JR: Sometimes just stepping out my front door is a stepping out in faith. I have walked in blindness since I was 15, and I truly have experienced all my emotions — I have felt loss; I have felt grief. As I've matured, I have had to re-reconcile with the loss through each season.

But for whatever reason, in the last year I fell into a pit of depression that I didn't think I was ever going to fall into because I had just been so sustained over the years though grace. And I believe that it was also through grace that I fell into this depression. I realized that I had relied more on my own personality and tenacity than I had on God's grace. And feeling desperate -- actually being desperate -- reminds you of the gift that can come in suffering. For it is then that we realize how totally sufficient God's grace really is.

When people feel depressed, they often think it is the end. But I don't believe it is the end — I believe it becomes a place that can be a conduit for a deeper, richer relationship with God. And I believe that when we finally embrace what we can't avoid, that is when we are finally positioned for God to usher in the victory that we are waiting for.

DT: Jennifer, in speaking to those who may be facing set-backs and roadblocks of their own -- how would you advise them in hope to approach this New Year?

JR: I would advise anyone that's looking for hope this New Year to not look alone. When we isolate ourselves, we set ourselves up for hopelessness. If it's a new, exciting challenge -- approach it with someone else. If it's a sorrow that we think is going to break our hearts, then we need to share it with someone else -- so that our joys will be doubled and our sorrows will be reduced and we will walk our life in community with the body of Christ. When you are with someone else, you are not nearly as willing to give up. So find a friend, be honest and walk together.

December 2010

Known for her substance and a down-to-earth style, Jennifer Rothschild weaves together colorful illustrations, universal principles and music at conferences around the county, helping people to look beyond their circumstances to find the unique "gifts" which often come in unusual packaging. She has shared the stage with such notables as Beth Moore, Lysa Terkeurst, Stormie Omartian and Michael O'Brien and has been featured on Dr. Phil, ABC's Good Morning America, and the Billy Graham Television Special. For information on a conference coming to your region, visit www.freshgroundedfaith.com.

Deborah J. Thompson is a writer, artist and Stephen Minister. Her articles are published by Crosswalk.com and "The Fish" family of Christian radio station websites around the country. She shares "Reflections" on Life and Relationships on her website, www.inspiredreflections.info. And she is working on her first book, Your Life, Your Choice--5 steps to Peace. Join her on Facebook/DailyInspiredReflections and Twitter/InspireReflect.