I’m not typically a follower of Dancing with the Stars. The only clips I see are when we DVR Castle and the DVR tapes the end of DWTS. As we fast forward, I notice that the costumes are often revealing and the dances sensuous. But all that changed this season when I heard that Sadie Robertson, granddaughter of Phil and Kay Robertson and of Chrys and John Howard, was going on the show: I took notice.
I’ll still have to admit that we didn’t watch any of the shows, but Monday nights before bed, I watched the online video clips of Sadie’s dances and cast my vote.
Backing Up a Bit
We are strong supporters of the Robertson family and their bold profession of faith that runs throughout their popular TV program Duck Dynasty, in their public appearances, and in private life. What Christian could not support that kind of a witness? Willie Robertson is the son of Phil and Kay Robertson and Sadie Robertson’s proud dad.
Sadie’s mom, Korie Howard Robertson, is the daughter of Chrys and John Howard who were my publishers for Dear God, They Say It’s Cancer and Praying for Your Prodigal Daughter. I first met the Howards when they came to a conference at Saddleback Church. We had already signed the contract for Dear God, They Say It’s Cancer and they wanted to meet me. This was my first “trade” book contract after publishing the Woman to Woman Mentoring Resources with LifeWay, who flew me to Nashville, so I thought meeting the editors was the norm in Christian Publishing. Seventeen books later, I now know it’s not.
Chrys and John Howard were down-to-earth people interested my journey through breast cancer. John had just battled colon cancer, so we understood much about each others journey before we even met. I appreciated Chrys and John for their sincerity and profession of faith from the minute I met them on the Saddleback Church patio.
After the release of Dear God, They Say It’s Cancer, I was often at publishing events with the Howards and they welcomed me as family, just as they did with all their authors. They always invited me to dinner with them and supported my writing and ministry. So I was thrilled when we signed a second contract for Praying for Your Prodigal Daughter and I was able to stay in the Howard Books family.
The Howards later sold their publishing company to Simon & Schuster and are no longer the owners of Howard Books, but we are still friends. So it was with surprise and delight when I started reading about this new program that was taking TV by storm, Duck Dynasty, and read that Willie Robertson was married to Korie Howard Robertson, the Howard’s daughter.
It wasn’t long before Dave and I were Duck Dynasty fans, and after hearing Phil Robertson preach at Saddleback Church, we were fans of Phil too. How could we not be? The Robertsons use whatever fame and fortune God blesses them with to further the kingdom and tell the world about Jesus.
This Little Light of Mine . . . I am Going to Let It Shine
“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 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. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. Matthew 5:14-16
When I heard that Sadie Robertson was going to be on Dancing with the Stars, I knew the Lord was opening up yet another “worldly” platform for Jesus to shine through the Robertsons…and shine He did. From the very beginning of the show, the media focused on Sadie setting boundaries on her costumes, dance moves, and choreography. The news liked to say her refusal to wear sinuous, revealing costumes was because of a segment on Duck Dynasty where her dad Willie insisted that her prom dress be modest. So at first the media and the show made a big deal about Willie approving of her costumes, but Sadie said that offended her a bit because it wasn’t just her dad’s approval she was seeking, it was God’s. She wouldn’t wear anything that offended God anyway, so of course her Dad would approve.
During the first few weeks, I read many speculations that Sadie wouldn’t be taken seriously because of her age and her values/faith. The media said the judges and audience would judge her harshly because of her “morals and faith” and didn’t give her much of a chance at success. I think at first this might have been true; but so many were praying for her, and there was just no way the judges and the audience could find fault with the effort, enthusiasm, and earnestness with which she gave her all and did fantastic. Soon the media swapped those dire predictions for acknowledgement of how well she was doing and the amazing talent she was showing and developing. That’s what happens when God’s on your side.
Sadie had no dance experience, and yet we watched her week after week give amazing performances that shocked the judges and the audience. She had hopes of making it through the third round of dances, and last week we saw her and her dance partner, Mark Ballas, as one of the four finalists and many thought she would win. She came in second, which was still phenomenal for a girl who had never danced before.
But more important than whether she placed first or second, was the impact of her sweet attitude, even under criticism—her smile, sincere and bright—her “light” that all the judges commented was infectious and shined through all her performances on and off the stage.
We know where that “light” comes from—the world was seeing Jesus’ light shine through this 17-year old young lady, who put herself out there for the scrutiny of the world, and even some Christians I might add, but she never let her light go out. The program aired her testimony and didn’t edit out when she talked about God and Jesus. One headline said she prayed twice before each performance, once with her family and once with her dance partner, Mark Ballas.
Before millions of people, Sadie expressed her gratitude at the end of the show and thanked God for the journey.
“It’s just been an amazing experience. I just want to say I’m so thankful to God who has brought me this far in this competition,” she said. “I feel like I really accomplished what I wanted to accomplish on this show and I’m so glad it was Alfonso. He deserves it.”
In an Instagram message posted after the finale, Sadie also thanked her fans for helping her make it to the end of the competition and, again, offered up praise to God for the experience.
“All glory to God for this crazy experience,” she said.
The judges had plenty to say about Robertson’s skills on the dance floor, also showering her with praise for her moral character and peppy demeanor.
“Sadie, I think you’re an excellent role model and a representation of what youth should be today,” judge Carrie Ann Inaba proclaimed. “You’re clean, you’re elegant … everything about you I love.”
Bruno Tonioli added, ”Your personality is so bubbly, so vivacious, your charm always shines through in everything you do. Mark has really done a fantastic job in making you look like a dancing princess.”
I’m Facebook friends with John and Chrys Howard, and as I watched the glowing comments and congratulations flood their Facebook pages, this comment captured the ministry Sadie has had—
“Congratulations on all she has achieved and thank her for inspiring us to live out our faith every moment and always reach for the stars!”
The Bible tells us not to hide our light, but to let it shine for the world to see. The brightest a light shines is in the dark. When we only give our testimony or witness to other believers, we may be preaching to the choir already living in the light. But when we’re willing to take the challenge of letting our light shine into the darkness, that’s where we can really light up the world. Sadie danced her way into the hearts of a dark dark world, and her light became the topic of conversation. Often it was said with a baffled or surprised influx…like I don’t know what this is I’m seeing in you, but I like it. Sadie and her family always let everyone know that light was Jesus.
A Family Ministry
Unlike so many innocent young “stars” that have been thrown into the limelight by their families, who seem to let their precious daughters go the way of the world, the Robertsons and Howards were with Sadie every step of the DWTS journey. Grandma Chrys Howard, “2-Mama” made the commitment to be with Sadie the entire time she was in Los Angeles. And every show had many of the Robertson-Howard clan cheering for Sadie and Mark.
The last night of the finals, the camera caught the tears of proud daddy Willie Robertson as he watched his precious daughter shine on the dance floor. How many girls long for a daddy that sensitive who sees the beauty and grace of the young woman his daughter is becoming?
What Can We Learn from Sadie?
I posted on my FB page:
This is the face of a leader in the next generation for Christ! Without any dancing experience, she came in 2nd last night in #DWTS but on God’s platform she’s a winner. She was a bright light shining in LA and to millions who watched. It was a joy to watch her win over the judges. Last night judge Carrie Ann Inaba (who I thought had been really hard on Sadie and admits that she was skeptical in the beginning) commented also on Sadie’s “light” and smile and said she was a role model for her generation! That’s huge coming out of Hollywood. Sadie was bold about her faith and standards in a loving natural way that won over everyone’s hearts. Keep shining that light for Jesus Sadie…God has great plans for you. And mamas let Sadie and her family be a role model for your daughters and granddaughters!
Sadie had a book release during her time on DWTS Live Original: How the Duck Commander Teen Keeps It Real and Stays True to Her Values . This would make a great Christmas present for your teenage girls.
Sadie has also teamed up with fashion designer Sherri Hill to create a collection of “daddy approved” prom dresses, which balance fashion with modesty and fill a niche for Christian girls and their families.
Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity. 1 Timothy 4:12