I have nightmares. I can gauge the rawness of the dream by how long it takes to feel like my normal self again. A garish nightmare will take days, maybe even a week to work through. A bad nightmare may take half a day at least. A bad dream, maybe 2-4 hours. Something someone else may articulate as merely a “weird” dream takes 15-20 minutes post waking time to come down from.
Right after I got married the garish dreams came on strong. They ebb and weave in out of my life with grueling consistency. We celebrate 14 years this May. There are times we’ve had to pray every single night. There are times we’ve involved others. I’ve brought the dreams, the content to my therapists, we’ve discussed them ad-nauseam. Yet, here they are. Still.
I’ve woke up screaming. I’ve woke up crying. I’ve woke up shaky. I’ve woke up sweaty. I’ve woke up calling the name of Jesus over and over again. I’ve woke up clinging to Dave for dear life. I’ve woke up begging God to calm my brain the freak down. I’ve woken up terrified, tormented, assured demons were surely swarming the room.
Sometimes the content is straight out what I’ve consumed. I don’t watch scary movies anymore, I stay away from crime drama’s (though I confess I am WAY into Breaking Bad right now). The content is generally surrounding my real life, (worse) especially the most insidious of the dreams: the ones where it’s Ma or someone I love torturing me. Other times the content is other worldly evil. Beyond anything I’ve ever taken in or seen. It’s downright devil inspired.
In the past few weeks, they’ve come back. I had at least 6-8 months with nothing, maybe even longer. Maybe 1 or 2. A few weeks ago, I had the garish kind three nights in a row. Dave & I went back to nightly prayer intercession, begging God to calm this storm. Heal this thorn, Lord.
I’ve considered the apostle Paul. He was so freaking annoying in his perfection wasn’t he? It’s hard to stay mad at the brotha when he spit so much wisdom…ya know, having written half the New Testament and all. That whole mess about him pleading with God three times to remove his thorn but finding God’s grace sufficient? It’s not exactly encouraging. To me it says -in the nicest way possible- DEAL WITH IT. But that was Paul. Badass Paul. When I see his face in Heaven, I’m not sure if I want to hug him or smack him.
I believe 100% God’s grace is sufficient for me, no matter what I face. The dreams have been quite the anomaly for my life squarely because I have no control over them. They happen, it’s difficult to face, there is no little blue pill to fix it. I have tried everything. I am fully, wholly leaning into God for deliverance because what else is there?
On the one hand, it’s freeing and beautiful to know God sees and knows the content I see and live in my nighttime grave, yet it’s painful to know I can’t do anything differently to prevent it. I’ve caused a lot of trouble in my life making poor choices and accepting those consequences feels justified. But this? It’s a disease I didn’t ask for. On the one hand, that’s life: deal with it. On the other hand, it pushes me, forces me into the arms of Jesus in a different way than when I know I deserve it.
I may never shake these nightmares, that’s okay. I remain confident in this, I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Nightmares or no nightmares.
Linking up with Heather of the EO this morning for Just Write, an exercise in free writing our ordinary and extraordinary moments.