Today, Priscillia speaks to us about identity, beauty, healing from childhood and trusting God in the mist of what seems like unanswered prayers.
Tell us a bit about how you grew up and your childhood: I was born in a city in Southeast Sulawesi. I live with my parents, my sister Catherine and Jessica. The house we lived in was small and we had a motorcycle that my father used to commute to work. My childhood is quite memorable in general. Sure, there were some joyful memories, where I was privileged to enjoy life and spent good times with my family, but I also experienced painful and traumatic moments during my childhood.
Although, I was born to parents who love me as I am, however, they are just imperfect humans like me. When I was a kid, I often saw my parents fighting abusively at home. It was hard growing up this way, because a child should not see something like this at home. When they fought, I felt sad, hopeless, and started questioning the existence of God in the midst of these difficult events. Even though my parents conflict had left me in tears, I choose to love them, always. I keep them in prayers.
Then, when I entered my teens, I was also the victim of bullying at school and was even physically attacked by a friend. Afterwards, I felt so devastated, I felt like I did not deserve to live. Gratefully, in the midst of my struggle, my family kept supporting me so I could relieve myself from the pain, but I knew that I was not fully healed at that time.
Inspiring biblical passage of the moment: The biblical passage that inspires me is Matthew 6, especially the verse 33: “But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you” (ESV).
People often focus on the second part of this verse and interpret it in a wrong way as “God will give wealth or prosperity to His people”. We forgot the first part of this sentence which is very important and fundamental to the Christian faith. This verse has spoken to me that Christians should be thirsty in seeking God’s will through His Word. We must live in the pursuit of holiness. We do all of this knowing that God has promised to meet our needs, so we don’t have to be anxious about life (see verse 34). We have our shepherd who cares for us (Psalms 23).
On the contrary, some of those who claim themselves as Christians want God to give them what they need first, before they live for God, or, maybe they say they are living for God, but actually, they don’t because they just want God to fulfill their own desires. This is sad, because some Christians do not see how important it is to understand God’s will and to obey His command. For me, this verses has inspired me to live in a Godly way, whilst at the same time it has reminded me to focus on God and His plan for me, because to live for Christ and knowing Him is a greater privilege than all the privileges that the world could offer. It is greater than money, than houses or land, than silver or gold. I have been bought with an invaluable price to be God’s servant, and not to be the master of my own life.
Spiritual growth focus at the moment: My spiritual growth focus at the moment is growing more in patience, especially when my prayers haven’t been answered by God. It’s not easy to be patient even though I’ve been a Christian for many years. Oftentimes, I want God to follow my timeline, to follow what I’ve planned so perfectly but deep inside my heart I’m fighting against His will.
As I grow more in this area, I began to realize that prayer changes the heart of those who pray. Prayer is a means for us to struggle together with God and we pray in motives to seek God’s will more than anything else. If today we begin to question our faith in God because of the unanswered prayers, maybe indeed He is training us to put our trust in Him more. Maybe He wants us to know even when He says no, His love is sufficient for us in everything. I believe what matters to God is not the answer to the prayer itself, but about how we are being transformed more like Christ through all the circumstances we bring into prayer.
“If today we begin to question our faith in God because of the unanswered prayers, maybe indeed He is training us to put our trust in Him more.”
Profession: I am currently an intern at a public hospital in Surabaya as a requirement before I get my new title as a doctor of medicine (M.D).
When did you first encounter God and how did you encounter Him? I first encountered God through my family, because my parents are both Christian. Our family also had a family devotion once a week when I was a kid, so it was really helpful. My mother also provided us a teacher who taught us about the Christian faith in our home. Nevertheless, I didn’t understand so much about Christianity, and as I grew up, [I had] more questions about my faith.
Then in 2014, at the age of 16, I had the opportunity to study medicine in Surabaya. I’ve joined a Christian circle in our campus, and through their ministries my knowledge of God were shaped and sharpened. I have also been accompanied by a sister in Christ for the past 5 years, and I’m blessed by the friends and community who have faithfully supported my growth. My journey to encounter God has been pretty serious as I started questioning life, salvation, suffering, sin and other theological issues. The support from my family, community, close friends has been very helpful in all of this.
How has your relationship with Him changed you? As I grow in my relationship with Jesus, though I have a bitter and painful past, God has never ignored my fragility. When I’m in pain, I know that He feels my pain. When I hurt, He feels that hurt. When I suffer from rejection, hatred or mockery, I know that He suffers right along with me. When I feel my life is worthless, the truth reminds me that God is good, He has given to me His eternal love. When forgiveness seems impossible, God help me understand that by His grace it is possible to forgive, and by forgiving others I actually get my true freedom, freedom from being controlled by the past, by bitterness or by the painful memories inside my head.
Also, I used to struggle with insecurity, I felt like I wasn’t beautiful, my body was not in shape, and I wanted to be like the modern girls on Instagram who have perfect bodies, cool outfits, and lots of Instagram likes. These things also defined who I was in the past. However, the relationship with Christ has changed my whole perspective about beauty, security, and identity. I have found my true wholeness in Christ alone, not in the pursuit of worldly beauty standards, not by the likes from Instagram posts, not from what people says about me, but what the Bible says about me.
Relationship with Christ also changed the way I defined my life’s purpose, if once it was a life that focused to get God’s blessings like health, or wealth, or success; now it is a life that want to glorify God, and to enjoy Him forever (Westminster Shorter Catechism, Question 1).
What has helped you grow spiritually in this season? Discussing the Word of God with a few friends online during this pandemic, following webinars and watching sermons from YouTube has helped me so much, in this season.
Just read/currently reading (and what has it taught you?): I am currently reading about What Is a Healthy Church? written by Mark Dever. I learned that a church belongs to Christ, and it is essential to preach about sin, and salvation which is found in Christ Jesus alone. This book is very interesting, I recommend you to read it.
Top three essentials: Bible, my tab for zoom(ing) with friends and discussing the word of God online, and Canva! This is my favorite editing apps to make content for @reformedchristianwomen on Instagram.
How did God speak to you recently? After randomly taking a personality test, I am reminded again that each person is created unique by God. But since the fall, humans tend to sin against God. Sin becomes our nature and affects our personality. However, our personality is not a license to sin, we must fight against sin, live in holiness, grow in Godly character and serve God with all of our heart and soul.
“Our personality is not a license to sin, we must fight against sin, live in holiness, grow in Godly character and serve God with all of our heart and soul.”
Hobby: My hobbies are singing, listening to music, playing piano, violin, and reading books.
Top three practical tips for staying spiritually strong: • Join a healthy Christian community that is faithful to the Word of God • Sharing with spiritually mature friends that you can trust • Read fine Christian books to build up your knowledge • Last but not least, if you have a Godly mother ask for her counsel.
Favorite person in scripture? • Jesus • Apostle Paul • Priscilla (Aquila’s wife)
What do you want people to learn about God when they look at you? I want people to learn about God who humbly serves His people.
Favorite holiday? Christmas and New Year’s eve! These are my favorite holidays because I could gather with my family and build a Christmas tree, exchange gifts, play Christmas songs, and at the end of December, I’m so excited to see the fireworks on New Year’s Eve.
A goal you have? In the near future, my goal is to pass the medical profession final national exam. The long term goal is to take medical specialist, build a family, and write a book.
Question you will ask when you get to heaven? Why have You chosen me ? – Actually, this is a title of a Christian hymn that I’m deeply inspired by. It was beautifully written by Rodger Strader.
Thing you want to raise awareness about: It is important for every Christian woman to realize the importance of equipping themselves with God’s truth, so that they can understand God’s will, discern the right from the almost right, and standing firm in truth. A truth does not turn into a lie, even though the majority doesn’t believe or accept it as truth. Often we are trapped in relativism that belief no absolute truth, the moral and immoral is subjective, but we believe that the word of God has absolute authority in our life. It is infallible (absolutely trustworthy), it is inerrant (without errors), timeless and always relevant.
To every Christian woman, whether you are a student, a teacher, a doctor, an artist, an accountant, a mom; preach the word, be ready in season and out of season with courage, strength, love, patience, and prayer so that every person may experience a personal encounter with Jesus Christ in their lives. Telling the truth is not only a pastor’s job, but each of us also responsible for it. Tell it through your Ig’s or Facebook posts, while at family gathering, at a party, or small group and so on. I know this is difficult, some people may against us for what we believe, but be strong in the Lord. We know that God’s grace will enable us to go through all of this, until one day He returns, He find us as His faithful soldier.
“A truth does not turn into a lie, even though the majority doesn’t believe or accept it as truth.”
What does your morning routine consist of? • Praying • Reading daily devotional from Solid Joy – John Piper Daily Devotional (Download for Android or iPhone user) • Go to shower • Follow an online class started around 7 or 8 a.m.
Define Christianity in a sentence: Christianity is about Christ who came into this sinful world as the perfect sacrifice for all of our sins, so we are saved from the wrath of God and have eternal life. He is our one true God, and our beautiful Savior. Christianity without Christ is hopeless!
Until next time, keep witnessing!