Of Dreams and Nightmares (AYFH wk 39)

This is a continuation of my testimony which I began writing at Week 20, but more narrowly focused on my decades-long history with recurring dreams and nightmares. I’ve written of them before over the years, and shared how the Lord (through the counsel of my Pastor) instructed me to take authority over them. But never as part of my chronological testimony, nor as detailed as I have within the blog categories “My Story” and “Of Dreams and Nightmares”.

In my last post, I shared the nightmare that plagued me in my adult years (early 30’s through early 50’s). It began after the death of my abusive broken father, and a few years after my divorce finalized from “T”, an abusive sociopath to whom I was married for just under 10 years.

(Hmm. It just doesn’t sit well with me to label my dad as “abusive father” in this post, and yet I have no qualms about labeling “T” as abusive. I wonder why that is? Of course what he did to his daughters was abusive! But I now realize it was brokenness that drove him to violate our innocence. He repented, and aside from incest, he was a good dad. OMgosh-that sounds so crazy to write down!! Like saying: “OK Suzie, aside from losing your left arm, right leg, and both eyeballs, you’re just fine. Go out and live a happy and successful life.” But he was a good dad in many ways; he taught me fish, and drive. He taught me how to problem solve and surely my mechanical aptitude is from his influence. He worked hard to provide for his family, and rarely complained of the hardships of his life. I hate what my dad did to his daughters, but I love my dad. And I miss him. It comforts me to know that because he accepted Jesus as Lord, I’ll see him in heaven one day – restored to wholeness, emotionally and spiritually.

I have similar feelings about my mom. In a recent “Morning Sip” post I briefly mentioned the first time she disowned me as her daughter. It soon after I left “T”, and she had come to stay with me for a few weeks while we (my daughters and I) got settled into an apartment. I returned home from work one day, and my oldest daughter (7 years old) was terribly upset. When I asked what was the matter, she told me “Grandma told her not to cry in front of me, because it upset me.” We all walked on eggshells in my house growing up, because mom’s anger was fierce, and she did not like being crossed! But I didn’t want that for my girls, I wanted to protect them – not have them protect me! So as politely as I could, I explained to my mom that in this/my house, it was OK to cry. And then we had a heart to heart – she and I. I specifically remember laying my head on her lap, her stroking my hair, and I told her how alone I felt at certain times growing up. It seemed a precious mother-daughter connection. Two days later announced she was cutting her stay short because of a migraine. About a week later, I received a hand written card disowning me as her daughter. It was the first of 3 times she disowned me … then I stopped counting. The point is, that my daughters never knew their grandma – she threw me and them out like dirty old bathwater, and died never knowing how awesome they are, what incredible women of God they are, how they carry her strength and fortitude but without her brokenness. She was saved, but she still had a lot of brokenness in her life, with increasing complications of dementia in her later years. Like with my dad, I’m comforted to know that when I see her again in heaven, she will have cast off her brokenness and be the woman that God originally created her to be.

“Faith will not work with an unforgiving heart.” ~Gloria Copeland

“T” on the other hand … well, he was (probably still is) abusive and his behavior was very intentional, even methodical, and long term. And unlike my father when confronted in the hospital, “T” never repented. Never. Even when it cost him relationship with his children (and ultimately grandchildren), he still refused to acknowledge and own up to the destructiveness of his behavior. Unless the Lord gives him a heart transplant, he will most likely die never really knowing a good portion of his own children and grandchildren. Praise God that I’ve been able to forgive “T” for all he has done. I don’t like him, and certainly want nothing to do with him anymore … but I’ve forgiven him and have turned him over to the Lord for judgement. Please say a prayer for him – he is a lost soul headed for hell.)

Whoops – sorry about that spaghetti trail folks. Where was I?

Oh yea, the dream … THE dream. The visitor in the night dream. The very real physical feelings of being violated in my sleep dream. The dream that had its own “Siren Song”, seducing me to stay a while longer.

There were some aspects of The Dream that were initially pleasurable (if you get my drift), and I mentioned this once to Terri. She was the Worship Leader’s wife and survivor of long-term sexual abuse as a teen and young woman. Blushingly I said something along the lines of “everybody has dreams like this.” She looked at me like I had suddenly grown three heads … “No. No, they don’t,” she replied. A few weeks later, I was encircled by some mighty prayer warriors who laid hands on me and warred on my behalf. Not only were demonic spiritual ties broken off me, but they prophesied over me of my new identity in Christ Jesus. I began to understand that I didn’t have to be victim to the harassment of the enemy anymore – that Christ had already won the battle for me and what I needed to do was to learn to stand IN that victory. And as Bible-Truth began to take hold in my heart and spirit, my mind began to “defragment” and a new Operating System” was downloaded. I was learning to walk victoriously in my new Identity and in doing so, The Dream ceased to have power over me and soon thereafter stopped visiting me.

“It’s important to base your faith on what the Word says about any situation. Living by faith is a way of life for the believer. So begin to feed your inner man with the Word of God until he/she becomes strong.” ~Kenneth Copeland

But as I’ve said before – the devil hates losing territory. That is why we must remain alert, for the devil is a sneaky cuss!

Like a fisherman changes tactics when the fish aren’t striking on one bait, the devil will change tactics and come at you a different way when from time to time. And like any true Angler, the devil will also periodically shuffle through his tackle box of tactics to see if any of the old baits will now work in a new season of your life. The good news is that the devil is a defeated foe and while we may be inclined by our fallen nature “take the bait” from time to time, Jesus Christ has removed all the hooks from his lures! We are only held captive if we keep our mouth closed over the bait … but if we will open our mouths and profess our victory in the Name of Jesus Christ, the devil is utterly powerless to prevent our escape!!

Amen! (I really like that analogy!!)

Another spaghetti trail … can you tell I’ve been fishing this summer?!?!?? 😊

Several years later, and after moving across country, I began experiencing The Dream again. I was still a single parent, and except for my church family (spiritual moms, dads, sisters and brothers), I’d lost relationship with most of my own family due to my mom’s brokenness and false accusations she made against me. Anyways, as my girls hit their teens they did some teen stuff. It was a rough season for a lot of reasons, and at a very tired and vulnerable place in my life, The Dream returned.

“Be alert, be on watch! Your enemy, the Devil, roams around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.” ~1 Peter 5:8 (GNT)

I can’t tell you how disturbing this was to me! I’d experienced victory over The Dream for several years, and yet here it was again! And this time, it seemed even more demonic because it held me captive in a type of foggy “in-betweenness” (suspended between sleep and wakefulness) while continuing to violate me … and I felt utterly helpless to do anything about it!! Eventually, I called my Pastor, who gave me the counsel that flipped the game and in time put the enemy on the run!

STEP 1: Visualize Jesus with you in the circumstance
STEP 2: Download a Superior Operating System
STEP 3: Prepare – prepare for battle

  • Put on your armor  (actually, put on HIS armor – it works every time!)
  • Guard your eyes, ears and thoughts
  • Open your mouth and speak God’s Word over your life/situation/circumstances (almost guaranteed I’m going to write about this in an upcoming post :))
  • Feed your Spirit (this too! :))
Of Dreams and Nightmares (preview2)  www.puttinghopetowork.com
Of Dreams and Nightmares (preview2) http://www.puttinghopetowork.com

STEP 4: Position – position yourself for the greatest advantage over the enemy

  • Pray before going to bed  (hope-filled, expectant prayers of faith that God will guard and protect you in your sleep)
  • Worship, Worship, Worship  (worshipping ushers in the Spirit of God, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, the enemy will flee!!)
  • Speak the Name of Jesus (even demons fear His Name!)
  • When weary, ADP! (Apply Direct Pressure!)

STEP 5:  Punch – when the enemy draws near you, you’ve got to ball up your fist, and PUNCH-HIM-OUT!

  • Stir up your faith and TROUBLE the one who is troubling you!  Really hit him where it hurts by quoting Scripture to him and calling on your Daddy-God to strengthen you.  Rebuke that old devil and command he leave in Jesus Name … and He will!!  Not because you’re oh so mighty and powerful – but because your Daddy-God is giving the him the evil-eye (because you called on Him as your defender, and because you trust in Him to be faithful to His Word to do so! ), and there ain’t no devil in hell that wants to lock horns with your Daddy!!  (he’s already done that, and is still whimpering about it!)
  • Personally, I like to meditate on the verses where the devil gets his teeth knocked clear out of his face!!  (Psalm 3:7, Psalm 58:6)   🙂

Reference posts for Steps 3-5: The Nightmare and the Warrior (5 post series), Staying Positive in Difficult Times, 911 (Part 2) When the Enemy is at the Door, Battle Weary? ADP!

I hope you’ll take a few moments to read the posts referenced for greater insight (maybe a little humor too).

In my next post I’ll reveal the completed artwork and wrap up this series. It’s a good ending, I promise!!

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All sketches and watercolors posted on this website are the sole property of the author and are for exclusive display on the website PuttingHopeToWork.com.

 

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