"For you have delivered my soul from death, my eyes from tears, my feet from stumbling; I will walk before the LORD in the land of the living." Psalm 116:8&9

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Nightmares and Lies

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…


Hillary Shelton said...

Thanks so much for sharing this, Charity. I too have struggled with nightmares and have experienced demonic attacks in the middle of the night. Since Scott is usually gone for training or deployment, I know that feeling of being alone in bed and full of fear to the point of trembling. God allowed me to go through a season where this happened to me every night for months, and I believe He was trying to teach me to not fear. Not only did I fear the enemy, but I also feared the future and the unknown. I think the one thing that helped me the most was coming to the realization that with Christ living in me I have the authority to say "no" to the enemy and all of the lies he was trying to tell me. There's a song by Hillsong called "the same power" that sings "the same power that conquered the grave lives in me, lives in me!" Remembering this always puts my fears at bay and reminds me that with Jesus I have the authority to resist the enemy and tell him to leave. After learning this and putting this into practice I have felt very empowered and I'm not afraid to go to sleep anymore when I'm alone. I love you and the kids and I will be praying for you more specifically. This verse used to encourage me: when you lie down, you will not be afraid; when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet. Proverbs 3:24

Finally an Abrigg..... said...

I have them too. Had one last night. The feelings I have when I'm abruptly woken up, shaking are awful. I understand. From now on, when I wake, which is often, I'm going to get on my knees and pray for you...only truth of scripture. for Him to replace the lies with truth and bring you joy in the morning. Praying..

Christine said...

Dear Charity,
I understand. I miss those comforting arms and powerful authoritive prayers too. Yet my God is the same God of my husband. He gave my sons and I a battle plan:

Read aloud and pray these scriptures-Psalm 4:8; Proverbs 3:24; Psalm 6:8; Philippians 4:8; 2 Corninthians 10:4-5. We then try to do Phil. 4:8 because we cannot meditate on a bad thought at the same time we are thing about true, honest, just, pure, lovely, and good things. After that we pray for every person in our family and church.

I pray this is helpful to you and others as it has helped us so much.

Gentle hugs

Betsy said...

Charity, I so appreciate your honest heart, that continues to wait with patient hope to see the goodness of our Lord. Your blog was shared with me two years ago when I lost my second son at 8 days old. (My oldest was 18 months at the time, which is why your blog was suggested). I have shared your blog with countless others as an encouragement and example of following Jesus in the midst of our pain, knowing that we are not alone, and that He is big enough to carry our grief. The Lord brough you to mind as I was reading this morning--I will be praying for you in this. Thank you for living transparently and pointing others to Jesus. May He continue to give you glimpses of His goodness in this life.