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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The Proverbs 31:25 Woman – Interview #1

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Click here to read the background of this series.

Interviewee: Anonymous

My first interviewee is a childhood friend who has always, even from a young age, been a model of what a godly woman is.  Barely past her mid-twenties, she is already a full-time mom and missionary.  She and her husband are missionaries* in a nation where the gospel is suppressed, hence the anonymity of her identity in order to protect them and the community they are working with.

1. What are some of your favorite things? (:
Chatting in a café over coffee/bubble tea, playing basketball, watching my little girl smile and laugh, curling up with a good book on a rainy day, playing the guitar

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

I’m now a stay-home-mom, taking care of my sweet 5-month old daughter. Before I had her, I was an English teacher. Growing up, my mom had also been a stay-home-mom. My younger sister and I really benefited from having her at home with us during our formative years. She was the one we could always go to, knowing that she’ll have godly wisdom to impart to us. Since we had this beautiful gift growing up, I too have always wanted to do the same for my children. “What a waste of your abilities!” That’s what I’ve heard numerous times when I told people that I would not be working anymore but taking care of my daughter. But all I can think is, what better person to invest in with the abilities God has given me!

3. When we were kids, we dreamed together about what a great relationship would be like. I witnessed how God has been so faithful in your relationship with Aaron, and now you both have a beautiful baby girl! Could you share a little of your journey

My husband and I met while we were in college. Many ask if it was love at first sight—it wasn’t. We both worked as interns at a youth group along with a few other college mates. We became really good friends. Long story short, we realized that we wanted to be more than just friends and decided to take our relationship a step further.

We have a cross-cultural marriage where I’m Asian and he’s Caucasian. However, whenever people ask us what cultural differences we’ve had to overcome, we realize that we haven’t had too many. Although I’m from Asia, I spent a big part of my life in the U.S., and although my husband is from the U.S., he grew up in Asia. This has given us an appreciation for both the Asian and Western cultures. Another big factor is that we come from similar family backgrounds, and have parents who love our Father and have modeled for us what it means to serve our Father in all that we do. In our walk with God, we’ve both been convicted that in everything we do, we do unto Him. This has definitely helped us be one as a couple as we make decisions together. Now that we’re parents, I’m sure we’ll be stretched even more as a couple as we have to make joint decisions regarding this precious life!

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

I’ve always struggled with fears and insecurities. As a teen—do people see me as beautiful? Where do I fit in? Will anyone ever be attracted to me? As a young adult—Still, where do I fit in? If I speak out, will I still be liked? If I step up and do ______, will I fail? As a mom—how do people see me as a mom? Am I doing things the “right” way?

My most recent struggle with insecurity was after becoming a mom. While I was pregnant, I had the idea that I would do everything right—from my birth plan to how my daughter would be fed. I’ll give birth naturally, no C-section, if possible. I’ll breastfeed for at least 6 months. He had different plans for me. Despite my best efforts, I ended up having a C-section and only breastfed my daughter for 10 days due to complications. I felt like such a failure. It slowly dawned on me that I was feeling this way because I wanted to give people a glowing report to get their nods of approval and pats on the back for a job well done. I wanted to do everything “right” to get the approval of people around me. I did not want to hear the “tsk tsks” and see the wagging fingers of others. I realized that I wanted man’s approval despite knowing that our Father has already given me all the approval I ever need.

As 1 John 4:18 states, “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear…” I’m always having to remind myself that I’ve been given the most perfect love ever, so why should I ever fear mere man’s disapproval? Why fear things of this world when it will bring us pain and insecurity when fearing our Father brings us joy and comfort?

5. Thank you for sharing about your struggles with insecurity as a mum and how you overcame that. Could you share about your struggles (if any) as a girlfriend and then a wife?

When we started dating, I had to work through feelings of jealousy. I never knew I could feel such intense emotions until I had a boyfriend! We had a few emotional talks during our dating days. I struggled with myself over my emotions, trying to analyze if they were justifiable. During that period, a valuable piece of advice my mom had given me resurfaced, “Your joy should not come from your significant other, if not you’ll be disappointed. Your joy ultimately has to come from Christ.” This helped me to realign my focus and see things in a different light.

6. Can you share your personal views on womanhood – our design, destiny, and divine place in the kingdom.
Honestly, I haven’t thought too in depth regarding my views as a “woman” in the kingdom. I’ve thought more of what I’m called to as a person in general. Genesis 1:27 tells us that God created both male and female in His image. So what does it mean to reflect God’s image? Jesus states that the greatest commandments as people made in God’s image is to “Love the Lord your God with all of your soul, with all your mind and with all your strength… Love your neighbor as yourself” (Mark 12:30-31). We are designed to love our creator with all of our hearts. As a believer, I’m destined to live with my Father for eternity. While on earth, my purpose is to be salt and light to people around me (Matthew 5:13-16).

As for my role as a wife, I’m designed to be a helper to my husband, as Eve was supposed to be to Adam. Paul mentions a few times in different letters that wives are to submit to their husbands. As somebody wise told me before, submitting is not being a doormat and giving up all your own opinions. It’s communicating your heart, and when opinions still differ, to respect your husband’s decision. True submission is apparent when your husband’s decision falls through, and you don’t look at him and say, “I told you so.” Something that I’m working on!

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

Read the Word, pray, and always have a heart full of thanks. Sounds very cliché, but so very true.

Playing the comparison game is something I always have to check myself for. There’s always something that I can choose to compare myself with others. I realize that the moments when I remove my focus from Christ, and focus it on myself are when the comparison game becomes the most intense. When I take my eyes off Christ, I forget where my identity comes from—that I’m so precious that He chose to die for me, and that He loves me for who I am, not what I have to offer.

When I face a situation where I find myself comparing myself to another, I have a choice. I can allow my thoughts free reign to create my list of “things-I-do-better” scrambling to think of things that make be feel that I’m better than the other person, or stop myself, thank God for what the other person is able to accomplish, and thank Him for what He’s given me.

I recently heard a pastor say in a sermon that if each of us were good at everything, why would we need the body? We need to embrace the strengths God has given us, and praise Him for giving us others with abilities that can make up for what we lack.

Philippians 2:3 and Romans 12:3 are two verses that always remind me not to play the comparison game:

“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.” – Philippians 2:3

“For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you.” – Romans 12:3

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The Proverbs 31:25 Woman – Introduction

PROVERBS 31:25This blog series has been brewing in my spirit for months.  I kept putting it off and never got down to writing because I felt that it would be rather duplicitous of me to write about something that I haven’t fully “got right” yet.  But I was reminded that I don’t have to “have it together” all the time – I am not supposed to draw others towards me, but to invite them to follow me as I follow Jesus.

Therefore I call for my readers to read this series with this fact in mind: The battle with fear is still an all-too-real struggle for me.  I do not write this with flippancy from the vantage point of “Been there, done that”, but as a fellow pilgrim/sister/friend/comrade who is still learning to overcome.

Fear is a four-letter word.  It really, really is.

I have battled with fear all my life and have found it to be a shape-shifting beast.  It takes on the form of many things – stage fright, shyness to make friends in school, insecurities, fear of failure, fear to give and receive love, etc. – but behind the assorted facades is the same stinking fiend.

This brute’s latest guise made its appearance in my relationship with Alex.  Contrary to the trend of most young women, I love singlehood and I have never been afraid of “being left on the shelf”.  Rather, one of my greatest fear was getting into a relationship leading to *gasp* marriage – that was the major Fear, with lots of little minions of little fears attached to it.

When God made it very clear that Alex was the one He had chosen for me (I might eventually write a series on our story), I said “Yes” because I love God, I know He has the best plan for my life… and you just kinda do not question the wisdom of the King of the universe.  Obviously, I knew that this relationship came with changes – most significantly my “never get married” plan, which I had boldly declared to many people.  What I didn’t know was that my Abba Father, in His great love for me, refused to allow me to remain under fear’s power much longer.  Instead, He was going to have me face this long-standing adversary, using my relationship with Alex as the means with which He drew me out of hiding.  It has been a journey, and I am so thankful for Alex who has been ever so patient and gentle with me in the midst of the mêlée.

One day as I prayed in despair of ever triumphing over the fear that loomed over me like a mountain, the Lord spoke to me about Proverbs 31:25.  God’s Word is like a mirror that we can peer into and examine the condition of our heart; I peered into this mirror and saw that my life was not quite in line with what was written.  Proverbs 31:25 says that the woman of virtue “laughs at the days to come,” but wait just a blooming minute now… why in the blazes am I terrified of the days to come?!

Thus began a learning process for me, and the birth of this blog series.  This series is based on Proverbs 31:25 “she is clothed with strength and dignity, and she laughs at the days to come”.  This is the inheritance of ever daughter of the King, but so many girls struggle with fear, insecurities, and the unknowns of the future.

I have gathered a panel of women whom I know and have observed up-close over time, who possess an innate peace and contentment regardless of their circumstances.  These women are from different walks and in different seasons of life, but with one startling similarity: They always seem to trump worry with peace, fear with joy.

It is with great excitement that I introduce these women to you through a series of interviews. Stay tuned for the first one, coming your way real soon!

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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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