In this interview, we hope to give you a glimpse of a woman who is all about doing the work to continue to grow in the Lord and further his Kingdom, wherever he sends her.
WHAT ARE SOME CHALLENGES YOU’VE FACED IN THE LAST FEW YEARS?
The biggest challenges were pastoring in NYC through the pandemic (and everything else surrounding it), transitioning the church we had planted there, and moving our family into a new season. I could literally write a whole book here!
WHAT WAS THE FIRST SISTERHOOD EVENT YOU ATTENDED?
My first Sisterhood event was the One Night in May of 2022. I came because Jenna Surratt is absolute FIRE, and I’d run with her anywhere. Also, she invited me, and I saw fruit all over her life—so hello, I want to grow like she does. I had already connected with some women, but I loved worshipping with a company of women who want and are committed to more.
WHAT DO YOU DO WHEN YOU FEEL LONELY OR DISCONNECTED?
When I’m feeling lonely or disconnected, I do the opposite of what I feel. Instead of isolating and going inside of myself, I reach out for help, prayer, and connection. With my small circle of trusted people, I tell them the truth of where I’m at. Sisterhood has helped me continually step outside of myself. Making a commitment to gather and show up weekly, whether I feel like it or not, squashes selfishness and pride, and I’m here for it.
HOW DO YOU KNOW WHEN TO SAY “YES” OR “NO” TO OPPORTUNITIES?
When you say “yes” to one thing, you’re automatically saying “no” to another. When I go to speak somewhere, I’m saying “yes” to pouring out and sowing seed in a place that God is leading me to go, and I’m saying “no” to family time. There is a cost/benefit to everything that we do, and we need to run to God, ask for his discernment, and know our core value systems.
One time after preaching, Lisa Bevere said to me, “Andi, you’re going to need to know your 'yes.' Don’t speak at conferences for people but with them. The difference is scattering seed versus sowing it.” Not every opportunity is a God opportunity, and we need to learn to recognize the difference.
WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR WORKING MOMS? HOW DO YOU JUGGLE CAREER AND FAMILY?
For me, it’s not a juggle as much as it’s a rhythm that changes with each season. As our kids change, we have to adapt. One season, you’ll be doing hip hop and the next, you’re doing a waltz. Find your “rhythm” of grace and go with it. I’ve been full-time, part-time, and a stay-at-home mom in different seasons. When the grace lifts, pay attention, and ask God what needs to shift. Change your dance moves accordingly.
TELL US ABOUT A TIME OF TRIUMPH AND A TIME OF FAILURE.
I’m going to start with failure. Honestly, some of my greatest regrets are not dealing with the rage I had when my eldest three children were young. I parented out of so much anger and control, not realizing how deep the pain from my past was. It followed me and was unleashed on those I loved.
Now on to triumph... I’d say doing the work to heal is a huge triumph. Refusing to remain the same. And a fleshy, fun triumph? Being on the Today Show for my last book, Friendship-It’s Complicated. It was just so much fun!
WHICH BOOK WAS THE HARDEST TO WRITE?
I would say the first one, She Is Free. Stepping out that first time was such a vulnerable experience. Don’t get me wrong, each one feels a bit scary to release because the moment it’s out there, guts and all, it’s open to public scrutiny. Yet, the reason I write is to create pathways to Jesus that I’ve already walked on, whether people love it, hate it, or ignore it. The truth is, writing and releasing each book feels like birthing a baby. The gestational period is unique, private, internal, intimate, exhausting, and I eat a lot of snacks along the way. Once it’s out there, there’s no turning back. You get to watch where it goes, and hopefully how it helps and changes lives.
WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT YOUR CURRENT PROJECTS?
I’m really excited about my next book coming out in March 2024. I love the journey God had to take me on personally to be able to have anything at all to share with the world.
TELL US A BIT ABOUT YOUR CHILDHOOD AND WHERE YOU GREW UP.
Now, this is a whole book! After a lot of hippies got saved in the Jesus Revolution, a discipleship movement was needed for the great harvest that had just come in. God was radically moving. Some of those “discipleship movements” were solid and deep, while others went astray, becoming controlling and twisted, destroying, and deceiving those in its wake. My parents, whom I honor and adore with everything I am, have a beautiful story of redemption to tell here. They were radically saved in California but sucked into a “church” aka “cult” in Washington State offering “discipleship” that ultimately took years of their life.
The doctrine was deceptive, heretical even, as it preached “another gospel” (Gal. 1:6–9). The leader manipulated questions and answers from his followers to create his own “truth,” and showed his disappointment when they didn’t see things his way, convincing them they needed to try harder to get to his level of understanding. It kept them feeding out of his hand, instead of going to God or the Word for themselves. The men’s authority in their families was usurped by the leader, and the women were controlled. Some were even abused. My father was a shell of a man, unable to be present to us. My mother was broken and deceived, in need of The Healer.
I felt like I had a front row seat to destruction, yet remained on the periphery, refusing to fully engage. Instead, I willingly destroyed my own life looking for love and acceptance everywhere but God and the church—until I was wrecked by God’s love in 1997.
HOW DID GROWING UP WITHIN A CULT IMPACT YOUR VIEW OF GOD?
I had discernment from a young age and rejected the teachings of the leader. I always felt something was “off.” Some of my earliest memories were of deep fear in my gut when he’d walk into a room. Others told me to trust him, but I simply couldn’t. At one point, he told my mother he hated me because I did my own thing. This was the first of many triggers that brought about the beginning of the end for my parents staying there. The leader saying that he hated me poked the Mama Bear. The deception began lifting. My mom told me she cried out to God, literally screaming in her car until she lost her voice, “GET US OUT!” Not long after that, my parents led our family out of all we ever knew.
I didn’t realize until years into following Jesus, how skewed some of my views of God were. I believed he was always angry with me, or on the tipping point, and that one misstep would ruin my life. I had no concept of grace. I also believed that the church was a club that you were either “in” or “out” of based on performance and obedience to the leader. Yikes! Once I realized that my obedience is to God because of his love for me and my love for him, it changed everything. I love the Church and am passionate about the Bride of Christ. The enemy tried to take me and my family out. He tried to get us to hate the Church and turn our backs on Jesus, but he utterly failed.
WHAT ARE SOME OF THE MOST IMPORTANT THINGS YOU LEARNED FROM THAT EXPERIENCE?
I learned how God can restore. I watched my parents overcome, rise up, choose Jesus and one another, at a time when our lives could so easily have been in ruins. They humbled themselves, made difficult choices, and did the work. It brought healing to our family. Honestly, they are my heroes.
Instead of desolation, our family continues to grow and flourish. Like the Chosen key scripture says, “But I am like a flourishing olive tree in the house of God; I trust in God’s faithful love forever and ever.” Psalm 52:8 (CSB)
Also, I have learned how the devil deceives, perverts, and twists the truth. I have a fierce and holy anger about that. God’s Holy Truth matters in the days we’re living in. If we don’t know the Word for ourselves, the enemy will twist what we think we know. If he used and distorted the Word of God with Jesus in the desert, he’ll pervert it with us, too. To truly flourish in life, we must know it for ourselves!
WHAT LIES ABOUT YOURSELF DO YOU STRUGGLE NOT TO BELIEVE? HOW DO YOU COMBAT THEM?
That I’m a “has been” and my best days are behind me. I combat them by surrounding myself with loving friends who are truth tellers. I run to the secret place and read the Word. Out loud, in prayer I “cancel” my agreement with the lie and ask God to replace it with the truth. I continually do the work to be disciplined, to drown out the lies with the truth. What I dwell on (lies or truth) I will dwell in. What I ruminate or meditate on, I will walk in.