Last night I dreamed I was face-to-face with Satan.
And he was smiling at me and speaking in a low voice and doing what he could to terrify me. And it was working.
I tried to scream Jesus’ name, but I was so scared that my breath got caught in my throat. I couldn’t speak. And so I prayed silently. “Help me, Jesus! I can’t even call for Your help without Your help!”
And then I took a deep breath and tried again. I looked Satan in the eyes while he smirked at me, thinking his victory was imminent, and I said: “I BELONG TO JESUS. You HAVE to GO. You’ve already been defeated.”
And once I said Jesus’ name, I saw a look of terror come into the enemy’s eyes and he began to back away from me. I saw instant proof of the power of Jesus’ name, and I knew then that I wasn’t unarmed or powerless. I didn’t have to be afraid because I had the most powerful weapon- the name of Jesus.
And so I kept saying: “I BELONG TO JESUS. You HAVE to GO. You’ve already been defeated,” until the battle was won. All I had to do was speak truth. Jesus did the rest.
I’ve done a lot of weeping today.
And in the midst of it, I sensed Jesus tenderly saying: “Tell me what hurts. I’m here.”
And while I cried my pain out to Him, I found myself struggling to breathe. I found myself with panic heavy in my chest and “I NEED TO FIX THIS” swirling about furiously in my brain.
And then He spoke. “I’m holding it, child. Let the pain out. Don’t hold on to it, trying to fix it and make sense of it. Don’t even try to examine it or redefine it in a way that makes it not hurt anymore. Don’t shut your heart down or despair of this pain that feels like it will never go away. Just let it out. Your pain it safe with Me. Just let it out. Speak it and cry it and know that as you do, I’m collecting it in My hands.”
And so I did. I wept until the pain within me was replaced with something like exhaustion.
And He was with me the entire time, hands outstretched to receive it all, as if pain is as physical and tangible a thing as it feels within me.
And through it all, He just listened. The only time He’d speak was to gently ask: “What is TRUE?”
When my brain would run to believing things that I can’t possibly know, He was there to gently redirect me. “You don’t need to carry and grieve the pain of things that may not even be true, child. Let’s just deal with the things we KNOW to be true.”
And when I wept to Him about my fear of losing people I love, He drew me close, wrapping me in His arms. “Oh, beloved,” He said with the love and tenderness only a Father could, “I know. I know how your heart has been so betrayed and broken. It has been cruel and unfair. Your pain matters to me so deeply. Do you believe that?”
And when I said I did, He continued: “Your fears about losing the people you love? They’re just fears, not truths.”
And then He paused again, waiting for me to examine what it is I know and what it is I just feel. And, when I realized that He’s right, that I’m grieving a fear and not a truth, the always-present Jesus nodded slowly and reached His holy hands out and said, “I will take your fears too. Let’s just take people at their word for now, okay? If they say they love you and aren’t going to leave you, let’s just trust that, regardless of how it feels right now, okay?”
I agreed. And as we looked at my pain together, piecing it apart, deciding what parts of it were true and what were not, the pressure in my chest lessened. And I felt like maybe I could endure it, at least for this moment. I felt like I could breathe again, even while I continued to weep.
“Now,” He said gently, “let’s address the part of your pain that is real. Let’s grieve the way that love doesn’t look the way you wish it would.”
Lover-Of-All-Of-Me, (even the messy parts).
And as the pain within me grew numb or hollow or tired or subdued by the truth of who my Jesus is, I found myself, still sobbing, but saying over and over again: “You are good, You are good, You are good.”
There’s something holy and powerful in that, in being able to say, “Yes, I hurt in a way that makes it hard to want to live. I hurt. But that doesn’t change the truth of who my Jesus is. He is good and He is doing a good thing, regardless of how it feels.”
And I said it because it’s holy and true, and I said it because it keeps the wild within me from spiraling down a path of self-destruction, and also I said it because to be able to say that in the midst of this season feels like I’m giving the finger to the enemy. And oh, how I LOVE the thought of him watching me weep with overwhelming pain and STILL PRAISE JESUS. How that must piss him off. Which makes me smile a little bit. And Jesus smiles too, I think. And I think He looks in the direction of the enemy, who would love very much to watch me fail, and I think He nods like, “Are you seeing this? She’s mine.”
Desperate and broken.
Held and loved.
Joy in the pain.
Grief and hands-raised-to-heaven hallelujahs.
- Finding a four-leaf clover. Because I am always scanning grass for four-leaf clovers and the sky for rainbows and trees for bird nests. And God knows that.
- My wiggly-butt pup, who officially knows “sit” and is learning “wait”.
- Painting my nails fall colors.
- Flickers of hope.