More Dreams

city on fire
I keep having vivid dreams. Sometimes they’re God dreams and sometimes they’re not. I thought I’d share them because a couple of people were blessed by one of them, so who knows? I bolded the parts of the second dream that really stood out to me because it is so long (and this is the abbreviated form!)

Dream 1

My family was sleeping, and a big wall of fire came toward us, sweeping through one side of our bedroom but not touching us. It destroyed everything in it’s path. God said, start walking Northeast. Take only one blanket. He told us to take a couple of other things, but I forget what they were.

Meanwhile, another couple in the same city was having a similar experience. They were getting pummeled with a hugely destructive storm. The entire city was being destroyed in multiple ways. Instead of going in the direction that God told them to, however, the husband told the rest of the family to walk in another direction while he went to get the car. The result was that family ran right into the area of the city that was on fire. They escaped, but not after experiencing a lot of distress.

I remember that we got to take some of the animals with us. In the dream we had a lot of animals — more than the four we have right now. Greg and I were talking and decided to leave behind the animals that didn’t love us to fend for themselves. We didn’t want to do it, but it was already going to be difficult (and somewhat comedic) to walk a long distance with three cats in a carrier.

I started thinking how God lets the people who don’t love him do their own thing. Sometimes things turn out okay and sometimes they don’t. Of course, the whole dream seemed to be about obedience, and how God will bless and keep those who do His will. Not keep them entirely out of bad situations, but show them a way through.

In my dream someone criticized how I talk about Jesus all the time. I said, “He’s all I can talk about,” and basically shrugged. I guess I’m past the point of worrying whether or not people think I’m a fanatic, crazy or whatever.

Dream 2

Greg and I were crossing the border into Mexico. At first, I was by myself when I crossed. Wile E. had jumped out of the car, though and followed me. The border guards said “No way,” and I had to literally drag him back across. He did not want to go and tried to attack the border guard, who drew his gun. Perhaps Wile E. felt I needed protection.

Later, after securing Wile E. in the car, I went on ahead with a friend who was an unbeliever. There was nothing but bars, and witchcraft was everywhere, even in the air itself. I could feel my mind being affected by the atmosphere. Nasty bugs crawled everywhere on the ground and were in the buildings. A witch was angry when I wouldn’t participate, and I screamed (literally F) “F you!” and jumped off the balcony of the building to escape, and landed safely. Halloween was being celebrated at the time, and I took a big cone of sugar and began spinning it in the middle of a poster board. Fine granules of sugar flew off and landed on the paper, forming amazing patterns, and eventually, the word of God. I called to my friend who was an unbeliever — “Hey look at this!” She came over, but not fast enough, and the word of God changed to the word of the law and then disappeared altogether.

We went back across the border, returning to the United States, and a projected image of the Virgin Mary began to show up in the sky, then a dove rising, then an huge scene of something representing God’s kingdom. I was praising the Lord so much and my friend became a believer right then. We continued on into El Paso, and saw a large five-story church/Christian school that we thought had been projecting the image. We went in, and at this point had our children with us. The children at the school were very mean to our kids, and they had a group shower where the boys and girls showered together. The pastor who was in a dark, medieval looking office, and preached about the evil of the world and conspiracy theories and tried to make us afraid. We left. This pastor tried to warn us against going to visit a relative who was also a pastor, saying he was apostate, but we ignored him.

We went to find my relative. This man was humble, and we walked up a pier to meet him in the river he was in. We asked him what he was doing, and he said something like, “I can do all things through Christ Jesus who strengthens me.” Then he swam underneath our pier, which was falling apart a bit and starting to sink, and shored it up with his own body. Later, he and his wife preached love at their modest church, and warned us not to fall prey to the devil’s darts.

At this point, God showed me what those darts look like in the form of a 1980’s video game. Everyone was a red or green dot, moving along a highway. The red dots were people who were nonbelievers or who were sinking under the attack of the evil one. There were more red dots than green. My transformed friend was ahead of me, and her light was green. Bombs were falling out of the air randomly and would hit people. When they hit, they would turn a green person red if prayer was not protecting the person. I kept praying for my newly green friend as bombs fell all around her. I thought to myself, “I am on the verge of turning red myself, because I am under serious attack,” but realized that did not absolve me of my responsibility.

And there was more, but this is enough. :-)

Vision of God or Schizophrenic Hallucination?

rainbow around the throne of God

This will never look the same.

I will never ever forget what my younger son told me when he was twelve. He said that he had visited heaven and had a talk with God. God had even given him a tour.

He went into a lot of detail. He described how God’s face cannot be seen because it is such bright white light. He said he saw Jesus, and that there were marks on his wrists. He told me how there are colors that can’t be seen in this world, and that there is a feeling of such indescribable peace that there are no worries or fear whatsoever. He talked to my Uncle Bob, whom he has never met. He saw hell because God wanted him to know it was real. God let him know that Love saves people from hell.

At the time, I was understandably thrown for a loop. Sage grew up fairly obsessed with Pokemon cards and being read the stories of Brer Rabbit, not the Bible — a fact I am not proud of. I had no idea where all this was coming from. It seemed odd content for a hallucination that would arise out of prior knowledge or interests.

I told his doctor about it, and he told me about the book If Heaven Is for Real. I told my mom about it, and she mentioned the same book. I bought it.

It is about a 4-year-old boy who sees heaven during a life-threatening surgery. I’ve always been pretty skeptical about these things, and it wasn’t on my reading list.

The book was a quick read, and after I finished it, I remember lying on the bed feeling almost paralyzed. I called Sage into the room. Having read about how the boy saw a rainbow around the throne of God, I asked, “Did God sit down?”

My son said, yes, he was sitting on a throne. “What did it look like?” I asked. He told me about how a rainbow went around it.

At that point, I my mind did a flip and I started to feel really afraid. My son said, “There is a dark presence in this room. God wanted me to tell you that we are going to be in a very large spiritual battle.”

Note that I don’t recall discussing things like spiritual battles with my son at that point. I remember I had just started attending church, after the dream he had where he was quoting the Book of Revelation to me.

So there it is.

I’m convinced this was a true spiritual vision — God forgive me if I’m wrong. I really think that if all this was only neurologically based, then the vision would have been of something else entirely. Like Pokemon characters. But no, his visions have never had that sort of content. It is always God, Jesus, angels, demons, and things like exploding nuclear bombs and parched earth.

We don’t watch the news and never have. We don’t have television since I discovered that watching it was causing him to stutter several years ago. So I can’t attribute this to something he had watched a few days prior.

I am so thankful for this. This vision caused me to completely desire to follow Jesus, to give my life to God. I count myself as very fortunate, as my intellectualism had set up many arguments against much in the Bible being literally true. Being a part of this experience has forced me to put my feeble human arguments aside and simply praise God that he permitted me to see.

And he that sat was to look upon like a jasper and a sardine stone: and there was a rainbow round about the throne, in sight like unto an emerald. Revelation 4:3

A Tiny Touch of Grace

drawing

My husband.

There’s nothing quite like a yelling match with the person you love the most to make you feel like a piece of slime that needs to be cleaned out of the refrigerator’s bottom drawer.

The morning started out with my younger son telling me that no, he could not go to the “bamboo forest” on the local trail with his best friend because he felt too anxious. I’ve wrestled with agoraphobia for years, and this was not welcome news. No one wants their child to live in a box of their own mind’s making.

My mood dark, my husband and I got into a disagreement within seconds of his having got out of bed. It was the kind of disagreement where after about five minutes, one person goes outside and angrily smokes a cigarette while the other person cries and slams doors for sheer physical release.

After I finished slamming doors — yes, that was me, I don’t smoke — I got into the shower. I said a prayer. I was still crying and I didn’t say much. I did ask God to help me not to give in to hopelessness.

Then I went into the back room to draw with markers. I am like a child that way. Darkness recedes when I am using the creative part of my brain, as opposed to the mean tormented part of my brain, say.

I tried to draw a tree. It didn’t go very well. I turned the tree into a face. It turned out to be my husband’s face, and I made it into a card for him.

I think this is how miracles work — most of the time, anyway. It’s like God touched me with a bit of His grace, saying something like “It’s okay — now here’s some love you can give your husband.”

Because believe me, I was not feeling very loving when I was making scribbly marks on the paper.

The hand of God works in little ways that end up being quite big, really.

Answers in Front of My Face

raising chickens
I want to be a farmer. Seriously. I’d like to move to a few acres, build a hobbit house and plant pomegranate trees and snow peas, raise chickens and goats, become a regular at the farmer’s market.

I’ve had this desire for a while, although it seems so ridiculous that I don’t usually talk about it. I do, however, own a collection of books on alternative building, herb gardening and the like — the result of years of vicarious living.

My younger son shares this desire. He is always talking about how he wants to grow vegetables, and in fact, uses our meager front yard to grow a variety of shockingly hot peppers.

We would do more, but our backyard is a nicely landscaped brick patio, and is entirely shaded. So to implement this dream even a little bit, we’ve got to do something different. Hence my post on Facebook about how I had my eye out for three or more acres close to town.

I’m serious.

Here’s why I mean it.

Last week, my mind was stuck in a rut. I was engaging in either/or thinking and driving myself bats. I was beating myself up for looking at endless medical research and not trusting in God to help with the S disease. My talented and thoughtful friend Kelvin, however, provided some needed perspective by basically asking me why my mind was not open to God’s answers in all aspects of life — including medical research.

I have a complicated answer to that. I am an educated person who is aware of the genetic basis and many of the environmental triggers for the S disease, but am still convinced there is a spiritual component. I won’t go into it right now.

Nevertheless, Kelvin is right. His response made me think.

Of course I pray for understanding and healing of the S disease. Yesterday, I realized that God has indeed provided some answers and continues to do so.

You see, a couple of years ago, my younger son went on an extended campout with his scout troop. I remember how he came back looking tan and trim, with none of the “Aspie” affect and behaviors that he usually had. There were no dietary changes that I’m aware of, unless you count eating worse foods — like endless hot dogs and pop tarts — as a change.

The positive effect had to have come from being outside almost continuously. Being free from electronics was no doubt a factor, but it wasn’t the only one, as we’ve experimented with this at home, and have found it helpful, but nowhere near a “cure.”

We’ve even went so far as to not use electricity for a week or so, reading by candlelight in the evenings like Abe Lincoln. We thought perhaps electric lights were part of the problem. That experiment didn’t have much of an effect.

No, the outdoors is the deciding factor. I’m sure of it. Nature has a healing effect. God made us to live among the trees and in the fields, not in particleboard boxes.

So I think of my son’s request to move to the country and my own increasing desire to do so as well. And I realize that this desire is likely God’s way of nudging us towards healing. Towards eating a natural, organic, non-GMO diet. Towards getting enough sunshine and vitamin D, in which almost all people with the S disease are deficient. Towards getting more exercise. Towards health.

I do not know how to make this happen right away. I shared this epiphany with my husband, and he asked me to inquire about buying some land across the street. I did, and discovered it had already sold. But if it is supposed to happen, it will. I will keep looking.

I like how the answer to my prayers is likely already embedded in my heart.

Not Knowing

I don’t like not knowing things. If I have a problem I don’t know the answer to, I Google it. This worked very well when I discovered that banana peel would work to rid my younger son of warts when nothing the doctors did was at all effective. Lately, though, I’ve found myself doing bizarre things like Googling “why the voices my child hears are always mean.”

Trust me, Google does not have the answers to these sort of questions.

I’m sad. I’m confused. I’m searching under the bed, looking inside cabinets, dumping out my purse — searching for my joy. I am a person who finds a measure of security in having information, and there are some situations that no amount of human knowledge can touch. This bothers me. Becoming a snowflake is difficult.

There are so many things we just don’t know. This verse comes to mind:

Jesus did many other things as well. If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written. John 21:25

uncertainty god universeWe are like the blind men arguing about the elephant. Remember? One guy is holding the elephant’s tail, and swears up and down that the elephant is a skinny, sorta hairy creature — somewhat like a rope. Another has a hold of one of the elephant’s legs, and vehemently disagrees. The elephant, he says, is like a tree trunk. And so on.

I think we have less knowledge of God and how the universe works than these deluded guys did of the elephant. But most people tend to think like me. They like to have the facts so they can feel secure. So they grab onto what they think they know and defend it relentlessly, refusing to consider what other information — mysteries — might exist.

When I took my younger son to the psychiatrist, the good doctor asked to speak to me alone. Once the door was closed, he scooted his chair closer to mine, fixed his eyes fiercely on mine and said, “Now do you believe me? This is real. He needs to take the medicine.”

But what he thinks is real and what I think are real are two different things. The truth, though, likely lies somewhere in the middle.

I intend to keep searching for it.

Becoming a Beautiful Snowflake

Okay, so maybe saying that I think I’m turning into a snowflake doesn’t sound quite right. But it’s an apt description for this process that I am experiencing. Here’s an illustration showing how to create a really fancy snowflake. Check out all the intricate cuts you have to make to get it right.

intricate paper snowflake

Becoming beautiful can be a slow, laborious and painful process.

It’s easier to fold the paper and just make a few triangular cuts, of course. But then you end up with a rectangle with some pretty holes in it. It’s not beautiful — just something to do to fill the time. It won’t stay up on the refrigerator long, either. Your mom will toss it as soon as she knows you’re not looking.

I think a lot of us are content to be that rectangle with the awkwardly placed triangles. I know I often am.

The thing is, I prayed this really scary prayer. I asked God to use me to advance His purposes, to get “me” out of the way. Truthfully, I really didn’t want to pray that prayer, but God is not interested in lukewarm servants. And I’ve seen enough of what God can do to know that I want to consciously be a part of His amazing work.

I know I’m going to be a really beautiful snowflake. The parts of me that are being cut away are immense. It hurts.

But you know what? Before I met God, I would have a greater emotional reaction to having my car break down than I am now with all this business going on with my sons. My friend Deb said, “He is carrying you.” Oh yeah. There is definitely only one set of footprints in the sand.

I lean not on my own understanding.
My life is in the hands of the maker of heaven.
I give it all to You, God,
trusting that You’ll make something beautiful out of me.
I will climb this mountain with my hands wide open…

Having Coffee With God

coffee with God

Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me. ~Jesus (Rev. 3:20)

I think of myself as a fairly hospitable person. If someone stops by, I will offer them coffee or a mug of hot chocolate and something to eat, if there’s anything on the stove. I’ll make sure they get one of the comfortable chairs and drop what I’m going to give them my undivided attention.

Tonight, I was asking myself why I do not do this for God. After all, I want His presence in my house, in my life.

All too often, though, I tend to treat him like the kind of friend one takes for granted. I’ll invite Him over but not really take time to talk to Him or give him the priority seating He deserves.

If I was God, I don’t know that I’d want to visit my house all that often. After all, who wants to go to someone’s house when they hardly ever take the time to pull up a seat and have a cup of coffee with you? It’s like I mainly ask God over when I need my house cleaned.

Of course, God is often willing to help clean the house, as really close friends are apt to do. But even the closest of friends won’t look forward to stopping by if all you have is a mess and you won’t take the time to hang out.

I have to say that God is unimaginably better than even the best of friends, so this analogy may not hold up. Still, I think that I should offer God more hospitality than I offer my friends, don’t you think?

This post was inspired by this sermon by Walter Beuttler.