Friday, April 23, 2021

God Speaks-Special Needs Edition: Part 1

If you aren't familiar with the Christian faith, this post may seem a bit odd. In fact, this whole series I plan to write will probably feel very strange. Stay with me, and I will try to guide you through this very complicated and simplistic topic of how God speaks to people.

God is real and active today. As a Christian, I understand God wants to have relationship with people. He wants to speak to those he has created. The Bible tells how God spoke to people in the past. It also provides insight into how God communicates to people even today. There are numerous examples to look at in the Bible. Today's post will look at God speaking specifically through dreams. As this series goes along, we will look at other ways God speaks as I give examples from my own life. 

Let's start with this passage in Job that shares that God speaks to us.  

For God speaks again and again,
    though people do not recognize it.
15 He speaks in dreams, in visions of the night,
    when deep sleep falls on people
    as they lie in their beds.
16 He whispers in their ears
    and terrifies them with warnings.
17 He makes them turn from doing wrong;
    he keeps them from pride.
18 He protects them from the grave,
    from crossing over the river of death.
Job 33:14-18 NLT

God can speak to us through our dreams. Sometimes, the dreams are given as a warning or to prepare us for the future. In Genesis 40, Joseph interprets Pharaoh's dreams, which ended up predicting the future and giving wisdom for how to deal with an upcoming famine. Dreams can send other messages too. Jacob had a dream about angels on a stairway and received a word of promise from God. (Genesis 28) Joseph received instruction on where to go with his wife and baby Jesus in dreams more than once (Matthew 2). There are other examples in the Bible of God speaking through dreams. 

Photo by Ketut Subiyanto from Pexels

And God Speaks: Dreams
I have experienced dreams from God many times. I dream regularly at night. My husband claims he rarely has dreams. Neither of us can quite relate to the other's experience. Though I often dream at night, only once in a while do I recognize a dream as being from God. My husband has asked me how I can tell the difference between regular dreams and Godly dreams. For me, it's an easy thing to distinguish. 

The dreams I receive from God are very vivid. There's a difference in the way they "feel." The most distinguishing factor though is the amount of the dream I can recall when I wake up. A dream from God sticks with me. I wake up thinking about it and remembering almost all of it. I want to meditate on the dream. Sometimes parts of the dream are repeated, which is a clear sign it's from God. It's pretty easy for me to recognize a God dream now, especially because I have had so many in the past. 

Once I feel like I have a dream from God, I start looking for the meaning. Sometimes, the meaning is simple and the message clear. Other times, I have to sift through layers of the dream and seek the meaning in prayer. I have a Christian symbols book that I sometimes consult when deciphering the dreams. The book has helped in some cases and brought confusion in others. I use the book as a reference and not the final authority. Sometimes, I share the dream with other Christians (like my father) and see what they think the interpretation is. In the past few years, I have found I often get the answer when I sit down and write out the dream with as much detail as I can. Usually after that, the answer comes without really trying. I don't know why that works, but it does for me. 

Some of the dreams I receive are short. Others are long. Some are bizarre, and others beautifully crafted. Since becoming a parent to a child with special and medical needs, I have had dozens of dreams from God. Today, I am sharing a few with you as well as my interpretation of the dream. 

The Twins, Sept. 2008
The dream: I gave birth to twins (a boy and a girl). They needed to be in the hospital for a few weeks, but I wouldn't go and see them. The doctors asked that me and all of our family come to the hospital to do a trial day of taking care of them. Their beds were going to be in the waiting room. The dream ends with me never seeing either of them. 

My interpretation: Ten days prior to this dream, I had suffered a miscarriage. I was already a mother to Jaycee at the time, and we were trying for our second child. I had many reservations about having a second baby. Jaycee's Down syndrome, congestive heart failure, and 2 open heart surgeries had made me fearful of having a second child. When the second pregnancy abruptly ended, I felt more fearful and confused. Nothing about motherhood seemed easy for me. 

To me, this dream was a message from God about what had just happened and what was going to happen. One baby was with God now, and I have to wait for our reunion in heaven to meet her/him. The second baby was coming one day, and I was in the state of waiting for that baby. The doctor represented God as my healer and was telling me to move forward. Babies are also a sign of a new beginning. This dream was a full confirmation that I shouldn't be afraid to try again. 

A House Nearly Destroyed, June 2019
The dream: I was leaving our house to pick up some food. I started to get into my vehicle to leave when I heard a loud sound. I looked up and in the distance there was a wooded area. One by one, I watched as the trees were falling down. The noise was ferocious, and it scared me. I thought an earthquake was occurring, and I was filled with anxiety. I raced back into the house yelling for my husband to warn him. I was panicking and trying to figure out what to do. My father, who was in the house, told me, "You tell it to stop." I started screaming, "Stop!" "Devil, you stop!" I screamed this as loud as I could while standing in the house. 

When I stopped screaming, one final tree finished falling, and the top of that tree came just inside an open window of the house. The destruction and loud noises all stopped. We walked around the house as I looked to see what was destroyed of ours. I was expecting to find severe damage. As we tour the house, the only damage was superficial and cosmetic. 

My interpretation: This dream occurred following weeks of stress. Jaycee had been having breathing issues for several weeks that required lots of monitoring and interventions from me. She was admitted into the hospital briefly before finally getting better. This dream was a direct message for me and how I respond to those health scares. I tend to panic and be frightened during Jaycee's illnesses. I am always worried that Jaycee's life is going to end in one of these illnesses (i.e. the part of the dream where I expect severe damage). In fact, some destructive things happen to Jaycee and our family as a result but our foundation is secure and safe. My father in the dream represented God. He was telling me to use the authority that God has given me. I don't need to call on others to pray or intercede for Jaycee. I can do it; I just need to speak and quit panicking. Fun fact: May 2019 (just before this dream) was the last time Jaycee was admitted to the hospital as of the writing of this. Praises!

A Heart Issue, Nov. 2020
This was an odd night where I had 3 different dreams. 
Dream 1: My son Elijah is in a hospital bed located in a gymnasium. He's going to die of a heart problem. Knowing this, I ask the only other person in the room if I can call other people to be with us. The man warns me, "If you call someone, make sure they can make the right decision when the time comes." I call no one. Elijah's heart stops on the monitor. I put my hand on his chest, and he revives immediately. I hold him in my arms knowing that he is going to die. Elijah looks very sick and has his eyes focused on me, playing with my hair as he slips off. I am sad for Elijah. 

I wake up very alarmed with this dream. It took me quite awhile to get back to sleep. When I did, the next dreams happened. 

Dream 2 & 3: I'm in a nursing home. My grandma (who had recently passed away in real life) was near death in the hospital bed. She falls out of the bed, and my daughter Jaycee climbs in it. Jaycee is going to die of a heart problem, but we are both at peace. I never touch her or react. 

Suddenly, I'm at work doing a speech therapy home visit. A toddler crawls into the room. He is deformed and very sickly. I scoop him up in my arms and try to comfort him. My co-worker and I try to figure out who this child is and who he belongs to. We eventually find his mother and start trying to talk to her about him. She gives us no attention and walks away. She knows her child will die of a heart problem and doesn't want to hear any hope we have to tell her. 

My interpretation: I struggled at first to understand this night of dreams. After the first dream, I was immediately worried for Elijah. I thought it was a literal warning for his health. Whenever I woke up from that first dream, I started praying for Elijah. I struggled to go back to sleep because I was so upset from the dream. It scared me. I drifted off back to sleep and had the last two parts of the dream. When I woke up that morning, I knew they were all related but was unsure of the meaning. By the end of the day, I felt I had the message. 

All 3 dreams featured a serious condition that was life and death. My reaction in the dreams was the focus. In the first dream, I saw success in ministering to my son (his heart revived) but it's short lived. I resigned to the fact that he would die. My first action (touching his chest) produced a positive change. However, my next action was to hold him and do nothing. This is an issue I've had in the past with situations with Jaycee. I'm full of faith and encouraged when a challenging issue turns around. But, if I'm challenged again too quickly, my faith is low, and I'm drained. The warning the man gave in the first dream was interesting and probably good advice. 

In the second dream, my emotions are better in that I have peace. My emotions don't dictate what I do. However, I don't do anything. I never use my faith or touch her. In the last part of the dream, I'm in my regular work setting with a co-worker, which makes me think I found someone to co-labor with (possibly a reference to the man's warning in the first dream). I take action in this dream. I don't get depressed or sad. I feel the urgency to do something. I hold this toddler the same way I held Elijah in the first dream, but this time I do it with a different posture. I seek the mother but I don't share with her about God's power to change the situation. 

The three dreams show growth in my actions and reactions. It also seems to indicate that I am ready to go beyond helping my family to ministering to other people. The dream is a reminder to use my faith, not be too emotional in situations, and to take action!

Parting thoughts
It is my hope in sharing these dreams with you that you can recognize God's attempts to speak through dreams. The scripture I shared in Job says that God speaks but people fail to recognize it. It's easy to blow off dreams and disregard some as simply strange. Other people may tell you the dreams mean nothing too. I hope that by sharing my experiences, you can learn how to apply this in your own life. 

Stay tuned for part 2 in this series! 
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