Faith Empowered

Guideposts|June/July 2020

Faith Empowered
Going where love and Jesus take you

SOMETHING YOU PROBABLY know about me, whether it’s from watching my HGTV series My Big Family Renovation or following me on Instagram, is that I like to speak my mind. The things I love—God, my family, my community— I love big-time. And when I see injustice in the world, so help me, Jesus, you will hear me roar, whatever the consequences.

I wasn’t always so comfortable in my own skin. I am, by nature, a type-A rule follower, thirsty for affirmation. When I was young, I was prepared to grow up and behave how the Men in Charge thought I should be: quiet and demure. But hiding, posing and pretending is exhausting. It didn’t take long for me to realize that in order to bring my full gifts to bear on this earth, to nourish myself and others, I needed to let the deepest parts of myself rise up.

I wrote my latest book, Fierce, Free and Full of Fire, to share my stories about learning to live more authentically and help guide others toward the same. Being myself has cost me, but I am also breathing clean air for the first time. I’m not afraid anymore. I’m offering you everything I learned, because I want this for you too.


I was raised around well-behaved women like my mom, my grandma and their friends. Don’t get me wrong: I loved these suburban church women who didn’t drink, never cussed and sang in the Christmas cantatas. My mom and the neighborhood moms were all smart and capable, but they rode in the passenger seat.

I barely saw women in civic leadership, corporate management—and certainly not the pulpit. Growing up, I assumed that I would find my place in their world, one in which men were in charge and women acted as behind-the-scenes helpers. Then, when I was nine, I met Miss Prissy.

Miss Prissy was a family friend. She dressed head to toe in leopard print, was supermodel gorgeous and blew my mind. “I think I’ll get my nose done,” she said without a hint of shame. Whoa! I didn’t know women could take up space like that. And she refused to apologize for it.

Seeing a woman like Miss Prissy living so comfortably in her own skin opened me up to new possibilities. Later, it was the lady deacons at my first church out of college who expanded my ideas of what women—especially religious women—could be. Then it was author Anne Lamott. Pushing me a little bit each time until my husband, Brandon, and I opened our own church in Austin.

Looking back, I realize I was never wired to be a woman like my mom or grandmother, as much as I loved them. God put other teachers on my path to help me be who he made: a fiery, funny, self-deprecating spiritual leader. I couldn’t be anyone else.



You can read up to 3 premium stories before you subscribe to Magzter GOLD

Log in, if you are already a subscriber


Get unlimited access to thousands of curated premium stories and 5,000+ magazines


June/July 2020