THURSDAY TUNE #31: To Love You Back by Jamie Grace

I was having a conversation with one of my officemates a few hours ago when he said something that caught my attention. He said with a smile and a deep sigh: “You know what, Nicole? Recently, I feel that God has been pursuing me. It’s amazing because even though I’ve been struggling week after week, He still continues to pursue me.”

When my officemate shared this to me, it reminded me of how humbling it is to be pursued and desired by God. He made the heavens and the earth. He made every part of our bodies. He can even make miracles happen in a heartbeat if He wants to. And yet, this same God is our God who loves us; who knows exactly what is in our hearts; and who desires to have a personal relationship with us.

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“If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea,
even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast.

For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful, I know that full well.
My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place,
when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.

 Your eyes saw my unformed body;
all the days ordained for me were written in your book
before one of them came to be.  How precious to me are your thoughts, God!
How vast is the sum of them! Were I to count them,
they would outnumber the grains of sand—
when I awake, I am still with you.

(Psalm 139:8-10, 14-18)

As I read through the Bible verses mentioned above, I find myself thanking the Lord for His relentless love for me. Yes, He has been pursuing you and me. But, have we been pursuing God? Have we been delighting in who He is and in His Word?

I’d like to share a song by Jamie Grace which has been very instrumental in encouraging me to draw near to God and pursue Him more than anything. I hope that this will bless your hearts as well as you seek the Lord this week.

 

Steak Au Poivre a la Julia Child

Google’s logo last August 15, 2012 caught my attention while I was browsing through the internet that day. Julia Child would have turned 100 years old last Wednesday! It was very interesting for me because ever since I watched the movie, Julie and Julia, I was more encouraged to pursue cooking and baking. In honor of one of my culinary inspirations, I prepared Steak Au Poivre in the style of Julia Child and served it with homemade, creamy mashed potatoes and buttered asparagus.

I honestly still get intimidated by Julia Child’s recipes. They seem to require a lot of effort and expensive ingredients. Moreover, in her cookbooks and television shows, she even walks us through EVERY SINGLE detail of her recipes. Talk about hard work, determination, and passion for food! However, despite the long procedures involved in her recipes, the dishes continue to fascinate me. :)  Thus, although I’ve never cooked a steak in my life before, I was inspired to make Steak Au Poivre last night.

I was staring at my raw steaks while my pan was heating up when I told God: “Lord, I honestly don’t know how to cook these. I’m not like Julia Child or other well-experienced chefs. Would you please give me wisdom? I know that YOU know HOW to cook steaks. Thank You! :)”

After I prayed, God somehow encouraged me to feel and poke the seasoned, raw meat with my fingers before cooking them. I then carefully placed the meat on the hot pan and let it cook for a few minutes. Later, I flipped the meat and cooked the other side for a few more minutes. And lastly, when both sides were done, I wrapped it in foil and let it rest for a while. (Resting the steak in foil would help keep the juices inside the meat, making it more tender.)

I felt nervous after cooking the steaks because I didn’t have a meat thermometer, and I couldn’t tell if they were medium rare, medium well, or well done. Nonetheless, I opened the wrapped foil and by God’s grace, the steaks looked amazingly juicy, tender, and were wonderfully cooked. I immediately prepared the dish with mashed potatoes, buttered asparagus, and sprinkled bits of basil on top.

 

My very supportive and encouraging family enjoyed the Steak Au Poivre with me. One of my brothers, after tasting the steak, even said: “Wow, Nic. I’m speechless, astonished, and amazed…” Hahaha. I actually laughed at him when he said that because I knew that it was a line from a song (Speechless by Steven Curtis Chapman). I continued the lyrics and said to him: “…I am silenced by His wondrous grace.” :) Indeed, it was only by God’s grace that I was able to make Julia Child’s Steak Au Poivre

As I was cleaning some of the equipment I used, I could still remember the delicious combination of the tender steak, creamy mashed potatoes, and the fresh, crisp asparagus. And although I am not an expert, I always enjoy rearranging the food, taking photos of it, and making the dish look more presentable. :)

Before going to bed last night, I read more about Julia Child and got encouraged by what she quoted before:

You never forget a beautiful thing that you have made,’ [Chef Bugnard] said.

‘Even after you eat it, it stays with you – always.”
―Julia Child, My Life in France

After reading that, I learned that Julia Child saw the beauty in the dishes that she made, even if other people didn’t exactly agree or find pleasure with how or what she cooks. I was amazed by her ability to use even the simplest ingredients to make extraordinary French dishes. God then spoke to my heart and I realized how I was even more amazed by Him and the beautiful things He createsIt says in: 

Psalm 139:14

“I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Your works are wonderful, I know that full well.

Isaiah 49:15

“…I will not forget you.”

If Julia Child can excellently make French food and inspire millions of people in the world, how much more can God, the creator of the universe, make beautiful things out of us? It was also such an encouragement to be reminded by God, that in spite of the “ugly” things we may have done in the past, our failures and wrongdoings, He still sees us for who we really are — chosen and unconditionally loved by Him.

Certainly, God does not look at us and think: “Wow, what a disappointment.” But instead, He takes pleasure in what He created and He sees the good and beauty in us; He sees Jesus in us. :)

Genesis 1:31 “God saw all that he had made, and it was very good.”

 

What a treat, indeed! Thank You, Lord, for making beautiful things. :)