Me & my MapleStory persona
"You call me out upon the waters
The great unknown, where feet may fail.
And there I find You in the mystery
In oceans deep, my faith will stand…"
- First verse of Hillsong United's "Oceans (Where Feet May Fail)"
No other words could describe my 2013 so perfectly. The song "Oceans" is about Jesus calling Peter out to walk on the water (Matthew 14:22-33). While the song may be interpreted in a variety of ways, my interpretation of it came while listening to the song on repeat in a train on the way home from uni - God calling me out of my comfort zone.
I found that throughout this entire year, from the beginning to the end, God has kept pulling me out of my comfort zone, out upon the waters & into the great unknown, & because of this, I haven't exactly had the smoothest of years… However, through it all, I found that as long as I kept my sight, my focus & my faith on Jesus & not on the waves around me, I can keep walking on the water & not sink like what happened with Peter.
2013 Powerhouse Summerfest
This year was the first time I attended summer camp in Hillsong Church. It was such a fun experience & I am extremely grateful for the fellowship I had with some of the youth in our church during those 3 days. It truly made me feel more & more a part of their family, or should I say now, this family. In these 3 days however, life for me wasn't going so well - there were a few things happening that made me unmotivated & disheartened to go to camp. Despite this, I still needed to go; there was simply no way out of it. I felt as though that God was testing me somehow, that He wanted to deal with my attitude towards unfortunate circumstances like this. This then became my revelation from it - God released me from my inner demons, if I could call it this way. He liberated me from worrying about things that are out of my control & I learned how to ignore problems & worries when being under His presence. Instead of focusing on the problem & getting worked up & worried about it like I always do, I was able to go over them all & be with God instead, praising & worshipping Him despite my seemingly hopeless situation.
Thank You Jesus for the breakthrough!
Another memorable thing I experienced in camp was crying like a baby (with a whole lot of other Powerhouse'rs) when they introduced the beautiful song "Sinking Deep" in camp. Even now, I still can't help but cry every time we sing the song in church. The lyrics are just so moving to say the least. A part of it goes like this:
Standing here in Your presence
In a grace so relentless, I am won by perfect love
Wrapped within the arms of heaven
In a peace that lasts forever
Sinking deep, in mercy's sea…
2nd year of university
Second year of uni meant that we needed to get some practical experience/work out of our studies to prepare us for our portfolios in our 3rd & final year. With this comes the uncomfortable price of doing group work. While at first being quite nerve-wracking, it turned out to be such a worthwhile experience. It made me flexible with schedules when things don't go as planned, made me do a lot things & go to a lot of places for the first time in my life & best of all, made some amazing new friends in the process!
Thank You heaps Jesus for bringing new people into my life!
New home in Jordan Springs
One of the highlights of this year for me & my family is being able to finally become house & land owners! It's going to be our first-owned home here in Australia & the whole process has been very exciting. We got to choose our own house colours - from the colours of our cabinets, walls, doors to the colour of our roof drain! We got a house-land package from Clarendon Homes in Jordan Springs & as of right now, our house is very close to finishing - most of the exterior is completely finished & some of the interior is taking shape. Moving to Jordan Springs however means moving 20-25 mins more to the west & moving that far away means a whole new neighbourhood, atmosphere & more time taken to get to church & uni. We as a family, however, know that God has a plan for us in this place & thank You Jesus for what You're about to do! This is also gonna give me a reason to really push myself to getting my red provisional 1 licence though, hahah
Connect Group Leader
During April of this year, I underwent a connect group leadership training in church which would allow me to be able to lead a connect group; it didn't automatically make me one. However, it wasn't until the end of the month when God impressed it upon my heart to actually start leading straight away.
Within my parents' own connect group, there were 3 girls just a little bit younger than I am that didn't really know anyone in our church besides me & all those in this connect group. I wanted to get them connected more with our church family, for them to also become a part of my new-found family the same way I did. Most importantly, I wanted to help them with their own journeys with Jesus by being that friend that they could talk to about anything & by being that big sister they could rely on for comfort whenever they needed it. Their names are Dana Pontawe, Maxine Jesette Garcia & Pauline Amorada & after consulting with my mum, my own connect group leaders & finally with my youth pastors about the situation, I got the A-OK to be able to become their connect group leader!
It has been an absolute pleasure & honour being with them like this & I just thank Jesus every day for giving me this opportunity. Through their own testimonies, I have been encouraged greatly & through their own personal growth with Jesus in these past 7 months, I have been motivated constantly to keep seeking Him the same way these amazing girls have.
I am humbled every day to have become a part of your lives in this way girls (if you're somehow reading this right now) & I just really want you three to know that I love you girls so so so so so so so much Leading a connect group by myself is not an easy task but you girls have made it so much fun for me. Thank you heaps for this past year & looking forward to spending Powerhouse Girls with you Pauline & for more awesome times in a 3-girl connect group with you Dana & Maxine next year!
Besides being a connect group leader, I've also decided to get myself standing on my own two feet & serving in our church service on Saturdays. This led me to being a cameraman, an events photographer, a promotional poster maker for our youth group, Beta Youth, & a social media marketer for our church service's Facebook page. It also made me volunteer for the very first time in Hillsong Conference in JAM's registration & information desk team. Despite the amount of times I needed to be early for church & the sleep-deprivation & extreme tiredness I felt in Hillsong Conference, volunteering for church has been very enjoyable & worthwhile so far. I believe that it's kept me in track with the fact that I need to put others in a higher priority than myself, that even Jesus was a servant on this earth.
Thank You Jesus for the privilege of being able to serve You in church & every day in every way!
Every year in August, Hillsong Church has an event called "Sunday Night Live" where the message is presented in a fun & entertaining manner with performances, props & other things. On the last Sunday of the month, Ps. Brendan Brown spoke about a message called "The Fight" & at the end of the night, he asked every one in the auditorium to put up their hands if they are going through some sort of fight in their lives right now - spiritually, physically, mentally, anything. Without even thinking, I immediately slipped my arm up to receive that prayer. I really didn't know why I did so - when my arm was already up in the air, I had this mentality that I was doing this on behalf of my currently unemployed mum, not knowing that in the next few days & weeks that immediately followed this Sunday would I be experiencing the most difficult of moments in my personal life thus far.
During this time, I was extremely discouraged to the point where I have completely lost my joy, my peace; perhaps even lost sight of Jesus' love for me. After a month of trying to get myself happy again by resorting to earthly sources of comfort (gaming, talking with people, etc), God gave me a vision during one of our quiet, prayer times in our leaders connect group meetings. In this vision, I saw a pottery that had massive cracks on the surface & a few moments later I realised that this was me… I instantly felt so broken, so messed up & I knew that I needed to come back to God again.
In the next two weeks, during my mid-semester break, I took a break from gaming & going on Skype & devoted my time to simply working on assignments & to read a book called "Fight Like a Girl" by Lisa Bevere. A few days later did I realise what the title is & how amazingly it fit my current situation. Isn't God just so awesome? He doesn't make His children go through difficulties & times of testing unprepared; He makes sure that they are first armed with the tools & necessities to overcome these (in my case, God equipped me with all the internal things I needed to face this fight the moment I put my hand up for prayer that Sunday night).
The book has been just an amazing read - it made me realise that God will really meet with you wherever you are at. In our brokenness, God won't hesitate to reach out for you & embrace you so warmly with His unfailing, unconditional love. In our weakness, God will show us that it's the perfect opportunity to make His power alive in us. More importantly, it reminded me of something I learned earlier in the year - Jesus is more than enough. Nothing in this world will ever be able to satisfy & fill us completely; only the love, joy, freedom, peace, strength that comes from Jesus, God's grace for us, will. Just like the lyrics to yet one of Hillsong's songs - "Christ is enough for me. Everything I need is in You. Everything I need."
No matter what circumstances we are facing though, no matter how strong, how scary, how uncomfortable the waves around us may be, never stop knowing that Jesus is God. Whatever the "great unknown" is for you, always remember that God knows exactly what He is doing. Simply keep trusting Him & put your faith on Him & He will lead you to the destiny that He has designed for you. Praise Him even if you don't feel like it - He deserves them all in the first place.
As for me however, "I'm gonna sing until my voice won't let me. When thunders roar, I'll shout Your praise!" (Hillsong Young & Free's "End of Days")
“Smile - Jesus loves you!”
Hi there! My name’s Nicole!
It’s an honour to be making your acquaintance!
I believe that a smile can dramatically change a person - it can give them hope, joy & a little ray of sunshine in their dark days.
For each day in my life, I want to be able to make at least one person smile, whether it be through encouragement, support, motivation or simply telling someone that they are loved.
Hoping that one of these people that I can make smile is you!
Much love ♥
Current Residence: Sydney Australia ^.^ !
Favourite genre of music: Kpop
Favourite photographer: no idea? O_o
Favourite style of art: animated art
Operating System: Mac OS X Lion, 10.7.5
MP3 player of choice: iPod Touch 4th Generation
Shell of choice: Anime =3
Wallpaper of choice: Anime
Skin of choice: Anime
Favourite cartoon character: Kuran Yuuki ~
Personal Quote: We are called to shine as LIGHTS in this world...