The nightmares have returned.
They were once a constant companion, starting in college and continuing on for almost a decade. Vivid, graphic, unnerving dreams that tormented me in the night. Undoubtedly, they were spiritual warfare raging in my soul and mind. Despite their continuous recurrence, I had learned how to manage their effects. Waking up in terror, I simply had to reach over in the darkness to the other side of the bed and wake him. And in an instant, I was wrapped up in his arms, protected from the invisible attacks. Scripture and words of prayer whispered over me in the darkness, shinning light and truth into my fearful heart. He was my comforter, my protector.
When he died, the dreams stopped. I don’t know why. I just know I was thankful. But last week, they returned. I awoke in the middle of the night, sick from the images that were screaming through my head. Desperately afraid. And very, very alone.
He wasn’t there. I had to face the terror of the night alone. As if that weren’t enough, his absence, my aloneness, sent an unbearable wave of grief through my being. Fear and sadness were suffocating me in that dark bed. Even the light of day could not seem to drive away the horrible feeling.
The nightmares have continued. My flesh has responded with lies. Lies that the sadness and loneliness will never really go away. That, regardless of time, some wounds just do not heal. My flesh hurts. My heart hurts. I thought I was past this. I want to be done with grief. It is not my friend.
I have to fight the lies with truth. Just as night is followed by the light of dawn, weeping is followed by joy (Psalm 30:5). I will not remain clothed in sackcloth and ashes. One day I will get a beautiful headdress and garment of praise (Isaiah 61:3).
And I am not alone. The deeper truth is my husband was never really my comforter and protector. He was simply an instrument used by God to bring me comfort and protection. Despite the illusion of being alone in the darkness after the nightmares, I am never really alone. I am still held and protected. Still covered in words of truth and intercession to the Father. My physical senses may not register it, but my heart does. And I have hope.
So I wait for the dawn of a new day. Not simply to escape the terrors and loneliness of the night. I wait for the dawn of a new day that I know will bring a joy so deep I can’t help but dance in praise to my loving God. He has promised me that a new day is coming…