Saturday, 31 October 2015

Redeemer of all things

Yesterday was a hard day. It was actually filled with lots of lovely things, and I'm so thankful for that, but lots of hard things happened in it. It was just one of those days. 

But I love how even in the midst of things, God is always working and shaping. 
We had our MICIgirls group in the afternoon yesterday. When I was heading there, I was really upset and not feeling at all up to leading, but I prayed and God comforted me. A few unforeseen circumstances occurred and things were a bit messy, but thanks to my wonderful co-leaders and our guest leader, my lovely friend Jess, we pulled it together. 

Our teaching yesterday was about "being brave for Jesus". As part of that, I shared a story of a deep regret in my life. When I was about 10, I was on an artistic roller skating squad, and had been on the team for many years. I knew the girls I skated with really well. I used to always wear this wooden cross necklace when I was that age. One particular day, one of the girls came up to me at training and asked me why I wore it. 

To this day, I remember that moment, and the way I responded will probably always haunt me. I can still see her curious face, feel my heart being, and hear my voice saying "Oh, it's nothing," and tucking the necklace into my t-shirt. 

I shared that with the girls, telling them how much I regret what I did, even all these years later. I told them I later realised that perhaps I would have been the only one that girl would ever have heard Christ's love from, and how I let her down, and failed to trust in Jesus. After I finished speaking, there was a heavy silence as the girls took it in. 

And this is the bit that gets me. All those years ago, in was a story of regret and failure to me, I couldn't see how God might use it for good. Well, yesterday, nearly 10 years later, He used it to shape and touch 14 young ladies of Christ in their walk. All along, He'd had a plan to turn this moment around.  My sin and failure, He has redeemed it. Even what the enemy meant for evil, He turned it for His good. And I am so thankful. 

Several mothers contacted me after the session to thank me for sharing that story, as it had impacted their girls big time. And all I can say is praise Him.

Trust Him with your stories, dear ones, no matter the mistakes you've made. He's not finished with you yet!
Nina xx

Tuesday, 27 October 2015

Adventures and Wedding Reception Crafts

Today, it is officially 1 MONTH until I marry my Logan! Crazy stuff! There is SO much still to do, but at the same time, I'm feeling so ready for this. God has been so, so good to us. We're really feeling His peace in this time, and are so excited to take this next step. 

On Saturday, we took our first day off from doing wedding related stuff/catching up with other people in literally months and escaped our home town. We took a road trip down towards Wellington, and just stopped wherever we felt like it. It was the BEST! 
1st stop! 
We took a stop at Waikanae beach. It was pretty cold, but man, was it beautiful!
 Then we explored a town called Otaki, and drove out into the hillside, and found their gorge. It was so beautiful. I drove over my first ever one-way swing bridge too, which was pretty nerve-wracking, but cool too.
Check out this gorgeous country!
What a poser my husband-to-be is ;)
I'm so thankful we got to share that day together, as I know the next four weeks will be crazy! Monday was Labour Day, so Logan didn't have to work (I did in the afternoon sadly :P), so we spent most of the day working on crafts for our wedding reception and listening to Ephesians on audio Bible.

First, we worked on making chalk boards. I had all these old photo frames, so we decided to use those. Logan got hold of some chalkboard paint (who knew that was a thing?!), and we got to work. 

The first thing you have to do is remove the glass from the frame and clean it so there is no dirt/dust on it.
 Then you have to stir the paint for a full 5 minutes before you start work. 
 Then you just paint. You have to let it dry for 4-6 hours, then you do a second coat. I haven't taken a photo of what that looks like yet, but I think it looks super cool.
 Next, we worked on some little candle jars. We just used mini mason jars, removed the lids and glittered the rims. After this step, we just tied some ribbony thing around the neck of each one and considered it done. I think they'll look so cute!
 Finally, we worked on some bunting. This particular kind was designed for writing on with fabric pens. We covered this string with some of my favourite Bible verses ever - Lamentaions 3:21-24.
Yet this I call to mind
    and therefore I have hope:
Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed,
    for his compassions never fail.
They are new every morning;
    great is your faithfulness.
I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion;
    therefore I will wait for him.”
Well, I think that gives a bit of an update as to what's going on wedding wise :) I've been up to lots and lots of other stuff too, but I'll leave that for another post ;)
Nina xx

Put Down Your Phone

This spoke to me so much. Enough said, right?! I've really been working on putting my phone down and being more present in the moment.

Also, I recently saw these photos, and I think they're so powerful - illustrating how isolated overuse of technology can make us. The photographer has taken these images, then removed the phones/devises they were using. Spooky, right?!
Well, it's been a busy week, but I have lots of cool stuff to share with you soon! 
Nina xx

Wednesday, 21 October 2015

Counting Down - 5 Weeks!

Sometimes, it doesn't seem really. It doesn't REALLY seem like we are actually getting married in just 5 weeks. Where has all the time gone? Where has the 14 months of our engagement gone? Am I really going to become the love of my life's wife in just 36 days?!

Now that I've finished semester and only have work and MICIgirls to worry about, I've been really getting into the wedding planning. Yesterday, Logan and I met with our pastor to discuss the marriage ceremony itself - that was exciting. Then I relinquished my engagement ring to the jeweller for 3 weeks(!!), as I'm having a wedding band made to fit around it. I also went down to the church we're getting married in and sorted a few details there. Then in the evening we had a dress fitting session for the bridesmaids. 
I love these beautiful girls SO much, and I'm so thankful for the way they constantly bless my life. I'm so glad all of them are going to be standing up beside me as I make one of the biggest commitments of my life.
Two of their Mums came along as well, which was really nice (my own Mum is in the middle). We had such a fun evening, and it was really exciting seeing all the girls looking so beautiful. 

Of course, we took cute/crazy photos and laughed heaps - especially at my accidentally tossing a whole lot of shortbread into one of the girls' laps as I offered her some >.<
One of the things about wedding planning is that you quite often think you're nearly finished, and you're really not. There is always something more to do. But boy, is it exciting! I am so blessed, by so many, and so much by our gracious God! <3
I'm really treasuring this time, as I'm sure 5 weeks will be over all too soon!

Nina xx

Monday, 12 October 2015

3 girls in a car!

Sorry it's been a wee while since last I posted - I'm coming into the final week of semester and I've been working really hard on my final assignment! But also, over three days last week, two of my very dearest friends and I had a bit of an escape, a mini vacation to Auckland! It was just what I needed and is definitely one of my all time best memories! :)
Stopped at Waioru, jumping for joy!
We stopped in front of Mt Ruapehu
Our view of Mt Ngarahoe from the road!
We stopped at Huka Falls - SO beautiful.
How gorgeous is the Waikato River??
We climbed a tree...
Love these girls SO much!
After our trip up we spent a nice restful evening at the girls' aunt and uncle. The next day, we headed up to the beautiful Mission Beach.
We got Mövenpick ice creams on the beachfront <3
<3 <3 <3
Such a gorgeous beach!
After we went to the beach, we went to see the girls' grandpa. We had lunch with him, then we went with him to Cornwall Park. It was absolutely beautiful! This photo is taken from the top of One Tree Hill. It was so beautiful, but it was pretty hazy, so it's a little hard to see.
Then, that night we went up the Sky Tower with a couple of the girls' friends. I've been up before, but it was so cool to go up again. We had heaps of fun!
The next morning, we got to pop in on my godparents, and I got to meet their beautiful little daughter. That was SO lovely! Then we went and said goodbye to the girls' grandpa, and set off on our journey home. 
We went through Matamata - aka Hobbiton!!!
A Real. Hobbit. Hole.
Lake Taupo was so beautiful on our way back!
We stopped at a slightly thermal-ish area, and got a real surprise
when the rocks we were seated on started to heat up!!
Mt Ruapehu on our way home!
Some nice family stopped where we had and offered to take
our photo! 
Our road trip was definitely one of the best mini-holidays I've ever had! I'm so thankful for my wonderful friends and the beautiful, safe country we live in! God has blessed me SO much!

Lots of love, 
Nina xx