I remember the first time I saw Jennifer Rothschild. She was warming up on the keyboard in preparation for praise and worship preceding the message I had been asked to give at the event. I always look forward to meeting and interacting with the vocalist or worship leader where I speak because we are undoubtedly partners in ministry for that measure of time. I recall doing an immediate double take when I first saw Jennifer. I was oblivious to any challenges because I did not know her story and in no way could have guessed in a simple glance.
I have never tried to articulate what I found so unique about Jennifer until preparing to write this foreword. At the time I first saw Jennifer, I simply would have told you that something was wonderfully different about her. Now as I write in retrospect and with the aid of a few more years and a bit more experience, I can identify more clearly what I saw. She was so young, so fresh and beautiful, yet she had a knowing in her eyes that seemed unusual for one her age.
After I heard Jennifer’s testimony, I had an “aha” moment and knew why her maturity exceeded her years. Not only did her eyes reveal a knowing; there was something indefinably chosen about her. From this vantage point I now know that I was seeing Jennifer not so differently from how Jennifer sees most all the time – with eyes of the Spirit. I saw the invisible hand of God upon her. And I’ve never failed to see it since.
Years ago, when I was in my mid-twenties, I attended a training seminar taught by Florence Littauer for prospective Christian speakers and communicators. I have laughed many times about receiving the seminar brochure in the mail because I wasn’t on a mailing list and had little familiarity with Florence at the time. I’m convinced I received the application because I was pitiful and, in view of what God called me to do, He knew I needed emergency speaking assistance. I’m pretty sure He addressed the brochure Himself. I am definitely on His mailing list – even when I’ve tried to move. I learned a principle at the seminar that I still use as a plum line for every message I prepare to speak or write. According to Florence each person must ask herself two critical questions before addressing any group:
“Do I have anything to say?”
“Does anyone need to hear it?”
Beloved, Jennifer Rothschild has something to say. And all of us need to hear it.
Since the first time I saw Jennifer she has become a mother of two, a seasoned communicator, and a singer who can practically sing glory down on your head. Yet she still has that same freshness and graceful beauty that struck such a deep chord in my soul years ago. To my delight, Jennifer and her husband are also tremendous fun. I have an affinity for believers who don’t view godliness and good humor as exclusive terms.
That’s why I knew I was safe to make a spontaneous phone call to her home after seeing a photo spread of her and her family in a Christian magazine last year. The message I left on her voice mail went something like this, “Okay, young lady, I’m not about to leave it to your husband to tell you how you look in that layout. Men don’t tell nearly enough details. Let me just tell you that you are stunning!” I then proceeded to tell her how sassy and cute her hair, makeup, and outfits were. It was strictly a girl moment, but I had a feeling she’d get a kick out of it. Then I read the article. And cried. Somehow Jennifer possesses that rare, God-given combination of lightness and depth. Grace and truth. Just like the One who called her.
Lessons I Learned in the Dark is gripping. I don’t know the person to whom it has nothing to say. Jennifer Rothschild is the real thing. She knows what she’s talking about. She does not have the luxury of telling and retelling a testimony from years past of challenges long since resolved. She lives in present tense, making daily choices to step over a plethora of seen and unseen obstacles. Jennifer is a living breathing testimony still actively being written by the hand of God. I have a feeling this book won’t be the last we hear from her. I am honored to recommend Jennifer Rothschild and her stirring new book to you. May God grant us all the gift of eyes that truly see.