Be Mine by Michaela F.

IMG_5860

Last Valentine’s Day, I wrote about how to love God better. This Valentine’s Day, I wanted to write about real life ways that God reveals His perfect love for us. He really is a romantic God and I want every girl to feel special today, whether you are receiving flowers and chocolate or not.

Imagine a scenario with me. A guy gets all dressed up, so excited to see his girl looking absolutely ravishing and walks to the door with a boyish grin on his face. He rings the doorbell and is met by a surprising sight. His date looks HORRIBLE. Her hair is a rat’s nest, she’s wearing her painting tshirt, and her face is covered in streaks of a makeup experiment gone wrong. What would he do? Unless he was an exceptional fellow, he would probably postpone their night out. But if that guy was Jesus, He would say “Hey, precious girl! I am so happy to see you and I can’t wait to spend the evening with you because you are the BEST!” Alone, we are a mess every single day, but our God still cherishes us!

Lately, I have become very disillusioned with popular romantic movies because they portray unrealistic and flaky relationships. When I find myself “ahhhh”-ing at a guy who did something sweet for the girl on the screen, I suddenly want to throw up because it is not love. The only redeeming thing about these situations is that I remind myself about my amazing Prince. The One who died so He could woo me to Himself day after day with the sweetest words, the most thoughtful actions and the most perfect love of all time. The love that pursues me when I am sitting in the middle of my sin, selfishness, confusion and pain. The love that protects me from all kinds of harm and the love that provides infinitely more than I could ask or imagine.

In December, I found myself really struggling with the fact that I had a really hard time letting God love me. I saw people who  had encountered the relentless, incredible love of God and I was so jealous to have my own experience. A wise friend told me to speak to a guy from our church who had gone through the same thing. He gave me advice and prayed for me and I went back to my dorm room feeling expectant. As I lay alone in my dark room, I had the urge to stand up and pace. I just started talking out loud to the Lord and speaking His truth over myself and it dawned on me that 1 Corinthians 13 is not just directions on how to love others. It also describes how our Father loves us. I started going through each quality of love and I got to the part where it says “love keeps no record of wrongs”. A little voice popped into my head and said “He doesn’t care!” and then I cried. He doesn’t even remember or care about what I said to my mom today or my bitter thoughts yesterday or my failure to seek Him last week. He just loves me. He just wants what is best for me. He just looks at me with a happy-tears smile. The King of the universe is enthralled with my beauty, inside and out.

I don’t know about you, but I have a big date with the One who chose me to be His before creation, wrote my DNA code, and pieced me together. I even shaved my legs and I just might wear lipstick! I am going to think of prayer as hearing His words of love for me and worship as thanking Him for His radical love. I am going to listen to this song over and over again until the truth of the words permeate my heart. Our God is the Perfect Father, the available Best Friend, the greatest love song Writer, the Painter of the skies, the Author of our story. And the best part about it is that there are no questions involved in the phrase “Be Mine” with Him. We are His and He is ours. That is the best news ever on this pink and red holiday.

 

A Different Approach to Valentine’s Day by Michaela F.

DSC_0474
If you’re looking for a cutesy article about chocolate and flowers and teddy bears and hearts and Pinterest pictures, I encourage you to keep looking elsewhere. This Valentine’s Day, while I will most definitely be celebrating in traditional ways, will look much different for me. And I hope it will look different for you, too.
You see, love is the most beautiful thing on this Earth. Love shared and expressed between friends, family members, couples, and yes, even animals, is just plain amazing. Life would be nothing without this complex noun and verb.
DSC_0476
Without sounding “cliché Christian teenage girl”, I would love to encourage you to reflect upon, grow in, and act on your love for your Lord and Savior as you pass out cartoon-covered cards or whip up a heavenly chocolate dessert. I always have a hard time when people say “I love Jesus” or “Jesus is the love of my life” because in my head I’m screaming “But what on earth does that mean?!?!” I so desperately long to feel the emotion of love when I think about the One who died and rose again in order to spend eternity with me, yet sometimes devos and prayer seem like a mere drudgery. I used to think I was alone in this, but I have since learned that absolutely every follower of Christ has those days and months and even years when time with Him does not fill you with warm fuzzies and a fiery passion.
DSC_0477
However, right now I am in a place where I just really do love Jesus. I roll out of bed and onto my knees to spend the first minutes of my morning committing my day to Him. For the rest of the day I am consumed with thoughts of what the Lord is doing in my heart and in the hearts of those around me and I cannot wipe the smile off my face for my life (not that I would want to). My conversations with my friends and family are full of praising His glorious goodness. I guess you could say I am head-over-heels. I have no idea how long this season will last, but I am so hopeful that there are actually little steps I can take to get to this place and keep it this way. Would you like to hear them? Oh good, I hoped so. (Some of them are from my own thoughts and some are from my youth pastor.)
First off, I will play Captain Obvious and point out that God made us in His image, including the way we interact with others. When we love somebody, we invest energy, time and resources into the relationship. We listen to them while they pour out their thoughts and we rely on them to listen to us as well. God made us to do this. I think that’s how we should love Jesus too. We should think about Him and how to please Him, talk to Him, listen to Him, and tell other people how great we think He is. It really is that simple, yet I know it doesn’t always work out perfectly or even well.
DSC_0493
I also know for a fact that a major fire-extinguisher in our walk with Christ is focusing on our circumstances. Life-changing decisions and little annoyances alike fill our thoughts and take our eyes off our Strength and Comforter. I have been practicing fixing my eyes back on the prize in those moments and let me tell you, it’s a game-changer. As we focus more and more on Christ by repenting of selfishness and focusing on thanking Him for every little thing in our day, we will be free to receive what He has for us.
If you are still not feeling the love, get yourself around people who are. It may not be your parents or people you think should be in love with Christ, because everyone has dry spells or gets busy etc… Think about who is literally bursting with joy and peace and life, chances are they are deeply in love with their Lord and Savior. Hopefully you will be able to catch a spark and fan your own flame.
A specific way I am going to try to learn more about God’s love for me is by reading through the Bible with rose-colored glasses, if you will. Not in a literal sense, but basically reading through the Bible looking for very specific evidence of His love for me, His creation. Whether it is a tough-love punishment for the Israelites or a tender-hearted statement from Jesus, I want to see the different threads of the greatest love story ever.
DSC_0494
Will you join me in this revolutionary approach to Valentine’s Day? If you do, please comment and tell me your plans or results-I love fellowship sooo much.

Love: a poem by Michaela F.

IMG_0628

love.
kinda confusing.
always unconditional,
but different situations
call for different expressions
of this verb we call love.
sometimes it’s a lotta TLC
not the channel-the acronym silly!
sometimes it’s tough;
you just gotta let them go
and hope they figure it out on their own.
sometimes it’s both:
gentle support
while you push them out the door.
it’s hard, it hurts
and it’s not always returned,
but loving like our Father is worth it.

Valentine’s Day Inspiration

v-day collage

I love Valentine’s Day. So much. In fact, I’d probably consider it my favorite holiday. I love having the excuse to wear as much pink as possible and go crazy decorating with lace and hearts and red and pink. I also love making valentines for sweet friends. This year, I’m hosting a Valentine dinner for my Bible study. Needless to say, I’m pretty excited about it! I’ve been scouring Pinterest finding my favorite Valentine print-outs, decorations, and recipes. Here are my favorites:

1. Bright Pom-Poms

2. Adorable Print-Outs

3. Cute Flower Seeds

4. Heart Tea Bags

5. This Gorgeous Wreath 

6. This Cute Display

7. Cupcake Flags

8. Heart Shaped Macaroons 

What pins have been catching your eye lately? Follow Not of this World on Pinterest for more v-day ideas!

A Date within a Marriage // February

February Dates

Dates for February

////

New? Read the story behind setting aside time to go on “dates” with God….

Several months ago, a friend from school started hosting prayer meetings before school on Thursdays. It ended up happening only a few times, but one thing he said has remained in my mind. As he was closing our time with a few words of encouragement, he described our meeting as a “date within a marriage.” I loved that analogy.

Just as dates are an important part of a relationship, we also should set apart specific times to spend with God. However, just as dates do not sustain a marriage, neither does only going to church on Sundays or praying for a few seconds before you fall asleep sustain your relationship with God.

I hope these simple “date” ideas will strengthen your relationship with God.

Plan A Valentine’s Day Party

I pulled this article by Katie G. out of the archives, just in case you’ve forgotten what she said from when you first read it two years ago 🙂

When preparing for a valentine’s party try to keep two things in mind, 1) pink 2) red. When you are finished you should have a pink and red room lit with heart candles while hearts drift like mobiles from the lights.  There will be games with heart cards and fun, not to mention laughter.  Now that you know what to keep in mind and what to look forward all that is left is to know what to be prepared for: cutting.

Step 1) be sure and invite your guests at least a week beforehand.  If you are only inviting a few people then make decorative cards as invitations.  If you are planning on asking 50 people then I would suggest you search valentine e-cards on the computer and choose one that will not offend anyone or give the wrong impression.  Make certain you include details such as time, place, date and your reason for the party (birthday, holiday etc.)

Step 2) one thing you do not want to do is to not be ready when people start arriving, plan ahead and cut out all your hearts the day before.  The morning of the chosen day melt some old candles or wax in your mom’s worst pan (DO NOT do this in your mom’s best pan like I did; it hardens and is not easy to scrape out!).   While the wax is melting read through the rest of the instructions so you can know and prepare for anything ahead.  Before the wax is completely melted set a small sheet of aluminum foil on the counter put your heart cookie cutter over it.  Make certain that none of the cookie cutter is touching the counter.  Very carefully pour the liquid wax into the heart mold and stir in a drop of food coloring.  While the wax cools slightly coat a precut piece of string so that it is stiff.  When the wax in the mold is firm enough to support itself cautiously slip the wick in.  Place the candle in a cool place and when it is sufficiently stiff gently remove the mold.  Repeat this step throughout the day until you have enough candles.  If you have multiple heart-shaped cookie cutters you can make more than one at once. Note: the moment the pot is empty pour boiling water into it and scrape.  If there is any stubborn wax left put the pot into the freezer and peel it off.

Step 3) while still cooling your candles select 30 hearts and label five of them as follows: I Will Tell That, I Will Eat That, I Will Do That, I Will Dance That, and I Will Wear That.  On another five hearts put down 100, 200, 300, 400 and 500.  Arrange the numbered hearts in a column with the numbers facing up.  On five other hearts write down things that you would dare people to tell such as, “your funniest moment” or, “your most embarrassing moment”.  Order these according to category and most difficult to tell.  Put them face down in a column next to next to the numbered cards with the hardest one across from the 500.  Place the “I Will Tell That” card above this column.  Do the same for each category.  This game is just a form of jeopardy.  Before playing divide your group into teams.  Go in a circle and let one person from each team pick any card and complete what it says.  (if time runs out before the dare is complete pass it on to the next group and let them have a try.

Step 4) for all the lights in your house, use cut a piece of plastic wrap.  Paint them red and pink.  (This can be extremely difficult! If it does not work use really thin colored paper.)  When you are done tape them over the lights so that when turned on they create a red or pink light.  To improve how your room looks turn your remaining hearts into mobiles and hang them from the ceiling and lights.  Be creative and “heartify” your house.

Step 5) for any food you make, try to keep to the pink heart theme.  Some ideas are heart spritz or heart-shaped cakes.  You can melt hard candy and form little hearts to put on top of your cakes if you don’t have heart-shaped tins.  For drinks put a couple drops of red food coloring into sprite or just buy a strawberry drink.  Glue little hearts onto red or pink straws for your guests to use and identical hearts onto their cups.

Step 6) use your imagination and think of more ideas for your party or maybe even for another party at a different time of the year.  You could throw a Christmas party or just an everyday “I’m glad you are my friends” party.  One thing extremely important thing to remember whenever  you throw a party is to make  sure everyone is included and that no one is left out. Use your parties to get to know people around your area, maybe eventually you can share the gospel with someone.  Also use your parties to introduce your friends to each other.  It can be difficult to find friends when you live in a different culture that why sharing them always pays off!  But for now…lets party!!!

Beloved by Catherine C.

February 14 is a holiday to celebrate love. Our culture over emphasizes romance and couples on this holiday. Even I, who am generally content with being just friends with guys, feel a little left out, with all the focus on romantic-ness . But that’s not what I think it should be. I think we should make it a time to focus on God’s love for us. I am comforted every day by His love for me. Here’s some lyrics to a song that really speak about His love for us, His bride. If you want to look up the song, it’s Beloved by Tenth Avenue North.

Here are some of the lyrics:

You’re my beloved

lover I’m yours

Death shall not part us

It’s you I died for

For better or worse

Forever we’ll be

My love it unites us and it binds you to me

It’s a mystery

Seriously, with a God who loves us that much, why do we think we even need guys to fulfill us? Sisters, would you make it your goal this month, when everyone is focused on love and romance, to focus more on God’s love for you, love that no guy can ever give you? Will you wait patiently and let your ultimate Lover to write your love story for you? Will you fall more in love with your savior who loves you so incredibly much? That is my goal this month, and for the rest of my life.