We are on the move…literally. 3 weeks on the road in our mini van. Then four months living with family. Then moving to Scotland. If I were to write a manual on how to move 4 kids internationally I’m not sure I would advise this process. Yet it is what we have chosen more or less. And I think it is good. We are slowly saying goodbye- like that little kids “goodnight moon” book that I’ve never understood why it is so popular…goodbye stuff, goodbye house, goodbye California, goodbye friends, goodbye sun, goodbye heat, goodbye family…you get the picture. And we are spending lots of time as a family—the 6 of us—, which is good because that is going to be life for a while.
In the midst of this transition yesterday we had a unique opportunity to receive an hour of “prophetic prayer” from the leadership team at PIHOP. We sat down with 4 people we had never met and they spent an hour listening to Jesus on our behalf and telling us what they heard. I laughed. I cried. I was once again amazed by God’s goodness and kindness. In an hour they knew from listening to the Holy Spirit—what we were about. God encouraged us through them that we were on the right path. They could not have been more accurate. As if they knew the dreams in our heart, the words Jesus has spoken to us, the faith risks we are taking in this season and the reason we are taking them.
You see we are making this move because of a dream. A dream that someday everyone would know that God is here now. That God is good. That God’s presence is healing, empowering, kind, and yet powerful and awe inducing. A dream that all disciples would know Jesus’ voice like Jesus talks about in John. And so Greg is going to study at St Andrews with some of the leading biblical scholars, going to study a biblical understanding of the presence of God. We’ve saturated ourselves in communities that are fluent in the charismatic. We’ve worked for communities passionate about biblical accuracy and there is frequently (not always) a disconnect. It is my belief that it doesn’t have to be. Holy Spirit is biblical. Healing is biblical. The prophetic is biblical. God’s presence here and now in the room, is biblical.
At one point while they were praying for me, a guy saw a picture of me folding laundry and God’s presence with me during the mundane things of my day—encouraging me that God wants to meet me during normal everyday mom life. He said "sort of like Brother Lawrence’s 'Practicing the Presence'". I laughed. Anyone who has read my blogs knows that I posted one on that very subject. He had never read my blog—didn’t know my name until during the prayer time. God was affirming me. Yes…His presence in my everyday life is where revival happens. For me it is in a life attuned to the Spirit all the time. There was more. There is more. There is more for all of us. And this is the dream for us—for us to be able to be a part of bridging the gap between the “charismatic” and the “mainline” for lack of better words. And that is why we are on the move.
I once asked my 4 year old daughter Anna if she heard God's voice. She looked at me really puzzled. "What do you mean mom?" I decided to rephrase my question asking instead "What does God talk to you about?" "Oh lots of things but mostly God tells me how much God loves me and how special I am. Can we go get donuts?" It was matter of fact, normal every day life for her. There was no "if" about it. This has been one of the cries of my heart for my kids, that they would not just know about God but that they would know God, know God's voice, know God's heart for them and for the world.
Sometimes they hear stuff, sometimes they don't. Sometimes they will talk to me about what they hear and other times they won't. Anna, at 3, once told me she couldn't tell me what Jesus talked to her about because she and Jesus had been meeting in their secret place together. She did tell me one of the gifts Jesus had given her: "a mirror so she could see how beautiful she was". Eli on the other hand still confuses Santa with Jesus. He knows Santa is not real (something we have always told our kids) and has a hard time getting that Jesus is real. On the other hand he will occasionally let me know that Jesus is stuck in his throat or has decided to live in his stomach.
I grew up knowing God's love for me, knowing about Jesus, knowing even that Jesus could be "my friend". But I didn't know how to talk to Jesus other than through other people and what the bible told me. It wasn't until college that I started to hear God's voice more directly. I started to know information about people that they never told me: passions, dreams, fears, struggles. I would "hear" things then find ways to talk about the stuff with the individuals only to find out that I had heard correctly. Holy Spirit was talking to me.
The crazy thing was that it wasn't a booming voice, it wasn't an audible voice, it sounded the same as if I were to sing "Happy birthday" in my head. God speaks in that space, a thought that crosses your mind. Sometimes it is quick, out of context. Sometimes it is in response to a question I've asked. Holy Spirit will also show pictures in our imagination--in the same space as if I were to close my eyes and picture my front door right now. Sometimes pictures are real situations, other times they are metaphors. And then there are dreams. Holy Spirit loves to speak in dreams.
The trick is then figuring out what is God's voice, what is my voice and what is the enemy's voice. Volumes have been written about this. But simply stated God's voice lines up with scripture (not just one verse but the story of scripture); with community, and it brings the fruit of the Spirit--love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, self control. It does not bring chaos, confusion, self hate, anger, despair or fear. For example: if you ask God a question like "what do you think of me God" and you hear "I love you" I can almost guarantee you are not telling yourself that (how often do you look in the mirror and tell yourself "i love you"?), it isn't the enemy, it brings joy and peace, lines up with Scripture and with most communities that follow Jesus. It is God.
There is so much more I could stay about the journey I am still on to discern what God is saying. It will be something I'm learning for the rest of my life, just like after 13 1/2 years of marriage I am still learning things about my husband and how to communicate with him. This year one of my desires is to learn how to help my kids hear better and I to better know and recognize God's heart and voice in everyday situations. What is God saying to you? How do you know its God?