A Life Lived Beautifully: Dear Mushka
To conclude our "Life Lived Beautifully" Fashion Week, I wanted to share about a small business that I love! I met Katie Lewis, the founder and creator of Dear Mushka, at the Influence Conference. Her love for the Lord radiated from her smile! Katie creates jewelry that shares the gospel. Through wearing her necklaces, you can not only be reminded of the truth in Scripture, but you can also share it with others. Her jewelry provides an opportunity for you to share your faith in a beautiful way! You can browse the Dear Mushka shop here as well as enter in a giveaway for a necklace on Instagram! Grab a cup of coffee and meet Katie!
Introduce yourself like we are having a cup of coffee together. What kind of coffee/tea would you drink?
Hi! (hug, hug, hug!) I used to introduce myself by saying that I was a wife of 5 years, mom to a one year old (how did this even happen?), and founder of a jewelry brand called "Dear Mushka". But the Lord is constantly reminding me that those things are just part of what I do and they aren't who I am. So... Hi! I'm Katie Lewis, daughter of the Most High God, and I'm so very glad to be here! I'm ridiculous and don't drink coffee/tea, but this sugar muffin thing I'm eating across from you is very tasty! ;)
What is your definition of a "life lived beautifully"?
I think of that verse in Galatians two where Paul says "I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. " A life lived beautifully is a life lived free from guilt and full in love; it's a life that rests in all Christ has done and uses that as energy and power to love God + people well. It's simple and leaves a trail of Christ crumbs in everything.
When did you start following Jesus?
I grew up in a one of those Christian homes that went to church every single time the doors were open. We took communion each Sunday and though I did believe in who Jesus was and what He'd done for me, I truly asked to be baptized because I was so tired of having to pass that dang communion tray in front of me every week without partaking! I was such a shy, introverted little girl and was so paranoid people were watching me not take communion (never mind the fact that the little girls on either side of me weren't either... ha!)
I used to detest my story because it wasn't as dramatic as turning from a life of drugs and misery or something, but it's now such a sweet reminder and testament of who God is and what He does. He took such a lame confession of faith, based mostly on selfish embarrassment, and ran with it! I did precisely nothing to become saved, and yet...
What are some verses you constantly cling to and bring life to your soul?
Oh gosh, this year I challenged myself to memorize one promise from scripture a week and now that I'm on like week... forty?... I have so many beautiful lifelines constantly swimming through my head and to my heart. It's amazing what God promises us through scripture; if you're ever going through a dry season of faith, try this! The Lord has been so faithful to show his face.
Here are a few favorites:
1. When I'm feeling overwhelmed as a wife/mom/business owner/friend, etc and am letting my thoughts get out of control- "You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you because he trusts in you." Isaiah 26:3
2. When the Lord is not answering a prayer in my timing- "The Lord God is a sun and shield. The Lord gives grace and glory. No good thing does he withhold from those who walk uprightly." Psalm 84:11
3. When I'm feeling tired from all things life- "And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap a harvest if we do not give up." Galatians 6:9
4. When I need to sit at the Lord's feet and remember the kind of God I serve and how He loves me- "Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits, who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy." Psalm 103: 2-4
How did God direct you to start Dear Mushka?
My whole life I wanted to be a wife/mom and run a creative business out of our home, but high school counselors don't really tell you to chase that dream, you know? ;) It wasn't until I was standing with a college diploma in hand and staring down more schooling that I was able to say "Wait, I don't think this is right!" My husband was so kind and supportive as he encouraged me to just try the jewelry thing out. I was also starting to feel called to adoption (which is the best story for another day) and knew that if this business didn't work out at a sustainable level, at least we'd have a nice fundraiser!
When I sold my first piece to a stranger I remember feeling like it was the biggest kiss on the cheek from the Lord, like "I see you precious daughter, and I know your heart. Here is some joy from me!" He is so kind isn't He?
What is the vision behind Dear Mushka?
Dear Mushka actually started in 2010 in blog format. My mom had just passed away and I was left so heartbroken over all her untold stories and wisdom that had passed away along with her. "Mushka" was her childhood nickname for me so I started a blog love letter to my future mushkas, sharing bits of my own life. In 2013 it became a tangible love letter as the shop opened and we started creating an opportunity for me to stay home with our future children + raise the funds to bring our first one home. In 2015, between memorizing a promise a week and the Lord calling to mind Deuteronomy 6 over and over (and over) again, I was reminded that we are to put scripture everywhere (including around our necks!) and proclaim it to everyone. This lead to a re-direction and Dear Mushka's third love letter of sorts.
We began attaching a corresponding scripture card to each piece of jewelry, encouraging each wearer to "tell the story with beauty". Girls are so casually complimentary, you know. "Ooh, I love those shoes. Cute shirt. Nice necklace!" and it was there that I knew we could enter in with the gospel. Each piece comes with a scripture card meant to be kept by the wearer's bathroom mirror or computer. Our prayer is that the words sink deep into her heart and then flow out as others take note of the jewelry. It's a way to bring up Christ's love without being awkward or forceful. And it's also a kind reminder to each wearer as she goes about her own day. So often, I'll notice the bracelet on my wrist and be like Oh! Psalm 16:11! Yes!
How do you integrate sharing the Gospel with creativity?
Before Dear Mushka became a "Christian brand", I'd pray for a creative mind and then just come up with designs. But now! Oh man, it's so much more fun. I have a gigantic list going of all the verses I'd love for us to be reminded of throughout our days and sketch next to them as I think of a jewelry design to match. For example, I mentioned above that Isaiah 26:3 is a lifeline verse for me. I want to think about it every time I feel something slide across my chest! So I've got this rose gold wire-wrapped-coil-on-a chain idea going, because it reminds me of a mind so twisted and caught up in her own ideas that she can't even breath and stretch out in God's grace and truth. I don't know, it's not ready yet, but I think the Gospel is so far-reaching that God can incorporate it anywhere if we let Him.
What life lessons are you learning in owning a small business?
Well let me just say that wife-ing and mothering are truly sanctifying experiences, but running this small business is truly refining me in some of the hardest and most beautiful ways.
Though my list of life lessons is growing by the day, my biggest ones are coming from social media lately. I've been so convicted over my desire to be popular, to be liked. I want people to think I "love Jesus so well" and ultimately, that I'M great. This business has shown me how 'me' focused I am and how easily it is to proclaim God's kingdom but secretly be striving towards my own. Every day I have to wake up saying "whose aroma do I want to leave behind today?" (2 Corinthians 2:15+) and then make a conscious effort that it isn't mine.
What are some books you are currently reading?
Y'all, I LOVE to read. If I could just do one activity for the rest of my life, reading would be it. Well... and eating.
I just started For the Love, by Jen Hatmaker, and I'm pretty sure she wrote it just for me (like all good books should make you feel). Someone described it as a perfect mix of Jimmy Fallon + Ann Voskamp, which I have to say was pretty spot on. She's got this chapter about "life's callings" and how it's such a privileged person's focus. Here in America we have options and directions! We must find what God is calling us to! But most people just have to live the life they've been given, loving those around them and serving God well.
The idea was so uncomplicated that I screen-shotted every page and sent it to a few friends. I think we all need that reminder from time to time- it doesn't have to be complicated. Love God, love people; maybe we should ask God to make them into a commandment or two? ;)
If you could tell every woman reading this blog one thing God has laid on your heart, what would it be?
Right now I'm being reminded that peace is a person, not the quiet moments curled up with a book or the solo shopping trips or the new relationship or whatever. For so long I wanted a husband and a child and a small creative business. And then God gave those things to me and I was still unsatisfied because I wanted those things more than I wanted Jesus. The grass is never ever greener (or even green at all, really) somewhere else; it's just green when we are with Him. We have to remind ourselves that Jesus is enough and our "If I just..." thoughts are going to fall flat if we get there and He isn't by our side. I don't know, I haven't hashed this all out yet, but maybe you can relate? He is enough. He is enough. I need this tattooed on my palm.