There is a preconception in our culture that to be a person of faith means to live a small, tight, narrow life, but that has not been my experience. Far from it. In truth, the deeper I go, the freer I get, until all there is are the gifts God has given me and the desire at the core of my being to use them as He intended. This means some days I’m writing or creating liturgies or sitting on various Boards of Directors with big stickie pads and really smart, faithful people. Other days I’m coming alongside young people to inspire and empower them, or cleaning out old boxes and patterns to help a dying church come back to life, or consulting with seminary profs about what people need to know to mature in their faith. More and more lately, I’m standing in front of large groups speaking about how we’re crushing our young people by raising them to look good on paper, or about sin as “man turned in on himself” and connecting those dots to our 21st-century ills of anxiety, depression, disordered relation to technology, loss of purpose, and loss of identity. Usually as the Word moves through me I weep.
The gift of tears is not one I would have asked for but it seems to be one God likes to use. Maybe this is why I wanted to share this clip—so you could see the fruit of those tears and the great joy and creativity and power and purpose and, yes, playfulness there is in a life of following Jesus.
You can read about how I came to be standing on this stage kicking off the first annual Labor of Love Concert here. And you can see a bunch of pics from the event in this blog. (Rumor has it there’s an awesome video of the night in the works–not one captured on my husband’s phone:)
Or you can just watch me introduce the MC and the event and, maybe, allow a new thought to enter into your frame of reference: what if allowing God into your life was actually the most liberating and empowering thing you could ever do?
Agnes Sanford was born in China, the daughter of a Presbyterian missionary. As an adult she made her home in New Jersey as the wife of an Episcopalian rector. She is known worldwide for her approach to healing through prayer—a process that is uncomplicated and very confident of God’s loving power to heal. She does not concern herself with complex questions of creed, denomination, or belief structure. Her approach is Christ-centered and church-centered. Throughout her life, she taught widely in many settings, and was the instrument of many healings.
Her most-acclaimed book, The Healing Light, has been in continuous publication since 1947, selling over half a million copies. In this book Sanford compares the power of God to the power of electricity—”the whole universe is full of it, but only the amount of it that flows through…will work.”
Her recommendations on how to pray are exceedingly practical and down to earth. She recommends that we conduct experiments in prayer not to put God to the test but to put our own wavering faith to the test. She knows that we are afraid to ask God for things because we are afraid of being disappointed. Her teachings have gently guided millions— over decades, continents, and worldviews— to exercise their faith in a simple yet disciplined way.
(Artwork from the Dancing Saints Icon Project, S.F, CA)
We live in a time where we want everything fast and easy—yeh, good, I got—next. Not just our media and our food but our ideas and the possibilities of ideas. Our soundbite culture makes it hard to step back and go, huh, hmmm. Um.
This week is Holy Week. And for a lot of people that has great meaning and for a lot of people it has no meaning. For some it is a memory they’d rather forget, and for others something they are almost on the verge of leaning into.
#jesusinqueens gives us all a chance to see some things in a new way. A bigger way. If you have 10 minutes to spare (and, preferably, a desk or laptop) I invite you to click here, to visit the Gallery, to take in all the faces, all the voices, all the ages and eras and styles. All the beauty and wisdom and power and joy.
#jesusinqueens is a story that’s been lived out through extraordinary women for two thousand years.
#jesusinqueens is a story that’s being rewritten in the lives of extraordinary women even as we speak.
For the past six months I’ve had something of a passion project on my heart. Over the past eight days it’s become a reality (you can read the whole story in the About section of the site). I hope that it will be and do and morph into “immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine” (Eph 3:20). And now, click here to join the #jesusinqueens celebration!