In her new book, More Than Enchanting: Breaking Through Barriers to Influence Your World, Jo Saxton invites women to discover (or rediscover) the gifts and talents that God has given them, and more important, the calling on each of us to claim those gifts on behalf of God’s work in the world, wherever they are.
We caught up with Jo this week to learn more about her motivation for writing this book, who she hopes it will influence, and the two women she most hopes read her book.
Writing books is really hard. What possessed you to write this one?
What possessed me? I love the intensity of the question! There were a number of reasons behind More Than Enchanting. I’ve always been interested in what it takes for someone – man or woman – to realize their God-given potential. What does it look like to live out all God created you to be, to live the life that Jesus went to the cross for?
Alongside that I’ve also met many women who sense God’s called them to serve him in various ways, but who were now bitter or broken or disillusioned by opposition or lack of investment or mentoring.
I think the church suffers when members of the Body are hurting so badly. I think the church’s commission to reach out to a broken world suffers when we are not equipping everyone to respond to God’s call on their lives. So I wanted to capture a few thoughts to help a woman on her journey.
Who is your ideal reader?
Women who sense a call to influence the world around them. Women who know God has called them to lead and it terrifies them. Leaders (male or female) who wonder how best to invest in the women in their church community.
What conversations do you want this book to inspire?
I’d love for the book to inspire conversations about the lives of the women we see in Scripture, conversations that really dig deep into how these women lived for God. I’d love for there to be conversations on the role of women in a missional movement and the call of God on our lives. I’d love it to inspire conversations on dealing with some of the wounds and obstacles that many female leaders have experienced on their journey, and how to move forward. I hope there will be lots of talking, praying, wrestling and engaging. And I hope these conversations get down to some nitty gritty details on how to practically equip and empower women leaders in their local context.
Do you expect this book to change anyone’s mind? About what?
I hope it changes the minds of women who have given up on God, their call on the church because of how difficult it’s been for them. I hope it changes the minds of those who have felt too inadequate to respond to God’s call.
Name one person you hope reads this book. Why?
Actually I have two: Michelle Obama and Condoleezza Rice – because they’re intelligent women who carry themselves with grace and dignity on journeys that couldn’t have been easy. They also both have impeccable taste in shoes.
You get to organize a book club with three people to read and discuss your book. Who do you want to be there?
I would have a millennial young adult from the inner city, a Gen X mum from the suburbs, and an empty nesting Boomer – all Americans but different ethnicities. I would LOVE to hear their stories and learn from them. I’d love to see where the book applies to women with very different lives, and to see what empowers them…
What was the hardest thing about writing this book?
My laptop got stolen two weeks before the deadline. I can’t tell you how big a nightmare that was. Thankfully, I’m the kind of woman who sends every chapter I write to 3 friends in different countries. It’s the one and only time in my life that such control freakery has served me well.
Which chapter was the easiest to write?
Oh – the Blueprint. To look at Eve’s original design was a treasure for me. I loved the research, a chance to get back to my Biblical Studies degree roots. I love looking at what God had in mind for us women. The implications are mind blowing!
What is your favorite book?
Again I have to give two because my favorite book is the Bible. It’s my constant. It’s my Father’s words to me and it introduced me to Jesus. I’m not over reading it; it’s more than a book to me.
When it comes to books in general, my most recent favorite is The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes. Short, wonderful writing (which is inevitable with Julian Barnes), and incredibly powerful. Just wow.
Often, the best book ideas come while you’re writing a book. Have you started the next one?
Well straight after More Than Enchanting, I wrote a book with my friend Sally Breen, called High Heels and Holiness – a discipling book for Christian women in their 20’s, a group of women particularly close to my heart right now. But I have a little red book I carry around with me to jot ideas down. Inside there are some idea about missional living, about God as your Dad, and more pieces specifically for women. There’s also a few shopping lists for weekly groceries. Somehow it’s the shopping list that is the piece of writing that gets dealt with first.