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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Words of Knowledge

Neurons

Moms know things. Not only do they know that your dreaded history test is next Friday (because they talked to the other moms at soccer practice) and that you’ve been swapping your turkey sandwich with Sarah for her PB&J (because your lunch box smells like peanut butter every day), but they also intuitively know things. My mom knew the day I got my first kiss because she could sense it when I walked in the door.

But my dad had a different kind of knowledge. He knew things he had no reason to know. He was given knowledge about things that he had no way of simply intuiting or deducing. For instance, he woke up one morning and told my mom to turn on the TV because a plane had just flown into the side of a mountain (this was pre-9/11). Sure enough, the news channels had just picked up a story about a plane crashing into the side of a mountain.

Stories like this permeate my childhood, such that I grew up thinking every dad had a superpower of just knowing things. So it freaked me out when I got older and realized what a rare gift my dad had. And it freaked me out even more when I started showing signs of the same.

A couple of years ago, my friend Jill had her first child, and although she and her husband revealed the baby’s name to no one else, God revealed to me two weeks before his birth that the baby’s name would be Elijah. When the name came into my mind, it wasn’t just a good guess. It wasn’t something I’d intuited from something Jill told me. It was a supernatural revelation, and I was so sure of the knowledge – had such a deep-seated certainty of its validity – that when Jill texted me she was going into labor, I wrote back, “Say hi to baby Elijah for me!” She was stunned. And so was I. But God still speaks.

A couple of weeks ago, I was in a conference room with about sixty colleagues, participating in a “get to know you” session with senior leadership. The facilitator of the meeting was asking each leader a personal question, like “What is your favorite movie?” or “What book are you reading right now?”

When time came for the last leader in the row to respond, the facilitator asked, “What’s the bravest thing you’ve ever done?”

And boom. Into my brain popped the knowledge of what he was going to say. It wasn’t just a good guess. I knew that I knew the exact words that were about to come out of his mouth. So I leaned over to Bethany and whispered, “He’s about to say, ‘Getting married to my wife.'”

Bethany laughed, thinking I was being funny, but as the leader echoed my words into the microphone – “Getting married to my wife.” – Bethany’s eyebrows shot up, and her head snapped to me, eyes wide.

As more of these instances have occurred in my life, I’ve often asked why. Why reveal this knowledge to me? My dad knowing about the plane didn’t change anything. It didn’t save lives. Knowing Elijah’s name didn’t enact anything in his life. Same with this leader’s response to a seemingly pointless networking question.

So what is the purpose of such revelation? I have determined that it is God’s way of growing my faith. It’s so hard for a control freak like me to relinquish my plans to God and genuinely believe His ways are better than mine (what pride!). These revelations remind me of God’s omniscience, that He still speaks, and that I can know His plans and hear His voice if I but listen.

Authentically Aurora

Prophetic Provision

Prophesy

Over the past six months, I have received unimaginable volumes of unsolicited post-breakup advice from well-meaning friends, family and even complete strangers. Some people have told me to “put myself out there” and date around. Others have chided me when I do go out on dates, claiming that it’s too soon after my relational train wreck of a summer.

How soon is too soon? How does someone “properly” move forward with life after a breakup, divorce or failed engagement? If there’s not a right answer – or even if there is a right answer, but it varies from situation to situation – then why do so many people have such vehement opinions about this very personal, very sensitive topic?

Here are things I know to be true:

  1. It’s probably not a great idea for me to sit at home alone every night, drinking multiple glasses of wine and singing parodies of Taylor Swift’s “22”.
  2. I am still healing, so getting into a serious relationship right now would probably be about as smart as playing Leap Frog with a unicorn.
  3. I typically date to marry, but I am also capable of going on casual dates without physical or emotional entanglement (as evidenced by about half of the posts on this blog so far).

Since I live to please God and not man (Gal. 1:10), I threw out the conflicting advice and did what I do anytime I need wisdom: I prayed about it. In the end, I felt convicted that I needed to get off of eHarmony, so I did, but I still felt I should keep myself open to going on casual dates to get myself out of the house and, if nothing else, make new friends. And this week, make a new friend, I did.

Time for some back story. I know, I know… my role model Flynn Rider doesn’t do back story, but in this case, it’s necessary. So here we go:

The biblical Old Testament is written in Hebrew, which does not have a grammatical way to express the comparative or superlative (e.g. better, best). The way Hebrew emphasizes something is through repetition, like small children at grandpa’s house telling their mother that they are “very, Very, VERY” bored (hypothetically speaking, of course)! This style of emphasis is why God is frequently described throughout the bible as “holy, holy, holy,” underscoring his utter purity.

Similarly, I believe that when God is trying to tell me something, He emphasizes it through repetition. And three times in as many days, three different people have spoken to me about the gift of prophesy. The bible lists many “spiritual gifts”, some of which (like teaching and encouragement) are widely accepted throughout the church, but others (like healing and prophesy) create more apprehension and division among Christians. I have grown in an appreciation for spiritual gifts like prophesy as I have witnessed them in my father and, later, experienced them myself.

I remember as a kid, my dad often knew things before they happened – little things, like one time at a country fair, he entered his name in a raffle drawing. Right as the woman drawing the name out of the bowl touched the paper with the winner’s name, my dad turned to my mom and said calmly, “She’s about to say my name.” A few seconds later, my mom gasped, astonished, while my dad – completely unfazed – walked up to the stage to retrieve his prize. My ten-year-old self thought it was completely normal for daddies to have premonitions. After all, my dad was my hero; my role model; my seemingly infallible Gandalf-like figure.

But then I went off to college and realized that not not everyone’s daddy woke up from prophetic dreams to inform the family that a tsunami was about to hit Indonesia. And about that time, I started to experience prophetic visions for myself. For example, this summer, my friend Jill gave birth to her first child. Everyone knew she and her husband were having a boy, but the couple kept the name a secret. The plan was to reveal their son’s name after it was on the birth certificate. But two weeks before Jill gave birth, she and I went out to dinner, and as I sat talking and laughing with her about her soon-to-be-born son, I suddenly KNEW the baby’s name: Elijah. I didn’t tell Jill at that very moment, but I knew with such certainty that when she later sent out the text that her water had broken, I wrote back: “Say hi to baby Elijah for me!” She was as shocked as I had been when God revealed the baby’s name to me.

I’ve often asked why things like that are revealed to me. Knowing Elijah’s name before he was born didn’t change anything. It was a powerful revelation that seemingly had no impact. Why, then, did God choose to reveal it to me? I have come to the conclusion that it was for my encouragement, and for the encouragement of his mother, Jill, that God still speaks. It was a reminder to me of God’s omniscience and omnipotence. It reminded me who God is, and who I am in relation to Him.

With all that as background, last night I went on a date with Jonathan, an eHarmony match I’d connected with before I got off the site. Jonathan is a welding engineer and clearly a godly man, but he’s 9 years older than me and has a melancholy personality. I knew within the first five minutes that I respected him, but he wasn’t for me (there’s enough melancholy in me to go around)! Fortunately, the feeling was mutual, so I asked Jonathan how he felt about being set up with one of my friends. I strongly sensed that they would be a good match – she’s a godly engineer who does triathlons and, like Jonathan, is passionate about the End It movement.

Jonathan looked at me for a moment with a puzzled look on his face. Then he asked, slowly and cautiously, what I think about prophesy. I was immediately overcome with a Presence; a sense of knowing that the words he was about to say were Divine. God had been preparing me for this moment through my repeated encounters with prophetic conversations over the past few days.

And then Jonathan told me that he’d had a dream about me last week. In the dream, he walked into a coffee shop and saw me sitting at a table, laughing and talking with another man. On the morning of our date, Jonathan shared the dream with a friend of his, discouraged. But his friend’s reply was, “In your dream, she may be with another man, but perhaps it’s because she has a friend to introduce you to.”

So far, half of Jonathan’s premonition has come true. I’m praying that the other half comes to full fruition in due time.

Authentically Aurora