Okay, Felicia, I am so excited to have you today on day two of our 12 books of Christmas to share about your book. Stop calling me beautiful with our listeners. This has to have one of the best subtitles that I think I've seen in a long time, which is finding soul deep strength in a skin deep. World. And so kind of to jump off, I'd love for you to talk listeners through your heart, for the message and just kind of where the title and all of that good stuff came from for you.
Definitely. So the book title actually originated and the book itself originated as a blog post by a similar name. The blog post was called dear women's ministry. Stop telling me I'm beautiful. And that was adapted into stop calling me beautiful when it became the book and the heart of the blog post, which was actually very short, was.
That women in the church are ready for deeper, richer, more complete messages about their faith. They want more than pink fluff gospel. If you will. I'm talking about identity and beauty, but never really giving them the substance of the gospel and how that motivates them and changes them in their world.
And so women resonated. So much with that blog posts that we realized, this is a much bigger message. It needs to be fleshed out into a book. And, and that is what it became. And so the subtitle, um, finding soul deep strength in a skin deep world really reflects that the gospel is what gives us strength and we tend to as a church, um, treat women almost as if they don't need, or aren't interested in the whole gospel by giving them.
Messages that are halfway true or part of what's in scripture, but not the whole story. And so that's what the book gets into. Yeah, I love that. And I love how you approach this discussion and just share so practically with how we can kind of rightly pursue truth in all of this. And, you know, I think if we were raised in the church, if we've been around a while, we can probably name off and spout off.
So many promises that are, that are true and good in scripture, like you're saying, but the, or missing a piece of it. So I'd love for you to kind of unpack with listeners, maybe some of those phrases, some of those things that we say, and then how you and the book. Kind of help us see the whole picture of the gospel.
Yeah. A few that we might be familiar with are, um, you are worthy, you are a daughter of the King. Um, you're beautiful on the inside. God sees you as beautiful and none of these are wrong. They're just incomplete. So the, you are worthy message in particular, um, is the end point of the gospel? The gospel makes us worthy.
We were separated from God and Christ came to reconcile us. And through him, when God looks at us, he sees Christ. He sees our worthiness in God's eyes that we could never have earned. But when we just start with you're worthy the way you are. We leave out how that happened for the Christian woman. We leave out what, what God had to do in order to have that worthiness put on us.
And I think that that cheapens, the grace of God, it cheapens our faith. It makes us feel like that faith doesn't really apply to life. And we end up not knowing where our worth actually comes from. And so we have to keep hearing that message over and over and over again. Without ever getting the full story on how it happened.
And it's the same with things like your beautiful daughter of the King. Well, certainly in Christ, but how did that happen? Something huge had to happen for us to have that privilege. And how does that change? How I live? How does that change? My view of God? A lot of times we end up with these very self focused messages and books for women, instead of turning the focus back to.
To whom it rightfully belongs, which is the Lord. Yeah, absolutely. And I think sometimes it's, it's a well, meaning, you know, maybe women's ministry, ministry leader is, is well intentioned and, you know, naming their, their conference or their event, you know, in that way or having that kind of core message.
But my husband and I talk about this a lot. My husband's a pastor, I think, um, sometimes. It's it's just very easy to get in that mindset, especially in our consumeristic society, that we're in, where we fear, which I don't think this is from God. We fear that, Oh, if I, if I go with the completeness of the gospel and Oh, wait, the cherry on top is you're worthy because of Jesus, then.
You know, am I going to reach people? And again, exactly what you're saying. It cheapens grace, it cheapens what Jesus did on the cross. And I just, I love that. I love that this is the thrust of your message, because I think that, um, I think it's so needed in our season, in our culture today. And so if you were to encourage women's ministry leaders in the church today with kind of the core of this message, how would you encourage them?
To do better. Well, again, you know, it's not that we stop saying these things, because like you said, I would say 99% of the time, it is well intentioned. It's just not completely thought through. Um, and we need to make sure we have our priorities straight and what, what our goals are in women's ministry.
What do we want? These women to experience. And, you know, a lot of times we'll hear things like, well, I want to encourage women in Christ. I want to, um, you know, empower them in their, in their faith. Well, how does that happen? What we see in scripture is that happens through the word of God. From knowing the word of God, so they know who God is, and that then encourages and empowers them because you don't want them to be dependent on you as a human, the women's ministry leader forever.
Right? You want them to know where to go to get that information? And so what I would say to leaders is. We've got to teach our women how to study the Bible for themselves. Yeah. I love the Lifeway studies. I've done so many of those. I'm a huge fan of them, but honestly, I think we've created women who can't open the Bible without a fill in the blank structure.
They don't know how to read a book of the Bible without some kind of devotional crutch. And the truth of the matter is that for many thousands of church, years of church history, Nobody had that. And they, they had to study the Bible on their own. And when they finally got it in their language, there was this rejoicing that they could read it for themselves.
And we've actually almost moved backward, um, today to where. We're not taking advantage of the literacy available to us. And so I would encourage our leaders to sure, utilize the books and not fill in the blank studies. I still am a fan of those, but maybe alternate those with teaching your women, how to study on their own, how to read the Bible on their own so that they can truly know, Oh, this is who God is.
I can approach him. And cultivate this rich relationship and go deeper on my own with him. Yeah. I was in a small group a few years ago. It was before we got married and for about a year, we, and I forget the name of the actual format. I should have looked this up, but it just came to me as you're talking.
But what we did was we. Studied several different books and kind of the format of our discussion during small group was we would, we'd read scripture and two or three different translations, and then we would answer the questions. What does this say about God? What does this mean to me? And then what step of obedience?
Do I take because of that, you know, and it was so simple. And so, you know, if you're listening to this today and you think, wow, that seems, you know, intimidating or start, you know, you don't have to start super complicated or, you know, even just having some type of basic structure of questions can kind of, kind of help you as you think through and.
So there are a lot of things that could get in the way of our ability to live boldly. As a woman of God, you talk about a lot of these things in the book. So how do things like legalism shallow theology, which we've talked about a little bit and false teaching, keep us from living boldly. Well, let's look at legalism cause we kind of already touched on shallow teaching.
So legalism is any addition to God's commands, mans. Addition to God's commands. A shortcut to holiness is another way I like to look at it where God has his command. So let's look at say the sexual ethic. Um, he says sex is for marriage. And so we say, okay, sexist for marriage. Um, and we decide dancing leads to sex.
So no dancing. That would be an example of adding onto God's command your idea of how to get to God's command, but then saying. You know, this is what God said, no dancing, which we know isn't true from scripture because we see dancing all through scripture. Yeah. So, you know, that's an example of something that might be a personal conviction for somebody.
Um, but when they apply that to other people that becomes legalism. Yeah. And so with something like that, um, the problem is we start to get confused about whether we're following God and really pleasing God or whether we're pleasing, man. And as. Women who are trapped in legalism, come out of legalism.
It's extremely hard for them to determine what is God and what was an abusive church or a manipulative parent, or, you know, illegal cystic worldview. And they feel very, very confused. We actually see many of these women reject Christianity completely because they. Thought that these rules were who God was.
And so this goes back again to what does scripture really say? What is it teaching us about our values and our choices. And, um, we can live boldly into what God's calling us to do when we can spot legalism. And we can say, Hey, no, I'm really glad that's your conviction. But, um, there is freedom on this issue in scripture.
And so I I'm walking this out differently in my life. Um, false teaching too, can be a limiter of our faith and our obedience because we're deceived by something that's not true. And Paul and Peter say throughout the Bible over and over, keep an eye out for these people who will deceive you. Who will tell you things that are not true about God and about scripture and about our values.
Um, so be aware, but we can't discern what's true if we don't have a standard for what's true. If we've never, you know, had that bar, that moral standard of scripture taught to us. And so coming back again, it's that knowing the word, walking personally with the Lord that takes us deeper and gives us the boldness to know that the choices we're making are right.
Yeah. Yeah. There has been a common theme of a lot of conversations that I've had lately on the podcast, just about staying rooted in the word. And a lot of my conversations have just came right back to that. And I think we're just in a time where. We can be so easily distracted, so easily influenced probably more so than any culture before us.
And so now more than ever, it's just, it's just so vital. And so one word that we've talked about a lot throughout. The interview so far is theology. So for somebody who's listening and maybe they feel intimidated by that term, how would you encourage them to take steps forward in pursuing God's truth?
Yeah, that is a good question. I think theology is reminiscent. Of mahogany studies and Oxford and Cambridge and Tweed suits and yes, Louis and black and white photos. And you're like, Nope, that's not me. But theology by definition is simply the study of the nature of God. And Christian theology would be the study of the nature of the Christian God.
So father, son, and Holy spirit understanding the nature of God is the responsibility of every Christian. So by the definition we just gave. Every Christian should be a theologian. And I call this an everyday theologian so that people don't feel like they're taking a title that they don't deserve, but pursuing theology doesn't mean that you have to read these massive books that are 500 pages long, unless you want to.
There's a lot of great resources that are smaller, and really it's just piece by piece, pursuing a deeper understanding of. Christianity and God how he works, how he operates, things like the Trinity. You know, we accept that, but do we know where that comes from? Where it is in scripture? What it means, the more you know about God, the more confident you are in your faith.
And so one of the things I love studying doctrine actually leads you to devotion. C S Lewis has a quote in a, um, in an early forward to another book where he says devotionals are great. And this is back in the fifties. Um, devotional books are awesome, but if you ever struggle with feeling connected to God, What you might need is to study doctrine.
And you'll find that you feel closer to God by studying it because you're learning so much more about him. And I think once we give people the meat, you know, kind of the harder stuff that challenges them a little bit, especially women, they feel like, wow, I really am capable of understanding this. I am capable of going deeper.
And when they do it, they feel more confident sharing their faith with others and more connected to the Lord. Yeah. Have you and Mary Wiley connected? I don't think so. Okay. She did a study that Lifeway put out this year called every everyday theology. I think that's what it's called, but it's, it's really good.
And I had her on the show a couple of months ago and she, I think y'all would y'all are cut from the same cloth. So you need to connect with her, but she said something and I thought it was really good. And she said, you know, We all have our own version of theology. It's just a matter of how invested we are in like, pursuing God's truth day to day and walking with him.
But, you know, we so often get intimidated by that word, but it really just is the study of God. Right. And so, so yeah, I think it can kind of, it's a word that we use and we throw around, but it really just is. Walking with God and studying those. It is, it is. And, and she's right. Everybody has a theology, even people who aren't Christians, they have a theology.
The question is whether that theology is true. Is it, is it true? Does it match up with the objective standard or is it not true? Cause you can believe things or assume things about God that aren't actually true and you're basing your life choices off of. Your understanding of how he works. Um, we see this a lot with prosperity gospel, an assumption that, well, you know, if something's going wrong in my life, I guess I didn't have enough faith.
Well, that's a theological assumption about God and how he operates. And so we have to check that, does this line up with what scripture says about God and about me? You know, and it changes how we interact with people, how we make decisions. It's so important that we say, Oh, you know, I wonder if that's actually true or if it's just something I adopted.
Yeah. Yeah, definitely. And another piece that you talk about in the book is experiencing God's presence and painful circumstances. And so I'd love. For you to encourage somebody current to the listener who is kind of in the thick of a painful season, it's been a hard year. So I know, but even by the time people listen to this, we will have kind of endured quite a, quite a year.
Um, so how would you encourage them to know they can experience God's presence like never before in this type of season, man, that is it's very relevant for 2020, but also for, um, Our life personally, my husband and I, um, in June of 2019, I broke my leg in a soccer game and was taken to the hospital to get a plate and eight screws put in my leg.
At that point, we had a three-year-old three and a half year old and a one and a half year old and he was working full time and couldn't take. He couldn't take any time off. They, they didn't, they wouldn't let him. So I was on bed rest for two and a half months. Um, and then not walking for four with small children.
Um, and it, you know, it just kind of rolled into the next year. We had some major challenges in the next year, um, two, and then the whole world had to face challenges. And so in circumstances like that, It's very, it can be very hard to see beyond our circumstances. They loom large. But fortunately we have in scripture, these beautiful models of people who experienced God's presence in the midst of pain, you can think of people like Hagar, who is in rejection, thinks she's going to die.
Things. Her son is going to die and God needs her in the desert. And he blesses her family and he frees her son. You've got Hannah who is struggling with infertility and being mocked and derided by her family members. And the Lord visits are and comforts are, and then gives her a child. You know, you have all these examples of women in particular, who were in painful circumstances and the Lord was with them.
You can even think of Mary mother of Jesus, who would have been completely shamed for what looked like an illegitimate child. And God. Visited her. The Lord is with you. This idea of God. As a manual, we talk about at Christmas, he is a manual God with us, that name carries over beyond Christmas. He came to earth to be with us.
He came to be a manual, but he never left because he gave the Holy spirit to be with us. And so a manual is the name that we get to call him through every single circumstance and every single trial. And that's. The character of who he is, is what we trust, not the circumstances. That's so good. So there's a question that I ask everybody that comes on the show that I'm excited to ask you.
And then we're going to get into our Christmas question, which I'm super pumped about. But first, what do you think is the best piece of advice that you've ever been given? I wish I could have like a, you know, Topic for each, you know, like a top five, top five pieces of advice. Um, so this is kind of like a little jaunt, a little bit of a different direction, but this is the advice I always think of this.
Um, my husband and I have been married for almost seven years. And the advice you were given by an older Christian couple was it wasn't even advice so much. It was a statement is every Christian marriage should be an excellent Christian marriage. It was very simple, but it's something that stuck with me that God's heart for.
My marriage is for it to be excellent. It's not to be mediocre or average or miserable. That's his heart. And if it's not, then that's something I can walk with the Lord into improving and we have not had an easy marriage. So that's been something that's been really encouraging to me to remember, like God has for my marriage.
Something that we kind of come back to frequently. Wow. Yeah, that that's really good. I've never, I've not heard that before, but it's so right. And that encourages me. We're about a year into marriage and I joined my husband down here when we got married. We knew each other years ago and have been friends for a long time, but, um, I kind of jumped into marriage and baptism by fire, into ministry and moving and coming into a whole new church family.
And so the last year of our lives has been quite a roller coaster, but God's walked with us and, and yeah, that's just a really good. That's a great reminder for me today as well. Okay. So last question, and I'm asking this of all of our authors that, that are going to be a part of the 12 books of Christmas.
And that is what is your favorite Christmas tradition? Okay. So I'm big on Christmas traditions and combining them from faint, you know, you get married and you combine the traditions and you have all these things. But fortunately my husband and I live where I grew up. So I get to kind of, co-op some of the traditions that you had when I was a kid and I have quite a few, but.
What they're kind of connected together. Um, one of them is we always go and cut down our own live Christmas tree, if at all possible we go and we cut it and we bring it home. We decorate it. And then shortly after that, that's right after Thanksgiving, we go to a local reenactment of the Christmas story it's been going on for like 35 years or 40 years.
And I know some people do like the live nativities, but this is like, you. You walk through these rooms and their church that they've decorated, like ancient Israel, and they have different sets. Wow. You like, you go outside and then you ride a wagon over to where the shepherds and the angels takes place outside.
And we live in Northern Michigan. So this is all in the snow. So, um, You finish it up and they have cookies and hot chocolate where everybody can sit around and talk and they get hundreds of people who come through every, every year. They only do it for two weeks and it's completely free because it's a ministry, um, evangelism opportunity.
I just love it. Cool. That's awesome. Oh, I bet. And how old are your kids? Remind me. Um, they are five and three and we have a newborn baby. So fun. So fun. Um, Okay. I love that so much. And Christmas is just my favorite. So it's so fun that I'm, we're recording this quite a bit before Christmas, but it's fun to hear about everybody's traditions and I'm going to make kind of a guide for people to be able to maybe try some new things and maybe people can find I'm sure there are other reenactments like that.
That sounds. Like it would be a lot of fun, so, Oh, I'm sure. Yeah. Lime nativities or ours is called journey to Bethlehem, but I've seen similar options in other States too. So they might be a similar kind of construct. I love it. This is off script, but it made me think, have you visited the Holy land yet? No, no.
I had the opportunity last year. I was invited to be a tour guide to Israel, um, teaching on a, on a tour bus for the museum of the Bible, because I had a connection there, but, um, it just wasn't working. We our schedule. And then she left the, she left the museum. And so I was like, wow, that was good. That I didn't end up doing.
Yeah. Well, whenever, you know, if God leads or you have the opportunity to go, I think you would. Man, it, it just makes the Bible come alive. I went with my husband and two people from our church last fall, and we were over there for about nine days or so. And it just totally changed the way I read my Bible, you know?
And so a lot of them believe it, you know, even when you think about, when you think about Bethlehem and you just imagine what you think it would be like, it's such a humble, normal place. And, um, there were so many things that. I don't know, we're just such surprises when, cause I had never really looked at pictures of like actual Bethlehem and you know, and so you go and it just was the most incredible experience of, of Sony one day.
Yeah, it's on my list for sure. For sure. Well, Felicia, thank you so much for being my guest today. I'm so excited for listeners to check out your book and all the resources that you have. So tell them real quick, where they can find you connect with you all that good stuff. Yeah. They can find me on social media at Felicia Mason, Heimer, Felicia spelled with a P H Y.
Not with an F and my website is Felicia Mason, heimer.com. Those are the best ways to reach me. My website has all of my eBooks available. I have them on theology, basics, Bible, study, sexuality, things like that. And then on Instagram and on Facebook, I share a lot of different articles and teachings there as well.
People like to follow along with, so they're welcome to join me in any of those places. Awesome. Good deal. Well, thank you for being with me today and I'm excited for listeners to get a chance to read your book. Thanks for having me.