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Artist, six albums, including Walking by Faith and Along the Way
Cofounder and publisher of WomensMinistry.NET
Guest speaker for Women of Faith, MOPS, Focus on
the Family, Crystal Cathedral
Education: B.A. in Psychology from Palm Beach Atlantic
Married with two sons
CBN.com It is Well with My Soul
When Jennifer was 15 and beginning her sophomore year of high school, she noticed her eyesight starting to deteriorate rapidly. Though her eyesight had started to weaken in junior high school, she found that this time the loss of sight was unusual. Though she did not want to admit she had a vision problem, she told her mother. Her mother immediately took Jennifer to the ophthalmologist.
The ophthalmologist tried to remedy the problem with a stronger eye glasses prescription, but it didn't help. He then referred her to Bascom Palmer Eye Institute.
After a few days of testing, the doctors at the institute met with Jennifer and her parents. They told her she had retinitis pigmentosa, a degenerative eye disease that slowly eats away at the retina of the eye. There is no cure and no way to correct damage already done. A doctor said Jennifer had lost so much sight that her retinas would continue to deteriorate until she was totally blind. At that point, she was legally blind.
Over the next year, Jennifer completely lost her vision, but still had light perception (and still has limited light perception). Her dreams of becoming a commercial artist and cartoonist faded.
Soon after her diagnosis, when she was back at home, Jennifer started to play the piano. Though she had been taking piano lessons for years and practiced diligently every night, she noticed this time it was different. Looking back, she believes God guided her hands to play "It is Well with My Soul" by ear. To Jennifer, the miraculous event wasn't that she could play the song, but that it was actually well with her soul. This is the greatest lesson that God has taught Jennifer in the school of suffering: it doesn't have to be well with your circumstances for it to be well with your soul.
Confirmation of Faith
Jennifer grew up in the church; her father is a pastor. She loved everything about church. At 9 ½ years old, she made her own personal commitment to Christ. She took her commitment seriously and was really interested in things of the Lord. Her parents were her greatest examples and modeled faith to her.
When Jennifer lost her sight, it didn't change her belief in God, but rather confirmed what she believed about God and the truthfulness of His Word. Jennifer also credits the resilience of youth for helping her weather her loss. Her family was supportive, not overprotective. Her mother made Jennifer try things, but not in a pushy way, and she didn't shelter Jennifer.
Walking by Faith, Not by Sight
As Jennifer was learning lessons in the dark, her steps of faith led her to ministry. Shortly after she played "It is Well with My Soul" by ear, she wrote a song and sang it for her high school choral director in hopes that the choral group would sing it. To Jennifer's surprise, the choral director asked her to sing her song as a solo for the school's spring concert.
From there she continued to use the gift of song. She led worship at a Christian college gathering on Thursdays for hundreds of college students. The word spread about Jennifer's musical talents, and she started singing throughout Florida.
Soon after graduating from college, she married her college sweetheart, Phil, who also turned out to be a smart manager and good marketer. She recorded CDs, which led to singing in churches and several occasions during which she led worship alongside Beth Moore. After this, she was asked to speak at a women's retreat, which opened the doors to more speaking engagements.
Words and music have replaced her canvas and palette for more than 20 years. Known for spiritual depth, and a down-to-earth style, Jennifer weaves together music, colorful illustrations, and biblical truth to help audiences find contentment, walk with endurance, and celebrate the ordinary. Through her signature wit and poignant story-telling, audiences are prompted to look beyond their circumstances and to experience God’s grace in the midst of adversity.
A Few Lessons Learned in the Dark
Eight years ago, Jennifer's 7-year-old son, Clayton, and she were playing a game. The game was not tactile enough for Jennifer to play along, so both she and her son grew frustrated by their attempts. Although they had been faithfully praying for God to heal Jennifer's sight in times past, Clayton all of a sudden said that he didn't think God would heal Jennifer on earth. The reason he gave had wonderful insight for Jennifer. He said God wouldn't heal her on earth so that she would love things of heaven and not things of the earth and that God would heal her in heaven. The Bible verse that came to her mind was from 2 Corinthians 4, where it mentions that the things seen are temporary. She learned that there is great power in having an eternal perspective. Jennifer says that for Jesus to be who she would see first would be the ultimate gift of healing.
Another instance when Jennifer learned about seeing with heavenly eyes was a time she had put on her make up wrong. Without knowing it, she had used her eyeliner for her lips and her lip liner for her eyes. Her family had a good laugh as they told her what she had done. From this she learned another valuable lesson: in a bathroom mirror, she can’t truly see what she looks like; however, in the mirror of God's Word, she can truly see and know who she is in Christ.
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