Nancy Stafford: A Religious ‘Seeker’ Whose Life Was ‘Radically’ Changed by Jesus (Gospel Light Minute #174)

Nancy Stafford
Nancy Stafford

She is a former model, actress, author, and speaker. She is perhaps best known for playing the role of Michelle Thomas on the popular TV show, “Matlock” in the 1980s. From 1995 to 2005, she hosted a show about fashion and beauty called “Main Floor.” Her other film credits include: “Moment of Truth”, “Christmas with a Capital C”, and “Season of Miracles” among others. Her TV credits include: “Sidekicks”, “Quantum Leap”, and “The Mentalist” among others. In 2011, she was nominated for the Movie Guide Grace Award for her role in “Christmas with a Capital C”. Her Christian books include: “Beauty by the Book: Seeing Yourself as God Sees You” and “The Wonder of His Love: A Journey into the Heart of God”.

In an interview with the Christian Post, she described her Christian faith journey. Even though she was raised in a Southern Baptist family and taught to have a strong, faithful relationship with God as a child, she said, “For 15 years, I was a prodigal. I still believed [in God], it’s just that He was not the center of my life, but I chose my projects based on those beliefs. I looked at myself as the one making things happen and put my career at the center of my life. My personal choices left me broken and going from boyfriend to boyfriend to boyfriend. So I had an epiphany and was diagnosed with cancer on my face. It threatened the career I’d built my life on. I realized that everything I had built my ‘perfect’ life on could be taken away in a moment.”

In an Assist News interview, she spoke further about her faith and the moment she turned her life over completely to Jesus Christ. She said, “I actually came to faith after I started my career, but I was a lapsed Christian for many, many years. I’d become a seeker and I was seeking all the world religions looking for answers and I was a student of Buddhism and Hinduism and Rosicrucianism and the whole new age gamut. I was reading my Bible at the same time too. And one day I was shooting an episode of ‘Magnum P.I.’ in Hawaii back in 1984 and I had brought my Bible with me and I had this incredible encounter with the living Lord. So right there on a beach in Hawaii, I went rushing into the arms of the one who’s been rushing after me all these years.”

She went on to say, “[This decision] certainly began to radically change the roles that I chose and how I conducted myself in the workplace. I began to pray about whether or not to take certain roles. As with all of us, when Christ is really the one informing us of our choices, you may not rise to quite the heights because you know it’s harder to say yes to projects that are anathema to our faith, so I turned down an awful lot of work over the years.”

“I am so aware now of why God has enabled me to be an actress, especially on a show like ‘Matlock.’ It’s because it gives me equity and a platform, and so I appreciate it and am glad for it. I want to give them [the public] assurance that God loves them, cares for them, and provide them hope.”

Today, she serves on the Biola University Studio Task Force as well as on the advisory board for The Dove Foundation. Along with speaking to Christian groups and writing inspiration books, she also assists her husband, a Dallas Theological Seminary graduate, in church planting and Christian music and ministry.

Her name is Nancy Stafford.


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