Everyone, this is Erika. She’s an amazing young woman. She love to paint watercolor at the shop with various friends. It’s always so fun to see what her latest creation is. If you see her at the shop be sure to say hello! We sat down with her and asked a few questions:

Sum yourself up in two sentences

Oh man! I exist to extend love, grace and encouragement so people may know their value. That’s me.

If there was advice you could give to your younger self what would it be?

If I could give advice to my younger self, it would be “Believe in yourself and know how loved and valued you are because everything is going to come from that. Your whole life is going to depend on your value and knowing that no matter what you do, you’re important and you’re loved. There are great and big things ahead if you know you’re value. And show yourself a lot of grace, because you’re going to need it.”

What is one of your  biggest life accomplishments?

There are things like, getting my masters and that’s awesome. But I think there are things like learning how to love people really, really well and being successful in that. I have a group of students that I mentor and learning how to love them well and seeing that my love has impacted them has been probably my greatest thing. Loving them, discipling them, watching them grow into young women who love Jesus has been the coolest accomplishment and probably what I’m most proud of in my life.

Does that love stem from being a believer in Jesus?

Yes, 100%. Learning how to unconditionally love people can only happen when you have experienced unconditional love which can only happen through Jesus. It makes it really easy to love people when you yourself are always loved.

What is one thing that has made you a stronger person?

I have a pretty large struggle with anxiety and it’s crazy having an anxious heart and being a believer. It’s a crazy experience when you’re anxious and you’re worried but you’re hopeful and you believe that good things are coming and you trust that good things are coming. And so I think, diving into the pit of that anxiety and experiencing it and walking through it, you know, riding the waves and knowing that Jesus is there and that you’re loved and know that the anxiety isn’t going to win has made me a much stronger person. Having to experience the deep, dark places of my mind and heart and walking out on the other side and still being like “I’m going to love people well and I’m going to show grace” because these are things I need people to be for me. Learning how Jesus has already overcome it and so I get to overcome it, too, and not letting it win even when it tries to win. But, it’s already been defeated and destroyed so I don’t need to worry about it because there’s already hope.

What’s your favorite memory?

My dad is from Scotland. A year and a half ago, I went to Scotland with my parents and going as an adult was the coolest thing ever. Driving the highlands, seeing castles, walking battlefields, knowing history I’ve known my whole life and being able to experience that with Creation. Scotland is my favorite place in the whole world. The best moment of that trip was being in an old burnout castle. It’s over-looking Loch Ness and there’s a bagpiper playing. So, you’re just overlooking this scene, and there’s a bagpiper playing. It was just perfect.

What music are you listening to right now?

Ed Sheeran- Divide
Kari Jobe – The Garden

Needtobreathe, I’m always listening to Needtobreathe.

What is something that brings you joy?

I love people and just being around people, loving them, encouraging them fills my heart. Worship music fills my heart; I love lyrics and what God is doing there. I love beauty– creativity and creation. I love however beauty is found in God-made and man-made things.

What is your favorite thing about Roots?

Awwww, I love Roots. I think when you come here, and every person I’ve brought here, it just becomes home. Mallory’s one of my best friends in the whole world so seeing her is just the best. It’s a creative space, it’s a space that is beautiful. It’s home, with people and creation and all the things.