Behind-the-scenes: let me introduce to a passion-filled, fire cracker of a woman. Alicia currently lives in Nebraska with her husband, daughter Emerson, and a house full of teenage boys. (Don’t worry. She still has Oregon coffee and Douglas fir trees in her blood.) When I asked this woman to share a snapshot of her story, I knew her words and thoughts would strike deep. Enjoy!

Where do you find the most joy?

“I find the most joy in meeting new people and hearing their stories. I love making people feel seen and heard and feel energized after a long, deep conversation with someone.

Growing up, I was drawn to the stories of Jesus meeting people for the first time and recognized the gift He had in embracing them for all they were and loving them exactly where they were at. He had a way of creating vulnerable, safe space for people and using little moments to impact the trajectory of people’s lives.

To be used in a way that could possibly impact another life like that offers me more joy than I could fully express. I want people to see themselves how Jesus sees them, and to believe their story is powerful and full of worth.”

 

What’s your story?

“My story is filled with pain, betrayal, abandonment, mountaintop experiences, joy, deep moments with God, and the battle of feeling misunderstood, never enough, and too much. It is filled with masks, a deep burden for others, and a heart that craves to be creative.

Many people have seen me as someone who is optimistic, strong, and often, naïve. Yet, behind my smile, I have hidden, deep wounds. There have been seasons where I have opened the curtains of my life to people but have been told it was too much.

Adventure is a big theme in my life. I crave it. I breathe it in, and cannot get enough of it. I have gotten to travel America twice so far– 42 states total–and have collected so many stories that have changed me for the better. I find adventure to be one of the most humbling things. We often have a preconceived idea of what adventure looks like in our lives and we imagine how we will respond to it.

Through the pursuit of adventure, I have discovered God loves to surprise us and allow our weaknesses to come out of the shadows when we are faced with something new. I thought I was fearless and bold until I was faced with the opportunities to actually live it out.

I have also realized adventure can be found in the pain, the mundane, and in a job you never wanted. God has taken my picture of adventure, broken it apart, remolded it, and helped me see His way has so much more purpose than my way.”

 

Fear & Joy:  how does it feel to experience both so overwhelmingly?

“Well, it feels overwhelming, to put it simply.

I feel God in it though. Some of my greatest mountain top experiences have occurred when fear and joy collided. Yet, the valley moments have also experienced the collision. He meets me in both.

I am a ‘feeler’ and feel everything intensely. I consider it my greatest strength and weakness. As much as I have had moments where I have tried to wish it away, I wouldn’t change it. Experiencing fear and joy all at once is what helps me connect with people and their stories. It draws me to the person no one is talking to. It causes me to cry out to God for help and not lean on my own understanding, and reminds me how human I really am.

Joy is often a product of overcoming fear and not letting the fear control you. Without fear, joy wouldn’t be as profound.”

 

What color is the word fear when you think of it & why?

“My instinct said red; but, after I closed my eyes, I saw blue.

As I pondered why it was blue, I saw the ocean. It was vast, full of the unknown, full of secrets, storms. Yet, so beautiful. That’s how I see fear.

Satan tells us all fear is of him and only leads to destruction and our downfall. Since he is the king of lies, that is a lie. Instead, fear is often the thing that can draw us to our knees as we fall before God. It is the cry and passion in our prayers. It is the cracks in our heart where the Light can shine through. Fear crashes over us, suffocates, and can leave us feeling lost with no hope in sight. The song “Oceans” by Hillsong comes to my mind.

 

You call me out upon the waters //

The great unknown where feet may fail //

And there I find You in the mystery //

In oceans deep //

My faith will stand

 

He calls us to step out when fear says ‘no.’ He calls us into the unknown, where we find Him. When the fear is deep, we still will stand. Fear doesn’t have to drown you; rather, it can lift you up if you allow it.”

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