I'll never forget the day my then-agent asked me if I’d be interested in writing a book with pop star Britney Spears’ mom. “Hit me, baby, one more time,” I might have said had I not been so shocked.
Lynne Spears was looking for a Christian to collaborate with on a “devotional,” which ultimately became Through the Storm, Lynne’s deeply Christian memoir and 2008 New York Times best seller. I was already the author of seven or eight Christian books and an entertainment writer for The Grand Rapids Press.
I didn’t know much about Lynne then, but I knew she would have a humdinger of a story to tell. From the time I first met her in 2007, I was on the ride of a lifetime, a rollercoaster that, after a decade of quiet, has me buckling my seatbelt again as Britney’s contentious conservatorship rides the waves of the news cycle.
I’ve been keeping up with the latest on Britney and her conservatorship, and there’s no end of articles to read. But as someone who had a front-row seat to Britney’s life in 2007 and 2008, including the beginnings of the conservatorship, I think there is a missing piece: Britney through the eyes of faith.
As I got to know her mom extremely well over a year and a half of writing the book (through some of the family’s most tumultuous times), I observed an unshakeable faith in Lynne. I witnessed a fierce and loyal Christian community that gave Lynne shelter and guidance as she faced circumstances that would have left most of us curled up in the fetal position. I knew God was moving in that family and continues to do so. I began to view Britney differently—not as a glittery cautionary tale, but as a dearly loved child of God and a cherished daughter.
Once again, Britney is on everyone’s minds. Some people continue to judge her, while others worship and obsess about her. As we watch her claw her way to freedom, we’ve again lost sight of her as a human being, handcrafted by God in his image.
Fellow believers, let’s not fail Britney again. During her first round of troubles in 2007 and 2008, instead of praying for her and rooting for her as a sister who had been crushed by the weight of crazy fame (a kind of unnatural attention we as humans were never designed to bear), mental illness, and a broken family, we judged her and consumed her like a product.
Let’s do better now, as Britney struggles to gain her freedom from a conservatorship. What can you and I do? I can bear witness to the truth as I saw it 13 years ago as I wrote at the end of our book about the beginnings of the conservatorship. But we can all remember Britney’s createdness and belovedness in God’s eyes. We can pray that Britney would be free, in every sense of the word, and that justice would roll down like a mighty river for her. And we can remind ourselves that God is redeeming Britney’s story just as he makes all things new in all our lives.