Nightmares – Shared Story #3

Nightmares – How can you win a fight while you are sleeping?

Nightmares or Jesus

I used to have nightmares. I had them when I was a kid. I had them when I was pregnant with my children. I actually had started having daytime nightmares after my children were born. I would have nightmares while I was awake…you know just envisioning horrible things like you would in a nightmare, except I was awake.  I thought I was losing my mind, at one point, because it was getting completely out of control.

When I was around the age of 6, my parents divorced and my two brothers and I lived with our mother.  We saw our father sporadically over the years but he wasn’t an active part in our lives.  I said all of that to say this – my mother was the one person in the world that I counted on to always be there.  So, I started having nightmares around the age of 10 or 11 and the recurring theme was about her getting injured or killed.  It was car wrecks, house fires, or something equally as traumatic, night after night.  I would wake up and go to her room and ask to sleep with her.  Most of the time she said yes, thank the Lord!  Anyway, I don’t recall when those dreams stopped haunting me but I do remember how terrible they were.

Throughout my teenage years and up until I married at the age of 27, I would still have bad dreams but it wasn’t an every night occurrence.  After I found out that I was pregnant with my daughter, I started having nightmares again, on a regular basis.  I think I was trying to mentally prepare for protecting my baby and the fear and anxiety would manifest in my dreams.  My two children are about 1 and ½ years apart in age so these years were fairly rough on me as a new mommy.  Add in the fact that you don’t get much sleep anyway when you have a newborn…. And you can see my predicament.  When my son was born, he was pre-mature by about 8 weeks.  Even though he was early, he was fine and we brought him home 2 days later.  He slept until it was about time for his original due date and then he started crying and didn’t stop belly-aching until he was almost 8 months old.  I was sleep-deprived and my husband was exhausted, too.  We didn’t have anyone who stepped in to help.  I remember just crying all the time and being in a kind of zombie state.  That’s when I started having the “daymares”, as I called them.  I would be awake and start thinking about horrible things happening to my kids.  My mind was running away on me.  I look back and just wonder how in the world we made it through it.  (It’s at these times that I know that the Lord was carrying us!)

My husband and I have been in church since a few months after we were married.  I am not sure when I heard the Scripture verse that says, “Get thee behind me Satan”.  I do know this, however, that verse was my stronghold for years.  I found out that Satan has no choice but to flee at the command of Jesus.  No, I am not Jesus but his Spirit lives within me and I have authority in HIS name.  So, I began calling on Jesus and rebuking Satan, as often as I needed to do it.  Yes, I felt absolutely silly doing this at first but I was battling a spiritual battle and I needed any help I could get.  I was living in fear of losing my mind and I was losing the battle for my marriage and my children.  Everything was in shambles and my enemy was winning and I had nowhere to turn.  So, I turned to Jesus and he received me with open arms.  That’s when the intimate relationship began with me and my Lord.  He loved me.  He lifted me out of the miry clay that I was drowning in, cleaned me up, and he loved me.

So…back to the nightmares!  When I was awake, I had learned how to be an overcomer.  All I had to do was call on Jesus and he took care of those “crazy” daytime nightmares!  It was nice to know that I didn’t have to suffer with that anymore.

Now, what do I do about the attacks of the enemy when I am sleeping?

I decided that if it worked when I was awake, I would try it when I was sleeping.  When I would lie down to go to sleep at night, I would talk to Jesus as I was drifting off to sleep.  At first, I was begging him to help me sleep.  Then, I actually learned how to do the same thing while I was sleeping as I did when I was awake.  In my dreams, I would start screaming JESUS!  There is no way to tell you how many times I have awoken myself and my husband trying to get the words out.  It was like the enemy had his hands around my throat choking me to keep the word “Jesus” from coming out of my mouth.  The longer I applied this in my sleep, the easier it got.  I have screamed myself awake calling on his name and that’s just fine with me.  You should see this smile on my face, as I remember how my friend Jesus rescued me from the enemy, even in my sleep!

It’s been about 8-10 years now since we won this battle!  I have been nightmare-free and daymare-free!  No more anxiety attacks or “sleep-apnea” attacks when I couldn’t breathe.  Call it what you will, but I know what happened.  It may sound silly to someone on the outside looking in but if you have never suffered in this way, you don’t know the extremes that you will go to just to get some peaceful rest.  I know where my help comes from.

I hope that you will share this with anyone you know that suffers with nightmares, especially children.  Please teach them when they are young so that they don’t have to deal with nightmares alone!

Blessings and Sweet Dreams,

Michelle  

Shared Story #2

Tell them your story

I saw this story posted by a friend the first thing this morning as I was drinking my coffee and reading through my Newsfeed on Facebook.  I wanted to share this with you.

This story is from an e-devotional book and the writer is Shaunti Feldhahn.

shared story #2

 

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Why Did You….?

Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” Ephesians 4:29 (NIV)

Shelly pulled up in her wet driveway after a beach getaway with girlfriends. She smiled, thinking, it’s a shame the rain chased us away early, but at least I know the house is still standing.

She opened the door and tripped over a pile of schoolbooks. What on earth? Speechless, she stared at clutter everywhere. Cans of food and spaghetti sauce were stacked high on the island in the kitchen. Empty packets of Ramen noodles decorated the counter. The tool drawer had been emptied onto the kitchen table.

An angry cry escaped her lips and a muffled exclamation came from the laundry room. Her husband stuck his head out the door, looking chagrined. “You’re home early!”

“Yes I’m home early!” Shelly waved around at the chaos. “I can’t believe this! Why did you let it get this bad? And why were you feeding the kids instant noodles instead of something healthier?”

Without a word, Marcus pushed the door to the laundry room wide open and stepped aside so she could enter.

Furious, she stalked past him-and rocked to a stop. The back corner of the laundry room had been turned into a pantry. Fresh-cut wood shelves stacked up to the ceiling. Deep drawers were waiting to be slotted into a rolling rack. Dust sheets covered the washer and dryer, which were piled with food cans and packets, ready to be placed on the shelves of the pantry.

The pantry she had longed for.

Shelly closed her eyes. Mortified, all she could say was “I’m so sorry.”

Shelly told me this story a week after it happened. I was speaking at her church’s women’s conference, sharing my research on the inner thoughts, needs and fears of men. I shared that men want above all to please those who matter most to them-especially a wife or girlfriend-but privately doubt themselves and are deeply sensitive as to whether they are doing a good job. So when women start a sentence with “Why did you. . .?,” men hear, “Why did you do that, you dodo?”

Shelly’s story is a perfect example of how easy it is to think, “You dodo.” Not think, “There must be a good reason for this-even if I don’t see it at this moment.” Instead, like many of us, she was quick to assume there wasn’t a good reason, that he didn’t do a good job. And she verbalized those damaging thoughts.

Ephesians 4:29 tells us to be careful to only say things that are useful for building others up. While this applies to everyone in our lives, if we are married, it’s especially vital to practice with our husbands.

Most situations with the men in our lives aren’t as extreme as Shelly’s experience. But versions of this scenario happen often. “Why did you give the kids juice instead of milk?” “Why did you take that road instead of this one?” “Why did you choose that strategy for the business deal?” We may protest that it is a harmless question, but all too often, it is code for “What were you thinking!?” Which itself is code for “You obviously weren’t thinking.”

The reality is, the reverse is usually true. Eighty-two percent of men surveyed say they always think things through … and purposefully consider the reaction of their wife or girlfriend before making a decision.

The next time you are confounded by your husband, instead of a rash reaction, slow down and remind yourself: his heart is probably in the right place and his choices are likely made with that in mind. And if you need help … just remember the pantry.

Dear Jesus, forgive me for being quick to judge and assume the worst about the man in my life. Please teach me to slow down and listen to him, and [if married] to trust in his love. In Your Name, Amen.

“Nevertheless, each individual among you also is to love his own wife even as himself, and the wife must see to it that she respects her husband.” Ephesians 5:33 (NASB)

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Did you enjoy this story? Please comment here on my page and let me know your thoughts.

Have a Blessed Day,

Michelle