Posts Tagged With: Christ
I’m never one to remember my dreams. In fact most mornings when I wake up, by the time I walk to the bathroom, whatever I had dreamed is already gone. But last night I dreamed of Yeshua.
2016 has started off really rough. My job is demanding technically, legally, emotionally and spiritually; most days I even drag myself home physically exhausted because all of my other capacities have been run dry. Since January, all Hell has broken loose at the housing properties and my office team (who are very supportive of each other) have been struggling with morale issues because everyone is under attack in some way. I’ve also been struggling personally with the patrilineal burdens I’ve inherited from the men in my life who have come before me. My struggles with personal identity, value and success (or lack thereof) have been loud and ugly…and it’s all the arguments going on inside.
Needless to say I’ve been fighting off or hiding from depression for the last couple of weeks. I can play at it for a while, being strong for everyone else, but I finally asked yesterday: “Who’s being strong for me?” Once that question was out of the box, there was no putting it back. And I fell to pieces.
I prayed. I pleaded for God to show a way forward. To allow me to answer a greater call. I demanded for Him to acknowledge and answer my dreams that have been laid in their grave.
What I didn’t know was that my wife was desperately praying for me at the same time. She pleaded with Jesus to meet me, somehow.
And then last night I fell asleep.
I found myself in a great white stone palace in a large room. The stone was almost like crystal, but even that description can’t do it justice. It felt very Greek, but was timeless.
The large room I found myself in was dark, backlit with blue and green light and there was a blue mist winding around the black tile floor.
I held a sword in my hand and knew at once I was under attack. The things coming at me were everywhere and they looked like rotting corpses, like zombies. Some were missing limbs but they could talk and were saying all kinds of horrible things. They were demonic, and they looked exhausted because they weren’t able to put up much of a fight when I began to fight back with my sword. Yet all the same I felt overwhelmed by the sheer number of them.
It was then I realized that someone else arrived and was helping me to fight them back. By the time the battle was almost over, my ally had easily slain most of the horde. I remained fighting one enemy, the captain. My ally did not intervene, but let me finish the fight as I cut off its appendages until it simply laid upon the floor unable to move.
“You’re done,” I said as I turned to walk away.
The demonic captain looked up at me with his gruesome face and exposed eyeballs and spoke: “Just do it already.”
So I cut off his head. I then realized I was covered in greasy guts. I turned to look at my ally, my helper.
He stepped out of the shadows and I immediately knew his face and I spoke his name in my heart: YESHUA. It was the name his mother would have called him. I knew him and I knew he knew me. Yet all I could utter from my lips was: “I’m a mess.”
Then Yeshua smiled; he was kind and spoke: “You ordered the Greece.”
I knew it was a joke, a play on words about the battle we had just come through, and yet there had to be a deeper meaning, a puzzle to solve. He helped me, but he didn’t do it for me. I had guts on me and the sword in my hand to prove that I had done battle in the heavenly realm alongside Yeshua my Messiah, against my enemies.
I woke up amazed, pondering the meaning of what he said and I’m still not sure but there are some clues in my life and the things I’ve been working on in my writing that might yet prove true.
My wife is a big time dreamer; she remembers her every dream each morning. And sometimes they are spiritually significant. This was the first time I had ever had a spiritually significant dream and I relayed it to my wife.
When I finished, she asked about the meaning of Yeshua’s words. I told her I wasn’t sure.
Then she asked: “What about Greek warriors, are they tough?”
I immediately could see scenes from the movie 300 in my mind with King Leonidas fighting with his fellow Spartan brothers against the hordes of invading Persian troops. I told her that historically the Spartans were among the toughest, hardest soldiers ever bred for war.
She then told me about how she pleaded with Jesus to meet me in my dark time of struggle. My wife is certain that who showed up was Jesus/Yeshua as his hardest, warrior self to help fight against the forces of darkness coming against me personally. Yet during the whole battle, I never doubted his love.
There are still so many pieces to put together regarding this dream. As for what he said to me: “You ordered the Greece.” I think it will take time to reveal the meaning, but perhaps some of the interlinear work I’ve been doing in the bible may be the key to unlocking my way forward.
The LORD is close to the broken hearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. ~Psalm 34:18
It’s been a while since I’ve written anything here but the truth is that I’ve been going through a process of breaking, and I’ve needed to take the time to experience it. It’s hard. Many times I’m emotionally incontinent and prone to tears.
Truth be told, there is much that is either cracking, been broken already, or has been divinely taken away.
As it turns out, my new job is anything but a good or easy fit. From the moment I walk through the door to the time I leave, it’s a constant barrage of demands from either the corporate leadership or from frustrated residents. So far I’ve dealt with multiple threats of lawsuits from residents over petty issues (everyone seems to have a lawyer), evictions and then helping the residents prevent evictions, and a multitude of complaints about noisy yet necessary deferred maintenance construction. It seems there’s very little time to breathe or even get my real work done. I also found out through our open enrollment that we cannot afford the cost of the benefits through work. And then last week Caity and I found out that our main commuter car will need to go to that junkyard in the sky. And at times I have to ask myself “why”? What could possibly be the good, divine purpose to spiral my wife and me into what appears to be more pain and loss?
It seems that everything about our circumstances right now are designed to break us entirely. And it’s working…but not in the way toward depression, only in the way toward dependence. Dependence upon God.
Just like human relationships, crises and brokenness can either drive people apart or bind them even closer together. The trick of it all, however, is that the choice belongs to the people involved. When Caity and I have found ourselves broken before each other, we draw close and give comfort to the other. The same is true of a relationship with God. If we truly desire awesome intimacy with the Creator and Savior, then we must be willing to be shattered and surrender to the process of being broken. It’s painful and necessary, and ultimately it’s our own choice to allow it to foster intimacy; to learn how to depend whole heartedly with every feature of our being upon the King of the Universe.
Another dirty little secret of the sanctified life is that brokenness will continue to happen throughout in big and little ways. It is because our broken pieces are gathered together and mortared one upon the other with God’s grace until a firm foundation of a sanctification emerges. We must surrender to this uneasy and painful process in order that everything that we are and everything we have will be transformed into the best that we can become. It’s not the circumstances that matter so much to God, but our heart conditions. God can change circumstances with the flip of coin, but our hearts will only change when we surrender everything we hold on to so tightly.
I’ve decided that I will not fight my breaking process. I will accept it…with joy…in the knowledge that God is bringing me into a deeper level of intimacy. He desires Oneness, and now so do I. Perhaps He may find some use for me yet.
If you are currently being broken, it’s alright to cry out in pain. I would also encourage you to accept it as an honor, for you have been chosen to be brought deeper into relationship with the King of the Universe.
SOLI DEO GLORIA!
This weekend was rough as Caity rounds the corner for the final lap at her job. The fact that the Haggen grocery store she has worked at for eight years is closing has given us cause for both great joy and reason for concern, both of which we’ve learned how to submit foremost and with gratitude at the feet of Jesus. (For those of you who aren’t sure what I’m talking about, please feel free to read my previous post Open The Floodgates).
So on Saturday, she came home physically exhausted…and it showed. She collapsed upon our couch and her black curly hair, normally pulled back into a meticulous up-do, was now splayed open with flyaways in every direction as if shocked by a nearby electric socket. She closed her eyes, and with a moan she proclaimed her immobility. Her body was sore from the physically demanding work of standing and checking non-stop all day.
Yesterday, Sunday, she left for work in the morning and somehow I got it into my mind to do something fun and encouraging. Caity has always been very talented at chalkboard art and I’ve been wanting to find a way to show my support and give her an extra boost of joy about it. The kids and I packed up and went to Home Depot where we bought a couple of chipboards with the chalkboard lamination and we had them cut at HD into 3 different sizes. On the biggest board I drew heart with “C+D” in the center; on the smallest board I wrote “Sign Me Up” (an ongoing pun we have about a chalk-art sign business we’ve been tossing around); and on the medium sized board I wrote Hebrews 6:10-11 “God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them. We want each of you to show this same diligence to the very end, so that what you hope for may be fully realized.” I’m not sure why I chose this verse, but rather happened upon it and decided it was appropriate. As it turned out, it was VERY appropriate as Caity called me on her lunch in tears letting me know that the encouragement could not have come at a better time. The kind of customers that she had been dealing with were the extreme bargain hunters, at the store for the extreme mark downs and lacking decorum or kindness; and one in particular had just finished saying a bunch of horrible things to her while throwing a huge tantrum. Caity and I were able to simply take about twenty minutes over the phone to reaffirm that our task at this moment was to finish this final lap, to finish running this race, to cross the line with our focus on Christ, and to serve God by loving people…and that included the grouchy bargain hunters.
The store’s closing has been emotionally and physically demanding and draining for my wife and me. To see friends we’ve made at the store going off in different directions and watch the staff dwindle down to only ten people has been hard to watch; yet at the same time we’ve both been excited for them all at their new found places of employment. As for Caity, she won’t be continuing on for Haggen and in fact she will be leaving the grocery/retail industry all together. This is not because we have anything else lined up, but rather as a response to Jesus’ call upon our lives to test our faith in Him for this moment. We have resisted the urge to problem solve, to plan ahead and find a new job in the same line of work; mostly because we recognize God’s direct intervention in these circumstances. In a very real and weird way, closing the Haggen store in Shoreline is a direct answer to a strong petition of prayer we made back in July…though this result is not at all what we expected.
All the same, we are truly excited about the the fact that we have openly and nakedly placed our trust and our destiny in the hands of our Savior, Jesus Christ. We have the certainty of faith as well as encouragement along the way that He is in the process of closing a door behind us before He opens the one before us. We don’t know what our future looks like, but we have the assurance of being led to the next stage of our journey with Jesus and the next stage of our life’s ministry with others.
As a final note of encouragement to all of you who are feeling stressed and uncertain about your circumstances right now, I would like you to consider the prospect that pressure is the messenger of good things to come. You cannot get oil without pressing the olives; you cannot get wine without crushing the grapes and you cannot get a diamond without placing carbon under extreme pressure. If you feel like you are under extreme pressure right now, then take heart because God is trying to bring out the best in you.
SED EGO DIGREDIENDUM
My hands do long to bless the lost with hope,
My pen does long to soar long the pages,
I stand, I run and stumble down the slope,
Will my work be unreached through the ages?
Are my efforts feasting last on Maundy?
My work be shattered on the Corner Stone,
Eli, Eli lama sabacthani?
Oh Father, raise my light that once had shone.
God of mercy, bless this shadowed spirit;
My God of grace, descend and make me whole.
I am humbled, grant to me Your merit;
Creative work does much to joy my soul.
My spirit is broken beyond my pen,
Oh Lord, when will this purgatory end?
Originally written sometime in March 2009 as a prayer sonnet. I was obviously struggling with feelings of inadequacy regarding my writing and any lack of progress thereof. Funny enough, this prayer has indeed been answered line for line (although not in any way I would have wanted or imagined at the time).