On January 2, 1982, Jennifer was born premature and lifeless. Nevertheless, her parents did not lose hope. They did not pray a complicated prayer with formal language. Their prayer was simple. They humbly prayed, “Jesus help.” After the doctors had given up all hope for Jennifer’s survival and began focusing their attention on her mom, she began to cough like a little kitten. Jennifer was alive.
Although Jennifer experienced many difficulties in the weeks that followed, God performed a miracle. The doctors said Jennifer would be nothing more than an illiterate vegetable, even if she survived. God had a different plan. Jennifer graduated from the University of Florida with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English, and then she earned a 4.0 GPA when completing her Master of Science degree in English Education through Nova Southeastern University. Jennifer is living proof that when God performs a miracle, He does it right!
Jennifer knows that God has a dream for her life. Whether she is on stage singing solo, singing with her dad as a duet, speaking at churches and other locations about her personal journey, or teaching ESOL Language Arts and Reading at Suwannee Middle School, she knows that God will always guide her footsteps in everything she does. She is grateful for the talents God has given her and she strives to use them for His glory every single day. God has blessed her with the ability to play the piano and drums. She has served as a Group Leader for Women of Faith as well. She is a prolific writer, penning songs, writing an inspirational blog, and serving as a Contributing Writer for SGN Scoops Digital Magazine, the first all digital Southern Gospel music magazine. She has written for SGN Scoops for over 18 years. Her latest cover story featured Karen Peck and New River, and she has also written features on The Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir, Bill Gaither, Janet Paschal, Goodman Revival, The Whisnants, Canton Junction, Gordon Mote, and many others. She was also honored to be able to write special tribute to Lari Goss and LaBreeska Hemphill.
In addition, she has a food and travel blog at www.jennifersjourneys.net, where she most recently featured William Jack Degel of Uncle Jack's Steakhouse and the Food Network show Restaurant Stakeout. Jennifer would love to have her own food and travel show one day. Now she is also endeavoring to be a published author. She is currently working on an inspirational book and is putting the finishing touches on her first novel, which she hopes will inspire others through its message of hope. It is her prayer that God will give her the opportunity to have these books and many others published in His timing.
Recently, Jennifer was recommended to join the Florida Worship Choir and Orchestra. Her first concert with them was for the "Almighty God" live DVD recording at First Baptist Church in Jacksonville, Fl. She also had the opportunity to participate in the 2014 NYC Worship Project. Through this mission to New York City, Jennifer was honored to sing at the Naumberg Bandshell in Central Park and at Christian Bible Church in Yonkers, NY. She also had the privilege of singing on stage at Carnegie Hall and at Brooklyn Tabernacle. She served as a member of the dance team for a flash mob in Times Square, where the Florida Worship Choir and Orchestra sang to an estimated 100,000 people. Jennifer says, "The entire mission trip was ordained by God. He ordered our steps. The amazing reality is that we went to minister to others. In return, we were blessed abundantly. Lives were changed through the NYC Worship Project, including our own. I pray that God gives me the opportunity to minister even more, as I know in my heart this is what I am called to do."
Some of her greatest joys are helping others, spending time with her family, and seeing the world. Jennifer is an avid traveler. She and her dad enjoy every opportunity they have to sail on a cruise ship, fly on a plane, or ride along the rails. Still, the one thing she enjoys most is giving to others. Jennifer and her family have taken hundreds of pounds of supplies to an orphanage in Roatan, Honduras. Now she is praying that God would open the door for her to go on another missions trip in accordance to His perfect will. Jennifer says there is nothing like exploring the beauty of God’s creation all around the world, and at the same time, bringing joy to the faces of little children. All of her life, Jennifer has strived to bring joy to others, even amid the times when her own joy has momentarily faded.
When Jennifer was just a little girl, her two little brothers were born prematurely and passed away as infants. At a very young age, she had witnessed the death of more close friends and loved ones than most people she knew had even been to funerals. Brothers, grandfathers, a grandmother, aunts, uncles, and others…. But, even in the midst of the loss they experienced, she and her parents remained a close-knit Christian family. They had faith that God would always keep them together, no matter what storms brewed overhead. On August 2, 2008, the darkest storm of Jennifer’s life came upon her as suddenly as a tornado can flatten an entire town.
Jennifer and her parents were vacationing in the Great Smoky Mountains in Western North Carolina. Life seemed perfect. Then, their life changed forever. One evening, while they were sitting in the living room watching an episode of The Waltons, Jennifer’s mom suffered a heart attack and passed away. There was no warning, there were no goodbyes, and there was nothing she or her Dad could do to silence the violent storm. Life just changed.
Since that tragic night, Jennifer has been trusting God to help her understand why this happened. She says, “I still don’t have all of the answers. I cannot tell you why my Dad and I are not living in this house as a family of five, my Mom and younger brothers still with us. What I do know is that God has a perfect plan for our lives. He walks with me in the sunshine and in the sunset. He holds my hand, whether I am climbing mountains, traversing a rocky terrain, or wading through a raging river. Psalm 23:4 (NIV) says, ‘Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.’ I will not be afraid of what tomorrow may bring because I know that God will comfort me in all of my tomorrows. He gives me His perfect peace and He shines forth His light, even though the sun has set. And I know He will continue to bring forth the vibrant sunshine in my life once again, in His timing.”
There have been times when Jennifer simply wanted to quit. And there have been times when she knew she would persevere. Through it all, Jennifer will tell you that God has always been faithful. Even in the sunset, God will bring forth the sunshine once again. This sunset that you find yourself in may seem long-lasting, but it is not forever. When you reach the lowest, darkest valley, God will bring you to your knees. When you cannot go on one more mile, God will carry you through each and every storm. If you find yourself stuck in the sunset, rest assured that there’s sunshine awaiting you.