Over the Christmas holiday, on or near Christmas itself, I had a dream with closing credits that featured a woman that works in the same company as I. The dream itself was long and involved and mostly didn’t have anything at all to do with the woman. At the very end of this dream she appeared, along with another woman that I knew to be her mother. I have never met her mother in real life or even wondered if she had a mother or in any other way given a thought to this woman’s relationship with her mother. When it comes to people that I know exclusively from work, it’s easy to imagine that they exist only in context of the day-to-day routines of the job, having no personal lives of their own when the office goes dark in the evening. But I knew that her mother was in the dream with her. (Her mother was standing in a doorway. – edited 01/11/14)
I don’t recall them speaking to each other in the dream scene, but they might have. I’ve gotten out of the habit of faithfully recording all dream details and matters of my faith walk, ever since I started blogging. So looking back only on what I recall from memory, I know that both women appeared in the end of an otherwise unrelated dream, and they might have spoken to each other. The vibe of the scene, with or without words, was the important thing that I remembered upon waking. The woman I work with was very worried about her mother. I recall knowing in the dream that she was worried and, at the same time, believing that she was worrying for no reason. At the very least, I didn’t understand why she was worried, because I saw nothing to worry about.
The dream was immediately noteworthy, upon waking. Aside from featuring the woman from work, about whom I’ve never dreamed, and her mother, it was powerfully vivid. I was rushing through the holiday season along with 300M other Americans, and I still stopped down long enough to think briefly, “Maybe I should email this woman and tell her about the dream.” Then I thought, “Why would email a work acquaintance, with whom I’ve not had an actual conversation in years, about a dream, at all, ever, much less in the middle of the Christmas holiday?” I didn’t do it because it would be absurd. Right? I thought so, anyway. Even if we’d been the closest of friends, the most I would have done would have been to try and remember to ask her about it later. So I actively ignored the impulse to contact her, choosing instead to pray on behalf of her relationship with her mother and regarding anything that might be a cause for concern. That course of action risked nothing. I knew then that choosing said course was a deliberate cop-out, a path that offered maximum comfort and minimum potential silliness. I then forgot I’d had the dream.
Until I saw the woman again in our office last Thursday, about a week later. I was walking through the section of the building where she offices. I saw her sitting at her desk, which reminded me of the dream. I was in “at work” mode and didn’t immediately make the connection that I could tell her about the dream in person. I went on about my tasks and eventually got back to my desk. By the time I got there, though, I couldn’t deny that I had a clear choice in front of me. I could ignore the growing impulse to go tell the woman about the dream, risking none of the something or other that I didn’t want to risk anywhere, much less at work; or I could go back down to her office, swallow my pride, and tell her about the dream.
With surprisingly little hesitation, I turned around and started to her office. “What should I say to her?” I couldn’t even remember the last time we’d had a conversation beyond perfunctory pleasantries in the hall. “What if she tells me her mom died giving birth to her, thanks for bringing it up, or something crazy like that?” I don’t think I even prayed on the way down the hall.
At her office I knocked on the glass door, and she motioned me in. I launched into a lame disclaimer: “I know how weird this sounds, but I had this dream in which you were really worried about your mother. I was just checking to see if that makes any sense to you at this time in your life. Because it’s weird to ask someone this based on a dream. But it was really vivid. Does that make sense?”
The woman just stared and said, “When did you have this dream?” “Five or six days ago. Maybe a week.” “Because I went to visit her for Christmas. We don’t get down to see her a lot. We left her place on December 26th. She was in great health, really doing well. But when we were leaving, I had the strangest feeling that I was never going to see her again. That’s never happened before.”
I was prepared for almost any response from her except that one. But again, without much hesitation, I said, “Well, I don’t know what to do with this. One possibility is that God wants you to know that He sees your concern for you mother. I think the dream was really for you.” I actually said those words to another human being at my office, who might have possibly laughed in my face. But she didn’t laugh, because it was so beyond-coincidental. She told me she’s very strong in her Catholic faith, and we agreed that something interesting was happening.
She told me she was going to call her mother that evening. She gave me a hug and thanked me for talking to her. I walked back to my office, 100% (wait for it) disoriented. Had that really just happened? At work? I realized a few minutes later I had forgotten to tell her that, in the dream, I perceived that she was possibly worried for no reason. I emailed her to tell this detail which seemed important, especially given the context of her real-life concern that she would not see her mother again. I tried to make the point in email that it was possible the point of the dream was that she need not be concerned. What I didn’t include in the email was my budding suspicion that Satan was trying to mess with this woman’s Christmas experience, and that he had planted a baseless concern in her mind. I figured that would be pushing my luck. Which was actually another cop-out.
I saw the woman in the mail room the next day. I didn’t say anything to her, figuring I’d let her speak first, if she wanted to. I had no what she was thinking about the events of the preceding day, and I just wanted to give her room to bring it up on her own. As she walked past me out to the hall, she told me she had talked to some of her siblings about our conversation, and that “you’re freaking everybody out.” I laughed, and said, “But it’s a GOOD thing,” and she said “It’s a GOOD thing” at the exact same time I did. We parted in the hall and went back to our respective work lives.
So here’s yet another demonstration that God uses us to bless other people, sometimes to the extent that we’re willing to be attentive and potentially foolish. My prayer is that the woman and her family will long consider the concern and attention to detail that God showed in speaking to her through that dream. I don’t know what any of them thought about such things before our conversation last week; surely they have a more complete perspective now. I certainly do.
About three and a half years ago, a man I’d never seen before spoke an extremely accurate prophecy over my past and present. He also spoke to me of my future. He wasn’t the first to do so, but the delivery and content of his message was unique in my experience up to that time and since then. He spoke with an authentic love and crystal clear precision that left little doubt that God Himself or some exceptional imposter was talking to me through the man. Even as long as two and a half years after our three minute interaction, I was coming to terms with the magnitude of what he had told me.
Perhaps more than anything else he’d said to me, nothing had both an immediate and permanent effect on my view of God so much as one simple statement. The man had no way of knowing that what he was telling me, stated as, “God wants me to tell you…”, was a direct answer to a prayer that I had prayed out loud, alone and miserable while taking a walk at midnight, some months before. That one statement has changed my life completely, as much as my life involves trusting that God hears our prayers and cares for our suffering. I had spoken the prayer out loud to God and God alone; He replied to me out loud through this powerfully gifted man. And I was changed.
For a couple of years after the man spoke his prophecy over me, I wrestled with the idea that maybe he was operating out a demonic spirit and that none of the sparkling future he’d predicted for me would come true. The accuracy of his knowledge of my past and present were too precise to be based on random chance or a cold read. There clearly had to have been a spiritual element involved. I was afraid to totally believe anything could be as good as what he’d said God was going to do for me. Maybe it was all a dark ruse to build up my hopes while I otherwise lived in despair, so that I would be even more crushed when none of the blessing came to pass.
Revelation of God came to me in waves after that prophecy in March of 2010. One of those waves, in 2012, brought me to a place of permanent peace in the knowledge that God is watching. Watching because He made us and He loves us. I realized that, even if the man had a demonic gift, I still knew beyond a shadow of doubt that God had heard my prayer that night, when I wasn’t 100% sure that He was listening. Because Satan can do nothing but counterfeit that which is good; even if one of his demons had answered me through the man, it would only be possible because the demon had heard the prayer in the first place. And if a lowly fallen angel can hear and answer a prayer, then surely so can the Creator hear and answer us. I now know forever that He is listening, He is watching, and He loves us. Nothing can take that trust away from me, and nothing can shake the sense of permanence and peace that has grown from the trust.
This all relates back to the woman I work with and her family and whatever consideration they are giving to the fact that an essentially random guy was able to speak some peace into a situation he knew nothing about. It wasn’t magic; it wasn’t coincidence; and it wasn’t a lucky guess on my part. It was a dream that described an exact situation that occurred in real life on what might have been the same day that I awoke from the dream. God saw the woman’s concern, and He blessed me with an opportunity to go tell her not to worry. All I had to do was pay a little attention to my dreams, which I’d been doing regularly for months, if not years; and I had to swallow my pride and risk looking like a twit in front of someone that likely wouldn’t have cared one way or another if I’d looked like a twit. For that relatively simple personal price on my part, God was able to impart some peace and wonder. Something eternal happened on the other side of me getting over myself.
As we learn to get over ourselves more than we care about whatever is our perceived public image, then God will be more able (willing?) to use us to bless other people’s socks off. The man in 2010 had done so for me, and he essentially told me that day, out of nowhere, that God would eventually be able to use me in some similar way. After three and half years of wondering, waiting, doubting, pursuing, and finally forgetting, maybe that’s all getting geared up. There have been plenty of prophetic messages that random people have given me over the past year, all of them moving in the same direction, becoming progressively more detailed, complementing what Charles Slagle told me in 2010.
No more than two days before I spoke to the woman about the dream, I’d bothered to conclude that I am more attuned to God’s voice now than I was one year ago, when I first became intentional about pursuing gifts of the Holy Spirit. I also concluded that, by and large, the communication from God comes to me and stops there; that I haven’t seen any great evidence that God has been moving supernaturally through me into people’s lives to bless them. YAAS OMG not withstanding. I wasn’t bothered by this conclusion. But it seemed like there was still another step to go. And I left it at that.
Then I talked to the woman, and she was relieved of some worry, and (presumably) she was interested in the possibility that God had spoken to her through a guy in her office. And THAT is what all this is really about – becoming someone through whom God can bring peace, joy, health, revelation, and any other thing that He chooses, to someone in need of it. While I certainly am attracted to the idea of being able, at all, to ‘do’ the supernatural works of the Spirit, there’s no point of doing any of it if I’m not ultimately motivated by Christ’s love in me, wanting to pass it along to the world around me. Which is a large part of the message that Paul wrote in the scripture that we call I Corinthians 12-13.
This morning (01/07/14), as I was waking, I ‘heard’:
“You have been a much-maligned father. Now you will be an apostle.”
Something to that effect. Seriously? I went into immediate skeptic mode. Are there still apostles? Why wouldn’t there be? Why should there be? How does one become an apostle today, and how does one know that one is an apostle? Many questions. I am aware that some churches believe in various modern spiritual offices. One of the offices is that of the Apostle. The others, I think, are Teacher, Pastor, Prophet, and…can’t recall. I know that these offices are scriptural, as they were established and documented by New Testament authors. Paul specifically, I believe. I just don’t know whether they are valid for today. I will pray about it.
One website that purports to have the answers, specifically regarding the New Apostolic Reformation is this one. I’m not familiar with the particulars of the NAR. I am familiar with my own skepticism and concerns about being suckered into some unproductive and/or demonic lifestyle that looks flashy with a lot of supernatural razamataz but isn’t from God. And I’m also obviously open to the idea that God can and does sometimes use really cool supernatural razamataz to get His work done.
With regard to whether or not the word came from my own brain, as opposed to some spiritual agent, I doubt it was my own creation. To the extent that I have been a much-maligned father, I don’t think of myself in those terms. But if you look at the definition of ‘maligned’, it’s absolutely what I’ve been going through. So, the message was one that spoke to me in terms I don’t normally use to describe myself, and it was thorough and accurate. Very interesting.
Lord, please help me discern what is from You and what is not.
After a few more minutes of sane thought, it actually does sound pretty cool to called by God to be an apostle. I’m enough of an ingrate that I first thought, “But I want to be a prophet.” Mainly because that’s what I know something about. Being called as an apostle sounds initially about as exciting as God calling me to read tax code for the rest of my life. I don’t know why it strikes me that way. One trip through the book of The Acts of the Apostles shows that they were entrusted with foundational works in the establishment of the faith. If that word this morning was from God, and He’s going to make me an apostle, then it would be nothing but an honor. It would be an actual ‘calling’, which my life has certainly lacked.
Anyway, we’ll see in future blog posts how apostleship does or does not play out, this side of groggy, early morning proclamations from some spiritual entity.