and have completed the rest of my books in that fashion. I do want to give praise to God that Karen was healed of her cancer and is now healthy.
SCH: When you first were diagnosed with Retinitis Pigmentosa at the age of 15, how did that affect the plans you had for your life? Do you think your blindness played any part in living your life with “no limitations”?
JR: My plan was to be an artist. I loved art. I had a real eye for color, shadows and had been given opportunity to gain experience at a young age. I was always the student in Jr. High chosen to paint the poster, banner or create the flyer. With the blindness, I knew I could no longer be an artist.
God took that same gift and transferred it to music! I communicated beauty and truth through my piano playing and vocals. God truly gifted me by giving me the ability to play the piano by ear! I started writing songs and God took what I expressed once on canvas to music. Now twenty-five years later, God has gifted me with the ability to communicate through the written and spoken word.
Yes, I do believe that blindness played a part in living my life with “no limitations”. The loss of my sight imposed on me a limitation that I did not seek, didn’t ask for and can’t change. Many people’s limitations are changeable. I allowed my blindness to remove every excuse I could have. I am not willing to say “I can’t” to things that are possible, because that would impose on God and what he is able to do through me. I will never be the one to say “I can’t”, ever!
SCH: There were times that you prayed for healing. Can you share the story of your son, Clayton’s, prediction of God’s timing of that healing?
JR: At six years of age, Clayton could understand that I could not see. At this age, he also began to have a real understanding of God’s truth in scripture. He had prayed for God to heal my eyesight. One day, we were playing a game that was new to us; I had trouble and was knocking over game pieces. It just wasn’t working.
I told Clayton “Why don’t you clean this game up and get one we have played before so it will be easier? He started to clean up, but was so quiet I could tell he must be deep in thought. Clayton soon shared what he was thinking. “I don’t think God will heal you here on earth” he said. Knowing how much he had prayed for healing, I asked him why. He said “if God healed you here on earth you might love earth more, but if He doesn’t, He will heal you in Heaven and Heaven is best”. I know that God does heal some things here on earth, but I believe with Clayton, that God heals in Heaven, and Heaven is best!
SCH: Let’s talk about your closet. I hear you have a nifty gadget that helps you choose your attire?
JR: Yes, it is called a “color detector”. Actually, I named it “Buford”! When I put Buford up against fabric, he tells me what color it is. Buford is very specific. He will tell me if it is dark red, or pink red. However, Buford gets a little confused when I put him up against a floral or striped print. He can’t read prints, but will name all the colors. That way I know it is a pattern. Sometimes I take him on the road and I have been known to show him during some speaking engagements. He has a British accent so he sounds pretty.
SCH: I happen to know that you have a funny story about a makeup faux pas. Please, please share it with us!
JR: My mother had promised me since I was little that I could wear makeup when I was 15. None of us anticipated that when I was 15 I wouldn’t be able to see my face. Well, bless her heart, she came up with this method, and it all involves counting.
I know exactly how many times I am to brush my blush brush against my blush pallet and then how many times and where I am to brush that blush against my cheekbone. A few years ago I was getting ready to go to a speaking engagement in my community. I was having a bad hair day, and even though I can’t see my hair, believe me, ugly has a texture! And you know it when you feel it! I laid down my hairbrush in defeat and then I remembered something.
A friend of mine had given me some samples of lip liner and eye liner and separated them so I would know the difference. I applied them both and was feeling awfully pretty. I proceeded to head and greet my husband, Dr. Phil who was driving me to the event. Leaving my bathroom, I passed through the living room where my son Clayton was playing a video game. He took one look at me and said “Mom, your lips are black”. I corrected the child “Son, these lips are not black, this is called raisin lip liner, it is a little more dramatic, you are just not used to it”. He just said “Ok” and went right back to Mario.
I proceeded to the part of the house where I would meet my husband. Just as I got to the door, Dr. Phil was coming in. He stopped dead in his tracks and with more panic than I have ever heard in his voice he said “Jennifer Rothschild, your eyes are flaming red!” Well, I knew what I had done; I had mixed up the two. The intensely practical moral to this story I learned in the dark is that if you are having a bad hair day, just put some black eyeliner on your lips and some red lip liner on your eyes and not a living soul will notice your hair!
SCH: You will be speaking at the Ascend Conference in Los Angeles, October 19th. What can attendees expect to hear from you?
JR: The theme of the conference is “Fearless Joy” which is great because that is the way I live and how I want to encourage other women to live. I want to convey that they need to trust God more than their feelings, to be gutsy. I will be sharing three “Gutsy Girl Proclamations”! They are “I Can, I Am, and I Will!” I am so excited about the preparation that has gone into Ascend. The women planning the conference have been such good stewards of the message and the program. Women who attend will find that it was time very well spent and they will leave jam packed with material of spiritual worth! I can’t wait to have the chance to pat women on the back and say “You can do it!”
SCH: I have a question for you that I love to ask of everyone I interview. What is the thing that you treasure most about your personal walk with Christ?
JR: The thing I treasure most about my personal walk with Jesus is that he lets me walk with Him. He allows me to be his companion. I am so grateful for the constancy and consistency of His relationship with me. I can be faithless and wander, but He is always there every step of the way. Unlike the men on the road to Emmaus who didn’t know who Jesus was for way too long, I know who He is. I get this amazing privilege to walk with Jesus; to personally and intimately know who I am walking with.
Join SCH and Keynote Speaker Jennifer Rothschild at the LA ASCEND Conference on Oct 19th at the beautiful Bel Air Presbyterian Church. To learn more or purchase tickets please visit ASCEND CONFERENCE
For more information or to register online, visit Ascend Conference Early registration pricing is a $50 General Admission until October 15th, then $60 at the door. Complementary Lunch and coffee bar provided.
Craving more encouragement? You might also enjoy reading Ginny Dent Brant’s exclusive SCH interview Elisabeth Elliot – A Life of Living God’s Sweet Aroma
Sonoma Christian Home Online Magazine is proud to be an Official Sponsor for the Ascend Conference. To give you more insight into the passion and heart of these gifted speakers, Sonoma Christian Home will be doing a series of weekly guest blogs with these amazing women of God. Stay tuned! SCH is a Christian Women’s Magazine created for the online community of faith.