It was one of those dreams that was so intense I needed it to end. Sometimes you can wake yourself up from a dream and sometimes you can’t. I was able to pull out of this one but not soon enough! In this dream I was on trial and it wasn’t pretty. The sense I had was that I was guilty, was I ever guilty. At least the evidence being brought against me seemed convincing and true. The most frightening thing was that deep down inside I knew I was innocent of all the accusations and condemnations being brought to bear. So why couldn’t I speak up and defend myself? Why was no one defending me? How could I hope to clear my name and get free from this nightmare of being falsely accused? In the dream I remember crying out, ‘What is going on here?!’
Then, as happens in dreams, I saw the bigger picture, like a camera panned back to give the wider view. What I saw chilled me to the bone and that is when I woke up. You see, I was not only the accused but worse yet, I was the prosecution. It was I, myself, bringing all these accusations against me! Imagine the punch in my gut when I saw that I was also my own defense attorney and worst of all – I was my own judge and I was the jury. There is no way I could win.
At that moment I woke up and heard these clear words, “This is what my people are doing to themselves. This is how my Bride sees herself. They love Me but find it impossible to truly love themselves so they cannot love others as is my design. If only they – if only you – could truly believe that I AM the judge: it’s good to have the judge be your Father! Jesus is their defense and Holy Spirit the jury. My children are so safe in Me, but I need them to stop being so hard on themselves and believe that I am for them. There is no condemnation because they are in My Son, but they heap condemnation on themselves.”
Needless to say, I didn’t sleep anymore that night but got up to pray. To repent for myself and ask for God’s mercy for each of us. My cry is for us to break through to a place where we are not so hard on ourselves and do not walk in self-condemnation. Where we can truly Love Ourselves To Life.
On January 8, 2016 I received a text message from our son that his newborn son was up sick all night. As many of you know, baby Eli was thrust into a journey of health challenges that lasted over a year: I am beside myself thankful and delighted to say he is now a healthy, strong, hilarious toddler who is thriving. At the same time this began, Jim and I began a journey of moving to Ireland only to have a hairpin turn send us moving back to the States. http://bespokeninternational.com/hairpin-turn-navigation-a-primer/. On August 1, 2016 we moved into Colorado Springs and the intensity of life only increased. These past 16 months have pushed us and pulled us, challenged and stretched our faith and sense of humor. May I just say it? At times it seemed that everything was going wrong. And yet we know that we know we are where God has called us to be doing what He has asked, so despite the frustration and weariness we took one day at a time, holding onto His faithfulness and goodness, each other and our children and family and friends.
In the midst of it all God has been very close and yet there were times prayer was impossible. Thankfully He hears and interprets our groans and that which is in our hearts. During those days where the rhythm of our life was in a spin, knowing Him was our only hope.
Then came last week. Talk about swirling atmospheres! A full chapter of a book would be required to unpack all that happened in just this one week in April. In the midst of weird and wacky happenings all around us, we walked in such peace! We celebrated our 37th wedding anniversary and had the joy of being with our daughter Ashley to purchase her wedding dress. We sold a home in CA and bought one in CO – all in the midst of utter nonsense and confusion around us. Easter Sunday was one of the most holy days I can remember as we celebrated with dear friends in Redding. And then it broke. Whatever this cloud was that kept hovering over us since January ’16, it lifted. Where all seemed to go wrong for so long, now it seems so many things are going right.
Now at this time more than ever the words of the old hymn come to mind: “I need You, oh I need You! Every hour I need You.” Of course in the midst of the hard months we needed Jesus and we knew it, but now more than ever my desperation for His presence has increased. Though so much seems to be going right in this week, I need Him more than I ever have and I know it.
Some of you are currently in that season of ‘terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad days’, and some of you are in a time when everything is coming up roses. Whichever place you are, He is there and you need Him. It is by staying close to His presence even when we can’t feel it because our emotions are ragged that we step out of the jury box of self-condemnation. We take off the robes of judgement and allow Him to be our judge, clothed in righteousness and peace. In short, as our love for Him increases it allows us to truly Love Ourselves – and therefore others – To Life. May this be our story, may this be our song. May we praise our Savior all the day long – even when everything goes right.