Fearless Faithful Female: Q&A with Merideth of Covenant Gear + Vintage T-Shirt Giveaway
She considers a field and buys it;
with the fruit of her hands she plants a vineyard.
She dresses herself with strength
and makes her arms strong.
She perceives that her merchandise is profitable.
Her lamp does not go out at night.
The Proverbs 31 woman is often extolled for her many virtues: faithfulness, kindness, wisdom, charity, dedication to her family, and homemaking abilities. One virtue we don’t discuss much is her entrepreneurial spirit, which is captured in verses 16-18. She sought opportunities to make money using her talents and invested the fruits of her labor wisely, all while seeking to bring glory to God and her household.
In my blogging adventures, I have encountered some incredible Proverbs 31-type business women, and the Fearless Faith Female series is all about shining a light on them so they can share their light with us.
My first feature is with Meredith Parrish, the creator of a recently launched Christian clothing company called Covenant Gear. Let me tell you, the strength of Merideth’s faith is incredibly inspiring and her shirts are some of the loveliest I’ve seen. But you don’t me to tell you that. Just read her Q&A below and I’m sure you’ll agree.
1) Tell us a little about yourself and background
Today, I would say I’m a very simple minded person who’s come to understand what it means to literally walk in grace and to wear the promises of God like garments of wisdom and truth.
Over the course of 25 years I have found myself a survivor of abuse, domestic violence and several broken spaces, places and relationships. Although God preserved me several times over – making space and time for several restarts along the way, I wandered away from God in search of the ‘perfect fix’ to heal my brokenness, my self-mutilation and my strong desire to belong. I tried everything – from weight loss plans to high paying jobs, and although those material and monumental accomplishments brought me moments of pride and promotion, they were fleeting nonetheless.
It wasn’t until the winter of 2013 when I found myself at the pinnacle of brokenness; it would be a chance encounter with close family friends that would begin a series of interventions by God, an effort to remind me just who and whose I am.
Today, I’m a wife, mother of four beautiful children and a Christ follower who yearns to love and serve others with the hands and feet of Jesus. Sure I could list my many accomplishments – communications degrees, Master’s in Public Administration, met President Obama while working as a federal disaster relief worker in Joplin, Missouri, but today – I’ve realized those works are just inked characters on a disposable piece of paper. I’ve learned to pull myself up by my bootstraps – turning my missteps into opportunities for greatness, but it has been the grace and unconditional love of Jesus Christ that has saved me from myself. Now, I live my life solely to make Him famous. I am a woman, a mother, a wife, a Christ worker and an entrepreneur of promise. God’s Word says I will do greater.
2) What’s your vision for Covenant Gear, and how has your faith played a role in shaping that vision?
Of course we all want prosperity and a sense of recognition – it’s a human desire to want to know that we belong. But the place from which Covenant Gear was birthed is so much greater and spiritually richer than that. I literally founded this company out of marital, physical and emotional brokenness. In a space of severe depression, I found myself in total denial that Christ-followers could experience such a deep sense and space of sorrow. It was literally through the sharing, exposure to and remembrance of God’s promises that I survived. It wasn’t of my own strength that I evacuated that space of hopelessness; it was because friends and fellow Christ followers who loved me and knew the Word of God, showered with me prayer, but more importantly, the promises found in God’s Word.
As I looked at the condition of our world – the persistent racism, acts of sin and hate and the hopelessness of our youth as evident by an alarmingly growing suicide rate – God revealed to me that His people, His children have forgotten His promises. We have forgotten the power, perseverance and the victory that comes with a life surrendered to Jesus Christ. He has predestined and preordained so many beautiful things and life conditions for all of us – both now and for eternity, but we have forgotten those promises because we have failed to immerse ourselves in them daily.
My vision and my true hope is that Covenant Gear becomes a platform by which we can help saturate every society, culture, neighborhood and individual with the covenants or promises of God. If we truly remember and reclaim what has been promised, we can go forward in confidence and in victory into the land – the healing God has in store for us. To know the promises of God is to know the Word of God. And the Bible says faith comes by hearing – essentially walking and living – in the Word (Romans 10:17). Not only will our faith be made strong, but it will ignite and come alive when we can confidently say we know and wear the promises found in God’s Word.
3) How do you balance running a business with your spiritual/personal life?
The blessing in running a business that is rooted in God’s promises is you literally have to know and understand the Word in order to manufacture product! My creative process cannot and does not begin within and of my own mind. Past episodes of mental weakness, defeat and depression have proven those efforts are absolutely futile. So as often as possible, I try to get into a space of worship, mediation and prayer. I saturate my mind with things that are true, lovely, noble and pure (Philippians 4:8), and use these moments with God and His word to inspire my next creative piece. Occasionally the temptation comes to become strictly creative or solely business-minded, but God’s grace is such that He has a way of gently reminding me that this is not my ministry, but His. When I re-center and refocus, the ideas and my spiritual growth just increase exponentially.
4) Does your faith ever clash with your need to make money and grow your company?
…again, I see this business venture as an opportunity to really test my mustard seed faith. If I claim to believe the promise that God will care for my most minute of material and earthly needs, I have to stand on this truth and trust Him to provide the financial and overall mission accomplishments my heart desires. You see, I’ve had wealth in the past – and I didn’t always handle it with great subtlety, responsibility and wisdom. God knows the inner most parts of my heart; He knows my strengths and my current limitations. So this business is as much of a personal growth in my Christian walk as it is an entrepreneurial endeavor. I’ve settled in my mind, I will focus on making Christ famous and His promises known. I trust and will eagerly wait for Him to do the rest.
5) Did you have any doubts before starting a company?
Absolutely and almost daily there were doubts. I still struggle sometimes with discernment and deciding if God is saying “no…not now…or wait,” or if the resistance I’m experience is merely an attack of the enemy.
To survive these moments I’ve learned to trust dear friends and objective ministers, believers and doers of the Gospel; particularly those with the spiritual gifts of wisdom and discernment. I’ve prayed on many occasions during this year-long process to ‘birth’ Covenant Gear, that God send me a ‘Thomas-like intervention’ if there’s ever a time my vision for this company does not align with His will or His timing. And trust me, I’ve had at least two catastrophic events happen along the way and in those moments, God graced me with great wisdom to discern His voice. I responded in obedience and as expected, He made another way for my vision in those instances, to come to fruition.
6) Do you have any general advice for creative female entrepreneurs looking to start a business?
Submit, surrender and stay vigilant. The Bible talks about female submission throughout all matters of life – as wives to our husbands, as mothers to the needs and spiritual growth of our children, and to the overall spiritual health of our households. It’s a concept history and society has told us to resist with full force. But I have learned the creative development and materialization of your visions and dreams cannot and absolutely will not come unless you surrender to God’s Word and His priorities for your life and your dreams.
Not everything is appropriate when and how we feel it’s appropriate. God has designated a very specific season, time and purpose for your dreams, but you must submit and surrender in order for them to actualize according to God’s will; this point couldn’t be any better illustrated than in the stories and the lives of the women of the Bible – Ruth, Sarah, Esther, even Mary the mother of Jesus.
[bctt tweet=”We cannot thrive until we are fully made alive in Christ.”]
Finally, our vigilance is what will produce both patience and fire. We are wired for success despite setbacks; by grace we are encouraged to acquire and accomplish in the face of adversities. But vigilance doesn’t always mean wedging ourselves through a semi-cracked door. Vigilance requires that we pour our heart and souls out to God in prayer – our fears, our hurts, our feelings of hate and unforgiveness and our pockets of utter brokenness. We cannot thrive until we are fully made alive in Christ; and this new life cannot emerge until the ‘old us’ dies. So let it go…really ladies…and let God take control.
Thanks for checking out the first installment of Fearless Faithful Female. Check back NEXT TUESDAY for another inspiring Q&A.
If you like Meridith’s tees as much as I do, now’s your chance to enter to win one. Two winners will be chosen. Giveaway will close June 7th at 11:59 PM PST.
A huge thank you to these awesome blogging friends for spreading the word about this giveaway (follow them ASAP):