Bianca Olthoff led honest and passionate worship, shared encouragement from the Bible and inspired a diverse group of women at PC3 Women’s Fall Event. Through the use of humor and authenticity, Bianca shared a raw account of her own faith story that involved overcoming legalism and the crippling pursuit of perfection. Bianca has a way of sharing stories that had us all laughing while at the same time tugging at our heartstrings. It was very easy to connect with the rawness of her struggles. The pressure to perform and keep up with appearances was where many found themselves currently living. Her story was similar to their own.
A time of renewal, refueling, and recommitment took place during these two days. Even though she touched upon familiar passages of Scripture, Bianca taught in a such a way that helped us see God’s truth with fresh eyes. Freedom was experienced when women realized they didn’t have to strive to be perfect because they were already seen by Christ as God’s chosen and beautiful daughters. She challenged the crowd to trust in their identity as well as step into the abundant life God promised them.
Bianca challenged us to reflect on how God was moving in our life and displaying His faithfulness in our own story. A big part of Bianca’s story involved her relationship with her mother Millie, who joined her on stage on Friday evening where they led a session together. In an amazing story of faith, Bianca described her childhood in East Los Angeles and how important faith was as they struggled in poverty. She also spoke about her faith being tested when her mother was diagnosed with cancer while she was in college. As she lay on the rug of her college dorm sobbing, she began to question her childhood faith as well as God’s goodness.
It was through these trials that Bianca encountered God like never before. Looking back now, both Millie and Bianca realize that this was a refining experience. He had to take them through the fire, and trials of life, for them to see God was working the entire time. Bianca led a powerful prayer session which had many in heartfelt tears. In worship, we were led to the cross to lay our burden down for Christ’s help and healing.
Unifying around this message happened not only in thought but also in some very practical ways. When the first session started Polly Clawson (Women’s Small Group Coordinator for the PC3 Wilmington Campus) introduced Rebeca Carpenter, who was serving as a Spanish translator. Polly explained there were earphones available for those who wanted to hear the message in Spanish. This purposeful inclusion of all was so powerful. In our very broken and troubled world Bianca advised us the most impactful thing that we can all do toward healing is to sit across the table from someone different than us. She encouraged each one of us to be part of the revival that our nation needs. Including different churches, different denominations, and various ages, bilingual accommodations- all demonstrated how to be a neighbor to all and make everyone feel valued.
Bianca stressed that as believers, women of the church we are to share a word of wisdom or a word of knowledge that God gives us with who it was intended for. She reinvigorated so many, including me. I left feeling hopeful for my own future, and in sharing the word, Bianca left me ready to answer her call for action in the church.