In early 2006 I had a dream:
I was living in Italy then, and so I dreamed that I walked into an Italian coffee bar. The coffee bar was filled with really nice people. From across the room I saw a nice young man with dark wavy hair and liquid brown eyes. He smiled at me and crossed the room. He began speaking to me in English, and I wondered how he knew that I spoke English.
He said, “So what do you do here?” (meaning in Italy). I said that I teach English. At the time I was teaching English to children and “tithing” 100 percent of my earnings to missionaries.
So I asked, “What do you do?” and he said, “I’ll show you.” So we left the coffee bar and he took me to a very small apartment nearby. It was really just four walls. Three of the walls were paneled in wood and the fourth was stucco. The wood was warm and seemed alive, while the stucco was very cold and dead by contrast.
I said, “Wow! You did this?” and he smiled and said, “Yeah, what do you call this work in Italian?” I answered, pronouncing the challenging word perfectly: “Restaurazione.”
Then I asked, “And what about this wall?” indicating the stucco wall. He reached up and pulled a piece of plaster off the wall, and behind it I could see the wood, but it was dried-out, dirty, and in bad need of attention. He smiled and shrugged, “It’s a work in progress.”
That’s when I woke up knowing that this was Jesus, the Carpenter, and that He was showing me that I am the work in progress.
God gave me this dream before my life spiraled down into three long years of depression caused by empty nest and a failing marriage. He knew that I would need to have this precious dream to hold onto.
Then in 2010, after the divorce and right about the time I returned to Italy as a missionary, I read Heaven in For Real. The book is a young boy’s true account of visiting Heaven. The book mentions Akiane Kramarik, a young Turkish girl who has been drawing visions of God and Heaven since she was four years old, and painting since she was seven. I was astonished to see her portrait of Jesus titled Prince of Peace, which is just what Jesus looked like in my dream.
About three years ago I asked Jesus why He asked me the Italian word for His apartment restoration work. He said, “To give you the chance to shine!” That made me laugh out loud.
Then just the other day I was looking in Ezekiel, which God has used many times to encourage me. I saw the following:
There was a row of rooms along the outside wall; each room was 7 feet wide. These side rooms were built in three levels, one above the other, with thirty rooms on each level. . . . were all paneled with wood, (Ezekiel 41:5-6 & 16a, emphasis mine).
These little rooms were the rooms for the priests to use during the term of their service. I realized that they must have been just like the little apartment that Jesus had taken me to in the dream. Then I got major holy goosebumps when I realized that He was telling me all along that I have a place in the Temple of God in Heaven. God is good!