When Hannah Di Iulio first came to Covenant Fellowship with her family around 2011, she felt like she didn’t fit anywhere. She’d just graduated from high school and was taking a gap year before college, and after moving five times in half as many years, she was tired of reaching out and making new friends.
“It was daunting,” she says. “It’s a big church. At the end of the service, I’d go out into the lobby. Sad, sad me. I’d sit on one of the comfy little couches, and pretend to text people. I didn’t even have people to text.”
But after going on missions for several years, Hannah intentionally started plugging herself into various ministries at Covenant, and things changed. These days, it’s hard to imagine a time when she wasn’t fully embedded in the life of the church.
Recently we sat down with Hannah at a restaurant in Kennett Square to talk about her experience at Covenant and the many things God has been teaching her over the years.
Hannah, what was it like getting involved at Covenant?
About four years into the church, I thought, “Hey, I love youth. I want to get involved in youth.” So I started serving on the A-Team [for Cross Culture]. I had started in Promise Kingdom before that and then eventually got involved with College Life ministry too.
That really plugged me into a lot of different age groups. And it changes how I see the church, how the church family connects with me. If I wasn’t serving, I would just be like a little shell—the worship would be great and the sermon would be great, but serving is what connects you relationally with people.
What’s something you’ve learned over the years that you wish you could have told your younger self?
When I first came to the church, I could have reached out, I could have been bolder, less afraid. I would tell myself that it’s not the end of the world. Little steps make big differences.
I think that’s what I would tell myself first. And then also remind myself to always be in the Word. Never, never leave yourself isolated by your own thoughts. People are there to support you, and they balance out your thoughts. Because left to yourself, all of your fears are bigger than the truth.
Would you say that’s the same thing that you’re learning right now?
Probably. I am continuing to learn that God is bigger than everything. God is bigger than my fears. And He will always provide what I need when I need it, whether it’s material things, friendships, relationships, whatever.
Also something that has been really helpful for me as a single woman is to realize that I’m not alone in my struggles. The devil loves to make us think that we’re alone, that we’re the only one who struggles with a certain sin or temptation, or we’re the only ones who are single and alone and sad, but we’re not; we’re surrounded by people who also feel lonely. And God has been faithful to them and they might be further along down the road than I am.I can have conversations with people who can say, “For 15 years of my life I felt like that, and here’s how God has provided,” or, “It’s been five years, and God hasn’t provided yet. But He’s provided the other things He’s promised to provide.”
My heart for singles in the church is that they don’t feel alone. They haven’t been the first women to walk the path that they’re walking. Yes, their path is unique. But it’s not about their path, it’s not about their story. It’s about how they’re worshipping Jesus with their lives and their hearts. It’s not about marital status, what kind of job they have, how beautiful their body is. Those details are not the point.
I want single women to realize that. Because I think a lot of fulfillment for them, for us, can feel like it’s been put off for someday, but it’s not. It’s here and now.
How can we be praying for you?
That I would keep my eyes on Jesus. If I’m thinking about Jesus, then He’s what my heart is leaning towards. But I also have a tendency to discredit the small things in life, like I shouldn’t be thinking about them, or I shouldn’t let them bother me. Allowing the small things to be brought to Jesus and put before Him—that’s a challenge for me. I have a hard time saying, “Hey, God, this is what I’m distracted by. How do these things fit into Your plan for me?”
Can you share any scriptures that have been on your mind lately?
Romans 5:3-5: “Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.”
And the verse in Romans 8, that He works everything out for our good. That is like a mantra in my mind all the time. God is working this for my good, for His glory, for my good. Everything is being worked for my good.
Bad things aren’t just happening to me. I don’t just have to endure this day. The monotonous parts of life and the little challenges—like the kid who puked on my shoe or pushed a little girl down for the umpteenth time—are moments when I can call out to Him. There’s not a moment wasted in His grace.