Today, Denea talks to us about our mission as believers in showing unfailing love, taking our emotions to God, seeing Him in our loneliness, and all about her Queen Styles Boutique.
Tell us a bit about how you grew up and your childhood: We moved around a lot, so I was familiar with being “the new kid”. Once my parents divorced, my mama moved my sister and me to South Carolina. I just remember that adjustment was hard for me. But during that time, I could feel God comforting me. I could feel God was developing me to depend on Him and not people’s approval. My mama would take us to church when we were younger, and I saw firsthand how real and personal God is.
Inspiring biblical passage of the moment: Psalm 23 has brought me so much comfort; especially during the past year, and a half. My husband, toddler, and I moved from Charlotte, NC to Germantown, TN two months before most places temporarily closed due to the pandemic. I’ve never felt so alone. Psalm 23 has helped me see how devoted God is to being my Good Shepherd.
Spiritual growth focus at the moment: I’m focusing on giving God my expectations for how I thought motherhood would look like. I will always be discontent when I compare how I thought my life would look like to what my reality is. The truth is, being a mama isn’t easy. I struggle with trying to grow my business and be present with my husband and son, daily. I must set aside my expectations and plans a lot to surrender to the plans God has for me. That has been such a tough growth process, but I can feel Him refining me and that is most important.
Profession: I own Queen Styles Boutique. It’s an online clothing boutique that helps mamas look cute, and comfy by providing stylish everyday clothing. I love reminding mamas how God sees them. I love uplifting mamas and encouraging them.
Tell us a bit about Queen Styles Boutique. What inspired this? Queen Styles Boutique started in 2017. Initially, my target customer was not mamas. I had our son in 2018 and battled Post-Partum Depression. I could feel God calling me to serve mamas, but I ignored it. I didn’t feel qualified, and to be honest, I still don’t. When I was finally obedient, and started to intentionally serve mamas, that’s when I felt aligned with what God wanted me to do.
If you wrote a memoir, what would the title be? Probably, something like: This Grace-Filled Hot Mess! I should definitely put that into motion right?
When did you first encounter God and how did you encounter Him? I grew up in church, but I don’t think I started to develop a personal relationship with God until my late 20s. It wasn’t until I heard a pastor talk about how God wants the real person that we are, that I started to feel a personal relationship with God develop. My father tarnished my view of what a father should be. It wasn’t until my late 20s that I realized that God isn’t mad at me. He is not in heaven shaking His head at me. I think it breaks His heart when I choose to do things my way. Not because He’s mad at me, but because He wants to do life with me. My earthly father isn’t capable of having a personal relationship with me. I never thought God would want one with me either, but it’s the total opposite: God adores me. Not because I’m perfect, He definitely knows that I’m not, but because I’m His. As a believer, I belong to Him, and He unconditionally loves me. If He had to choose me all over again, He would. My mess does not intimidate Him. He is The Redeemer. My Redeemer.
How would you describe Jesus? Someone who knows the broken, dark, ugly pieces about us, but unconditionally loves us. Jesus saw every single time we would disobey, lie, tarnish His name, and still wanted to die in our place so that we could have a chance to live with God forever. He died so that The Holy Spirit could help us until He returns for us. Jesus is close. He is the definition of love.
How has your relationship with Him changed you? I’ve always thought that I was wrong. I used to think I could never measure up. That when I messed up, I needed to hide from God. Having a personal relationship with Him has helped me diminish those lies, and focus on the truth: God loves me right where I am. He loves me when I’m awkward. He loves me when in the middle of chaos that I created! I see life differently now. I see motherhood differently now. I see marriage differently now.
What has been the darkest time in your life, and how did you see God in it? There have been a lot of dark moments. Since adolescence, I’ve struggled with depression, and anxiety. I also have a mild form of autism. There are times I feel so alone, and I have to continually remind myself that even now, God is with me. Even in this, God is with me. Even in the middle of the night, God is with me. There are so many times I feel as though I’m struggling in a box, and just can’t get out. I can’t be seen or heard in this box. I might not be out of the struggle, but I know that God is with me in it. He made me. He sees when I feel misunderstood. He sees when I’m mistreated. He sees when I’m struggling. No pain I go through is or will ever be wasted. Not with God. He uses everything for good.
What has helped you grow spiritually in this season? Psalm 23, reminding myself that even the mundane activities of motherhood can be used by God for a greater purpose, therapy, and community. I’m a textbook introvert, but I believe that we were made for community. When we enter in trusted conversations, shame is lifted, and people are reminded that God is working.
“When we enter in trusted conversations, shame is lifted, and people are reminded that God is working.”
Just read/currently reading (and what has it taught you?): I’m rereading A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23. It’s just changed my idea of how diligent our Good Shepherd is. Reading that book reminds me of how He takes pride in being our Good Shepherd. He takes His reputation of being our Good Shepherd seriously.
Top three essentials: Jesus, matcha, and a sweater dress with pockets.
How did God speak to you recently? I’m in this season of being a toddler mama, and it feels like chaos most of the day. Our son used to sleep in, and I would have a morning routine and have a few hours to myself before he woke up. Well, now he wakes up at 4:30 AM and sings loudly, and jumps, and he wakes up on level 10 and just escalates as the day goes on. I don’t get to spend as much time on my business as I’d like. God is speaking to me to lay down what I thought being a mama, and business owner was supposed to be like, and to just give Him what I can do with my business. Just do what I can and trust Him with my little time.
Hobby: I am working on learning how to play the acoustic guitar. I doubt I’ll ever be in a band one day, although if Elevation Worship calls me, I will audition!
Top three practical tips for staying spiritually strong:
Don’t pull away from God when you sin; He’s not ashamed of you.
Read Scripture and ask God to reveal things about that Scripture to you throughout the day.
Have one person in your life who will ask you “Have you talked to God about it?”
Favorite person in scripture? David. David was a hot mess, and yet God refers to him as “a man, after God’s own heart.” David was emotional, he was far from perfect, but David went to God with his emotions. I love that about him. He had a personal relationship with God.
What do you want people to learn about God when they look at you? I want people to look at me and see that God isn’t mad at them. I want people to look at me and feel that God is close. He’s not afraid to get His hands dirty and love them where they are.
“I want people to look at me and see that God isn’t mad at them.”
How do you engage with your community? Social media has become one of the biggest ways for me to engage with my community. I send emails, and texts out weekly to them. I comment on their posts, answer their DMs. I want them to feel seen, and I try to show up authentically to do that. I also have a podcast that talks about motherhood through the lens of faith.
Favorite holiday? Christmas! My mama always made it special. We would talk about everything from what reindeer were allowed to eat to celebrating Jesus’s birthday. She always decorated the house beautifully, played Christmas movies, and songs. It’s always been special for me.
A goal you have? I would love to play a song, and not just chords, on the acoustic guitar by this time next year. I also strive to drink at least 8 cups a water a day.
A special tradition you and your family engage in or keep: Picking out a live Christmas tree.
Question you will ask when you get to heaven? I am legit going to ask God about toddlers.
Thing you want to raise awareness about: Especially right now, to not lose sight of our assignment. Our assignment as believers is to love God and love people. People are going through so much. There’s racial injustice, pandemic, poverty, and so many other things people deal with daily. Our responsibility is not to judge or condemn people. It’s to show them the love of Christ. Do not forget that the enemy loves division.
“Our assignment as believers is to love God and love people. People are going through so much.”
What does your morning routine consist of? I read a Scripture. If I have time, I read a devotion, journal out my prayer, do a meditation, and get dressed for the day. Most days, I have to pick and choose because our son is trying to find something to destroy, but I have to start my day with God. Whether it’s a worship song, or devotion, or Scripture. I must make that a priority.
What is on your nightstand? Hundreds of books, Chapstick, a bottle of water, and a phone charger.
Define Christianity in a sentence: I think a lot of time we think Christianity is a destination. It’s a process of being refined and becoming Christ-like. It’s a journey that molds us into who we were created to be.
“It’s a journey that molds us into who we were created to be.”
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Until next time, keep witnessing!