Permission to Speak Freely

by: Jeanie Cullip
24/7 MOMS Inspiration Editor

This last weekend I had the privilege of attending the Permission to Speak Freely Tour at my church here in Gig Harbor, WA. Author Anne Jackson, Actress Susan Issacs and Musician Solveig put together an event to share their powerful message to the women of the church.

Anne Jackson is an author, speaker, and social change activist who lives in the Nashville, Tennessee area with her husband, Chris. Her book, Mad Church Disease – Overcoming the Burnout Epidemic (Zondervan) released in February 2009. Her latest book, Permission to Speak Freely: Essays and Art on Fear, Confession and Grace (Thomas Nelson) released in August 2010.

Susan Isaacs is a writer, actor, and comedienne with TV and film credits including Planes Trains & Automobiles, Scrooged, Seinfeld, The Drew Carey Show, My Name Is Earl and more. Susan is an alumnus of The Groundlings Sunday Company and has an MFA in screenwriting from the University of Southern California.

Solveig Leithaug (Sol-vey Light-houg), Dove Award-winning recording artist has won audiences worldwide with her distinct vocal style, mastery of the guitar and songwriting talents. Solveig was born on Frekhaug, Norway. She resides with her husband Jim Chaffee and children David, Kari and John in Nashville, TN. Her step sons Elliott and Taylor study and work in Boston, MA.

Three chairs are on the stage Center, Down Left and Down Right. The women come out quietly and place themselves in these chairs. Anne Jackson sits center, Susan Issacs sits Down Left and Solveig sits Down Right next to the piano and a guitar held up on it’s stand.

The spotlight shines on Anne and she begins to speak. She shares the Introduction out of her book entitled Permission to Speak Freely. She shares how this all came about in May of 2008 when she asked a simple question on her blog,, What is one thing you feel you can’t say in the church? Anne’s blog was not very popular at this point however hundreds of people responded to this question. People in the Christian faith and those on the outside, around the globe. She then starts to tell her personal story of her faith then she stops.

The spotlight moves across the stage to down left and Susan Issacs begins to share her story, she also shares of her personal faith and then stops.

The spotlight moves once again to down right and Solveig speaks of her faith and then sings a song that her grandmother once sung and then she stops.

Silence fills the room.

The spotlight returns to Anne Jackson and she reads the Essay Fear from her book. Then she shares how she lost her faith and how she was failing in life. The spotlight returns to Susan Issacs and she also shares how life was falling apart and that her faith was no longer a part of her life. Spotlight shines on Solveig as she begins to sing a song while playing the piano and then continues her story and how life was failing and her faith too was being tested.

The lights come on and we are notified that it is time for an intermission. When the intermission is over Anne, Susan and Solveig conclude their stories and how their faith was restored in their lives. They share on healing and hope. Not perfection and a happily ever after.

Anne completes the event by sharing a part of the last pages in her book that gives us Permission to Speek Freely. Permission to discuss those things that people from all over the world discussed on her blog post back in 2008. See, through the event these women shared their stories, they shared their brokenness, their pain, their imperfections. Which is a gift to us that we can pass on to one another. It is a gift of going second. When we are vulnerable, transparent and authentic in our every day lives. When we take the opportunity to tell others how we were once broken we give those people a gift. They are now being given permission to speak freely and share their story. This can begin a movement across churches and homes around the world. If we begin to share with one another we will all begin to see the love and grace of the mighty Jesus that we serve. Our churches and our homes will become the safe place those can come to in the time of need just as God intended them to be.

Matthew 5:13-15 states “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.”

To see if this event is coming to a town near you visit Schedule. Click here to find out more about Anne Jackson’s book Permission to Speak Freely.

Blessings & Giggles to you & yours,

Stay- at- Home Mommy & Writer

Jeanie Cullip is a happily married, stay-at-home mommy of 3 children of her own and 2 step-children. Finding joy, love & hope right in her own back yard and sharing it with her neighbors near and far. In love with Jesus, loves to giggle & loves to drink coffee. She is a freelance writer residing in Gig Harbor. Find out more at Cup of Joe with Jeanie for questions and comments please e-mail her at

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