Q&A with Maddie Rey“It shares challenges that I faced and how in different moments of my life, by the grace of God, I was able to overcome temptation.”
Maddie Rey is a 23-year-old Christian recording artist, author, influencer, youth speaker, dancer and evangelist. As an author of “Dwell,” she makes it her mission to empower and encourage teens and young adults to find their purpose in Christ.
PEER: How did you come to know Jesus?
MADDIE: Well, I’m a PK—a pastor’s kid, so I’ve grown up in church my whole life. But I would say my first moment of a really, you know, I was actually four years old when I got saved. I had been in the church with my parents, and I think four years old is usually a pretty young age where we would ask, like, you know, is that really true? Could you really get saved that young? And I did. I remember watching a Jesus movie during our family time. I can vividly recall something just in my heart that convicted my little four-year-old heart to go to my room and to kneel at the side of my bed and to just accept Jesus into my life and give my life to Him. And so, I remember that moment so vividly. But I think throughout my life, there are always different turning points where God would meet me, where I would just further commit my life to the Lord and further give myself over to Him and consecrate myself to Him throughout all different ages. But I would say, four years old is when I first accepted Christ into my life.
PEER: What inspires your musical style?
MADDIE: I think my music is a mixture at times. It can be pop. It can be hip-hop. It can be contemporary like the newest song I released, “Deserve Your Love,” which is a lot slower and more contemporary and different than anything I’ve done before. It can have a rock edge or a worship style. I think I just love all types of music. And so, I try to just kind of write whatever for the Lord inspiring me to write.
It’s funny because I do music but I’m not a huge music guru, so to speak, where I just kind of get into everything with all different artists and songs. But anytime I hear just a good song, or I hear a good beat, or I hear a little something that’s different, I love to just pick up on that and reference that. But mainly, some of the pop and hip-hop music that I’ve done and then I’m going to do more of as well, comes a lot from when I was young. My parents are pastors. They founded our ministry, reaching a lot of young people at the beginning, and we still do. But at the beginning, we were reaching tons of young people. So, we would have a lot of concerts that we would do at our church. We would bring in Christian rap artists and all of that. I grew up as a little girl in the church of like, “Oh yeah. I like rap music. I’m gonna do rap music when I’m older.” And so that kind of fed into that.
And a little part of my story is when I was 16, between 14 and 16, I was in an all-girls rap group. So that inspired kind of that side. But, as I’ve gotten older, my music has matured a little bit and I’ve been able to kind of branch out into a lot of different genres, which has been really fun.
PEER How does your quiet time with God influence your songwriting process, if at all?
Maddie: Hmm. I love that. As I’ve grown in my relationship with Christ, I think some claim that the biggest turning point in my life has really been my relationship with the Holy Spirit, which I believe is a part of the Trinity that we kind of leave out sometimes is knowing really who the Holy Spirit is. He led me to a verse one time in the Bible. That’s one of my favorite verses, 2 Peter 1:3. It’s in The Message version, where it says “everything that goes into a life of pleasing God has been miraculously given to us by getting to know, personally and intimately, the One who invited us to God” (2 Peter 1:3, MSG). And when I read that verse, it really shifted the way that I live my life where instead of just kind of going about things, before praying I say, “God. Yeah. Be a part of this.” It made it that much more intimate and personal where when I’m writing, I say, “Holy Spirit, what are the words that You want the generation to hear? I want You to write this song with me. I want You to be a part of thinking of this. God, You are the Creator of everything. What do You want to create in this moment?”
And it’s really taken my artistry, if you will, and my songwriting just to a different place with the Lord, where it’s not just been in my own hands anymore. But where He allow myself to wait on Him, if needed, and to just do it with Him in that way, which I think produces songs and music that goes beyond just maybe the ear and gets a little bit more into the spirit of someone because the Holy Spirit was involved which I love.
PEER: Amidst being a recording artist, author, speaker and evangelist, how do you make space for your own walk with God?
MADDIE: I just go back to things that the Lord has dealt with me on throughout my journey. I mean, I remember I was in a season where I was doing all these things that you mentioned that I do, being a recording artist, an evangelist and an author writing books and resources. And doing all those things that I was doing it out of a place of just kind of giving all that I could and kind of giving people the last drops that are at the bottom of my cup of whatever I could pour out to you. And I remember in a season where I had kind of hit a wall with some of those things. The Lord spoke to me and said, “Maddie, I don’t want your ministry to be something where you’re giving the people that I’ve called you to just whatever you have left over from the next thing and the next thing and the next thing. He said, I want your ministry to be an overflow of just the relationship that I have with you.”
And so, He’s really had to teach me how to do what I do out of a place of overflow where I say, “God, I’m going to just spend time with You. I’m gonna read Your word. I’m gonna worship. I’m gonna be someone that preaches. Okay, I’m reading this part of the word of God, not to prepare for a sermon, but just because I want to read it and spend time with the Lord. And I must discipline myself to do that. So that way, I’m filled up and then I’m able to pour out.
And then another really big thing too in my life is my dad plays a huge, huge role in my life. He’s not only my dad but he’s my pastor. He sits with me every single day and he pours into me. He deposits wisdom into me. He shares the word of God with me. He speaks God’s identity. And those are the moments that I feel the most filled. I’m just really grateful that I have my father alongside the own time that I spend with God, but that my dad is there to pour into me as my father and pastor. And that always leaves me every time I come back from being out of town, I see, and I feel like I get all filled up again to go back out and do what God’s called me to do.
PEER: Tell me about your book, “Dwell” and specifically what inspired you to write it.
MADDIE: Yeah. So “Dwell” is the book that I released several years ago. It was my first book, and it was my story. It’s my life. My life has been this message of “Dwell,” which I’ll talk about like I’ve shared, pastor’s kid growing up in the church, that whole thing. I remember sitting in the church at a very young age and watching all that God is doing and all that God does in people’s lives and hearing testimonies, incredible testimonies of what God is doing in people’s lives, where they had this life outside of God, but God saved them and redeemed them. And I would sit there as the pastor’s kid on the front row and go, “Wow, that’s amazing.” But then I would think to myself and go, “Wait a second. I’ll never have a testimony like that. What will I ever be able to share with anyone? I’ll never have a story to tell or I’ll never have a strong testimony. What can the testimony even be if I want to just remain in a relationship with God? I want to stay in the church. I want to keep serving Him.”
So, I took that question to my dad. And I said, “Dad, I don’t have a testimony. What will I be able to tell people?” And he took me to the Scripture in the Bible, Psalm 27:4 (NIV), where it says, “One thing I ask from the Lord, this only do I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life. To gaze on the beauty of the Lord and to seek Him in His temple.” And when he shared that verse with me, he said, “Maddie, you have one of the greatest testimonies that could ever be had because God intends for you to come to know Him and never walk away from Him. God wants our one thing to be that we are going to dwell in His house, in His presence, in His will, in His perfect plan for our life.”
So I remember being that young of maybe 10, 11, 12 years old, hearing my dad say that. And I made a commitment with the Lord at that moment and said, “God, that is the testimony that I want to have. I want to live my life for You and serve You all the days of my life. I want to be committed to being someone that dwells in Your house and in Your presence and in Your will.” And I remember because again, growing up in a ministry, in a family where our heart was so for this next generation. I mean, we had huge outreaches, programming and evangelism for this next generation in our community. We were reaching thousands of young people a week. That was so a part of just our heart.
I remember being young saying, “God, not only do I want to live out this testimony for myself, but I want to live it out so I can share it with a young generation to know that it’s possible.” It’s possible to come to know the Lord or to grow up in the church and to never walk away from God, to never go out into the world or to never feel like you have to go out there and live a little and experience a little. I believe that we live the greatest life for Jesus says, “I have come that you might have life and life more abundantly.”
And so, the book, “Dwell,” shares my whole testimony. It shares challenges that I faced and how in different moments of my life by the grace of God, I was able to overcome temptation. It just shows a generation the possibility of living the life that God created you to live because there’s a life that God has for us. And sometimes we wind up defaulting to the life that we live based on our circumstances, based off the family we came out of, based off our home life. There are so many things that can determine the life that we live today. But there’s a plan and there’s a purpose and there’s a life that God intended for us to live. And He wants us to come back into that place. And so “Dwell” shares that and then it also shares a lot of just keys and tools on how to live that out practically every day.
In this new version that we’re promoting and I’m looking over here because I have the book. But this new edition is an expanded edition. I added an additional chapter to it. It’s also a revised edition. But we also expanded it because I’m like, “Lord, what more can I add to this that’s going to continue to add value to those that read it?” And I had recently in my late teen years because I’m only 23, but in my late teen years, I had had an incredible encounter with the Lord that was a real turning point for me. And so, at the end of the book, this extra chapter, it shares that encounter and how one encounter can change your life and how your life could become completely consumed by God. I’m really excited for this book to be re-released and to get into new hands and in new hearts. And I believe it’s going to really touch a generation that needs God in their lives today.
PEER: And you also have another book, too, that released in 2021. What is that about?
MADDIE: This year, I released a lot of different songs and singles. Kind of almost every month, I was releasing different songs. And what I thought to do me and my team and in all of us, we thought, “Let’s pair a resource to go with each song. And a lot of the books that I write, I write them as resources. I’m not an author so to speak, just because I want to have a number one bestseller. I travel and I preach. I want to kind of go beyond just that one moment that I have with someone where I tell them, “Hey, live your life for God.” But then they could walk away from that sermon and be like, “Okay. How do I live that out every day?”
So that’s the reason why I write books is so that way, after I say, “Live your life to the Lord,” with something in your hand that’s going to help you to do that. So that’s what we did this year. That book, “No More Lies” is a book all about identity and purpose. It’s helping a generation know that they were created by God. Knowing that it is only by getting to know their Creator who is the Lord Jesus. Only by getting to know Him is how they’re going to know who they were created to be and what they were created to do.
So it’s a beautiful book that has a lot of Scripture in there to confess over yourself, to overcome insecurity, to walk in confidence, to know who you are in Christ. I’m proud of that one along with other books that we released this year such as “No Bad Days,” which was a part of a song that I did that talks about how life is good because God is good. I also wrote a kids’ book this year called “Never Let You Go,” that encourages children to never let go of their faith. It’s about a little girl that has a little balloon, and she chooses, “I don’t want to let go of this balloon. I can’t ever let it go.” It’s a representation to never let go of your faith in Jesus Christ. And so, it’s been a good year of releasing music and getting out books. I really pray that it has and that it will continue to reach people wherever they’re at in life.
PEER: What advice do you have for young Christians who may be struggling with their faith and their relationship with God?
MADDIE: I think the biggest thing today I would say is for a young person that’s saying, “I’m struggling with my faith. I don’t know.” It’s all these things in culture, in society and social media that’s being presented. Probably, sometimes the hardest thing for a lot of people to do but the ultimately best thing for us to do is to get into the word of God. We must read the word of God. Why? Because it’s filled with God’s truth. And it is the truth of God that sets us free. We must know the truth. We have people saying, “Oh, there is no the truth. There’s just your truth and my truth.” As Christians, we don’t believe that. We believe that the truth is Jesus Christ. Jesus says, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me” (John 14:6, NIV).
So, I would encourage a young person, get into the word of God. Read God’s word and believe it. God’s word is to be believed. It is the written word of God. You will find every answer that you’re looking for. Every question that you have with what’s going on in the world today can be found in the word of God. And if you’re struggling to read the Bible, let me give you a little practical tip, okay? This is just a quick little practical tip. If you say, “I need my faith to be strengthened,” go on Google and type in, “Scriptures to strengthen my faith.” And right there on Google, you’ll find an entire list of Scriptures that you can read. That’s a great place to start. Then you can take those Scriptures into your Bible and read even more. But that’s the best place for us to start in. It’s a spiritual discipline, but it’s needed because we must know the truth. The truth of God will keep us in a place of freedom, which we need in the world that we’re living in today.
PEER: What is the best piece of advice that you’ve ever been given?
MADDIE: The best piece of advice I’ve ever been given. Hmm. I would say, well, it’s going to be from my dad because my dad is the one who always always gives me advice. I think I’ll sum up all the years of the wisdom that he’s given me. I would say the biggest thing in our lives that we are to do is to remain in the will of God. I think that has been one of the best pieces of advice that’s been given to me is to remain in God’s will, to remain in the place that God has for your life.
I think a lot of people today get caught up in what’s called God’s permissible will, which means, “Oh yeah. I can go off and do this, live like this, and kind of have this life and God will be okay with it.” Sure, He might permit it, but there’s a perfect will of God, which is the place that God created for you to be in. It’s the purpose that God had prepared for your life.
And so as I go throughout my life, I have come from the wisdom that my father has given me and that advice of, “Maddie, always remain in the will of God. Don’t waver and get over here and go over there. Stay in God’s will.” It’s caused me to be able to do all that I’m doing today. I’ve had people asked me in interviews like this. I don’t know if this is part of your queue of questions, but people have asked, “Where do you see yourself in five years?” And I’ve come to answer that question not with, “Oh, this and that and here and there.” I’ve just answered it if I want to remain in the will of God. I want to stay in the place that God has for me. I want to stay loving God. I want to stay serving God. If everything else was stripped away from me, if I’m in God’s will of loving Him, of serving Him, of using what He’s given me to bring Him glory, that’s the life that I want to live. And those words have stuck with me all the days of my life of I am going to remain in the place that God wants, because what He wants is greater than anything that I could ever want for myself.
GET TO KNOW MADDIE REY:
PEER: So, what’s your go-to self-care habit when you’re feeling stressed or overwhelmed?
MADDIE: I’m a homebody a lot of the time. I like to just rest and just honestly, probably sleep, watch a movie, watch a TV show that’s good. I love going out to shop with my mom. My mom is my best friend. And so, if I just need to, then me and Mom go have some time together and go shop and hang out. Maybe get a nice spa day and that’s always the best self-care because not only is it fun and it feels good, but I’m with my mom who is my greatest encourager as well.
PEER: In only a few words or sentences, what’s your morning routine like?
MADDIE: I like having a routine. Sometimes when I travel, it doesn’t stay. But usually, let’s say on a typical morning that I’d love to have my routine is I wake up early in the morning. I get up, drink some water, head to our church, which is our headquarters. That’s where I headquarter my ministry out of. I work out. I spend time with the Lord. I do some Bible reading and prayer. Then I go over all my emails and to-dos and things for the day. Then I get straight into meetings. So usually it’s wake up, have breakfast or something to eat, go work out, spend time with the Lord, plan for the day and that’s about it.
PEER: What is your favorite Bible verse?
MADDIE: My favorite Bible verse. Well, probably my foundation on one must be the one on “Dwell.” Psalm 27:4 that says, “One thing I ask from the Lord, this only do I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of the Lord, and to seek Him in His temple” (NIV). That’s my one thing that I live for.
Follow Maddie Rey on Instagram @officialmaddierey, stream her music on iTunes, and buy her latest book, “The Dell Book: Empowering the Next Generation to Live the Life God Intended” on Amazon.