No matter what role you play in the life of your church, it matters.

Chances are, you’re headed to church at some point today.

For some of you, you’ll stand on a stage and lead worship or preach the message. Others of you might hold a baby, play games with a group of preschoolers or make a kid with special needs feel like a million bucks by meeting him where he is. Some might be brewing coffee, helping direct parking, answering questions for guests or blowing up balloons for the church lobby.

And a lot of you will show up, check your kiddos into their rooms, grab a cup of coffee and find your seat.

No matter which role you play in the life of your church, it matters. You are essential to making every single person who steps across the threshold at the front door feel like they are seen, loved and valued.

The local church is not about a 60-minute service. It’s not about the programs and ministries. It’s about people experiencing the love and hope of Jesus Christ.

People are walking in the doors of your church because they exist in a world that isn’t meeting their needs for community and purpose. Your church is the answer God intended. And in order for your church to be what it is, it needs you.

  1. Show up. If you do nothing else in the life of your church but show up and spectate, that’s okay. The people around you need you to do that. On the Sundays I least feel like getting up and attending church, I end up getting the greatest return on my investment of doing so. You aren’t going to walk out of church feeling like you would have been better had you not shown up. If you ever do, there’s a much bigger problem that needs to be addressed.
  2. Sign up. If you don’t know what to do, ask someone who looks like they know what they are doing how you can get involved. Whether you serve 1 or 100 times a year, God will do big things through your little efforts. Your job isn’t to do great things for God. Just do things for a great God. He will do the rest. Whatever your passion is, your church has a role for you. Kids ministry, worship, administrative, greeting – whatever. No role is more significant than another. And guess what? If signing up for an official volunteer position at your church feels like torture, just start with having a posture of an open heart. Open your eyes to the people around you. Help a single momma get her little ones in the building, hold the door open for an older gentleman, give up your favorite seat for someone else or offer to get a cup of coffee for a first time guest sitting near you. Serving isn’t about a name tag and a “job.” It’s about making people feel welcome in a place you call home.
  3. Load up. If your church is a place you’re proud to call home, invite people in your life to experience what you love about it. Think about a time when someone invited you to a club or a party. How did it make you feel that your friends wanted you to be a part of this thing they loved? Your friends, neighbors, coworkers and restaurant servers are just waiting for you to invite them to the party. Load up your Chevrolet Tahoe and come on! Is inviting people to a Sunday experience too much for you? Keep your ears open for the next kids’ event or outreach opportunity and invite people to THAT first.

If you do nothing but show up on a Sunday, a person who has never been to church before might be watching you to see how they are supposed to act at church. That’s important.

If you brew the coffee, a nurse who worked the overnight shift last night will get the caffeine she needs to be attentive and hear something from stage that will change the trajectory of her week. That’s important.

If you hold a baby in the nursery with a smile, a new mom can enjoy the service, knowing her precious little one is well taken care, and she might encounter the presence of Jesus she needed to not have a breakdown from little sleep. That’s important.

If you help seat people in your church’s crowded sanctuary/auditorium, you are helping create a smooth experience for the elderly couple who just walked into your church and don’t know what to do or where to sit by making sure there’s a seat for them, even if they are late. That’s important.

If you are a greeter, you will smile at, hug or high five a young adult who feels invisible in a crowded room. That’s important.

If you lead a group of elementary kids, you might be the caring adult they need to show them the love and joy of Jesus in a really dark moment in their lives. That’s important.

You don’t have to be on stage or staff to make a difference. Actually, if it weren’t for people just like you and me, nobody would show up to experience the service, and even if they did, they wouldn’t enjoy it because their kids would be running around complaining about being hungry and bored, they’d be half asleep and there would be nobody running lights and sound.

Just when you think what you do is insignificant in the life of your church, remember that every Sunday – including today – is someone’s first. It could be their first Sunday at your church, or any church. But regardless, it could be their first Sunday to meet you.

Don’t let that moment go by without taking advantage of it.

Get up. Get ready. Get to church.

No goal is too big for the confidence God created you to have.

It’s a terrible time to talk about goals. It’s Saturday. It’s July. It’s the 6th day of the month.

Today is the kind of day many of us are believing the lie we already failed and we should either give up or wait for Monday, August 1 or January to start attacking the thing we want to do with gazelle intensity.

I’m not making that up. Science tells us people are exponentially more likely to start a new goal on on what they believe to be the beginning.

Can we try something though?

What if we didn’t look for an excuse to start TODAY?

Let me give you an inside look into my Saturday morning.

The puppy and I went for a walk, I ate breakfast and took a shower and then I got a good ole fashioned notebook and pen and made a list of every goal I have.

Short-term.

Long-term.

Things I want to do this year. And things I want to do in my lifetime.

It’s a running list of course. Some will drop off. New ones will get added. Some will change with seasons. But all of them are desires of my heart right this moment.

There’s 172 goals on that list.

Not kidding.

I’m a dreamer.

I want to run a 5k, pain-free and without dropping dead of a heart attack.

I want to publish multiple New York Times’ bestsellers.

I want to speak at some of the nation’s largest conferences for leaders, creatives, entrepreneurs and ministry workers.

I want to live off 10 percent of my income and give 90 percent away.

I want 100,000 subscribers on my email list.

And that’s just the beginning.

But you know what I did after I made that list? I made myself go back through that list and visualize every one of them coming true.

Why did I do that?

Because if I don’t BELIEVE I can actually accomplish the dream, it’s nothing more than a wish. It will never actually happen if I don’t believe I am capable of its reality.

That’s what the enemy wants, by the way. He wants you to doubt yourself. When you encounter paralyzing panic, it’s not that your dreams are too big. It’s that the enemy has convinced you that you are too small.

But that’s nothing but lies. God created you as a human because it is the most talented species on Planet Earth. He created you to live fully as an heir of His throne, walking in confidence to do all He created and called you to do. He designed you to see every dream come true. He wants to see you have all the desires of your heart.

So let’s take some practical steps toward our goals in confidence because we are committing to listening to the Voice of Truth today:

  1. Create a list of all your goals. On real paper. With an ink pen. No goal is too small or too big. Think professionally, personally, financially, relationally, physically, spiritually, mentally and emotionally.
  2. Pick one that is really important to you.
  3. Write down your why for that goal. Not your “should be” why, but your actual why. Now put that where you will see it everyday. (If you don’t know why you want something, it might not be YOUR goal.)
  4. Flip to another sheet of paper and make a list of as many physical things you can do to make progress on that goal. Don’t stop until you’ve come up with at least 25, and you don’t have to stop there. These are actual tangible things you can DO.
  5. Now pick one and go do it. And do one thing on the list every single day. Notice I didn’t say to do it perfectly. I didn’t say you had to be successful. I just said to DO it.
  6. If you are like me, you need data in front of you. I keep a Google sheet for all kinds of goals and track my progress from day to day, week to week and month to month. This can be as simple as a check mark on your calendar that you did something toward your goal that day, or as complicated as you want to make it. But keep record so you can hold yourself accountable.

You’ll keep taking steps and one day, you’ll look back and not even realize how far you have come. And then one day beyond that, you will wake up and realize you’re living the thing that was just a dream once upon a time.

And then you would get to go back to that original list and pick another goal.

Some days will feel like nothing is happening. The key is to CONSISTENTLY take steps in confidence toward the thing God put on your heart.

The enemy wants you to read this and say, “I’ll do that tomorrow.” He wants you to fall for the lie that you have to wait until Monday. Or August 1. Or January.

What if you didn’t listen to the lies, and you decided to take a step in faith TODAY?

Steward what is in your hand and God will bless what is in your heart

I lost my job earlier this year, just weeks before I became critically ill with an infection that almost killed me. My job search for those three months was more like wishful thinking as I could barely get out of bed most days.

My doctor cleared me about six weeks ago and the job search once again became my full-time job. I did all the things I know to do – job boards, company websites, resumes, cover letters, etc. I had a couple interviews here and there but mostly, I just had rejections rolling in.

My confidence level was getting destroyed and to say I was discouraged is an understatement. I was lying awake at night, trying to figure out what I was doing wrong. I even had a recruiter tell me my skillset, experience and overall reputation in the workforce values me more than three times the salaries I was asking for.

I won’t lie. I was starting to feel like getting a job was impossible.

You’re probably thinking of 12 different “now hiring” signs you have seen recently. Let me explain.

I have a couple of extenuating circumstances that make job-hunting a little bit like navigating a whack-a-mole game. Because of my vision impairment, it is usually not in an employer’s best interest to have me people-facing unless there’s no reading involved whatsoever. Also because of my vision, I cannot drive and rideshare everywhere I go.

Because of these things, I’ve been looking for remote positions or at least positions that pay me enough to make it worth it for me to pay $50-80 a day to rideshare to/from home, and for positions that don’t have me customer-facing.

Sounds easy, right?

Not.

But last week, I did something I should have done the day I lost my job.

I consulted with Holy Spirit.

I wish I would get better at seeking Him first instead of as a last resort.

I spent hours and hours in a two-day period with the God of the universe. I repented for trying to do it in my own strength and knowledge. I apologized for not surrendering the process to Him every single day. I made a promise to steward what was in my hand, knowing He would bless what is in my heart. I promised I would stay positive and continue to glorify Him during the process.

He promised to be faithful. To provide. To protect. To be present. To give peace.

I got up off the floor last Wednesday and I picked up my computer and I did all the same things I was doing before my heart-to-heart with God.

I went to the same websites and job boards, submitted the same resume and used the same verbiage in my cover letters.

The ONLY thing that changed was my attitude.

See? Before talking with Holy Spirit, I was operating out of a scarcity mentality. I was desperate. I was anxious. I was willing to take whatever someone would give me.

The problem is – that’s not what God created me for. He created me for abundance. He called me to confidence. He wasn’t letting me have mediocre jobs because I’m not mediocre.

I’m His.

I’m His precious daughter. More valuable than gold and silver. Created for a higher purpose. Designed to have a feast prepared for me, not beg for crumbs off the ground.

I was looking for “good enough” jobs. God said no.

What happened next is almost miraculous, friends.

The calls and emails FLOODED in. Call after call after call. I scheduled so many interviews, I had to start putting them on my calendar because I was worried I would forget one.

EVERY single assessment I completed turned into a phone screening. Every single phone interview so far has turned into an in-person interview. Interviewers are practically chomping to get me in the door because they are so excited about what I have to offer their companies.

I don’t tell you that to sound arrogant. I really don’t. I promise you I am not doing a single thing differently than I was the week before when all I was getting was rejection emails. I tell you this because it proves there is power in our words.

Proverbs 18:21 tells us the power of life and death is in our words. Our tongue is like a sword in the spiritual realm.

The only thing I am doing differently in my job search is speaking life into my days full of applications and interviews. I’m speaking gratitude, belief and positivity over each moment instead of passively or negatively hitting “submit” with a feeling of defeat and desperation.

Because of my shift in mentality, I am actually applying to jobs beyond what I feel qualified for and getting interviews. When we see our value the way God sees us, things begin to shift.

I have so many interviews, I feel pretty confident I will have options.

Some of my options require me to move across town (again) and I’m at peace with it.

Why?

Because God is faithful.

Can I tell you something I am specifically grateful for today?

Of course I can. It’s my blog.

Since I was in college, my greatest financial goal has been to have SEVEN streams of income. One full time gig and six part-time side hustles that actively or passively generate income or are results of my ultimate dream of writing/speaking/influencing others for the sake of the kingdom of God.

I want this so I can live in abundance financially. I want to be more generous and I want to be in such a financially secure place that losing my full-time job would be okay.

I don’t have a full-time job that pays the bills and gives me benefits yet, but I have added FIVE streams of income in the last two weeks. FIVE.

How?

I was faithful with what God gave me. I responded to emails that sounded sketchy, I picked up the phone when I wasn’t so sure about the gig, I did my research, and I opened my mind to things I felt under-qualified for.

I have never been more assured that God knows EXACTLY what He’s doing as I do today.

Maybe you aren’t looking for a job today, but I bet you’re waiting on God for something.

A spouse?

To be pregnant?

Your dream to replace your 9-5?

Healing?

A promotion?

Whatever it is, I challenge you to start speaking words of life and victory over your situation. Begin thanking God for what He is already doing on your behalf.

I almost guarantee you that as your mentality shifts, your situation will too. I can’t say for sure your miracle will come in a day or a week or a month or even a year. But what I do know is that as you steward what God has put in your hand with faith, He will be faithful to give you what is in your heart.

One of the best books I have ever read on mentality is: Poverty, Riches and Wealth: Moving from a Life of Lack into True Kingdom Abundance by Kris Vallotton. Head over to Amazon. You won’t be disappointed.

Want to know what happens when my job search? Make sure you are following me on Instagram (here’s my account) because that’s where I’ll share which position I end up choosing and what happens next.

Setting boundaries around social media use doesn’t make you spiritual. It makes you healthy.

Are you one of those people who think you’re superior because you drink your coffee black? Or you buy organic? Or you don’t have cable?

News flash: You’re not.

And the next time you announce on social media that you are going on a social media fast, I hope someone slaps you.

Not really hard. Just enough to get your attention.

Stop abstaining from social media in the name of God. Setting boundaries around social media doesn’t make you spiritual. It makes you healthy.

I also know that your issue really isn’t with social media. It’s with the other billion people using it, and the way you relate to them and their content.

Maybe you need a break from the constant conflict of Facebook arguments where no-one ever convinces the other one of their opinion but they’ll all die trying.

Or maybe you’re like me and sometimes find yourself constantly drowning in the ocean of comparison on Instagram. You know comparison is the devil’s playground, and you think deleting Instagram will help you ignore the distractions.

What if there’s a better way? Instead of deleting the apps or deactivating your accounts and giving up on it altogether, what if you were intentional about developing a healthier relationship with social media as a whole?

Solving our problems with social media isn’t about social media. It’s about us.

My relationship with social media isn’t perfect by any means but I’ve adopted a few practices that have radically improved my quality of life when it comes to social media.

  1. God first. I used to pick my phone up and hit Instagram first every morning. I would often find myself wishing I was as productive or as successful as _____________. Now, I roll out of bed and my knees hit the ground. Sometimes, it’s for two minutes. Other times, it’s for two hours. Doesn’t matter. What does matter is that I start my day thanking God for another shot at this thing called life. Try it. It will radically change your focus when you do start scrolling.
  2. Mute and unfollow. There’s these beautiful options called “Mute” and “Unfollow.” You don’t have to be a jerk and block people. When you do, you’re actually trying to intentionally hurt them and that’s another post for another day. When I hit that “mute” button, I might as well be muting Satan. Don’t misread that. If I’ve ever muted you, I don’t think you’re Satan. But he knows one of the ways to get in my head is to show me the photos of those I follow who are living their very best life. It causes me to ask all the wrong questions and look for the answers in all the wrong places. Muting that voice forces me to spend more time looking at my own life.
  3. Love your own life. Find ways to be grateful for the life you get to live. If there’s things you don’t like, change them. Create a life you love so deeply that you can’t wait to jump out of bed every morning and live it. When we begin to appreciate the places we belong to, the people we love and the things we have, we don’t want for others’ highlight reels. When I began to do this, I would take inventory in a week’s time of how many moments of my own life didn’t make the Internet. It gave me perspective. Can’t think of anything to love about your own life? Go find someone else who has it worse off than you and do something kind for them. One simple random act of kindness will shift your entire mentality.

But Felicia? Wouldn’t it be easier to just delete social media from my life? You tell me. How easy is it for you to cut out sugar? Caffeine? Alcohol? Cigarettes? Gambling? Television?

When my nutritionist told me I was drinking too much coffee last year, she didn’t insist I never drink coffee again. She helped me create a better relationship with it. Now, I drink one cup of black coffee a day, if that.

(For the record, I am definitely not superior for drinking my coffee black!)

In case you were wondering, I used to drink my coffee a light tan color because if it were socially acceptable to only drink the creamer, I might have. But I was pouring too much sugar, dairy and caffeine down my throat for what my body needs to be healthy.

Guess what? Coffee and I have a better relationship than we ever did before. I’ve learned to respect and appreciate it. I believe the same is true when we build healthy boundaries with social media.

Let’s get something straight. Having a good relationship with social media doesn’t make you a better Christian. And being a better Christian doesn’t make you good at social media. But just like anything else in life, let’s look for ways to be better at loving God and His people WHILE we use Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter or whatever other platform you’re on.

Other tips for being a good Christian AND having a healthy relationship with social media.

  • Create time parameters for when you use or don’t use social media. Spend an hour with God every morning instead of with Zuckerberg.
  • Spend more time praying for people than arguing with them.
  • Celebrate when others win. Encourage when they don’t.
  • Make sure your virtual community doesn’t outweigh your physical one. In other words, don’t mistake having 1,200 Facebook friends as your real friends. Real friends pick up the phone or have dinner with each other.
  • Social media is not your personal soapbox. It’s your candle. Be a light, not a microphone.

What is your best pro tip for how to be a good Christian and healthy with social media?

Have you liked my Facebook page yet? Do so here.

You are only as BIG as the DREAM you DARE to LIVE

Have you ever made a vision board full of these magazine-worthy pictures of a glamorous life you thought would be amazing, but none of those things ever came to fruition?

Maybe you envisioned the wedding of your dreams? Or launching your own business? Or building your dream home?

Maybe it was being debt-free?

Running a marathon?

Writing a book?

A dream vacation?

Landing a particular client?

Finishing your degree?

All of those things are perfectly attainable for all of us, but yet many of us never get there.

What’s the problem?

Our vision boards are crap. We have built these visions based on what we want to happen to us and not on what we want to make happen for ourselves.

Or even worse, they aren’t even our own dreams. Rather they are someone else’s dreams for us.

Instead of vision boards, maybe we need to start creating “belief boards” full of things we actually want and believe we can attain.

A lot of experts would take this opportunity to talk about setting more attainable goals or breaking them up into smaller chunks.

But what if you just had more confidence in what you have the power to do?

Did you know you actually have the power within you to achieve any dream God has placed on your heart?

It’s God-given. He will never call you to a dream He won’t equip you for.

He didn’t call Noah to build an ark without giving him instructions and endurance.

He didn’t call Moses to free the Israelites from Egypt without giving him favor and wisdom.

He didn’t call Joseph to be second in command over all of Egypt without giving him strength and patience.

And He won’t give you a dream He won’t then equip you with the power to realize.

But you have to believe in that power. And really, all that means is to take a step out in faith, fully knowing that God has the next part taken care of.

It means you have to live. Live in confidence. Live in faith. Live in belief.

You are only as big as the dream you dare to live.

Take a few minutes today and create a belief board. It can be a simple list of a few things you actually believe God is going to do in your life. Or it can be a full-blown Pinterest project. You choose.

And then I dare you to live those dreams. Live in the belief and confidence that God is going to make things happen in your life. All you have to do is show up.

It’s going to require you to be a risk-taker, but I promise it’s worth it.

Share one of your dreams (or your whole belief board) with your community and encourage others to do the same. Let’s challenge one another to believe in the dreams God has put on our hearts.

I will share some of mine and some of the steps I’m taking to tangibly act out my belief in an email later this week. Have you signed up for my emails yet? Drop in your email address below and do it now.

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Job 42 Moments

A couple months ago, I had a vision of a conversation God and Satan were having about me. It looked a lot like the one they had about Job in Job 1.

God: “From where do you come?”

Satan: “From roaming about on the earth and walking around on it.”

God: “Have you considered My servant Job (Felicia)? For there is no one like him (her) on the earth, a blameless and upright man (woman), fearing God and turning away from evil.” 

Satan: “Does Job (Felicia) fear God for nothing? Have You not made a hedge about him (her) and his (her) house and all that he (she) has, on every side? You have blessed the work of his (her) hands, and his (her) possessions have increased in the land. 1But put forth Your hand now and touch all that he (she) has; he (she) will surely curse You to Your face.” 

God: “Behold, all that he (she) has is in your power, only do not put forth your hand on him (her).”

Last year was an incredible year. I had zero complaints. I had a job I loved, two church families that made me feel like I belonged, flourishing relationships and an incredible gym. I was gaining strength physically, professionally, emotionally, mentally, spiritually, financially and relationally. I had a dream in my heart and was relentlessly chasing after it.

I hit my knees every morning in gratitude. I prayed for other people but I never had any real cries of my heart for myself. I knew I needed to make some minor changes here and there but I just had an overwhelming peace. Nothing kept me up at night. I was leading myself from a place of clarity, confidence and calmness.

I wrote my first book. My personal ministry was growing and gaining focus with every single day. I was starting to see God open doors for me to do the thing I know He has created and called me to do.

And then the attacks started coming. One by one. First, it was my finances. Then it was my job and pride. Then it was my relationships.

Even through all these things, I remained steadfast. I knew God would provide. I knew He had things to teach me. I knew He was in control. I remained committed to praising Him, no matter what.

If you know the story of Job, you know God eventually gave Satan power over his health, as long as he did not kill him.

On February 23, Satan got that same reign in my life. It all started with an elevated heart rate. Ten weeks later, the mystery continues and I am facing words like cancer. It consistently got worse as the days and weeks wore on. I would praise God and stand on His promises, and then something else would break. There were moments in time I struggled to understand what God was doing but I only ever felt like I was literally going to die about four times. Each time, I would get a gentle reminder from Holy Spirit that no matter how bad it gets, God will not let me die.

“You have too much to do.”

“The world still needs you.”

“Your message isn’t loud enough yet.”

“This is just part of My plan. The worse it gets for you, the more lives it will change later. Your temporary sacrifice will rewrite stories and change family trees later.”

If I’m really vulnerable with you, I have longed to be 100 percent committed to my rock-solid faith throughout this whole thing. But once I started having to see an infectious disease doctor and what felt like it should be an easy fix became a much bigger, scarier situation, my perspective shifted. And not necessarily in a good way.

Why?

Because I’m human. Job was too. And for the record, so are you. I know God has the ability to fix everything in the blink of an eye, and I believe in the power of prayer. It’s the first thing I do every single day. I love praying for other people. But I realized in the last week I had forgotten God might not heal me until I accepted I might not be healed.

I was boasting to my counselor yesterday about how I have to get better because I’m going to run 100 miles through Death Valley one day*, and he asked me a question that stung deep and made my jaw drop,

“What if you don’t? What does it say about your value if you don’t?”

I argued with him (because that’s just what I do). I actually made some very valid points in my argument, but let’s be real. That was the question God wants me to answer.

Do I believe in my own message? Do I believe that I am still just as valuable to God and others even if I never run another meter again? Or publish a book? Or speak on a stage? Or even step in a gym again?

At the end of Job, everything he lost is restored and multiplied to him. He cries out to God in Job 42:5-6,

“I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear;
But now my eye sees You; Therefore I retract,
And I repent in dust and ashes.”

I don’t know if I’m at the end of my Job story yet. I’m feeling pretty great today but only time will tell if God has decided I’ve really had enough.

Maybe I haven’t. Maybe Satan has a lot more to do to me.

But what I do know is God has never left me or forsaken me. And He never will.

I also know that James 4:3 warns us that if we pray with the wrong motives, we will not receive what we want.

He might not heal me. Or if He does, it might not be in my timing. But He definitely won’t if I don’t ask, or if I don’t surrender my hopes and dreams to make room for His.

Whatever you’re in the midst of today, I want to encourage you to check your heart and audit your perspective.

  1. Pray to align your heart with God’s, not the other way around. We have not because we ask not. You are your Heavenly Father’s child. He wants to give you the desires of your heart, but the desires of your heart should be to follow Him wherever He leads you. In my case, I should want to love Him and His people more than I want to run marathons and see my name on the NY Times Bestsellers’ list. Don’t hear what I’m not saying. I firmly believe both of those things are God-given dreams for me. But if I lose sight of doing those things to further His kingdom, He will yank them away faster than I can blink. He wants to be in relationship with me much more than I want to run a race and stand on a stage. And I should too.
  2. Remember God’s faithfulness in the past. Throughout scripture, we see one example after another where God asks His people to build an altar to remember His faithfulness. They did that so that the next time they were faced with an uncertain situation, they would be reminded of what He did in the past. Don’t worry. You don’t have to build altars. But do something to remember the ways God provides, heals, prepares and blesses your life and the lives of those around you. I keep an Evernote journal because I’m a writer. Maybe for you, it’s a video blog or pictures. I’ve even known people to buy bottles of wine and write the prayer and date on it and then drink it later when God has answered their prayer. Whatever your system is, remember His faithfulness. You’ll need it later.
  3. Be honest. I can’t stress the importance of this enough. Too many well-meaning Christians think and preach that if you admit you feel weak or feel angry or scared, your faith just isn’t strong enough. THAT IS NOT TRUE. Biblical faith never calls us to deny reality. We are human. This is a broken world we live in. God created us with emotions. The key to being in authentic relationship with Him, ourselves and others is feeling your feelings, being honest about them and trusting the process (God) with them. Claim the promises of God over your life. Absolutely. But also be real. Admit the truth. If you can be vulnerable about where you really are and how you are feeling, it’s actually a sign of strength. It actually means you trust God with the truth. That’s bold. It’s not easy.

Your reality doesn’t change your faith, but your faith can’t change your reality until you are honest about it.

Even more than I want a healing miracle today, I’m looking for Job 42 moments in my story. I yearn for a deeper revelation of what God’s goodness looks like. One I have experienced and that has changed me from the inside out. Job was already a great servant. God said so when He gave Satan dominion, but can you imagine how much richer and more abundant his relationship with God was after he finally got to the place where he had absolutely nothing left but his heart for God and yet he still remained committed to Him? That’s the real miracle, friends.

I’ll keep you guys posted on what’s going on in my Job story over on Instagram (Here’s my account) but I think I have decided to get ready for the miracle. Whatever that looks like. Maybe it’s healing. Maybe it’s a dream job. Maybe it’s something I don’t even know to ask for. Or maybe it’s just simply the ability to understand and accept that no matter what, God is still good. He owes me nothing. Even if He never gives me another thing as long as I live, I still have too many things to thank Him for.

*Thanks to David Goggins and his book, Can’t Hurt Me: Master Your Mind and Defy the Odds, my dream of running a pain-free 5k turned into running 100 miles through Death Valley in the heat of summer. Overnight.

Don’t fall asleep on Jesus

Let’s talk about a comeback story. Or two.

It’s Good Friday, which means we are spending the weekend remembering and celebrating the ultimate comeback story. Our Father in Heaven loves us so much that He sent His Son to live, serve, die and rise again for us.

Let’s get something straight right now. God didn’t do that just out of pity so we could evade Hell.

He did it because He loves us and longs for relationship with each of us for eternity. He wanted that so much that He was willing to sacrifice His Son.

Wrap your head around that. God SO LOVED the world….

I unexpectedly had a lot of free time and was blessed to study the Easter story much more in-depth this year. One of the things that stood out to me was when Jesus went to the Garden of Gethsemane right before Judas’ betrayal and the crucifixion. He went to pray and left James, John and Peter. Three times in an hour, He came back to find them sleeping.

You can imagine Jesus is a little frustrated with them.

He tells them to rise and pray so they won’t fall into temptation. Yet, they continue to fall asleep each time he leaves them.

It’s easy for you and I to look at this story and think, “Really guys? You fell asleep on Jesus?”

But guess what? You do it too. I know I have.

It’s because of Jesus’ comeback story that you and I get to have comeback stories of our own.

And unfortunately, we fall asleep on Jesus in the midst of our own stories all. the. time.

We get content in this life we are living and we forget our God-given purpose.

We settle for mediocre.

We play it safe.

We listen to the lies.

We fall to temptation because we fall asleep on Jesus.

I fall asleep on Jesus daily.

I tell myself and everyone else I’m “living the dream, dreaming the life.”

Don’t get me wrong. I love the life I get to live.

But God has so much more in store. He died on a cross and rose again, and He didn’t just do it for me to have eternal redemption. He did it so I could live out His confidence every single day.

He did it so I could inspire people to find their confidence in Jesus. Write New York Bestsellers. Speak on stages in massive arenas. Coach people out of brokenness and into freedom.

He did it so I could take the light He gave me and walk right back into the darkness. He did it so I could facilitate hundreds of thousands of other comeback stories.

But more days than not, I pass out on Him. I take the easy road. I forget to be intentional. I lose my excitement for the story He is writing through my life.

I want to encourage us to stop falling asleep on Jesus. What do you need to do to stay awake and alert for our Savior?

Maybe it’s waking up every morning and having you first cup of coffee with Jesus.

Maybe it’s spending some intentional time in worship on your ride into work, or in your prayer closet before you go to bed.

Maybe it’s developing a rhythm to turn to Jesus first and everything/everyone else later.

Maybe it’s listening and acting in obedience to a prompt from Holy Spirit.

Maybe it’s taking a step out in faith and believing God will provide for you.

I don’t know what it means for you, but I know it’s worth it.

I know I don’t want my legacy to tell the stories of the times I fell asleep on Jesus and His plans.

I know you don’t either.

This Easter, I challenge you to honor the story of the crucifixion and resurrection with a choice to do whatever it takes to stay awake for King Jesus in your own comeback story.

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Be a beginner again

It’s okay to be a beginner again.

It’s a skill actually. If you can get good at not being the smartest person in the room on something, you are going to learn a lot of really great things.

The problem is we don’t like being beginners. It’s uncomfortable. It doesn’t feel good to not do things perfectly or even well. Being a beginner again opens us up to failure and judgement.

We don’t try new things because we aren’t good at them. And when we aren’t good at something, we convince ourselves we aren’t good.

Kick that lie in the teeth right this second.

What you can do has nothing to do with who you are.

I dare you to work really hard at being a beginner again. Admit that you have questions and don’t know the answers. Read a book. Watch a video. Listen to a podcast. Attend a workshop. Follow experts in whatever you’re learning.

Take a step. And then another one. And another one. It’s all part of the process. We want to magically do things well without learning how to do them. That’s not how it works. Respect the process.

What are you a beginner in right now? What is the thing you need to immerse yourself in and learn all you can about?

Be a beginner again. It’s worth it. I promise.

My Turn: Among many other things, I’m a beginner in creating videos for social media and public speaking right now. Both are uncomfortable and it’s going to be really imperfect for a while. That’s okay.

You don’t want to miss out on my process. Follow me on Instagram to see it all for yourself. Here’s my account.

Say yes one more time.

A few months back, I shared pieces of my story with fatherlessness (Abandoned and adopted. Twice. and Abuse lies.). I saved the hardest piece for today.

It’s been five years since Bucky fell out of the sky.

I spent my entire childhood begging God to be a daddy’s girl.

When I was a little girl, I dreamed of someone to play catch with and be there when I woke up from my surgeries.

When I was a teenager, I dreamed of someone to help me with my homework and teach me to drive.

When I got to college, I dreamed of a dad to show off at family weekend and began to dream about my graduation photos.

While my friends were dreaming of their future husbands, I was just clinging to the idea that I might one day have someone to call Dad.

In April 2012, I got a letter from my adoptive father destroying any last shred of hope I had of ever being considered his daughter again. On my run that night, God and I had a chat. I surrendered the dream of ever being a daddy’s girl and vowed that IF I ever had kids of my own, I would never put them through the misery of going to sleep every night only wishing they had a Dad to come say goodnight. I finally accepted that I was an adult and having a “dad” was never going to happen.

A year and a half later, I started calling Bucky Carter “Dad.” I knew the man for exactly seven months. It was fast. It was intense. It was the absolute most beautiful miracle I have ever seen with my own eyes. He loved me as his own. We just loved one another, HARD.

He gave me everything I ever dreamed of. I never took a single second of it for granted. We loved grabbing wings and a beer at Brewhouse and ice cream at Baskin Robbins. We loved playing with the computers at retail stores and playing games at the kitchen table. We loved going to the gym and doing the dishes together.

We spent the last week of his life cleaning up and fixing my condo after the hot water heater busted and left the place a disaster.

It really didn’t matter what we were doing, as long as we were together.

He literally threw me on a roller coaster and gave me my love for all things adventure and adrenaline.

He drove me 30 minutes each way to go meet my eye doctor at his office in the middle of the night multiple times when things got rocky with an experimental lens we used on my eyes. Not sure who the bigger hero was on those nights – Bucky Carter or Jason Nash, although I’m a pretty big fan of both.

Christmas morning was an absolute blast. For the first time in my life, there were gifts under the tree from “Dad.” I’m not sure who played with my remote-controlled helicopter he gave me more – him or me.

He would often apologize for not being there for the first 23 years. And while I was sad I didn’t have him as a kid, I was so full of anticipation and excitement for the decades we had in front of us.

Until we didn’t.

“Felicia, Bucky crashed his plane and he didn’t make it.”

As Todd’s words broke over the phone, my heart slipped lower than it ever had before, or has since.

Dad flew ultralight airplanes for six years before his crash and had never had a problem.

Emergency response and the news crews beat us to the scene. People began to gather to spectate and report the events of the day. He was a good pilot. The weather was perfect that day. There was nothing wrong with the plane.

He just died.

In the sky.

The plane nose-dived. He was dead before he hit the ground.

I spent hours after the crash at the airfield. The first person to try to console me was an FAA agent. He said, “I am so sorry this happened, kid. I lost my dad when I was about your age and it’s going to be tough but I promise you will get through it.”

I argued with the guy. I didn’t feel like he had the authority to say that to me because he couldn’t possibly understand the extent of what I had just lost.

(Let’s be real. I also just really like to argue. It doesn’t matter who it is, or what it’s about. My counselor is still working on that.)

The next days and weeks and months felt like an endless nightmare.

I woke up each morning and realized it was still true. He was gone and wasn’t coming back. My heart would drop into my stomach every single time.

I saw a grief counselor for a few months after the plane crash. He told me, “If you do nothing else but wake up and breathe every day for the next year, you’ve done more than I would expect.”

He actually didn’t say that because I lost my dad and best friend. He said that because my questions outweighed my faith at that point.

People were looking to me to show them how to respond. In any other season of my life, I would have put my game face on and loved God and life through the devastation. But that wasn’t happening. I couldn’t even will myself to be the rock of faith the world expected me to be.

All I could think is God could have done a million tiny little things that would have prevented the events of that day. Sitting in the airfield that day, I looked up at the sky and said, “it’s all just a game to you, isn’t it?”

It didn’t seem fair. Why did God give me my dream just to take it away?

The God of my reality didn’t match the God of my Bible.

Can I be really authentic?

I still have a lot of questions.

I also have a few answers.

Those seven months were amazing. They were everything I could have ever wanted in a dad. It was the epitome of perfection.

Maybe it was so amazing because it was so brief. Maybe if I had decades with him, there would have been bad memories too. Maybe God knew that in order to protect the beauty, it had to be brief.

While I spent those seven months very grateful to God for the miracle, I wasn’t in relationship with Him the way I needed to be because I was soaking up every second with my new dad. Maybe God gave me the answer to all my prayers but He wasn’t prepared to give me the opportunity to replace my Heavenly Father.

Maybe God knew that losing Dad was the only thing that would get me desperate enough for purpose and community that I would eventually open my heart to trust a couple staff members at Cross Point, which would lead to years of living the “Cross Point life.” That life has shaped every single thing about who I am today.

Maybe God chose me to be able to walk with others through unusual grief. I remember convincing myself that nobody could ever possibly understand. I felt like my grief was special. I have never met another person who had to start grieving the future they would never have while still grieving the past they never had. But because of the depths of my pain, I have since been able to walk through grief with dozens of others.

Maybe the plan was never about answering my prayers by giving me Dad, but was about answering Bucky’s prayers by giving him a daughter in his final days. He also accepted Christ and began a relationship with Jesus 139 days before he died, which might have been the greatest purpose of all.

Maybe the story of fatherlessness wouldn’t be complete without the Bucky chapter. Nobody, not even the perfect picture of a Dad, can fit the God-sized hole in our lives. The experience of gaining and losing an earthly father in less than a year has contributed to my ministry in a million different ways.

Maybe God decided it was time to wrestle with me like He did with Jacob. He knew that having to go through that would give me no choice but to eventually turn to Him in desperation for comfort.

Honestly, we will never know this side of Heaven exactly why God allowed that plane to crash that day. But I do know two things:

God is still good, and He sees the whole picture.

But I would have never seen that had I not been willing to say yes to God one more time. I could have easily given up. Nobody would have been shocked. After all I have been through in my life, it wouldn’t have been out of the realm of possibilities for me to say “screw it” and stop fighting for joy in this life. Thank God I didn’t. Thank God I said yes ONE MORE TIME. It doesn’t matter how many times you have done it before and been disappointed. What do you need to say yes to one more time?

Your marriage?

Your dream?

A friendship?

Dating?

Church?

The gym?

Finishing your degree?

Trust me when I tell you that I get it. I understand that opening up to the possibility to get disappointed again seems like it isn’t worth it.

Our Heavenly Father wants us to have life and have it more abundantly. But in order for that to happen, we have to risk faith. We have to be confident that He is who He says He is, and we are who He says we are. We have to be willing to throw our nets in the water one more time.

Bonus: Is your dad still around? Pick up the phone and call him today. Pick up your phone right now. Don’t wait for Father’s Day. Treat every day like it’s the third Sunday in June. Love, appreciate and enjoy him.

Stop being busy

One of the saddest things I hear is when I ask people how life is and their response is, “busy.”

“Busy” implies they are running from thing to thing, commitment to commitment, and not enjoying it.

They always have that look on their face and that tone in their voice. That feeling like it’s just dreadful they have to deal with soccer practice and church group and birthday dinners.

“Busy” means their calendars are full but their hearts are empty.

“Busy” means they have lost their joy.

“Busy” means they don’t have time to hang out with you because they just have to hang out with someone else.

“Busy” means they have lost perspective.

Am I talking about you?

Stop being busy.

I won’t tell you to clear your schedule to rest. Maybe you’re like me and rest doesn’t bring you that much joy. But take a look at your calendar. What is just a thing on the calendar?

Your job?

Get a new one.

Volunteering every other Thursday night?

Take a break.

The gym?

Find another way to do fitness.

Your kids?

Sell them.

Okay, don’t do that last one. You might regret it and I think it’s still illegal.

But do find a way to choose a better yes.

Build a life that you GET TO live to replace the life you feel like you HAVE TO live.

And the next time someone asks you how life is going, be able to confidently say, “life is so good.”

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