Dream Diary

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Shh . . . I’m dreaming

I have had lots of God-given dreams, and other dreams of personal significance.  From the titles of two of my books—half of what I’ve written! (Laughing in My Dreams and Dancing in My Dreams)—it’s obvious that dreams and dreaming has played a part in my life.  And dreams are one way that God speaks to us:

For God does speak—now one way, now another—though no one perceives it. In a dream, in a vision of the night, when deep sleep falls on people as they slumber in their beds, he may speak in their ears and terrify them with warnings, to turn them from wrongdoing and keep them from pride, to preserve them from the pit, their lives from perishing by the sword (Job 33:14-18).

But of course, not every dream is a God dream.  Those other dreams can be useful in helping you to understand how you’re feeling about certain things in your life.  For example, when I was a new mother being woken every two hours to nurse my baby, I had a dream that I was trying to vacuum the house and I had half a dozen little kids hanging onto my legs and pulling on my shirt.  I was feeling overwhelmed, and the dream helped me to understand that so that I could look for help to do all the things I needed to do.

Have you ever had an interesting dream, and you wanted to remember and understand the dream, but it faded away too quickly?  Of course, that happens to all of us.  You’re too sleepy to get up and search for a pen and paper, and then if you do, the dream is mostly gone (if not altogether forgotten) by the time you do.  I believe that we all dream, though many people say that they never dream.  I have heard that if you keep a pen and paper handy, and write your dreams down, you will become better at remembering your dreams.  So I decided to give it a try.

Actually, what I did was get a regular diary, and start recording the daily personal words that God was giving me (which I wrote about in yesterday’s post Devotional Journal).  Since the dates in the diary start about a month before I bought it, I began writing my dreams on those blank pages.  [That’s why the picture of the page (in my recent post Swedish Fish and the Nice Young Man) where I wrote my dream of November 4, says August 23 (in Italian).]

The dream mentioned above was a Rapture dream because it had a nice young man holding the door open for me, and as soon as I woke up, I knew that He was Jesus.  And in the continuation of that dream, we were in a car, going around and picking up all the other people who had sprouted like us.  I’ve had a lot of Rapture dreams lately.  But in looking through my dream diary I was caught by this one:

The Thorn

I only remember that someone had stepped on a thorn and it was very painful.  They were asked to rate the pain on a scale like in the doctor’s office.  I don’t remember the rating, but it was high-end.

I had thought that this dream had to do with the divorce and the possibility of running into my ex or one of his family here in Texas because I had driven through his last known location just that day.  But in light of recent events (see Kicked When I was Down), I think it may have been a prophetic dream, speaking about the events that would happen a week later, when I was passive-aggressively thrown out of Barbara and Leo’s house.  That was very painful, and more so because of the way that they did it.

I don’t want to keep going over and over and over this thing.  But honestly, how do I handle family get-togethers?  I have always believed in forgiving people as quickly as you can, but never allow them the opportunity to hurt you again.  Am I wrong about that?

Well, in today’s devotional, I believe that God is telling me that in this case, I am wrong.  Love demands that we make ourselves vulnerable.  My flesh is screaming NOOOOOOOO!!!!!  But I’ve got to crucify the flesh, take up my cross, and follow Jesus.  Two days ago, the Lord gave me 1 Samuel 7:12-13:

Then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Shen. He named it Ebenezer, saying, “Thus far the Lord has helped us.” So the Philistines were subdued and they stopped invading Israel’s territory. Throughout Samuel’s lifetime, the hand of the Lord was against the Philistines.

Then yesterday: “Isn’t this what I said, Lord, when I was still at home?  That is what I tried to forestall by fleeing to Tarshish.  I knew that you are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abounding in love, a God who relents from sending calamity,” (Jonah 4:2).

Then today: “For who is God besides the Lord?  And who is the Rock except our God?” (Psalm 18:31).  I feel like with these three passages the Lord is telling me to forgive, let myself be vulnerable again, and show all those involved what grace really looks like.  And God will be my Rock, my Stone of Help through this.  Oh, God!  It’s hard!  I have never told my side (not to them), and God is telling me not to run away from the pain when all my flesh screams for me to run away and never look back.  But this is a path I’ve got to walk, and I can do it only through the help of my Rock.

God is good!  Even with all of life’s thorns, God is good!

Devotional Journal

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAToday’s page from my Devotional Journal

At the end of August I bought a diary, and started recording the daily personal words that God was giving me.  Since the dates in the diary start about a month before I began keeping my devotional journal, I began inserting dreams on those blank pages.  That’s why the date on the page pictured in my post of November 4 (see Swedish Fish and the Nice Young Man says (in Italian) August 23.  (Tomorrow I will write about some of those dreams—stay tuned!)

Here’s how my devotional journal works: after prayer time, I always ask the Lord if He has a word for me for today, and He gives it to me like this: I get the impression in my mind (sometimes hearing His voice) of a verse.  For example, today’s word, He said in my mind: “Jonah 4:2.”  So I looked it up, having no idea what it said.  All I knew is that by the fourth chapter of Jonah, Nineveh had repented and been spared, and that Jonah sat outside of town, angry that God had spared those rotten Ninevites.  So here’s what it says:

O Lord, is this not what I said when I was yet in my country?  This is why I made haste to flee to Tarshish; for I knew that You are a gracious God and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love, and relenting from disaster.

Forgiving Nineveh is no small thing when you understand how offensive sin is to God.  People sometimes think that the God of the Old Testament had a terrible temper and that His anger was way over the top.  But the reality is that sin is so vile and offensive to our Holy God that His justice cannot allow it to go unpunished.  The God of the Old Testament is the same as the God of the New Testament.  The difference is that Jesus took the punishment for our sins, so now we can enjoy God’s mercy.  See how Jonah describes Him in this verse: gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love, and relenting from disaster.  That doesn’t sound like most people’s idea of the Old Testament God, but He is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

So, here’s what this verse means to me, personally: I have resolved the robbery issue as much as possible at this time, so this morning my mind went back to the thing with Barbara and Leo throwing me out of their house (see my recent post Kicked When I was Down).  Why go over the whole thing again?  Honestly, I would rather forget it and move on.  But here’s the thing, they involved a family member—one who has always been ready to think the worst of me.  I will have to go to family get-togethers with this person.  I’m not going to slink off like someone who was in the wrong, but family get-togethers with him could be very uncomfortable for me from now on.  Nor am I going to stop speaking to him, although I feel very threatened and defensive, and not at all ready to see him again.

I hate confrontation, but the passive-aggressive way that Barbara and Leo treated me was very hurtful.  And my family member’s willing involvement in that passive-aggression was very hurtful—even more so.  Nobody ever asked for or heard my side.  Then I found out that there was also gossip about me and this situation, and still my side has never been told.

So what to do?  I don’t want to ruin the next family gathering, but every meal at his house will leave me feeling scrutinized to see if I clear the table and wash the dishes.  Of course, I’ll have to—and promptly.  And if he tells me that I don’t have to wash dishes, then the whole thing could come exploding out of me.  I don’t want that, either, but my side has never been told.

Through this verse, I see the Jonah in me and my attitude.  I feel the Lord telling me that I must forgive.  Forgive them (which I have already done) and forgive him (which I’m trying to do).

What do I want?  I want to forgive, forget it, and move on.  I want my emotions to catch up with my intellectual decision to forgive.  I have learned that there are some people that I need to forgive every time they come to mind because the hurt goes so deep.  But I know that if I faithfully hold onto that decision to forgive, eventually, the hurt will be gone, and the offense forgotten.

Forgive like God, who truly forgets the offense.  God is good!