I’ve been having some really vivid, really bad dreams lately.
But there has been a progression, I’ve noticed.
My dreams this week started out being just bad. Terrifying, really. Dreams in which I was somehow being targeted or victimized. Dreams where I was powerless.
But towards the end of the week, my dreams took a different shape. They were still bad. I was still, on my own, powerless. But the difference was that Jesus loomed larger in my dreams than my victimizer. My dreams were no longer the same intensity of terrifying because my dream self had called on Him. My dream self has stopped trying to do it on her own strength. I called His name and He came. And I knew He was in control. I wasn’t anybody’s victim because I was (am) His child.
During one particularly powerful and vivid dream, I actually felt sympathy for my dream’s “bad guy”. I knew he was blinded. I knew he thought he saw things clearly, thought he saw how they “should” be, but that he was wrong. So wrong. And while he meant me (and many others in my dream) harm, I knew he was confused. And, even though I knew he might retaliate at my boldness, my dream self actually placed her hand over his heart and prayed aloud for him. Not worried I’d offend him, not worried he’d lash out, I prayed that he would be able to see clearly what he was doing. And I prayed God would forgive him.
When I woke up, I felt Jesus smiling at me. Sometimes my awake-self is so fearful, so confused about what really matters, but my dream self isn’t. My dream self has unwavering faith. My dream self has seen the face of God and is changed.
Last night, however, I had a much different dream. I was at my elementary school playground. It was sunny. And I was practicing handstands against the brick wall. Twenty-seven years old, practicing handstands.
Life is so beautiful it makes me cry. Even when it’s excruciating, it is beautiful. There is evil, yes, but this is still the world our God created. These are still the people He knit together in their mothers’ wombs. Every sunrise, every baby, every time someone smiles at you and the smile reaches all the way up to their eyes, every kind gesture, every kind word, every starry night- they are not “just part of life”, they are messages to us about God’s character, His heart for us.
When I watch a mother look at her daughter the way only a mother can do, when I hear someone say their father is their biggest supporter, when I see a husband tenderly kiss the top of his wife’s head, my heart twists with the grief of it all.
But those moments are messages, too. This heart of mine, which feels so grieved and twisted, was created by God. Those things hurt because they weren’t supposed to be that way. He designed us to be loved. We hurt because we were created for more.
But with every tear, with every moment where I feel paralyzed with the weight of life, God is there. He is so, so present. He says to me, “Come to Me. You are still Someone’s child. I look at you the way that mom is looking at her daughter. I am a bigger fan of yours than your earthly father ever could be. If only you knew how often I look at you tenderly and kiss your head. You are so, so beloved. You want so badly to belong, to be treasured, but you don’t realize that you already are. You are MINE.”
In every thing, every laugh, every tear, God whispers to us.
Lord, help us hear You.