Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Carrying Safety

I loved the apartment I lived in before I moved in with my Grandma.

I loved all the funny quirks like the tiny, nearly counterless kitchen, the smoke detector that was too close to the kitchen and overly sensitive.  I loved the location of it, and the roommate I was living with (a dear friend).  But what I really loved was the sense of peace there.  It was peaceful, and it felt safe, and that, to, was a treasure.

I didn't realize it until I moved into Grandma's basement.

I didn't realize just how special that peace, that sense of safety, was, until it was suddenly gone, and I found myself facing some crazy family situations, personality conflict with my grandma, the quirks of living with someone who is nearly 81, and, oh, did I mention the incredibly dark spiritual atmosphere that I suddenly encountered in this house?

Within a week I was desperate and longing for that safety I'd loss.

Sleep had become non-existent thanks to nightmares and oddly demonic encounters.

I didn't have the refuge of a good friend to come home to and share what was going on inside me at the end of the day.

And I was letting the world (or at least those close to me in my world) know that I was less than pleased with this particular turn of events, especially since I believed (and believe) that God had led me to this place, to move into this home.

A dear friend of mine responded with a challenge I didn't really hear at the time.  It took a few months of misery for the truth of her words to really sink in.  She told me that safety isn't found in location, that it's found in a deep understanding of the presence of Christ with us, wherever we are.  That it is something we can carry with us.  And then, in a way that made her point sink in, she joking quoted a line from a pastor that we've both appreciated.  A line that sort of annoys me in both it's truth and my own lack of sleep.  The line goes like this, "You have authority over any storm you can sleep through," and is of course referring to Jesus sleeping in the boat in the midst of the storm, and then rising, bewildered at the disciples' panic, to speak calm to the storm.

I was caught in the midst of a storm, and I knew it.  I definitely wasn't sleeping through it!

It's been a journey.  For months now, as I've lived in this crazy set of life circumstances, I've felt God teaching me about finding safety in him alone.    About the fact that because He never leaves me, I am safe wherever I go.  About the fact that I can exercise authority over some of the storms in my life, simply by choosing to trust his words.

It's been a journey of learning to trust.  I talked recently about the many changes in direction my life has taken in the last six months.  I don't know that I would have been in a place to step with trust into the uncertainty of pursuing nursing without the lessons of riding out the storms.

And these days?  These days, after a whole lot of praying, and anointing my bedroom with oil, and a whole lot of just ruthlessly ignoring and trusting, I'm sleeping through some of the storms.  The nightmares have mostly receded.  I'm thankful for that more than I can say.  But mostly I'm thankful that I've learned and am learning that I can trust the risky, crazy, safety of Jesus, and that it goes with me, through all kinds of dark places and lovely places too.


kirsten michelle said...

I know what those dreams are like. I'm sorry you've been dealing with them for as long as you have.

I hope & pray you continue to recognize the storms for what they are, and for who incites them against you. He is with you.

Thanks for sharing so openly. It's so healing to know others walk this path, too.

Lisa said...

Kirsten - yes, it's helpful to know that others deal with these kinds of things...

I've had demonic nightmares since I was a small child - no one told me, really that that's what they were.

And then, I encountered the Holy Spirit in my life and the dreaming, well it got crazy. God dreams too, but wow, the spiritual attacks through nightmares were intense.

They hadn't been bad in a long while, and caught me very off guard when I moved into Grandma's house, and it has definitely been a journey of remembering who is with me amidst the storms, and that sometimes you really can just sleep through them... And I have so many stories these days, of encounters with both God and the enemy in my dream world.

I'd love to hear some of your experiences with dreams sometime too...