Night Parables: A New Thing

Dream:

There were hundreds of people all around me. I recognized many of them and eventually realized we were all from the same church. Each member had a spear in their hand. Each spear was different; it had a different colored feather on it, or had a small tag with something written on it that I couldn’t read (I assume it was their call from the Lord). We were given a verbal warning and then a count down:

3

2

1!

Every person threw their spear. Much to our dismay, the spears flew 5 feet in front of us and flittered to the ground. They flew more like blades of grass than wooden weapons. The crowd was baffled. I heard a male voice speak confidently behind us:

“The old ways will not work any longer.”

I quickly turned around towards the sound of the voice only to find empty space. The crowd erupted in activity. It was like something broke in the atmosphere around us and everyone instinctively knew they had to DO SOMETHING. Each person began to work on their spear to make it more effective and accurate. Some people had to do change more than others, but every person had something to make better.

We all lined up once again and were given a count down

3

2

1!

This time the spears flew farther than they ever had before. Many people put their spears in huge sling shots and watched them sail away.

 

Interpretation:

The local body I belong to is currently going through some major transitions in leadership. The process has been simultaneously beautiful and painful but ultimately filled with hope and redemption. Throughout this season in our church Isaiah 43:19 has resonated deeply in my spirit:

“Behold, I am doing a new thing;
    now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?”

I believe this is what the Lord is speaking through this dream. Things cannot continue in the same way any longer- and that’s actually a really good thing! I am praying and believing for massive amount of breakthrough and growth in the season at Antioch Community Church!

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Night Parables: Keeping up Appearances

Dream:

I was in college again, It felt as thought I’d been dropped mid-story in a book I had never read. Immediately I felt overwhelmed with expectations on my life but had no context of what was going on around me or what I was supposed to be doing. The dream took place in a small church in Norman. Instinctively I knew that the semester I was enrolled in was coming to an end. My schedule showed I was enrolled in choir (and the class was happening at that time in the dream) but I knew I could skip because I was passing it with flying colors. I saw a literature class on my schedule as well but after looking through my backpack I discovered I didn’t have the books for the class, or the syllabus. There was also a dance class on my schedule and I was positive I had not attended once the entire semester. My frustration continued to grow as I read on. How could I be expected to do well in these classes when I hadn’t been given the proper resources? I thought. I fought overwhelming feelings of failure and hopelessness. It was the church’s job to teach me… and they had done a poor job.

I turned to my left and began walking away from the foyer down a long, dark hall. It felt tucked away from all the life of the university; no one else had ventured down this ominous hall. The eery silence hung heavy around me. I reached the end of the hall and saw a door to my left. I opened it and gasped.

The room was completely trashed. Beams from the ceiling had fallen, there were rows of pews in pieces, and trash everywhere. In the center of the room -untouched by the destruction around it- was an immaculate pulpit. This sight stunned me more than the heap of garbage surrounding it.

Does anyone know about this? I asked myself.

Interpretation:

I think it’s possible that the classes I was failing represented the arts themselves and how the church isn’t equipping it’s people to function in those giftings. That might be possible.

But I feel the literature class represents church history and the dance class represents joy/fullnes of life. I was passing choir (music is my thing and is part of my calling) and able to appear put together (passing) in the church if I was able to perform and serve. But underneath it I was actually failing the majority of my classes (not thriving bc of ignorance and poor beliefs). While I believe it is each person’s responsibility to maintain a healthy relationship with the Lord, there is still an element of responsibility to the church community as a whole.

The end of the dream was honestly a bit disturbing to me, personally. In my spirit, I felt the room at the end of the hall with all the trash in it represented the state of the church in the United States. Please hear my heart- I am not prophesying doom over the church in America, I am simply trying to understand a dream. Furthermore, just because something is wrong in the church doesn’t mean it has to continue to be wrong. I think the immaculate podium represents our thoughts/opinions on how church is to be done and the church’s adamant refusal to change/reform it’s ways to be more biblical and effective. The destruction around the podium symbolized how broken the system really is- it was literally falling apart.

While this dream may at first seem heavy and hopeless, I don’t think it is ultimately a death sentence to the church. I believe the dream was given to me to intercede on behalf of the church in America. The Lord is faithful to those who humble themselves and seek His face! So I am filled with hope that the Lord will move and is moving in the church to bring us back into the simplicity of loving Him above all else. May it be in Jesus’ name!

Night Parables: In the Pit

In my dream, I saw a man in a deep pit.

He had dirt smudges on his face, he looked tired and scared. He reached up for my hand and cried out to me in desperation. Instinctively, I extended my hand to him and helped him out. It seemed like the right thing to do; he was obviously in trouble and needed help. Time passed and I wandered by the same spot to find him in the pit once again. Like before, I held out my hand to help him get out. This time I noticed it took more effort to help him out. I was also slightly aggravated that he had to be helped again after such a short amount of time. The same scene played over 4 or 5 times more.

The 6th time I passed by the pit to find the man in the exact same situation. And once again, he held out his hand and motioned to grab mine.

“No.” I said flatly,

“I don’t want to help you anymore. I’m tired of doing this with you over and over. You’re on your own.”

I walked away calmly and left him.

Interpretation:

I’ve been praying quite a bit for “prodigals” of the Christian faith. These are people who have known the love of Christ, confessed His name, but after awhile they turned back to the world. I’m convinced that the Lord wants to show the church how to be loyal in love to people who are no longer following Him. There is a deep inner frustration in my heart concerning people like this and this is why: they haven’t fallen into the proverbial pit- they jumped back into it.

I’ll be the first to confess that I am not resilient in love. It’s difficult to care for someone unlovely. It’s hard to believe for someone who says they want to change, but they don’t. Harder still, is to love someone who has deeply betrayed you and damaged your trust. This message from Jackie Pullinger brought my lack of love towards people in darkness to the forefront. It’ll wreck you.

For me this dream brought an ugly reality in my heart to the surface: I think some people (including myself at times) are worthy of judgement rather than mercy if they continually struggle… but Jesus continues to love regardless. He continues to forgive and show compassion.  In the dream, My thoughts and actions turned from feeling compassion and extending mercy to a you deserve it” attitude.  Sometimes it’s difficult to see clearly in the midst of cyclic situations… God IS just. But He also delights in showing mercy.

I feel challenged by this dream to cry out to the Lord for grace to be resilient in love.  Resilient when it hurts, resilient when it’s disappointing, resilient in prayer, and steadfast in mercy. At the end of the day: people don’t deserve mercy and neither do I. Grace gives us things we could never be worthy of.

I’ll leave justice and appropriate ramifications to the Lord. In the meantime, I’ll be doing my best to love people and continue to hope in their redemption.

 

 

Still Small Voice: Covenant Commitment

“Loyalty is a noble, unswerving allegiance rooted in faith and love that binds hearts together in common purpose.” -Bob Sorge

Dragging myself out of bed Sunday was an uphill battle. There were alot of things I’d rather be doing that getting ready for a corporate Christian gathering called church. I could admit that my heart wasn’t in the purest place, that I was acting irrationally towards the congregation I attend, but deep down the lies seemed valid to me. I continued half heartedly getting ready (I thought at least I’d be dressed for the day, even if I didn’t go). As I meandered through the morning, I heard the Lord speak to me:

“Are you only committed when you feel like being committed?”

The question stopped me in my tracks and the Lord continued.

“Is this how you expect to function in a marriage covenant? Loyal and loving (because you feel loyal and loving) one day and distant and cold the next day when your heart isn’t in it?”

His direct questions left me stunned in silence.

“It’s time to grow up little one. Be committed when commitment isn’t glorious or noticed. You can’t be loyal to Me and disloyal to My bride.”

 

 

 

Night Parables: The Path Before Me

Dream:

I was standing in the middle of nowhere.

The land around me was wild and untamed.  The ground was damp from the previous night’s rain and puddles were scattered throughout the landscape. I stood on the line of a sandy desert slowly transforming into a grassy prairie land. It was overcast but refreshing. There were people on both sides of me and we were standing behind a white line. To my horror, my stomach was protruding showing that I was a few weeks pregnant. Without warning, a man standing on the sidelines shot off a gun and the race began.

The fact that I was pregnant and running a race was a reality that I couldn’t shake. It seemed absurd to be doing what I was doing. Even more horrifying was the stark end of the track mere feet in front of me. There was a drop for sure, and I had no idea how deep the cliff was, but I didn’t stop running.

I jumped off the edge.

My feet came into view for the first time as I sailed down many feet of air- there were no shoes on my feet. A thousand fears flashed through my mind:

I’m pregnant. I have no shoes, I’m falling down a cliff, and I have no idea what I’m going to land on. Is there glass beneath me? Sharp rocks? Will my baby live? 

To my surprise, I landed gently on lush, green moss and was unhurt. It took me a moment to gather myself from the shock. Runners behind me had jumped and began running again. They were in proper running clothes and shoes; a sharp contrast to the brown dress and head covering I was wearing without shoes. The gravel path had veered sharply to the left and they had continued running without question. I turned to run, then hesitated. Something to the right had caught my eye: a different path. It was much smaller, and it was made from the same moss I had landed on after jumping from the cliff. Instinctively, I knew this path had been made specifically for me. My deeply vulnerable state was no secret. In that moment it was apparent to me that this path had been paved in kindness and gentleness for me because I needed it. I turned away from the gravel road and rushed down the mossy path, holding my pregnant belly as I ran.

Both paths led to the same destination, but I knew I would get there before everyone else. I felt a surge of excitement course through me as the end came into view. At the finish line there was a small, metal box that resembled a mailbox. It contained little stubs of paper. I picked one out to see what they were. They were checks, each was worth a different amount. Some worth slightly more and some slightly less, but all in the $300 price range. I picked mine out and stopped to stare at it. The other runners had caught up with me again. They took their check without stopping and continued running.

I didn’t want to continue running; all my effort and zeal came to a crashing halt.

What was I even doing? What was I supposed to do with this paper?

Interpretation: 

Oftentimes in dreams being pregnant means the person is “giving birth” to an idea or plan. The race I was running is my personal path with the Lord in ministry through the Ember Prayer Room. I was running towards the same goal as many others, but the way I got there was different.

The Lord knew what I needed and what I could (and couldn’t) handle in order to attain the goal. In this season, I have felt the Lord’s powerful and intentional protection over my heart. He knows all the things going through my mind and all the places I’ve been wounded. He is aware and He has prepared a path for me (He always does) because he knows what I specifically need.

To me, the end indicates that I’m striving for a goal that I do not completely understand or appreciate at this time. In fact, I may not be able to appreciate it once I’ve reached it either. I didn’t feel angry when I got the check in my dream, I was just confused. I woke with the sense that the Lord wanted to begin another journey with me- He wanted to show me the full measure of what I had been given.

 

Still Small Voice: Sons that Suffer

Last September I went through an inner healing (healing for emotions and your heart) class through my church called Living Waters.  The class was a definite turning point in my life. Through the teachings, loving community, and prayers of many many people, I was able to close the door to despair that had been overwhelming my life since my young teenage years. If you are looking for breakthrough in shame, guilt, hopelessness, and the like, I would HIGHLY recommend checking out this class.

In the class, how people chose to cope during pain was put on display and it was not always a pretty sight. Even people in the church reach for all kinds of things to feel relief in the midst of pain. And I’m not an exception. Suffering comes in all forms: relational strain, trauma, physical ailment, abuse… the list goes on and on. It became very clear to me that some people suffer well and some people don’t.

As I considered my own difficulties and hurts, I heard the Lord speak:

Cheryl, suffering well and suffering poorly all comes down to one thing: being a son*. A slave that suffers is a martyr, a son that suffers is a co-sufferer with their Father and perseveres for the glory set before them.

Everyone suffers. If you haven’t yet, you will (sorry if that isn’t encouraging, I’m getting to the encouraging part!). My point isn’t to cast a picture of doom and gloom over my life or anyone’s life that follows Jesus. My point is: trials aren’t meaningless they are actually filled with glorious purpose. As a Christian (and a son/daughter of God) God’s will isn’t hidden from us- we are running the race of life for an imperishable crown and the ultimate reward of seeing Him face to face. As His child, we have a plethora of reasons to run hard and never look back. Slaves however, are not privy to the heart and plan of the Father. When we take on orphan (or slave) mentalities, we get tired and give up because we’ve lost sight of the prize.

In the light of this revelation, I am convinced we live in a time when it is critical to remain close to the Lord and firm in His Word. Be resolved to follow Him forever before it gets hard. Have a plan, have people to talk to, get a counselor, go to an inner healing class, take time out of your day to cry and grieve hard situations, turn to the Lord for comfort. Deal with the ache in your heart and never stop running.

*The term son is gender neutral and is a term that identifies all Christians as children of God. It includes both male and female believers. 

 

 

 

Still Small Voice: What Does God Want?

Sometimes my time with the Lord can look alot like arguing.

Maybe “reasoning together” is a better way of putting it.

No, I don’t really think I’m on the same intellectual level as God, nor do I think it’s possible for me as a human being to grasp the depth of His wisdom. I am aware that He is humbling Himself to have a conversation with me and taking time to explain answer to questions I have. But I know it’s okay to ask because I am His daughter and His friend. I think He wants to have a conversation about what’s going on in my life and weigh in on the situations I’m going through.

Not too long ago, I was talking to the Lord about people who leave the faith and turn back to the world. It’s a baffling thing I see happening all around me. This particular conversation between He and I was more me processing and Him listening. I finished unloading the things in my heart and we sat in a heavy silence for a moment. My heart felt heavy anyway, I’m sure He was fine.

“Cheryl,” He began gently,

“Never become so lost in doing that you forget My highest priority and fail to remember what I really want. It isn’t serving, it isn’t ministering, it isn’t great sermons, or excellent music in worship… What I want most is you.”

 

For the intercessor who fights on their knees day after day and sees no “tangible” result of their labor.

For the mom who feels like she’s failing to raise her children well.

For the pastor who is discouraged but is afraid to admit it.

For the dad who is overwhelmed and constantly behind in his work.

For the missionary who wants to go back home.

For the chronically ill Christian who doesn’t want to face another day of pain.

For the preacher that doesn’t know what to say anymore.

For the teenager who is tired of standing up for Truth in school and just wants to fit in.

For the evangelist whose Gospel message was rejected again.

For the depressed believer who wants to finally feel again, but can’t seem to escape the sadness.

For the worship leader who feels disconnected from God.

 

Find your delight in Jesus and He will sustain you.