The Proverbs 31:25 Woman – Interview #4

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Interviewee: Olga Xu

Olga and I have walked through many different seasons together – falling in love, falling out of love, nursing broken hearts and disappointments, searching for purpose in life, searching for more of God… and it seems that God continually brings us through similar seasons at the same time. Right now, we have both found the man that God wants us to be with for the rest of our lives, and we are learning to let go of fears caused by past hurts. This beautiful lady has been a blessing along the journey! There are precious gems in her sharing, and I pray that Holy Spirit would deposit the gems in hearts according to each reader’s need.

 1. What are some of your favorite things? (:

Renting a DVD & cuddling on the sofa with my boyfriend with a cup of hot chocolate, reading under the sunshine, playing with my cat’s face, making collages, traveling, music, baking and cooking (if I know how), BIBLE THE TRUTH!!

2. Tell me a little bit about where you are/what you are doing now, and the journey that got you here.

These 2 years, I’ve been serving in a Christian organization called Youth With A Mission (YWAM) – it’s a non-profit missions organization; our aim is to evangelize the lost, train disciples, and send them to the frontiers.

I just finished a 9-month bible school. It’s been the most intense 9 months, but also the most amazing time with God in my life. Now I am just trying to slow down and enjoy my Christmas break, and next yearI will go back to work as an administration assistant in the main office of YWAM.

The journey that got me here? Gosh… it’s a long story, but I’ll try to keep it short..

So 5 years go I had the chance to serve in the UK just as Samantha did. That’s the first time I heard of YWAM. I had no idea what it was, but everyone around me really recommended me to join their Disciple Training School (DTS). At that time, I thought it was impossible because my plan was to finish my 1-year commitment in the UK and then go back to Taiwan and have my “normal life” back – Get a job, stay at the job, make money, and stop dreaming too much.

However I came back to Taiwan but still couldn’t settle down, so I found a couple of part-time jobs and was able to save some money to travel around Asia. It seemed that I was able to pursue what I liked to do, but I still didn’t really know what I wanted for my life. I was still searching for something… until January 2010, when I had the same dream for three consecutive nights. In my dream, I was always about to jump from a really high place. God was trying to reveal to me that I wanted to make a big decision for my life but I didn’t have the courage to do that.

But I wasn’t sure what kind of decision I was facing. All I knew was that I was eager to know God more. I felt the 1 year I spent in the UK was just a beginning of seeing Christianity not as a religion but as a relationship between the most high God and a sinful man. I knew there was definitely more than that, but I didn’t know how to get to know Him more. I didn’t have the courage to let go of the normal life and to pursue God, because I thought only the fool will give up the chance of making money and to pursue a religion.

So I stopped thinking about these 3 dreams until one day in March, I was chatting with Sam (yes, you Samantha) on Facebook (that’s two years after I came back from the UK) and all of the sudden she mentioned, “hey we should go do DTS one day together.”  This idea came out of no where, but deep down I knew right away “that’s it!” that’s what I’m going for, and I can’t wait for the day to do it.  And without even waiting for Sam, I applied for the March DTS, which is one week before the school started. And it was then that I was accepted; there I began the journey of knowing God.

But it doesn’t end with knowing God, because after knowing God, there comes the most exciting journey, and that is to make God known.

3. Let’s talk a little about fears and insecurities.

When we start to feel insecure, we forget how to appreciate the good things that God has given us. Instead, we start to be jealous of other people’s blessings. However, once I’m able to fix my eyes back on God, I find my identity from God and not from the expectations of others. Then I can focus on being faithful with the small things, and see how many great things that God has put in me.

Instead of stewarding the gifts and talents that God has given to us, we often spend our time looking at the things that others have that we don’t, wishing that we could be like them. We do not cherish that which God has given to us.

Inevitably I find that it leads to me the most basic of sins – Pride. Sin is simply “I” in the center. Pride turns our focus on to ourselves, and makes us think that we deserve more and better. Instead of devoting ourselves to please God, we try so hard to please man. We try to attain to what the world defines as “success”, instead of being the kind of daughter that please God.

When I observe men & women of God that I respect, the confidence that they exude is very different from pride. I have seen that they have such confidence and a sense of security because they know what God wants them to do, where God wants them to be, even how they are to spend their time and money.

When we fear man, we will not fear God, and we will not be able to fulfill the purpose God has called in our lives. The greatest lesson that I’ve learnt from these men & women of God is to be like the prophet Jeremiah – perhaps in the eyes of the world he was an utter failure as he proclaimed the message of repentance for 23 years, yet not a single person would listen. But in the eyes of God, he was a huge success because he had done every single thing that God wanted him to do. He knew that his identity was to be a servant of God, and he knew his task was to proclaim the Word of the Lord.

In all the things I do and in my speech, I must constantly ask myself this question: “Am I doing this to please God or man?”

4. Can you share your personal views on womanhood – our design, destiny, and divine place in the kingdom.

As it is written in Genesis, woman was created to be a Helper. Because it is not good for man to be alone.  But I often find that women have a misconception about this and end up feeling like just a tool, just to be an assistant to the man – they feel that they aren’t really significant.

But how about looking at it from another angle: When someone is in need of help, who is the weaker one – the one who needs help, or the helper?

However, I don’t think the main point should be about who is stronger. I believe that when woman is created, she is given an innate quality which man cannot replace. I believe that when God made man and woman, He made them in such a way that in looking at each other they would come to see their own lack, and find completion in the other person. Thus they would become each other’s blessing.

I think nowadays women are very capable and strong enough to handle everything for themselves, so instead of waiting for men to man up, we start to do everything with our own strength. We don’t want to wait for men be the man, and let men be the one who takes responsibility. And we start to rule over men.

The men also start to withdraw, and not use their authority from God to manage things.

So I think it is really important for women to know how to be a helper, knowing how to allow the man to be the leader. For example, often times I see a lot of men start to man up when they fall in love with someone, they start to have this passion to protect the woman and want to take care of a family, so they leave their parents and start to learn to take responsibility. They start to see their ability to lead, and see the opportunity to help women and they are useful.

However if the women don’t give chance for men to do their part, they either get aggressive or withdraw. Personally, I am pretty independent and prefer to handle everything on my own, but because I now have a boyfriend, I am realizing I have a lot to learn about life together. It’s no longer just all about my own decision.

Therefore as a woman I think the most important thing for me to learn everyday is to ask for wisdom from God, knowing when to speak and when to shut up. And after having that wisdom, to ask for humility to actually be able to do it.

6. God has recently brought a godly man into your life (: Could you share a little bit of your journey?

The journey definitely also began with me being very insecure about myself. Because of past experiences, it’s hard for me to trust guys and to have the expectation of having a godly man who would love and cherish me.

So I’ve had to learn to protect my heart very well… actually too well, and not to let a man come into my heart. But last year in December, I had my very first date with Zack. We knew of each other since coming to YWAM in 2010, but we didn’t really know each other or have much of a friendship. However, I can never forget how much we enjoyed our conversation together during our first date at the restaurant – we just enjoyed each other so much that we both forgot to order our food.

So after getting to know each other for about 3 months, we then had a basic friendship and found out we both like adventure. So one night after a dinner with my friend, he asked me if I was tired and if I was up for an adventure. Despite feeling a bit tired, once I heard the word “adventure”, I had my energy back again.

Then he drove his scooter and took me toward the beach… once we arrived, he took out a guitar and a backpack that was hiding behind the bushes, and took out a blanket from the bag and asked me to sit down. He started to play the guitar and sing a song that he wrote for me, and asked me if I was willing to be his girlfriend… so romantic heh!

And after all that, I was too stoked to speak, so I remained silent for a few seconds before I finally answered him “do I need to give you the answer tonight?”

So that night I didn’t become his girlfriend, but we ended up talking about lots of my past experiences, and all my fear… I have to admit that wasn’t me trying to be conservative, but actually more because of my own insecurity. But after praying for 3 days, he asked again and I had the peace to finally say yes. So we started our new relationship on the same day as my bible school. And after 9 months of dating, I knew God had been faithfully guiding us, and teaching me to not try to protect myself. Because I can’t protect myself, but God wants to be the one who protects.

And I have to say that if it’s not because of God, I wouldn’t have joined this adventure of pursuing God, I wouldn’t know this amazing guy, and I wouldn’t be brave enough to let go of the past. And I also wouldn’t be here writing this blog for Sam.

Then I was reminded that it was Sam that got me to begin the journey in the first place. And after pursuing truth in this school, Sam once again showed up with the offer to write this interview, which has helped me to process what is a Godly woman.

As I was writing my answers for this interview, Zack read from Proverbs 31, which describes the kind of woman that he is looking for. And right then, he stood up and pulled out the ring from his pocket and asked, “Will you marry me!” Thank goodness, this time I knew I wouldn’t have to wait for 3 days to answer him.

Because after pursuing God for 9 months, I realize that although I don’t know what the future will look like; instead of being distracted by all the unknowns that the future does hold, just focus on the one thing that I do know, and that is GOD IS WITH ME.

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The Proverbs 31:25 Woman – Interview #3

Click here to read the background of this series.

Interviewee: Victoria Moreno

My dear friend Vicky is one of the strongest and most vivacious woman I know.  She embraces every aspect of life with passion and makes you feel like no problem is too big to overcome. She is from Spain, but has traveled & lived in numerous countries to date. Through her persistent love and friendship, she taught me how to open up and allow people into my heart and pain. She is a beauty and a treasure, and I pray that you would be blessed not just by her sharing but also by the unique anointing that is upon her.

1. What are some of your favorite things? (:

Café latte with no sugar but a very sweet dessert! A cozy place with a book, notebook or friends to make it perfect. I also love to open my house for people to hang out!

2. How/when did your heart get captivated by God?

I have followed Jesus since I was a child, and every season in my life draws me towards different attributes or titles (Father, Protector, Rock, Healer, Friend) of God.

4 years ago, I was in Sweden reading the book “Captivated” by John & Stasi Eldredge and it really challenged my perspective on Jesus. I asked God to romance me, and He did! I started to discover Jesus as a lover. That is the time I would say that He captivated me.

It was a beautiful season. One of those where you do not find yourself praying for a husband every other week, where you look in the mirror and truly feel beautiful. In that season, I enjoyed God’s creation and allowed God to just speak to me in the quiet and solitude. God would pour out His love, and with it, gave me all the security that my heart needed. I felt loved, so I could love back. The verse “we love Him because He loves us first” became totally real.

In my current season with God, I am not experiencing the Lover as much as before. I once asked Him why was He no longer romancing me. He said, He never changes. So when I am in need of the lover, I don’t need to seek elsewhere but call unto God.

When this happens, I remember my friend Toni who once told me that she could detect that her relationship with God was at a high point when she found herself reading Songs of Solomon. At that time, I must have given her my “ARE YOU SERIOUS?!” face as my only understanding of Songs of Solomon was in the context of husband-wife relationship. Today, I can say that God has deeply moved my heart through it.

To be told by God “You are altogether beautiful my darling, and there is no blemish in you”(S.S.4:7) will change you. That is how God feeds our spirits. He speaks words of life; words that will touch and remove those longings inside of us that we so desperate seek to fill with human comforts.

3. Let’s talk a little about fears and insecurities – are there any that you can share about, and how did you overcome them.

One of the insecurities I had was regarding my beauty.  My mom has always been very encouraging in this area. But I guess, and many of you would agree with me, it is never the same to hear your mom telling you “you are beautiful” than if your dad does so.

When I was little, I was my dad’s princess. Then my parents divorced and our relationship changed. I was no longer the princess but a bitter teen towards my father.

So I became a girl who thought it was enough with a mom that believed I was pretty. I had my “strong girl attitude” who would remind myself “I am pretty” even though thoughts of  “But no guy looks at you” or “You don’t have a boyfriend” would often emerge.

How did I overcome this without getting involved in seeking boys’ attention, having multiple boyfriends, or getting into other problems like anorexia or bulimia? I honestly do not know. I just know that most of the boys whom I liked were not interested in me (which now I am glad about!), and that since I was very young I shared with God everything about my “heartaches”.

But the major breakthrough came when I really started to hear from God. As I explained before, when God is the one that speaks directly to your heart, everything changes. I started to understand that I am His princess. I started to understand that He does not have bad ideas. I started to hear that He loves me and hear Him tell me that I am beautiful.

So now I have a mom that says I am beautiful, a step-dad who also says so, I remind myself that I’m God’s princess when I don’t feel like it, and I also get to hear God almighty telling me “You look beautiful”.

Maybe one day I get my husband to tell me I am. But I strongly believe that even if he forgets, my parents pass away, and my self-esteem is to damaged to see myself the way God created me; I just have to call up to God, He answers. He is the only one that can tell me “You are beautiful” in a way that will satisfy and calm my heart.

Let me just end this question explaining an incident in the midst of this “learning that I am beautiful” process.

I was invited to a party that I didn’t feel like going to. I put on the prettiest clothes I had. I put on some make-up (note, I hardly ever use make-up). I knew I had lost some weight since the last time I saw these friends, so “rationally” I should be feeling prettier. Yet I was having one of those days where it doesn’t matter what you wear, you just feel ugly. So I prayed, “Lord, I am feeling ugly today. I don’t want to go and I hate going to parties when I am feeling spiritually weak. Please help me and protect me.” And off I went!

God answered me. I had this conversation with a drunk friend, whom I will call Dfriend.

Dfriend: Victoria! Do you want to marry me?

Vicky: Nope

Dfriend: You know, you are the coolest girl to get marry to. Any guy would love to marry you.

I can tell you he was not attracted to me. He is a handsome friend with whom I never had any relationship beyond friendship. We are not even very close friends. Soon after he started talking about marriage, I knew it. It was God’s answer…. Maybe you are saying: “C’mon! He is just a drunk guy. They all do that”. It hasn’t happened to me before or since; what a God-incidence that it happened the day I prayed…

Well my friend, pray God will open the eyes of your understanding to know when He is speaking into your life. Be it thoughts, people, images…or a donkey! YES! If He was able to use a donkey to speak His will, will He not use a drunk friend? :):)

4. Can you share your personal views on womanhood – our design, destiny, and divine place in the kingdom.

One thing I know for sure, we are as valuable as men are. Jesus paid the same price for men and women, He made a way for both of them.

Beyond that I would encourage each woman (actually everyone) to really seek God in this matter. I would say that far more important that finding out how different women are from men, is to allow God to speak into your spirit. Ask Him, He who designed you before the creation of the earth.

Many girls tend to play the “compare game”. What are some practical ways that you keep your heart at peace and contented?

Remembering that I am made different. I am not made to be someone else, though to my eyes I might see someone else who is incredibly gifted, talented and beautiful. I remember Who made me, how much He loves me, and how He wants me to be “me”. Not someone else despite how “better” they seem to do things.

That remembering goes together with prayer, making sure there’s no space left for envy.

And praise God for friends! Who, every now and then, and with love, tell you the good and the not-so-good of you! Both needed for growing 🙂

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The Proverbs 31:25 Woman – Interview #2

Click here to read the background of this series.

Interviewee: Bianca Iuliano

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I met Bianca when we were both serving in a healing & deliverance centre in England.  She is one of the most beautiful young woman that I know, inside and out.  There is such poise, and a gentle and quiet spirit in this tenacious young lady! I pray that you would receive an impartation of her strength and gentle spirit as you read on.

1. What are some of your favorite things? (:

Massive Chocoholic! I’m a sucker for Lindt.  My favourite flowers are Peonies, only available in Australia for one month of the year, which makes them more special to me because I had them for my wedding bouquet and they remind me of pink marshmallows!

Lace, because it’s so soft, pretty and feminine yet it holds so much detail.  I love exploring; discovering secret places that not everyone gets to see in everyday life.

2. Tell me a little bit about where you are/what you are doing now, and the journey that got you here.

I have been married for one year now to my best friend. I am working a full time job as a Financial Adviser in a Bank. I was studying fashion design at college but my college went bankrupt so I started working full time and soon after got engaged. I never imagined myself working in a bank, however it is so incredible how strategic God’s moves are.

3. How/when did your heart get captivated by God?

I have grown up with Godly parents who gave me an amazing structure on which to form my foundations from an early age, My heart was captivated by Abba in a deeper way when I was in Primary School – I went to a Prayer and Worship conference led by other children who were so on fire for God that there was a strong move of the Holy Spirit and we carried on through the night when all the adults went to bed.

4. Let’s talk a little about fears and insecurities – are there any that you can share about, and how did you overcome them.
Fears; they can bind us if we let them. Sometimes they silence us. But to overcome them sometimes we need to declare their place in our lives, other times we need to proactively fight the battle until it is won. This can be a daily thing depending on what it is.

When I returned from my honeymoon I found a lump in my chest. I went to the doctors, and after ultrasounds and biopsies I had still no answer if I was facing breast cancer or not. In the end, the doctors said to have an operation to get it out. After the operation there were complications, I had a major haematoma and because of the clotting there was no way to ensure they had removed the lump. I had to wait 7 months of not knowing until it was healed enough for them to do more tests. Through the support of my husband and our incredible God I was able to overcome the fear of breast cancer and now I have been given the all clear! Praise God.

5. How do you keep your heart at peace and contented in the midst of trials and insecurities?

I just have to remember the simple yet difficult to understand truths during the hardships.

God is the same, yesterday, today and forever. Our world and situations might crumble around us, our friends and family may be lost, killed or tortured… our bodies may be filled with diseases! But this is not the plan or will of the Lord. He can use these things to bring his truth to light, to perform miracles… and sometimes he doesn’t intervene. But that’s not because he loves us any less.

I think about Jesus. He didn’t want to be tortured or to die on the cross, and He asked the Father to take the cup from Him because He wasn’t sure He could bear it. But He knew that God was in control and that it would be used for His glory and greater picture. We don’t always choose the road we are walking down, but the devil works in many ways to try and bring us down even further. And to keep us there.

It’s our battle to stand up for what is true, our minds are the greatest battlefield.

“It is well with my soul” proclaiming to our soul when we don’t feel it is well, standing on God’s promises, learning to trust Him. This is a daily walk. In times of difficulty, remembering His goodness, all the joys of your testimony so far and what you have walked through or been blessed with. Don’t forget these things.

I also think of Job. How he still praised God when he lost EVERYTHING!!

Join together in prayer with a sister or brother, to support each other in the walk. It’s not a walk made for one, and we are stronger together.

And I be real. Not only to tell my situation it’s reality, but to express my emotions and to be honest with God. I use a diary when I need to express my prayer that way. It’s also a good way to reflect on what you have prayed for and what has been answered.

Peace? That comes from the spirit. Not as the world gives, but as God gives.  That is the peace that lets you sleep at night. That assures you that tomorrow is taken care of because He has gone before you.

It is something you need to ask for sometimes, something that is found when you pour your heart out. God is real. Be real with Him 😉

6. I can see that you are now a very happily married woman! Please share a little of your journey.

Marriage is an amazingly beautiful gift. I wake up every day and I am so thankful for the man that I have married.

It is more than I expected it to be. A place of safety and security. I am blessed. Blessed because I know that he loves me and has stood by me through the unexpected and challenging times, and has said that he would still have chosen to be with me even if he knew the difficult things we would have to walk through. Blessed because I have someone to share life and the joys it brings.

7. Can you share your personal views on womanhood – our design, destiny, and divine place in the kingdom.

I feel that I am called to help unveil the beauty of a woman through fashion. To create garments that allow a lady to keep her secrets, yet to display not only her outward beauty but her individuality. But this is only a part of what separates us from men.

Womanhood, it is an incredible honor. We are the vessels that God chose to bring life into this world. Life not only in the sense of motherhood, but in design – we bring life to our homes with our personal decorating touches, life to others through our support, comfort and gentleness.

A liberated woman, one who is free to be herself and to leave expectations behind. She is one who has impact. Because when we are confident in ourselves and who we were created to be, it is then that we can boldly walk in our destiny.

We are mothers, sisters and daughters. No book, professor or person can fully explain a woman because there is so much depth to womanhood and all that it entails. Finding our destiny relies deeply upon knowing the Spirit, to follow His leading.

Know your own heart, your desires, and how they align to the will of God. Peace is so important. If you don’t have the peace about a decision, don’t go there! God’s desire is to use us to our full potential and at the right timing He always releases us into this if we are ready and willing.

Sometimes we don’t always understand the journey we are on, it’s not always rainbows and butterflies, but there is also power in an unwanted testimony. A tenacious woman will use the difficult times for glory.

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Idream of Eden. We were made for the Garden and the full pleasure of paradise. We got separated at Eden and we spend our whole lives searching for a way back into that secret paradise. All of life's pursuit + pain + questioning can be traced back to man's search for home. Our deepest instincts tell us that we are not home outside of this reality, and our souls will never stop searching until we return. Only there will we find rest and our true being. There, we begin to dream again the dreams that have laid asleep in our hearts all along.

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