Posts Tagged With: faith
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.
“Even the darkest night will end, and the sun will rise.” ~Victor Hugo
This week will be a big week. Not only will my grandfather’s funeral be on this Thursday, February 20th, but it will also mark 40 days since our home was flooded and we have been displaced as a family.
Home flood? Yes that’s right. Our home was flooded on January 11th, as I woke up to walking on wet carpet at around 2:00am. Currently our home is unlivable as the floors, ceilings and walls have been torn apart. The source of the flood seemed to stem from our clothes washer, which is located on the second floor, so when it leaked everything got hit. Our insurance placed us in a hotel for a month and then recently transferred us last week into an apartment, which doesn’t bode well as it tells me that these repairs are going to take a lot of time.
Many tears have been shed as frustrations continue to mount. Caity and I recognize that so many things have been systematically taken away from us in this last year. Currently we are without internet at our apartment, and so even being able to do something so simply as check email, write a blog post, or even apply for a new job have become that much more challenging. We finally recognize the reason for it all: we are being trained to trust and rely solely on Jesus Christ and his provision and direction for our lives.
Then this last week I received the news that my grandfather, Donald Patten, was not doing well and certain to be on his way into the arms of Jesus. I hadn’t seen grandpa in quite some time. Truth be told, he had been mentally absent for quite some time due to alzheimer’s and so visiting him just seemed burdensome. Then to place on top of that some of the hard feelings I had carried over the years toward him for certain scars made it even more difficult. It wasn’t until I walked into his room, and I could see how fragile he’d become, withered to bones, that my heart melted and I was reminded how fragile we all are. I sat next to his bed and I did the unexpected…I asked for his forgiveness for my anger toward him, and then I thanked him for the many, many things that he did well during his life. Grandpa taught me how to work hard, to believe in my creativity, and he imparted a strong spiritual heritage to his children and grandchildren.
And then on the morning of February 11th, grandpa passed away into glory.
It feels like we are in the center of a spiritual struggle. Every area of our lives feels pressed in upon. Emotionally. Physically. Financially. Relationally. Exhaustion is our regular state of existence. Yet as for Caity and me, it is our response that reveals the standing of our hearts. We are weary but we are willing to follow Jesus…no matter where He goes. He is the way, and will be the only way to guiding us through the dark paths of our current valley.
Caity and I have committed to do God’s will His way, however meandering the path. To stop complaining and submit to His authority in every circumstance will be our mark. To show up and do our daily tasks with a steadfast determination, no matter now humiliating, will be done only with the strength of Christ, who empowers us both to endure and do all things. Alone and on our own, we can do nothing and will remain stuck. Jesus Christ is calling out. He is saying “I am the way…”
SED EGO DIGREDIENDUM
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