Anya McKee lives in Palmerston North. In this edition on ‘Share Your Story’, Anya shares her background and how that has led to her ministry, books, public speaking, retreat and teaching projects. We trust you will be inspired!
Keep up to date with Anya by liking her Facebook page
I came to God as a child, very aware of sin, Jesus’ sacrifice and the need to be ready to meet Jesus. It was simple, and it got me started. However, it was later in life that I began to wonder if Christianity actually overpromised and under delivered. I knew God loved me, but didn’t feel His love. I knew my sins were forgiven, but seemed powerless to overcome even basic issues in my life—issues like lies, anger, meanness. I believed Jesus could heal but had never seen it with my own eyes. Most of all, I knew the Gospel promised joy, and yet I was miserable on the inside.
I figured the problem was not with God or His promises, and so the issue had to be with me – and yet I had no idea how to move forward. Thankfully, I had a strong heritage in hearing God’s voice, responding in faith and being on the cutting edge of where God is moving. So despite feeling like I never quite got it together, God has continually positioned me for Kingdom effectiveness in all sorts of countries, churches, teams and ministry environments.
However, it was only five years ago that the Holy Spirit met me in the most gentle yet determined way, as I poured out my heart before him, opened my ears to listen to His voice, and brought to Him my desperation. It took three weeks, but by the end of that time, wounds I never knew I had were healed, strongholds I never knew existed were broken, and I was alive! Joy and love for Jesus flooded my soul, and suddenly, in place of frustration and disillusionment, I knew the Gospel was, in fact, more glorious than I had ever realized.
I want to see, in my generation, one corner of the earth after another becoming just the way God intended. I want to be part of a move of God where people are set free, worship is exuberant, faith-filled lives are the norm, and communities of honour and extravagant love grow in a way that can only be attributed to God’s Spirit.
My personal calling is to empower and equip God’s people to operate as effectively, naturally and confidently in the spiritual realm as we do in the physical, and at the moment I do that through writing, speaking and nurturing spiritual confidence in others.
Part of that is an incredible message God gave me for women called “The Story of the Daughter of Zion.” Essentially it’s the story of all humanity, personified as a woman. Her story goes from confidence to brokenness and shame, and then on to restoration beyond her wildest dreams. It’s a paradigm-shifting story, woven right throughout the Bible, and it provides God’s people with a compelling call to spiritual maturity.
In April this year, I and a wonderful team of friends shared the Story of the Daughter of Zion (DOZ) for the first time here in New Zealand. We hosted a day-retreat for fifty women, who came from around the country for a day of friendship, worship and theological storytelling. We had drama and dance, a wonderful hospitality team who took the day to a whole other level, and a couple of incredibly anointed songs written by New Zealand women. My hope is that this story would be heard all over the world, and that as a result, God’s people would unite in fresh passion for His presence.
I’ve developed a couple of follow-on seminars (‘Life in Black and White’ and ‘Alive in Two Worlds’) which help Christians make sense of the world and their lives, and equip people to make a difference by spiritual means.
And of course, there’s been lots of sharing our lives with people who are keen to move forward in their faith. We love to come alongside people who are ‘stuck’ in one way or another, and to lead people through that. So lots of prayer.
Where have I seen God working already in this area? Firstly in the lives of those who have worked with me. I always say the people are more important than the project, and there have been many times we’ve put planning and preparing aside to pray into areas of brokenness or stagnation in our own lives before we continue. We want to be surrounded by songs of deliverance – people experiencing breakthrough and testifying to what God is doing in their lives and families.
Secondly, in bringing a string of amazingly talented people into my life who share my passion to take the Daughter of Zion presentation to another level. I’m so thankful for these friends who band together to help me practically.
Coming up next is packaging the Story of the Daughter of Zion as a resource for the Church. We’re looking into filming the Story in individual scenes, in a format that can be used in home group and individual settings. And we’re planning a Young DOZ version which will address the issues faced by teen and young adult women.
I’ve also got two books in the pipeline – one is the Daughter of Zion story, and the other is called “Feels like I’m Breathing,” which are my raw journals, a word for word account of all I said to God and what he said to me, when he led me into a whole other level of freedom. In effect, it’s my personal ‘Daughter of Zion’ story.
And lastly, a website, where I’m preparing to share my own experiences and write from my heart about how operating spiritually looks in real life.
I think I’ve always been a leader at heart, but I was certainly insecure in that early on. It’s only been in recent years that God spoke to me from Hebrews 10:35 “Do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded.” I would never have been described as a confident child, but in Christ I have found clarity and confidence in who He has made me to be. That’s been essential in terms of leadership growth.
Two factors stand out in my journey into leadership. Firstly, the people who have recognized the anointing and gifting on my life, and have facilitated that in some way. I am so grateful to those people – my Sunday school teachers who got us memorizing chapters of scripture, my high school chaplain who entrusted the leadership of our Christian group to me and my friends, the pastor who sat under a tree one day and taught a group of us young adults how to study the Bible, and the many women around the world who have responded to my speaking with such tenderness. And then there’s John Marquet – the vicar at All Saints Palmerston North, who gave me my first formal role in a church staff team and many opportunities to preach and lead. I will never take that for granted. And especially my family who have released me, facilitated me and cheered for me all the way.
The other aspect of my leadership journey has been a commitment to being faithful in the season we’re in, combined with relentlessness looking to the future. I’m convinced that if there’s one attribute of the Holy Spirit, it’s that He moves. So being faithful in the moment, but always expectant about what’s next.
I sense God is asking me to remember the generation before me. There are so many women who once had great dreams for God, who have been silenced or disheartened or just lacked the help they needed to get going. I don’t think God has abandoned them. He’s saying we need to make way for women in their 50s and 60s who are being restored.
He’s also inviting me to cultivate a life in His presence. Recently I’ve been opening the Bible on my piano and singing it out in prayer, sometimes in prophetic worship, just making up the tune and literally singing a new song to the Lord. It’s my way of building up my soul and loving on Him.
And I also sense Him saying, get up on your feet. It’s easy for me to read, study, mentor people over a coffee … But he’s saying that if I want to enlarge my spirit, I need to get out into large open places – go for a walk in the mountains, get out by the sea, look up to the vastness of the sky, head out for dinner and laugh with friends – that sort of thing.
I have a mentor/friend who I skype with regularly. She leads in a large international ministry team and juggles many weeks of travel every year, yet every time I connect with her, she’s got something fresh to share with me from her time with God that morning.
I’ve been blessed by great teaching and encouragement from incredible speakers, writers and worship leaders around the world. But at the end of the day, as a woman in leadership, I must get into the Word, get into His presence, and receive first-hand from God. That’s my challenge and desire every day.
Do I have any concerns or things I’d like others to know about… specific things that the women of NZ and the South Pacific can pray for?
Just this: We need to know the time of our visitation.
For decades, the Church in New Zealand and our region around has been praying for revival. I believe we’re seeing it right now, in our generation—a great, global, redemptive move of God here, in our land.
So this is not a time for praying small prayers or inward looking. We need to rise above small country, small community, small ministry thinking. If we’re going to keep up with God in this season, we’ll have to embrace a bigger vision than we have before. We need to ask greater things of God than we’ve dared to before. And we need to position ourselves to be caught up in a move of God that’s far bigger than ourselves.