SPRINGFIELD – Five years ago Jennifer Rothschild was ready to quit ministry and hide in her bedroom.
“I want to be gut-honest with you, Sisters. I was defeated and depressed,” she said to a packed ballroom of more than 200 Missouri Baptist women at the University Plaza Hotel here. “My system for managing my blindness was failing me … but I am so thankful that God never fails me. In that moment I preached to my soul, ‘I Am.’ That’s when you realize what can change everything. There is a difference between who you are and what you’re good at, who you are and what your past is, who you are and how you feel. Every time I gaze deeply into the mirror of God’s word I find that I am a valiant woman of God … and so are you.”
Rothschild’s message of courage and calling spoke to Missouri Baptist women during the 2015 Ministry Wives/Ladies Luncheon, which took place Oct. 27 during a break of the annual meeting of the Missouri Baptist Convention here.
Rothschild is a speaker and author of numerous books and Bible studies, as well as a member of Second Baptist Church in Springfield.
At the age of 15, Rothschild was diagnosed with a rare, degenerative eye disease that eventually took away her sight. She has taken her message of encouragement across the country and has been a featured speaker for the nation’s largest conference for women, Women of Faith. Her own Fresh Grounded Faith events bring thousands of women together with the goal to encourage and empower. Because of her ministry, thousands of people have come away with a new vision for their work, their family, and their future … and Missouri Baptist women were no different.
“I have been telling myself I can’t a lot lately so to hear the simple reminder that yes, I can because I am a woman of God and I have His power in me was perfect,” said Melissa Estes, member of Main Street Baptist Church in Greenfield where her husband, Kurtis, is pastor. “We are sometimes put on a pedestal as pastor’s wives and it can be difficult to connect with others. This luncheon is a great way to join with others who are going through or have been through similar things. Realizing you’re not alone is huge in the ministry.”
New to this year’s luncheon, the ministry wives committee organized a small women’s ministry expo in the foyer outside the ballroom. The expo featured booths from both local and statewide women’s ministries and upcoming women’s events.
“We wanted to show the different pieces of the puzzle in regard to women’s ministry,” said Ruth Marshall, president of the ministry wives luncheon and member of Second Baptist Church here, where her husband, Dr. John Marshall, is lead pastor. “By promoting our efforts, we can embrace and strengthen each other’s ministries and hopefully become inspired to make an even greater impact for the cause of Christ throughout Missouri.”