The Proverbs 31:25 Woman – Conclusion

prov31 conclusionDear friends, what I wouldn’t give to be able to say, at the end of this series, that I have once and for all eradicated the adversary of Fear that I wrote about in my introduction.  That would make life so much easier, wouldn’t it?

However, having reached the end of all these interviews, I am faced with a single undeniable truth:  Everyone has trials to go through and overcome.

No matter how perfect a person’s life seems, there is always opportunity for fear, worry, insecurity and strife – to the extent that we allow it in our lives.

If we sit around waiting for our lives to get better before we rise above our fears, we will forever sit in the ashes like Cinderella.

I am growing in the conviction that it is not in the absence of fear that the greatest triumph lies – the vanquishing of fear, and spurning its control over me, each time it makes its appearance, is a far greater victory. In the words of my pastor, “How can we say that we are more than conquerors if we have nothing to conquer?”  The mark of a true warrior is one who 1) knows which battles they must fight and which ones they must not, 2) enters into those battles courageously, and 3) wins those battles.  An absence of battles requires no warriors.

Proverbs 31 doesn’t say that this godly woman’s life was free from worries and challenging circumstances. In fact, let’s see what Proverbs 31:15 says – “She arises while it is still dark…” 

A popular interpretation of this verse is that the godly woman is conscientious and not lazy; she awakes very early in the morning and makes provision for her household while they are still sleeping.  I am not disagreeing with this interpretation, though the SO-not-a-morning-person part of me chafes at its implications.

However, I want to submit to you that this verse was also written metaphorically.

“Dark” or “night” is usually associated with a negative season/situation.  An example of this is in Romans 13:12, where Paul says that “the night (a metaphor for the present evil times) is almost finished, and the day (the time of salvation and reward) is almost here.”

When Proverbs 31:15 says that the godly woman arises while it is still dark, I believe it means that a woman of wisdom is able to rise up even in the midst of trials and tribulations.  Reading on, we see that not only does she refuse to let the difficult times hold her or slow her down, she manages to turn them into glory for herself and the people under her care!

Now, I know this all sounds good in theory, but if you are anything like me you’d probably be thinking, “So… what does this mean practically?”  Do I want to be a woman who can arise while it is still dark? For sure! The only question is, how??

Well, I do not profess to have the complete guide to navigating fear and insecurity – I’m still a pilgrim on this journey!  However, along the way I have come to know TWO unchanging anchors that are tremendously essential in sailing the waters of life.

1. Love

Knowing God’s love for me.  One of my favorite verses in Deuteronomy 33:12 says, “Let the beloved of the Lord rest secure in Him, for He shields him all day long, and the one the Lord loves rests between His shoulders.” 

When I encounter the love of God, everything is put into perspective. Having a revelation of my identity as the beloved of God brings about peace and hope for the future no matter what challenging situations I may be facing, because I know that God carries me on His back and shields me with His shoulders. This is one of the most precious truths anyone can ever know.

This “knowing” that I talk about is not the clichéd Christian platitude that we all have learnt to say – “Yes, Jesus loves me”.   For the truth of God’s love to change our hearts, we must experience the same knowing as in Genesis when “Adam knew Eve his wife; and she conceived”. 

The word in the original Hebrew text is yada (pronounced yaw-dah), which means “to know” and “to be intimate with”.  This yada is an implanting, a fusing together, when one person’s deep calls unto the other’s deep (Psalms 42:7).

We must yada the love of God.

Now, this is not something to feel stressed about.  We cannot know the love of God unless God first draws us to Him, so what I always do when I feel dry or far away from Him is to pray this verse in Ephesians 3: 16-21, changing the words to make it my personal prayer –

Abba, I pray that out of Your glorious riches You may strengthen me with power through Your Spirit in my inner being, so that Christ may dwell in my heart through faith. And I pray that I, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all Your holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that I may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

Now to God who is able to do immeasurably more than all I ask or imagine, according to Your power that is at work within me, to You be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.

God has never failed to pursue my heart back to His, and He will do the same for you too!

2. Faith

One of my favorite authors George Macdonald says this, “Fear is faithlessness.” For a warrior to remain steadfast in the face of adversary, he needs to possess the rare quality called Faithfulness.

There was a season when God spent a few months teaching me about faithfulness, and one of the first lessons I had to learn was that faithfulness requires me to be full of faith (faith-full).

Faith is simply being able to see something before it materializes – “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” Hebrews 11:1.  Without faith, it would be difficult to be faithful because I cannot see the hope that is guaranteed for me beyond the current challenge.

A verse that has been a great source of encouragement to me in challenging times is Proverbs 3: 5 & 6 which says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.” 

This is something that I am learning to put into practice. Trusting in God one step at a time, I now go to sleep feeling the tangible presence of God wrapping around my heart and find hope meeting me in the morning.

Precious women of God, before our Lover returns for us, let us raise our voices against the works of evil and fight against its attempts to silence and subdue us.  Let us be the Final Resistance against the kingdom of darkness, not just for ourselves but also for all who are still in captivity!

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The Proverbs 31:25 Woman – Interview #4

Click here to read the background of this series.

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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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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