December 29, 2009

The weekend before Christmas, Mike and I had the opportunity to visit some of our good friends in Kansas. One night while we were there, I had a dream. I don't always wake up remembering what I dreamed about, and sometimes when I do, they just don't seem to have much relevance. But every once in awhile, I have a dream that stays with me and makes me think about what it could mean. This particular dream involved snakes. Now, this is not the first time I have had a dream involving snakes. I wrote about one in my March 5, 2009 entry. Tonight, I am writing about my dream that I had a couple of weeks ago while in Kansas.

When the dream started, I was in the middle of water. Dirty, muddy water. Water so dirty that you could not see into it at all.  Instead of grass, all there was was brown water. Other people were in it also and we were all walking waist deep in it with our arms out of the water, keeping our balance so we did not fall into it any farther.

I looked up and saw a man standing under a tree,  submerged waist deep. He was holding up a yellowish greenish snake... large... maybe 4 or 5 feet long and really thick. He was showing the small crowd that gathered around that if you grabbed the snake by the tail, you could snap it like a whip and it would instantly break the snake's neck to kill it. He was saying that these snakes were deadly if they bit you and they lurked all through that muddy water that we were standing in. One bite and we would die. The problem was that we could not see them through all of the mud and we could find no way out of the water.

When I turned around, I could see someone pointing to some place in the distance, saying that there was dry land that we could get out from the water and the danger from these snakes. I tried walking there, careful not to be consumed by the water. The bottom was so thick that my feet were sinking in it and were so heavy to lift to continue to walk. All at once, two men from my church were there on either side of me. We all linked arms to help each other walk through to the dry land. I was so afraid that I would be on my way to safety... to come so close and then get that fatal bite from the yellow snake. The man on my left bent down so I could hear him, and he told me to look at his knees. As I looked down, I noticed that the murky water was going down and I could actually see his knees. As my eyes continued down, I realized that I could now see my feet! It was as if the earth below us soaked up all of that water. The ground was so dry under us now that it was cracking like mud does when it dries up. Through the cracks I could see the water beneath it... it was like the ground we were standing on had actually been lifted up above all of that water! I knew in that instant that we just witnessed a miracle that only God could have done. He knew how terrified we were and chose to save us. The snakes were gone. We made it to land.

Later on that day, I came across a woman who just looked terrible. She was sweaty and her hair was sticking to her forehead and she had dark circles under her eyes. She was so out of breath and told me that she just knew she had to have been bitten by one of those snakes as we were crossing to land. She was sure she was dying. I was so taken back by that. I couldn't figure out how she missed the miracle that God had just done right before our eyes. For a second, it made me doubt that the miracle really happened. Once I had played back the events from that day, I knew that God really had saved us. I didn't know how she could have been so blind.

That was the end of my dream.

I don't know how to explain it, but sometimes I just wake up feeling like certain dreams mean something more than just a random wandering of my subconscious. This was one of them. In my battle with this disease, sometimes I go to bed feeling like the enemy had one up on me that day. People tell me all of the time that I look so good and I am just doing so well. That is hard work. I have to focus all of my energy on God and stay grounded in Him. Otherwise, I feel like it would be so easy to miss out on the miracles He is doing daily. I feel like I can be both people in my dream... the one who sees the miracles and the one who doubts and thinks for sure she is doomed. Thankfully, in my dream, I came back around and I feel like that is true for my life as well.

Mike and I had such a busy holiday season. It didn't seem like we had that much planned, but I guess we did. We flew out on the 17th to our friends in Kansas and stayed till the 21st. They took us to a Browns vs. Chiefs game which was a lot of fun. Browns won! Go Browns!


(A picture of Mike and I bundled up for the Browns' game!)

I have been following a website/ blog of an author and a longtime friend of one of Mike's aunts, Jim Chastain. He had been diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer in 2001 and wrote a book called I Survived Cancer but Never Won the Tour de France.  It is quite a funny book, one that I could relate a lot to. I would recommend it to someone who wants to laugh. Anyhow, I was following his updates on his website, much like people follow mine I suppose. The last night Mike and I were in Kansas, I was lying in bed and just got this urgent sense to pray for him. I asked for Mike's phone to see if I could pull up his site on the internet to see if there was any news. For some reason, I could not pull it up so I just let God lead my prayers. On Christmas morning, I checked his site and read that Jim had just died. I never met him but my heart just hurt. Last night I got out the book he had written so Mike could read it. On the back cover, there are some quotes of people ho had read the book. One was from Steffie Corcoran of Oklahoma Today. The last sentence of her quote reads " Chastain's story sparkles with humor and excellent advice from one who's been through the fire and emerged victorious on the other side." As I read that, I could have easily thought it sad that Ms. Corcoran had been mistaken, for Jim did not survive cancer after all. However, I smiled and realized that he had been through the fire and did indeed emerge victorious on the other side. He spent Christmas in Heaven with the birthday boy Himself.

Also on Christmas, I was told that my brother Brian's friend, Sean, had been killed in a house fire on Christmas eve. And although I had not met Sean either, my heart hurt again. Brian wrote about Sean in his December 28, 2009 entry. I realized that Sean, too, had emerged from the fire victorious on the other side. He too had the best Christmas morning as he woke up in Jesus' arms. It puts so much into perspective for me. This life here is just a dress rehearsal for eternity. Every single one of us will stand before God one day. We will all see Him. The choice is yours whether or not it will be just a meet and greet or the invite to live forever with Him.

Last night, as I tried to fall asleep, I started to pray. I feel like most of the time I can just go on and on bringing people and things before God. Last night, I just wanted to listen. I think sometimes we just do too much of the talking and not enough time listening. The word "Love" flashed in my mind. On that note, I felt so relaxed and fell asleep.

Mark 12:30-31 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.' The second is this: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' There is no commandment greater than these."

We are about to enter a new year. Let this be the year you feel God's love and show it to others. You may never know how that choice will affect eternity.

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