I have spoken a little about my past in other posts (under the Fear Not category). Perhaps not in great detail, but I have not kept silent out of shame. I know full well that my past does not define me, neither shall I allow it dictate the course of my life – present nor future. This non-negotiable fact is born out of the revelation of my true identity, and I bless God for walking me through the difficult journey from victim – to survivor – to victor!
That is not to say that I don’t still face challenges today that are a result (direct or indirect) of my past. I do, but there has been so much healing and transformation during the last 20 years, that most days I give no thought to either my childhood or the abuse of my marriage.
But there are days …. or more accurately, there are nights. Last night was one.
I can’t remember a time when I haven’t had nightmares. As a very small child, I had recurring dreams of a stick-figured man who hovered over me at night, of hands that reached through walls and from under the bed to grab me, of knives that pointed at me throughout the night, threatening the safety of my bed. Even while those dreams provided a form of protection, they terrified me and influenced me deeply for decades.
Other childhood dreams mystified and thrilled me. In my favorite dream, I would head over to the side yard of the house, reach my hands up like Superman and start kicking like a swimmer .. and in no time at all, I would have lift off! Once off the ground, my arms would reach out to the side, and my continued kicking would propel me higher and higher – up over the house, soaring high over neighboring streets, daringly maneuvering in between power lines and tree branches and an occasional airplane. I found freedom in those dreams.
As I grew older, other dreams emerged. These dreams seem to be some sort of ‘cloaked remembrance’, a strange mixture of past and present. Besides the content of these dreams, what sets them apart is the feeling that comes with them. I imagine it is similar to a drug induced state, and it is sometimes a challenge for me to wake from them. But about 20 years ago while living in California, I met a wonderful woman who had a similar past, and her testimony of transformation had a huge impact on my life. As she prayed for and discipled me, greater breakthrough came, and eventually those dreams stopped. For a season. About 12 years ago, they started again.
I remember calling my Pastor one morning after a particularly brutal night. I sobbed as I told him how completely violated I felt, victimized all over again as these dreams come upon me when I am asleep and completely without the ability to protect or defend myself. I shall be forever grateful for his quick but loving correction.
Then he proceeded to teach me that I am not without defense, even when I am asleep.
And that, my dear reader, is the purpose for my writing this post. There is no life (no life-giving impact) in simply telling you about a strange dream or new spiritual attack I experienced last night. But there can be life-giving impact by sharing with you, as I believe I have been instructed by the Lord to do, the breakthrough I have experienced by learning how to sleep under cover.
Or more accurately, by learning how to sleep under the covering!
When I remember You on my bed, I meditate on You in the night watches. Because You have been my help, therefore in the shadow of Your wings I will rejoice. My soul follows close behind You; Your right hand upholds me. (Psalm 63:6-8)
So for the next post or two, I will be sharing with you what my Pastor shared with me, and how implementing these practices has trained me up to be a mighty warrior of God and has given me greater victory over all the attacks of the enemy-of-my-soul … even in the wee hours of the night. I hope you will join me, and be blessed by it.
Until then, sleep in peace!