024: Freefall to Fly with Rebekah Lyons


Three years ago, a friend gave me a ticket to the She is Free conference. Rebekah Lyons, author of You Are Free and Freefall to Fly, was at the conference speaking about her experience with anxiety. I was sitting there, not comprehending what she went through and struggling to have empathy. Fast forward to a year later and I found myself struggling with debilitating anxiety. Ever since then, I’ve wanted to have a chat with Rebekah about anxiety and I’m so glad we were able to have this conversation and share it with you.

Struck with Pain

“I think God always makes our pain become purpose.”

  • She never set out to be a voice on anxiety, but that is where life led her.
  • She developed a panic disorder in 2010 after moving to Manhattan and remembered feeling alone in her experience.
  • “My surrender moment was my first panic attack.”
  • Her first panic attack was four months after moving to New York. It was sparked by a claustrophobia while her plane was landing in LaGuardia. This marked the beginning of a turbulent year of panic attacks.
  • Rebekah remembers praying for healing one night in bed with her husband and waking up the next morning, a bit timid, thinking, “Did it take?”
  • “When you’re sick, you only see inward, you see what is broken, you see what is lost. When a healing journey begins, you begin to look up and look out and notice everybody else.”
  • She remembers walking around that day looking outward.

Finding an Answer for the Fear

  • We are so gripped in fear, and we don’t always know why.
  • “It’s the first time I’ve known the rescue of God in the 30 years I’ve called myself a Christian.”
  • She began to research mental health in the church in search of the underlying root to her fears.
  • “We are supposed to shout peace from the rooftops.”
  • Rebekah recognizes that self-idolatry and false idolatry keep us from being stewards of God.
  • “Holy Spirit, would you please show me any counterfeit Gods in my life. Have I elevated my gift of writing over you, the giver of words?”
  • We have to put our trust back in God to find freedom and joy.
  • In this new season of life, Rebekah and her husband are welcoming joy in to their life and are adopting. Their baby girl Joy will be joining them in December.

In the Pursuit of Peace

“You cannot heal what is hidden.”

  • Rebekah advises those of you going through anxiety to get a journal and write down your thoughts every morning.
  • Start a conversation with God; there is no right way to do it. “Invite God into the stress.”
  • Reach out to friends to help you find the root of your anxiety, they can help identify the moments when you stop looking outward and retreat inward.
  • When you know what is causing those deep-down feelings of discomfort, lay it all down and prioritize it all below God.
  • We fall into traps of tying our identity to some thing instead of God. 

Rebekah is such a voice of healing and I adore her for it. Visit her website for free resources like tips for mental health and anxiety. Her book, You Are Free, is for sale wherever books are sold. Keep up with her work, life, and beautiful family on Instagram.


Kat Harris

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Boss Ladies / Life

Boss Ladies | Kayla Huff


Boss Ladies | Kayla Huff || The Refined Woman

Photos : Jessica Matteson // Outfit : Vetta Capsule

Kayla Huff is the Director of Development and Marketing for Healing Waters International and the Founder of The Her Initiative, passionately fighting to end the global water crisis. She lives in Denver, Colorado with her husband, Nathan, and dog, Alfie. She’s loves speaking on all types of social justice issues, sneaking away to the mountains whenever she can, dreaming up new design ideas for her home, and enjoys bringing the right amount of goofiness into every personal encounter.

As a child I dreamed of becoming

An author and speaker to women. Even at a really young age I was aware that there seemed to be a lack of authority and power in women’s voices. I grew up in a culture where women’s words weren’t held with the same respect as men’s and whenever I heard a woman I respected, I was all ears and wanted to be just like her! I’m thankful that today’s society has given women much more of a platform to speak up.

The last photo I took on my phone

A selfie with my husband and dog in the back of our truck, drinking coffee in the mountains (insert country music song lyrics!)

My guilty pleasure

Tuna poke and a really good glass of Pinot Noir. Really just any fantastic food/wine pairing. Some (my husband) may say I’m a “food snob,” but I like to think they mean a “foodie.” I can also kill a bag of white cheddar popcorn quicker than the average person so I’m not that high maintenance!

One thing people might be surprised to learn about me

After college, I started a Master’s program studying Historical Theology and was planning on getting my phD. I quit the program, moved to Colorado and started working retail at Anthropologie. It was such a major 180 degree change from the life I thought I was going to live but trusting my gut and leaving that program was the best decision I could have ever made for my career.

My favorite way to unwind

This has changed over the years but can look like anything from a high intensity spin class after work or a slow stroll in our neighborhood. Time outside is always good for my soul! Often I just need to sit down on the couch with a cup of coffee or a glass of wine and just be still. Being with my people – my husband, my best girlfriends, and my sister keeps me grounded and is an extremely necessary part of how I relax and unwind. I love constantly being on the go, dreaming up work concepts, thinking about the next home project I want to do, and while productivity is something that makes me come alive, I’m learning more and more to create margin to just rest, with nothing on my calendar.

Boss Ladies | Kayla Huff || The Refined Woman

My real life hero is (who and why)—

My teammate and dear friend, Jessie Matteson. There are many heroes in my life but she sticks out so significantly, especially in this season of life. Jessie works alongside me doing all the marketing and development for both Healing Waters and The Her Initiative. I’ve never had a more perfect work partner who is also a great friend outside of the office. She constantly challenges me and always pushes me closer to Jesus.  Not only is she incredibly talented at what she does, she’s also one of the most positive and passionate people I have ever met. Jessie and her husband, Bryce, are great friends who constantly encourage me to think how I can love and serve people better. Jessie stopped her full-time photography gig to come work full-time with me and her husband is committing all of 2018 to run 50 marathons, in 50 states, in 50 weeks, to bring awareness to the global water crisis! (Check out Run5050!) How incredible is that? It’s so important to have inspiring people in your life and Jessie is for sure one of the best!

What I love about my work

The people I come into contact with and the creative ways we get to interact with them. That may be my coworkers at our headquarters or our coworkers who live all around the world. It’s the women, men, and children we work with in the Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Haiti, and Mexico who are changing their communities for the better. It’s the women I get connected with everyday who want to join the work we are doing with The Her Initiative! It’s all the incredible donors who are actually ending the Global Water Crisis through their generosity. People and relationships are the best and most important part of my work.

The hardest thing about my work

Never really being “off the clock.” Being so personally invested in our work keeps me always checking my email, responding to texts, etc. It’s always on my mind. I can’t really imagine having a job where I could just leave after 5pm and be checked out. That’s not how I’m wired.

How I got started with my current career

August 2018 starts my seventh year in the “development” (fundraising) world. Not to be confused with “international development” which is the sector I’ve always worked in, but my role in development, refers to fundraising, like “business development” opportunities. I got started by approaching a friend of a friend with my thesis on the abolition of the transatlantic slave trade and why education was key in changing the lives of formerly enslaved women. That led to a few meetings and being offered an entry level development position for a non-profit working in Cambodia. Two and a half years later I was given an opportunity to come to Healing Waters where I became the Director of Development and Marketing and was given the agency to become an “intrapreneur” of sorts to start The Her Initiative.

One of the biggest mistakes I made when I was starting out

When I get asked this I cringe because there is one specific moment in the very beginning of my career that will forever be the dumbest thing I’ve done working in fundraising. After receiving a significant gift from a donor, I went to meet with her and assumed she had the capacity to continue to make large financial contributions. She then told me that her gift was a huge sacrifice for her and that she was not a “person of means.” I can’t tell you how tactless I felt sitting across from her. The key lessons I learned from that encounter continue to inform all of my relationships: never make assumptions, don’t force an “ask” without having a relationship with the person, and take the time to get to know someone authentically, not because you want to get something from them!

Boss Ladies | Kayla Huff || The Refined Woman

I used to think success meant

No limits on anything you wanted to do.

My current definition of success

Living an authentic life that is full and generous but has margin; being with people who love you.

An example of when I had to push through my insecurities

I am always pushing through my insecurities. Recently I started reflecting on the things I don’t feel “qualified” to do, say, be and then I realized that not feeling qualified was a byproduct of fear and insecurity.

I have felt disqualified at times to speak up because I have felt that previous bad decisions I made didn’t give me authority to share truth and wisdom with people. As though I was defined and scarred by my past. Recently, I was scared to have a tough conversation with a friend and had convinced myself I wasn’t qualified to speak truth into her life because I hadn’t seen her in a while. That lie was because of fear and I had to push through and tell myself I was highly qualified because I love her and want the best for her. The same is true in my professional life too. Maybe I don’t always feel qualified to sit in executive meetings because I’m a 29 year old girl who is the age of my boss’s own daughter. And yet I’m there, because I am qualified and I should be sitting at that table. Our minds can be our greatest enemies in telling us we aren’t worthy or qualified. That just isn’t true.

For me, balance means

Feeling at peace in a very holistic way – body, mind and soul. If I feel stress or anxiety in my thought life, my spiritual life, or in my overall health, I feel completely unbalanced. The older I’m getting the more I’m learning just how important keeping a “checks and balances” approach to these three parts of me is!

A few ways I practice self-care

Being outside, reading, saying no, cooking, traveling, unplugging.

Boss Ladies | Kayla Huff || The Refined Woman

My happiest moment in the past 6 months

My wedding day! My husband and I got married in January and it really was the best day of my life, as cliché as that sounds. To commit ourselves to each other in front of all of our friends and family was such a sacred experience and then the party and dancing after made it such a celebratory day and the perfect way to start our adventure into married life!

I feel the most beautiful in my skin when

I come home from a spin class drenched in sweat and Nathan is so excited to see me and gives me the biggest hug and kiss even though I smell disgusting.

I wish I could tell my younger self

To be patient. It’s so important to work hard and set goals but it’s also great to sit back and watch things unfold the way they are supposed to. I used to create timelines in my head as to how things should go and when those went awry, I felt like my whole world would fall apart. Patience has brought the best things – a dream job, an incredible husband, the deepest of friendships, and a life I’m proud to be living.


A favorite quote

Words can carry so much hope and these two quotes have been powerful mantras for a long time for me:

“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” – Mary Oliver

“And now that you don’t have to be perfect, you can be good.” John Steinbeck

The legacy I hope to leave

That loving yourself, others, and the world are not mutually exclusive things – you can do it all! And each relies on the other. I want people to look at my life and see a woman who vehemently pursued justice, was generous in giving grace and love to those around her, and took care of herself in a way that encouraged others to love themselves more.


Kayla Huff


023: A Million Little Things with Christina Moses


Christina Moses is an incredibly talented actress who is starring in the ensemble cast of A Million Little Things on ABC which premiered on September 26th. It focuses on a group of friends who come together after a friend of theirs suddenly dies, and is being called The Big Chill meets This Is Us. If you’ve seen the first episode, you’ll know how good it is. She also appears in Condor, The Originals, Containment, Roadies, and Rosewood. Aside from acting, she dedicates her time to philanthropic efforts with organizations like Lotus Outreach International, The Girl Effect and the Geena Davis Institute.

Everything Happens for a Reason


“Anytime you put anything your love out there, you’re exposed in some way.”


  • Her new show, A Million Little Things, explores the idea that everything in life happens for a reason.
  • Believing in karma, Christina personally notices the power of cause and effect in everyday life.  She goes through life thinking, “how can I choose to learn from this situation?”

Hard Work to Success

“Getting my heart aligned with my mind to muster up the courage and the confidence to even go for it was a long road.”


  • Overnight successes aren’t really a reality, however it’s so easy to see it that way when all we see are the shiny, edited, spotlight moments of someone’s life.
  • Growing up in Los Angeles in a household with an acting coach father, she went on auditions as a kid. She was shy in every audition and decided that it was best to put it off for a while until she felt comfortable.
  • In school, she dedicated time to painting and poetry before she discovered theater where she could express her creativity in a comfortable way.



Finding Your Worth

“It took a long time to really believe that I deserve to be there.”

    • She moved to New York, and dove into cultural and race politics before realizing she missed acting. “It took me forever to admit that this is something I want to do.”
    • In 2008, she got representation, and decided that she was going to really go for it.
    • Christina never doubted her talent as an actor, but her childhood experiences affected her view of her worth.
    • Looking back, she recognizes the trauma she felt on the auditions as a child and the need she felt to please her father.






Surviving to Thriving

  • Christina acknowledges that for a long time, she was just surviving and living with a level of anxiety.
  • “It has so much to do with being afraid of the space that I would take up if I shined if I just followed my heart.”
  • “What truly lights me up is bringing people along for the ride. I get lit up when other people are lit up.” She hopes she can do that for everyone who sees her work.
  • “There is this complete fear of being our best selves.”
  • We have to understand and accept our wounds and faults in order to move through them.
  • Looking back on her childhood, she would give herself many pieces of advice, one being “Make all the mistakes in the world.” Did you need to hear that? Because I sure did.

Christina and I dove right into some deep topics and I am so grateful for her heart and her talent. Want to keep up with her and her work? Follow her on Instagram and Twitter and don’t forget to tune in to A Million Little Things on ABC every Wednesday at 10/9c. You do not want to miss out!

If this podcast has been a gift to you, would you head over to the podcast app and leave a review? I want to express my gratitude for you guys, so screenshot your review and DM it to @therefinedcollective or tag me in it on Instagram and I will give you a shout out on IG stories! Make sure to tune in to the episode to see if I read your review on air!


Kat Harris

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