Tuesday, August 12, 2014

No More Talk of Darkness

For as long as I can remember, I was afraid of the dark. So naturally, I was often afraid at night in bed.  I had to sleep totally covered with blankets.  I could never let my hand hang out over the empty space next to my bed. My arms had to be tucked into my blankets, my blankets up over my shoulders, at least. I was never quite sure what I was afraid of, but nevertheless, I was always afraid. 

After I left home in my late teens, I began feeling much less fear at night. Looking back, I believe my parents' home was a place where their spiritual condition prevailed, not my own.  But, once I was out of their home physically, I was also out of their home spiritually.  When I was in my dorm room or under another roof, especially when I was under another Christians' roof, I discovered that I could sleep without blankets. I often fell asleep sprawled out flat on my back with no blankets, no pillows, arms and legs wide, in perfect peace with a smile on my face.  For someone who had been terrified of the slightest noise at night since I was a very small child, this was a significant change. Even then, I knew something remarkable was happening to me, but I just enjoyed it. 

But not too much longer after enjoying this new freedom, interestingly, I started having spiritual nightmares, nightmares more potent than any I had ever had before.  Looking back, I believe the nightmares started at this point in my life because I was enjoying so much freedom from fear for the first time.  The enemy of our souls does not like it when become free from fear (or anything else), so I think he began trespassing into my dreams to terrify me and keep me in bondage. 

In these nightmares, I would be visited by a dark figure who would walk into my room, up to the side of my bed, paralyze me, stroke my hair, breathe in my face, and sometimes even try and touch my body against my will.  It was like the demon or phantom or whoever it was adored me, but in a dark and sinister way.

At first, I would just lay there, terrified, totally still until the specter went away.  But as the years went by, I began to resist these nightmares, try to get up and fight back. I would protest, pray, and ultimately cry out to Jesus. My resistance actually made the nightmares worse.  Instead of one visitor, there were many. Instead of one set of shadowy hands trying to touch me, there would too many to even count. After years of this, I came to realize the demons hated the name of Jesus.  They tried to cover my mouth so I couldn't say his name, but even as they did that, they had to shield themselves from the power of His name as it came out.  "Jesus!" was the only thing that made the nightmares disappear. 

After each nightmare, I complained to God, asking Him, "Why?"  If He was with me all the time, why did these things happen to me?  God was faithful to me. Though he never caused the nightmares, he used them to teach me more and more about the connections between the physical and spiritual world, to reveal sin rooted in my life that I needed to get rid of, to show me how pursuing holiness made a difference in the deepest parts of my heart and mind even when I was unconscious and dreaming. I grew closer to God through the years. You can read more about my journey here

In the last few years, my dreams have taken a turn and they have become much more heavenly.  I want to share one of my most precious dreams with you now. Even though I believe it was a gift to me from the Lord, I think it will encourage you, especially if you know Jesus, too.

In my dream, I opened my eyes and I saw above my bed the most beautiful color of blue.  I was amazed by the color.  I thought I was looking out at the sky above my room, but I had never seen a sky that blue and when I looked again, I could still see the ceiling of my bedroom, so it was like the ceiling of my room was being wiped away so that I could see what was behind it.

Note: I've come to discover that the color blue that I saw in the dream is the exact same blue as lapis lazuli. Interestingly, that color is mentioned in the Bible.  One Bible verse says, "Moses and Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, and the seventy elders of Israel went up and saw the God of Israel. Under his feet was something like a pavement made of lapis lazuli, as bright blue as the sky. But God did not raise his hand against these leaders of the Israelites; they saw God, and they ate and drank."  Exodus 24:9-11 

I admired this beautiful blue for some time. Then I realized I heard music, stringed instruments. It was a symphony!  It was the most beautiful symphony I had ever heard!  I had no doubt that I was hearing music from Heaven.  Music that beautiful could only be the music of Heaven! It was breathtaking!

Then I felt a wind blow gently across my face and then it blew stronger and stronger until it swirled all around. I was still lying down but somehow I could feel the wind on every side of me.  The wind and the music seemed to be one. I realized that what the music was expressing, I could actually feel in the wind. As I listened and marveled at the music and the wind, the wind grew more and more compact like it had substance, like it had arms, and then the arms held me in the most amazing, pure, loving embrace. I knew these were the arms of God.  I laid my head back on the arms and totally relaxed.

Next I heard a melody on a piano in the distance and a beautiful, deep, male voice singing.  At first, this voice and the love it expressed for me made me uncomfortable because I'm married.  But almost right away I knew that it was the Lord singing to me. His love is precedent to any other love in my life, so I knew He had every right to express affection to me and I relaxed and I enjoyed His song. 

Unfortunately, I could not make out any of the words He sang, but they touched my heart more than any words I have ever heard. The words were the most beautiful, kind, loving, pure words that anyone has ever spoken to me. Then part of the song He sang me reminded me of a song I had heard before... 

what song was that... 

My mind wandered and I wanted to figure out which song His song reminded me of. And then, as if realizing my mind was wandering, He paused in His song and seemed to understand what I was thinking. I didn't see Him, but I thought I knew that He smiled at me.  Then he began singing again... 

At this point, I knew I had heard something like that earlier part of His song before... but I couldn't place it... not quick enough... so I decided it would be best to forget about trying to place the song and just enjoy the moment. 

How amazing! His song, the wind, the music, it all released a potent, yet refreshing fragrance into the air. I breathed in deep and relaxed and enjoyed being loved upon by the Savior.  Even as it was happening, it was quite unbelievable. 

And that's how I woke up with a smile on my face. I swear I could still hear the music as it faded away. When I realized I was actually awake, I gasped.  Immediately, I woke up my husband, breathless, pushing on his side, saying, "The music!  The music! I heard the music of Heaven!"  

My poor husband!  He sleeps next to me, so whether he has ever wanted the privilege or not, he's been through every nightmare and heavenly dream with me.  I told him about the entire dream. He doesn't understand everything that happens to me. Neither do I, actually. But he loves the Lord and he loves me, so he is always willing to pray with me, at least.

Later that day, I was praying about the dream again.  I was overwhelmed by it.  Was it a dream?  Or was it more?  I felt like so much more

Did I really hear music from Heaven?  It certainly sounded like it must have been heavenly music.  It was so beautiful! No music on earth is that beautiful.

And it wasn't just the music. There was the voice. Was that actually Jesus singing? Come on!  

Then I wondered again about the song He sang.  I didn't make out any of the words, unfortunately, and I knew it wasn't a song I had ever heard before. But that one part of the song, there was a certain tone in His voice or a certain phrase definitely reminded me of something I have heard before... in a song... a dark song...

Oh no.

What was it?

I thought about it. I even prayed about it. And that's when it came to me...

The Phantom of the Opera!  

I realized that there was a song in Phantom of the Opera that has a part like the song He sang.  But I was afraid. 

At that point, I didn't remember the play well.  I knew it had really dark elements and I was scared of being scared again.  I had had enough of darkness.  Why would God sing a song like that? But I had to know.

So I did what any one else would do at that point...

I Googled it. ;)

I found a few videos from The Phantom of the Opera on You Tube, so I clicked on one and it didn't sound right.  I clicked on another and it sounded eerily familiar, so I listened to a little more...

And as I heard the words to the song, I grew more and more breathless and I started weeping for joy. 

Now before you press play on the song below, please keep in mind all that I have told you about my nightmares and how often I cried out to Jesus about what was happening to me in the dark.   

When you hear the lyrics to this song, I hope you will understand why I took them so very personally and why, even now, every time I think of this song, I am blessed to remember the dream I had. 

The song tells my story so well. I cried out to God for freedom from the darkness. And Jesus, literally, drew me out of darkness into His light.  

He loves us all like this.  He calls us all to Himself. 

"I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness." John 12:46
 



"But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin."  1 John 1:17

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