Today, Deanna speaks to us about winning in spiritual warfare, her book Glory Writers, and a cool challenge that has added structure to her time in the Scripture.
Tell us a bit about how you grew up and your childhood: I was born in New Jersey, but moved to North Carolina in the second grade. I consider myself to be a southern girl, but a Jersey girl at heart. I was very grateful to have grown up in the church and knowing Jesus since I can remember.
Inspiring biblical passage of the moment: “No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.” 1 Corinthians 10:13.
That common to man part really sticks out to me. While I don’t want other brothers and sisters to be struggling with temptation, I am reminded any time that the enemy tries to isolate me or make me feel like I am the only one dealing with something, that there is no temptation that is not common to man.
Spiritual growth focus at the moment: The Lord is currently teaching me how physical wellness and spiritual wellness work in a beautiful communion. Organization and structure are oftentimes a struggle for me, but God is showing me that in order for me to be the strongest vessel for Him I can, I need to take care of my physical body whether that looks like avoiding stress in any way I can control, prioritizing rest/Sabbath, limiting my screen time and picking up my Bible, having a good conversation with a friend when isolation strikes, moving my body, and eating healthy.
“God is showing me that in order for me to be the strongest vessel for Him I can, I need to take care of my physical body whether that looks like avoiding stress in any way I can control, prioritizing rest/Sabbath, limiting my screen time and picking up my Bible, having a good conversation with a friend when isolation strikes, moving my body, and eating healthy.”
Profession: I work for Concerned Women for America which is the nation’s largest public policy women’s organization. I specifically work in our high school and collegiate department called Young Women for America. I have the absolute privilege of working with some of the most amazing and Godly young women on the planet. I will forever be grateful to the Lord for creating a position that is a perfect combination of everything I am passionate about.
If you wrote a memoir, what would the title be? A Broken & Beautiful Search for Peace
When did you first encounter God and how did you encounter Him? I was just 4 years old when I was saved by Jesus. My Sunday school teacher presented the Gospel message to us and I wanted to accept. Many may think a 4 year-old is incapable of making a decision like this, however I believe that we often overcomplicate the message of the Gospel. If we aren’t describing it in such a way that a child can understand, I think we may have missed the point. Child-like faith is a prominent theme in the New Testament. All of this to say, I don’t think I really got serious with my faith until middle school after the Lord delivered me from a very dark season of anxiety.
“I believe that we often overcomplicate the message of the Gospel. If we aren’t describing it in such a way that a child can understand, I think we may have missed the point.”
How would you describe Jesus? Jesus is a ton of things to me, but I can focus on two specifically. He is faithful and patient. Through everything: disappointment, failure, stupidity, repetitive stupidity, ignorance, and so much more… He has ALWAYS been there. He has always still chosen to speak to me and walk with me, even in or after times that I was not faithful to Him.
How has your relationship with Him changed you? Naturally in my sinful nature, I am a very fearful and sensitive person. Since I was little, fear has been that thing that the enemy knows is my trigger. Jesus has and continues to shape me and grow me into a bold and fearless servant. I have not yet reached where I want to be, but looking back, I cannot even comprehend how far He has carried me from where I was before.
What has been the darkest time in your life, and how did you see God in it? When I was in the sixth grade I went through a very dark season of spiritual warfare in the shape and form of anxiety and panic attacks. I really had thought God forgot about me, or worse saw what I was going through and just didn’t care. That being said, one morning during this season He directed me to a passage in His word that changed my life. This passage was Matthew 4 when Jesus was being tempted in the desert by the devil. Every temptation the devil threw at Jesus, Jesus responded with scripture. God was showing me a model of how to respond to spiritual warfare by giving me the ultimate example, Jesus. After this, my relationship with Him grew immensely. God has given me several sweet opportunities to share my story with other young girls struggling with anxiety.
“God was showing me a model of how to respond to spiritual warfare by giving me the ultimate example, Jesus.”
What has helped you grow spiritually in this season? I am currently doing a challenge called the Shred where you read the Bible in just 30 days. This has NOT been easy, but it is causing me to put down distractions and really go after God. This is a far cry from where my reading was before. I took this on because I will admit I needed help with having a more structured time in the word, so why not go after the hardest challenge I could find…right?
Just read/currently reading (and what has it taught you?): As mentioned above, I am reading the whole Bible in 30 days. I am completely blown away by all that I am learning. I am currently in the book of 1 Samuel. I have been a Christian for 20 years, have been a small group leader, a Bible study leader, a youth teacher, etc. and just now so much of Jesus’ sacrifice is making sense. I was always that person who would avoid reading the Old Testament, but I don’t think we can have a full grasp on Jesus’ sacrifice until we understand the Old Covenant and God’s wrath.
Top three essentials: Jesus, lavender lattes, and rom-coms.
Hobby: Writing, finding new coffee shops, playing guitar (learning), weird hobby, but I love making Spotify playlists.
Top three practical tips for staying spiritually strong:
1. Put down phone and get in the word.
2. Having meaningful conversations with other believers
3. Monitoring the kind of media you consume
Favorite person in scripture? Recently, I would say Joseph. Not just because I was in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolored Dream Coat when I was in the third grade (I will spare the pictures…) but because of His faithfulness to God even after everything He went through with his brothers’ persecution. We often read stories like this in the Bible and imagine them happening right away, but Joseph had to wait for a long time as a prisoner and slave and practiced faithful patience as God was preparing Him to become a ruler. I think He is an underrated hero in scripture and a wonderful example to all of us that God rewards patience and trust.
What do you want people to learn about God when they look at you? I want people to learn that God loves them SO much and that they are never alone!
How do you engage with your community? For the last few years I have been very involved in doing pro-life work. Love Life is an amazing organization in Charlotte, NC that my family is very involved in. With Love life I would spend a lot of Saturdays outside the largest abortion clinic in the Southeast with a body of believers to pray and worship. Now in my position at CWA, a good chunk of what we do is pro-life work. This something that I think every believer is called to. I am consistently heartbroken at the church’s silence on this issue.
Favorite holiday? Christmas
A goal you have? Oof…this year I have many goals. As mentioned a little above, I would really like to create more structure and organization in my life. I believe God designed us to function in that way.
A special tradition you and your family engage in or keep: We don’t have too many traditions, but every Christmas Eve we make homemade pizzas! We also are a big movie family and love watching movies together.
Question you will ask when you get to heaven? Why bugs?
Thing you want to raise awareness about: Abortion. This has been an issue that the church has been way too silent on. Broken women dealing with the lasting effects of abortion need to know that there is freedom in Jesus. Unborn children need a voice and an advocate. If the church does not stand up and recognize that God has a special plan for every single life inside or outside the womb, who will?
What does your morning routine consist of? Bible reading, make my bed (I recently started challenging myself to make my bed right after I get out of it—it seriously makes a difference), wash face, etc.
What is on your nightstand? Usually way too many empty water bottles, Bible, essential oil diffuser, Get Out of Your Head by Jennie Allen
Define Christianity in a sentence: Couldn’t say it better than John 3:16! (“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.)
For more Deanna:
Book: Glory Writers
Until next time, keep witnessing!