Today, Mervinia speaks to us about self-esteem, her NPO, her favorite lesson from Proverbs, and her nail bar.
Tell us a bit about how you grew up and your childhood: I am born and bred in a small town in the Eastern Cape called Queenstown on 6 May 1996. I am the 2nd born out of 3 children, and the only daughter at home. I have two brothers who I love to bits, and I would do just about anything for them. Growing up, I lived with my grandparents as both my parents had to work.
Life wasn’t always easy, but my granny did everything she could to ensure I had a life no different than that of my peers. I was a bit of a rebel and somewhat tomboyish but as I grew older, I got more in touch with my girly side. I remember being little and playing marbles and wrestling with my friends (which of course consisted mainly of boys). There was a stage where I would ask my mother to buy me shorts and sneakers and I steered clear of anything pink and flowery. I still have a bit of that tomboyish side to me because I still love wearing sneakers, but I wear makeup now and I love anything flowery and dressy. Both my parents were non-believers but through the grace of God they were both saved and called to be His servants in 2007.
I did both primary and high school in Queenstown, and I later attended Nelson Mandela University in Port Elizabeth, Eastern Cape. I have always had a thing for academics, and I excelled at school since primary, so much so that I was the DUX learner in grade 7, and I was a part of the top 5 since grade 8. I was part of the Representative Council of Learners (both primary and high school) and I was a debate team member. I am quite the introvert, but I used to express myself through my achievements and the debate team gave me a platform to voice my opinions in a way that I was comfortable with. The youth at church was where I discovered my love for God at a young age and honestly, life has been nothing short of amazing and filled with blessings since.
Inspiring Biblical passage at the moment:
Ever since I came across this scripture, it has been my go-to. This Psalm has taught me about the amazing love and protection of the Lord and how one should always depend on God no matter what. Any situation I found myself in, this scripture was my guarantee that God was with me all the way and He will always carry me through so that I may see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living and this is one of the many promises of God I hold on to.
Spiritual growth focus at the moment: A stronger and better relationship with God is all I crave now. I want a relationship so stronger with Him, to the point of total surrender and letting God have complete and absolute rule and reign over my life. All I long for is to be His vessel to help bring more souls to Him.
Profession: I studied Psychology, and I graduated with both a BA and an Honours degree in Psychology, in the top 10% of my faculty, making me a Golden Key International Honours Society member. I am currently a Life Sciences and English educator at Hexagon High School in my hometown and I plan on pursuing a MA degree in Clinical Psychology but at a later stage. Ultimately, I want to open a private practice with myself as the senior psychologist of course.
If you wrote a memoir, what would the title be: Too Blessed to be Stressed
When did you first encounter and how did you encounter him? It was at a night of prayer and worship hosted by the youth a few years back. I can’t remember the date exactly. God showed Himself to me in such an over whelming way, and I remember having this intense gush of emotions come over me that all I could do was sob and shout “I love you Lord”. Words were hard to find and still are hard to find to describe that overwhelming and reckless love of God I felt that day. I depended entirely on the fact that even though I had no words in that moment, God listened to the prayer in my heart and I can boldly say the comfort and peace in my life is astonishing.
How has your relationship with him changed you? My relationship with God has made me more compassionate and considerate of others. When I am faced with challenges, I am confident that God will fulfil His promise in my life where He guaranteed that He would never leave me nor forsake me, and He will carry me through all obstacles, and I will overcome and be more than a conqueror. The Lord has shown me that when I put my trust in Him, no weapon formed against me shall prosper. I am not anxious for my future as His word declares in Jeremiah 29:11 “that His plans for my life are plans to prosper me and not harm me, they are plans to give me hope and a future.” I find comfort in knowing that all things will work for the good for those who are called by God and love Him.
“I find comfort in knowing that all things will work for the good for those who are called by God and love Him.”
What has helped you grow spiritually in this season? Oh, this is simple. Daily prayer, scripture reading, holy communion and fellowship with my family where we each share how God has been there and continue to be there for us.
Just read/currently reading and what has it taught you? I recently decided that I want to study and read more on the book of Proverbs in the Bible. It has taught me that seeking wisdom and understanding is crucial for the life of a believer. As a young person, I am faced with so many challenges and temptations such as being involved in the wrong crowds, sexual immorality, etc. so the Proverbs have helped me avoid these pitfalls and find the path to prosperity, health and security. Ultimately, the best lesson from Proverbs is “the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.
Top three essentials: My Bible, cell phone and lip balm.
How did God speak to you recently? God spoke to me through the scriptures, mainly Proverbs and Psalms and the encouragement I received from Proverbs 3:5-6 which reads as follows, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding, in all your ways submit to Him and He will make your paths straight.”
Hobby: I am into beauty and fashion, and I have recently opened my own nail bar called The Nail Fairy. I absolutely enjoy making women feel good about themselves even if it is through something as small as getting your nails done. This gives me a chance to talk to them about God or virtually anything that might be bothering them, and I try and make them feel better by sharing with them what I have learned in my times of trials and tribulations about God. Dress up is also a nice way for me to unwind after a hectic day.
Top 3 practical tips for staying spiritually strong:
1. Daily prayer
2. Reading your Bible daily
3. Daily fellowship with the Holy Spirit through praise and worship
Favourite person in scripture: King David. He wrote most of the Psalms. I absolutely adore David because of his courageous nature and confidence in God to do the impossible. David’s willingness to admit to any wrong doings, taking responsibility for his actions and his respect for authority is commendable but most importantly I love that he is a man of strong character who is totally dependent on the Lord.
What do you want people to learn about God when they look at you? People should look at my life and see Christ through and in me. I want them to be able to see the goodness and mercies of the Lord upon my life. They should look at me and be encouraged to devote their lives and their livelihoods to him and see how he will carry them from strength to strength and how He will enlarge their territory and give them the desires of their heart.
How do you engage with your community? I recently founded an NPO named #GirlPower. The vision and mission of this is to empower and uplift young girls from disadvantaged backgrounds to become the best versions of themselves and to discover and live out their purpose on this earth and to eventually become women of worth. The NPO also supplies them with sanitary pads, stationary, school uniform or any other necessities.
Favourite holiday: Easter holidays. This holiday serves as a reminder of that great deed (The Crucifixion) and the ultimate expression of God’s unconditional love for mankind.
A goal you have: Becoming a God-fearing, confident and educated woman, who will let nothing, and no one stand in the way of her greatness. I want to be able to empower others around me through my personal experience and encounters with God and to also encourage them to fully surrender to Him and let Him have his way with them.
A special traditional you and your family engage in or keep: My family and I make sure to always celebrate each other’s birthdays and personal achievements with dinner parties or small gatherings filled with laughter. We do this to remind one another of the love and support we have for each other.
Question you will ask when you get to heaven? Why did God allow all these bad things to happen on earth? If all things happen for a reason, and He has a plan and purpose for all our lives, what is the purpose then of an 8-year-old losing both parents, and what is the reason for a 9 month old baby being raped to death?
Thing you want to raise awareness about: Self-Acceptance. I have battled with acne all my life, and it has made me insecure and left me feeling like I am less beautiful. I would constantly wonder if people were looking at me or at my acne. It used to kill me if anyone would just mention it.
The “your pimples” or “Oh-my-word-your-face” comments had me slip into a state of anxiety, and I would attempt to hide my face with my hair, and I even started using makeup for this reason. The makeup would aggravate my acne, but I did not care as I needed to hide my hideous face with all its imperfections.
The more I became involved with the things of God and reading blogs on IG about other individuals suffering with acne, such as healingwithMeg, I realised that I was not alone, and I was made in the image of Christ. All of this brought me to the realisation that I am loved just the way I am. My self-esteem and confidence have grown tremendously since encountering God. I would love to encourage young girls and women across the world to accept themselves as they are as hard as it may be and this all starts by loving what you see in the mirror and I promise you, your life will be so much lighter and happier.
“All of this brought me to the realisation that I am loved just the way I am. My self-esteem and confidence have grown tremendously since encountering God.”
What does your morning routine consist of? A short prayer, asking God to carry me through the day and to make me strong to face all obstacles. Next, I read some quotes from Being Mary Jane, which help me realise my worth. I then grab a cup of coffee and get ready for work.
On weekends, I would read some of my favourite books, such as, We Are Going to Need More Wine by Gabrielle Union or Becoming by Michelle Obama. This reminds me about where I come from, and where I am still going and to never allow any circumstances to get me down and derail me from my purpose and destiny.
What is on your nightstand? My Bible, a journal, humidifier to help with my sinuses and a picture of me on graduation day.
Define Christianity in a sentence: A life devoted entirely to God and His will.
For more Mervinia:
Mervinia Nia Ambraal – Owner of The Nail Fairy
Founder of NPO #GirlPower
IG – merviniaambraal
Facebook- Mervinia Nia Ambraal
Email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Until next time, keep witnessing!