SPRINGFIELD, MO. – Many women are groping for grace right now, says Jennifer Rothschild, who will bring a grace-filled message to Hope Lutheran South in a couple weeks.
“I’ll help us understand what grace is and then how to accept grace,” Rothschild says, along with encourage ways to bring grace to others. “We’ll end the weekend understanding what it looks like to embrace what (challenges) God allows.”
Though the talks will be “all over the New Testament,” she says, the focus will be on 2 Cor. 12, which includes the line: “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness.” “We’ll pretty much camp there to get a good understanding of grace.”
Rothschild’s Fresh Grounded Faith came to Fargo at the end of 2019, just months before the pandemic shut down many public events. She’s glad to be back reaching out in person, she says.
“I am seeing all around the country how our seats are being filled because we have this intuitive need to be with each other,” Rothschild says. “We’re stronger together and we need each other.”
The lifegiving effects of receiving the Word are increased when we’re gathered together, she continues. “There’s a strengthening and encouraging effect of just being in a room with hundreds of other women,” who are, she adds, uniquely equipped to empathize with and encourage one another.
“There’s something about the way that God has wired women. Women need women. We strengthen women by our own presence, without competition, and being complementary to each other.”
One event, many churches
Local organizer Kathy Spriggs of the non-denominational Women’s Ministry Network says the team putting this together is excited to have Rothschild and worship leader Michael O’Brien back, along with author and Bible teacher Margaret Steinberg.
“When (Rothschild) came in 2019, her theme was from Psalm 62, ‘He is my rock and salvation; I will not be shaken,’” Spriggs says. “Little did we know the shutdown of the world would happen five months later.”
That message, which prepared hearts for what they’d need, seemed prophetic, she contends. “People have gone back to those verses many times.”
Spriggs is certain this year’s theme of grace will hit home as well, and appreciates that Fresh Grounded Faith pulls in women from many faith communities. “It’s not just one church, one event, but many churches for all women,” she says, adding that some are coming with daughters, sisters and friends to be refreshed and restored.
Along with the talks, the event will include music, prayer, and door-prize giveaways, with moments of both seriousness and humor mixed in. “It’s also so doable the way it’s set up, with Friday night and Saturday,” she says. “Some women are coming from out of town, renting a VRBO, and making it a girls’ getaway weekend.”
Spriggs says the team hopes to fill the 1,100-capacity venue. “We were very close to that last time.”
Ready to receive
Judy Siegle Aamodt, another local team member, says 120 volunteers from all ages and backgrounds have been assembled for the event. “Just come as you are, wherever you’re at on your faith journey, either alone or with a friend,” she says. “This will be a time of refreshment and encouragement.”
She also recognizes the value of gathering in person, especially since the pandemic. “We have become a society of convenience and independence, which can bring isolation,” she says, emphasizing that we weren’t meant to move through life alone.
“It’s a time when a lot of people are hurting. There’s pain, mental health issues, addiction, and financial challenges, that are hitting such a huge portion of our communities,” she says, but God is “in the mix” and wants to provide. “I know without a doubt you’ll be blessed.”
Along with the great worship team, Siegle Aamodt says, the event will offer fresh-brewed coffee and tea, quiet spaces, and laughter. “It will be a time to fill your bucket.”
Addressing younger women in particular, she says, the message of Jesus Christ is relevant for every generation. “He gives hope, he brings healing, he gives life, he gives wisdom,” she says. “Whatever questions are on your mind, come, because we have the answer, and the answer is Jesus!”
Rothschild says she’s looking forward to returning to the area, and that despite warnings before her previous visit of Fargo being cold, she recalls something else. “What I remember is the beautiful women I was with last time, and the warmth of those women that more than made up for any cold weather. I remember the hospitality and energy and how I felt like I belonged.”
Rothschild, who is blind, says traveling can be challenging. “I have to remind myself of each arrangement, of the hotel room for example,” she says, but that it’s worth the opportunity to pour out and bless others in this way, according to their needs. “This can be an opportunity for God to show off, and show us how he loves us each uniquely.”
She says she chose the theme of grace for personal reasons initially, recognizing a deeper need for it in her own life, especially as she’s aged and can no longer “fire on all cylinders.” “I recognized that what I was operating on that I thought was grace was really my own capacity.”
Rothschild also believes that sometimes, as people of God, we don’t demonstrate consistently enough the grace we’ve received. “With all of the polarization in the world, we might be quick to point fingers and treat others with opinions that are more judging than grace.”
She hopes to inspire a return to “more empathy than evaluation,” she says, focusing on gifting others what Christ has given us. “No matter what age or life stage, we need grace. People in our families and culture need it desperately,” she adds. “And when we receive it, we’re able to give it.”
If finances are limited, Siegle Aamodt says, some scholarships are available. Call her at 701-235-6629 to inquire.
“Doing something like this for yourself will make you stronger for every other relationship you’re part of,” she concludes. “It’s ‘soul business,’ tending to your spirit, and it changes everything.”
If you go
What: “Fresh Grounded Faith” area-wide women’s faith event featuring Jennifer Rothschild, Margaret Feinberg and Michael O’Brien
When: 7 to 9:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 27, and 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 28
Where: Hope Lutheran Church, 3636 25th St. S., Fargo
Info: $54 each for groups of 10 or more; $59 individual; $69 at the door (if available); for tickets, visit freshgroundedfaith.com/events or call 800-859-7992