Mouths of Babes

Cherry LipsPeople love to be outraged. The public loves a scandal, and individuals are always looking for opportunities to be offended. As a general populace, we live for rallying behind causes, speaking our disgust of the latest societal indignation at every turn and posting impassioned commentary on social media whenever possible.

But how many people turn their words into action? Are we an impassioned people for nothing more than the sake of our own amusement? Is it simply entertaining to discuss the latest humanitarian crisis or political affront? How many of us are legitimately invested in putting action to our outrage?

In an effort to be a woman of action – a woman who seeks to genuinely make an impact in the areas where my heart is stirred – I have recently gotten involved with a local organization that aids refugees in our city with learning English, navigating the citizenship process, and ultimately finding sustainable jobs by which they can support their families.

Over the past couple of months, I have developed a welcome packet for refugees in our city, outlining a number of 1-12 week training programs that equip graduates with various nationally recognized certificates that will allow them to qualify for different jobs in our city. Some careers included are more technical and some are more service-oriented, but regardless of the job category, I have ensured that I outlined not only the time requirement but also the cost of the program as well as the anticipated annual income of each of the career paths listed.

The director of the organization, a 30-something named Justin, reached out to me a couple of weeks ago and invited me over for dinner with his wife and two children. “You’ve done so much work for our organization,” he told me, “But I’ve never even met you in person! Please come over for dinner as our way of thanking you. Our family would love to get to know you.”

So I went. Justin’s wife made a delicious sweet potato and black bean chili (seriously, one of the most delicious things I’ve ever tasted), and after a fun dinner of getting to know each other, we moved into the living room where Justin and his wife started telling me some of the amazing success stories from their organization’s efforts this year. While his parents talked, four-year-old Josiah (the elder of Justin’s two sons) climbed up into my lap on the couch. Surprised but pleased, I stroked his soft, baby-fine hair while I listened to his parents.

In the middle of one of his dad’s stories, Josiah suddenly crawled out of my lap, turned around to face me, and interrupted his dad mid-sentence.

“Do you got a lie?” The four-year-old was looking directly at me, brow furrowed.

“Excuse me, what?” I wasn’t quite sure what he was asking or how to respond to his sudden question.

“Do you GOT a LIE?” Josiah asked with emphasis, putting his tiny hands on either side of my face to look deeply into my eyes.

Slightly concerned, I glanced at his dad, and Justin translated for me. “He’s asking you if you’re believing a lie.”

“Oh. No. I don’t think I’m believing any lies, Josiah.” I directed my answer to the young boy. “What lie to you think I’m believing?”

At this point, Josiah had lost interest, turning away from me to play with a blue light saber he found on the living room floor. Between swishing noises he made with his mouth, Josiah responded to my question in his high-pitched voice, “That God won’t provide.”

My eyes widened in shock. What kind of four-year-old makes that kind of comment?!

Justin, less shocked than I was at his son’s declaration, prodded him further. “What does Aurora not think God will provide for her?”

Josiah continued running around the living room, waving his light saber around and making accompanying sword-fighting noises with his pursed lips. He didn’t even look up when his tiny voice spoke the words of truth: “A husband.”

I nearly fell off the couch. My eyes bugged out, staring at Josiah and then his dad. Justin got up from his chair, went to a bookshelf and picked up a small black notebook and a pen. He scribbled away in his notebook, detailing yet another story to tell Josiah when his son got older.

As Justin bent over this journal of sorts, he asked his son another question. “And why is that a lie, Josiah?”

Josiah looked up at me this time when he answered. “Because He will.”

Goosebumps raced up and down my arms. Trying to take it all in, I glanced at Josiah’s mom; then back at Justin when he directed his next question to me. “Do you receive that, Aurora? Do you believe God will provide you with a husband?”

“I do,” I told him, and the words echoed in my mind like a wedding vow; a foreshadowing of things to come; of something spoken and promised and sealed.

In that moment, the lights went out. I looked around, wondering what in the world was happening now, but by the moonlight I spotted Josiah in the kitchen by the light switch. His mom asked him, “Josiah, why are you turning out the lights?”

“Because it’s time to anoint her.”

I gave up on being shocked. This child was other-wordly.

Justin just chucked. Apparently this was normal behavior for his son. “Okay, get the oil.” And then, to me, “Are you okay with this?” I just nodded.

So Josiah reappeared in the living room with a small glass bowl of oil while his mom lit some candles around the room. Josiah handed me his blue light saber, now lit up in the blackness, and he told me it could be my own personal candle while he prayed for me.

Josiah silently dipped his thumb in the oil, spread the oil in a horizontal line across my forehead, and – at his dad’s prompting – said a quick prayer that God would heal my heart and that I would trust God’s provision for a husband. And just like that, the light saber was snatched out of my hand, and the swooshing noises started again as Josiah decided it was time to play with his little brother, the two of them dancing around the carpet in a mock battle.

I was astonished by how quickly Josiah switched from solemn speaker of truth to rambunctious little boy. He is a special child, and although I am still processing all that took place that unexpected evening, I felt touched to have gotten a glimpse of the Holy Spirit’s working in that young boy. His parents are doing what they can to step into the hurt and chaos of the refugee crisis, and Josiah himself is, in his own way, also doing what he can – in ways he may not even understand yet – to bring hope and healing.

“O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! You have set your glory above the heavens. Out of the mouth of babies and infants, you have established strength because of your foes, to still the enemy and the avenger. When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him?” -Psalm 8

Authentically Aurora

Sweet Potato Black Bean Chili Recipe

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The Lies We Believe

Angry Unikitty - part 2The most fearsome sight you will ever behold is a female INTJ while she is PMSing.

Seriously. I intimidate myself sometimes.

And while I am in the dark and twisty place of PMSing INTJ-ness (a truly terrifying place, to be sure), I believe a lot of lies about myself and others. Things I know to be true in the Light, I begin to question in the sudden Darkness.

Or, you know, the throes of hormonal mood swings.

Here are 3 Lies I’ve believed this week:

  1. I Am Fat.
  2. I Am Undesirable.
  3. I Hate Everyone.

I Am Fat.

Height WeightIt’s true that I weighed in at 132 this morning, which is 7 lbs heavier than I would like to be, but I always weigh about 4 lbs more on the days leading up to my period (sorry, guys. Deal with it or stop reading). At 5’4″, even with this extra monthly tonnage, I am still well within the healthy weight range for my age, gender and height.

I just FELT fat because, besides it being “that time of the month” resulting in bloating and clothes not fitting right, my hormones have been all out of whack, which increases my sensitivity and insecurities.

I read a book a few years ago by Beth Moore called “So Long, Insecurity.” I HIGHLY recommend it to all women everywhere. This means you, girlfriend. I consider myself a fairly confident woman, but she helped me identify some blind spots for myself (e.g. perfectionism as a form of insecurity) as well as the root causes of some of those insecurities.

Beth writes of battling our insecurities, “We’re going to have to let truth scream louder to our souls than the lies that have infected us.”

I Am Undesirable.

In addition to feeling fat, I felt generally undesirable this week. Besides perfectionism, I also struggle with the fear of rejection. And Bryan has been distant this week. We had our first major fight on Sunday, and on Monday, he took this other girl Jenn out for a steak dinner for her birthday. Umm… what?!

Not only was I horrified that he was taking another woman out 1:1 for a steak dinner, but ironically, I had been craving a nice, juicy steak all weekend (you know, period-induced anemia that has my body craving iron – i.e. red meat). It’s true that Bryan freely volunteered this information of going out with Jenn, and he reassured me that he was doing it out of obligation because she’d taken him out for a steak dinner for his birthday a few months back, but I was still upset – I think, understandably so. But fortunately, I was able to rein in my inner Grumpy Cat/Angry Unikitty (apparently my spirit animal is a cat of some sort…?). Ever-perceptive Bryan is hopefully none the wiser about the Green-eyed Jaguar poised to pounce out of his jealous maybe-almost-kind-of-girlfriend.

Beth writes about this particular struggle, “We need a place we can go when, as much as we loathe it, we are needy and hysterical… I need someone who will love me when I hate myself… As if the battle isn’t hard enough, we sabotage ourselves, submerging ourselves with self-condemnation… How often do we think to ourselves, I should be handling this better?”

I Hate Everyone.

Yep. I feel this way most of the time, monthly period or not. People suck. They constantly disappoint me. I try to lower my expectations of humanity, but I fail. I want better for people than they want for themselves, and that makes me sad. I don’t want to have to lower my expectations of humanity. I want people to step up to the plate and be the amazing men and women they are capable of being.

The truth is, I don’t hate everyone. Or even most people. In fact, my problem isn’t that I care too little but that I care too much! The opposite of love is not hate; it’s apathy. I’m not a robot or a cold-hearted, calculating villain. I’m a tender-hearted young woman bleeding out for the world to be better than it is.

Beth writes of herself, “I feel everything. My joys are huge, and so are my sorrows. If I’m mad, I’m really mad, and if I’m despondent, I wonder how on earth I’ll go on… God gave me this tender heart, and though I want to give up my chronic insecurity, I really do want to hang on to my heart. I like to feel. When I don’t feel something, it’s like being dead.

“Each heart knows its own bitterness (Prov 14:10). The more intense the pain, the more it feels like nobody understands… Your personality and history shapes your response, just as my own unique background affects mine… For me, this is one profound reason that God, omniscient and omnipresent, has been the vital element in my healing. During particularly lonely or frustrating times, [we feel] that nobody else gets it. But He gets it better than we do. So many times He has shown me where I was coming from instead of the other way around.”

When I believe the Lies of the Darkness, I want to remember to set my eyes on the Truth of the omniscient, omnipotent Father of Lights who sees me as I am, remembers that I am dust, and Loves me.

Authentically Aurora