Sometimes it feels as if the entire universe is conspiring against you when all you want to do is sleep. Each night I crawl into bed, my body bone-weary and over-tired; my mental acuity checked out and settled in for the night – but then … NOTHING! Why is it, when both your body and your brain are on board and ready to head to Slumberland – YOU JUST CAN’T SLEEP! Insomnia continues to be a major problem for me, pushing me to the edge of insanity. Part of my continuing problem – is that when I finally do fall asleep, my mind is so active, never powering down, that I dream the craziest, most bizarre things. Like mini movies in my mind, these dream movies that originate in my unconscious subconscious are so fantastical that I wake completely exhausted from the crazy adventures in my “sleeping brain.”
Years ago, I went to bed every night begging God to visit me in my dreams. Some of my favorite stories in the Bible, involve people who were visited by God in their dreams. “God, I WANT THAT!” was part of my nightly, bedtime ritual. After about 10 years of praying this, with little or no communication from the Lord, I stopped praying about my dreams. It bears noting that God works on His own time schedule, and He has a profound sense of humor and irony. It was only AFTER I stopped seeking God for dream visitations, that He chose to show up in a big way.
For nearly a year straight, God blessed me with some of the coolest prophetic dreams. Dreams that were all related and thematic in nature, that were specific instruction to me regarding a book project. God spoke into existence my second novel, The Name resulting from three dreams. So when I say this book was co-authored entirely by a ghost writer – that specifically means, THE HOLY GHOST.
Over the course of a week, God gave me three separate dreams. After the first dream, God waited a couple of days before He gave me the second dream – but what was so bizarre, was the fact that the second dream picked up exactly where the first dream left on. The same thing happened with the third dream. After the third dream, God specifically told me these three dreams were to be the subject of my next book. Of course, I proceeded to argue with Him about how daunting a task it was to take this project on. I felt completely unworthy (not to mention, overwhelmed) to be given such a monumental task.
After a few more dreams confirming this was indeed a challenge from God, I picked up the gauntlet and ran with it. It took me a few months to write the story and around six months to edit, re-edit and edit some more, before I finished the project. Throughout the entire journey, God continued to speak to me through my dreams almost nightly. Especially on those days when I struggled with dialogue or the story progression. Nearly every single dream involved water. Being swept away in a current or struggling to stay afloat was the most common recurrent dream.
When I had these dreams, God was faithful to remind me that He was writing the story. As long as I followed His direction and kept my eyes on Him, I would not succumb to the elements trying to take me out. He wasn’t going to let me drown or get in over my head. Many times I wanted to veer off in a different direction with the story. Whenever I tried to go my own way, the drowning dreams intensified. God kept the story on track and moved it forward through the recurring dreams. Many days I merely needed to show up and turn the computer on. The Holy Spirit worked through me; I was simply on auto-pilot trying to get my fingers to type faster to keep up with the story the Holy Spirit unfolded.
Lest anyone should think writing everything at God’s command is easy – you should know that because I KNEW without a shadow of a doubt that this was GOD’S STORY – I suffered more attacks from the enemy than ever before in my life.
For months, the enemy did his best to slay me physically. I had such foot and knee problems that I could barely walk for months. Literally! During that time, I logged so many hours in the recliner, I could have been a test pilot for Lazy-Boy. Knowing these attacks were purely supernatural and orchestrated by Satan, I surrounded myself with a support system that included people praying for me who were willing to come to my house and lay hands on my feet, if need be. While in the physical – it proved to be uncomfortable for someone who rarely lets anyone breach her circle of safety, the prayer coverage was a necessity paramount to my success and overruled my discomfort.
Once the enemy figured out that I was getting “inside writing information” from God through nightly dreams, he did his best to block the flow of my dream creativity. I was seized upon and punished with horrific nightmares. Many a night I would awake screaming. My husband can testify to this! The dreams were so frightening and demonic to the point that I began to dread going to sleep every night.
For extreme circumstances such as this – it pays to know your Bible and know it well. God, in His goodness, allowed me to be semi-conscious when my subconscious was unconscious (I know – right! ). I battled myself through the nightmares by speaking Scriptures repeatedly until I came fully awake. The nighttime nightmare rituals lasted as long as most of the writing of the novel.
Finally, just weeks away from completion of the book, God showed up in a big way one night during my fitful sleep. As God is my witness, I awoke from a nightmare to see three ethereal beings standing at the end of my bed. In an instant, God calmed me with the knowledge that the Father, Son and Holy Spirit were watching over me, so I need not fear the enemies in my mind in my dreams.
After that night – the nightmares stopped. I completed the book and successfully published it a few months later. To this day, the story remains one of my personal favorites. Shortly after the publication, I was invited to a book signing at a Christian book store. The manager of the story did a little Q & A and asked which of my books was my favorite. I quipped, “that’s like asking me which of my children is my favorite!” But – truth be told – The Name is secretly (well, maybe not so secretly) my favorite piece of work!
This book isn’t going to set the world on fire. I have no idea how many copies it’s sold to date. A few thousand … maybe??? Let’s face it … I’m basically a nobody with a small following. It’s a very simple story about an innocent little girl who believes that The Name of Jesus can solve just about any problem. I believe this to be true as well. This, however, tends to be a controversial topic in a world driven by things other than God these days.
The Lord says, “I will rescue those who love me.
I will protect those who trust in my name. Psalm 91:14 (NLT)
I’m honored that God chose me to write this story. Whether it ever becomes a best-seller (while unlikely) was never the point. The purpose of the dreams and the corresponding book was simply about obedience and trusting God. Whatever path this book takes is entirely up to God. I am merely a vessel.
That period in my life was such an amazing adventure, I find myself “begging” God to visit me in my dreams again. I’m ready for another big adventure! I’m ready and waiting to be divinely inspired – even if it means that I’ll have to do battle with the enemy again. Call me crazy for wanting to invite that sort of challenge into my life – but hey, life is short. If you can’t spend your days doing what God has called you to do – then what’s the point?
I guess, the joke is on me and these “dreams” I used to pray for, are a clear case of “be careful what you pray for!” God certainly has done his part and filled my unconscious mind with dreams. My dreams of late haven’t exactly been fodder for the next book, but they at least, are certainly entertaining. If my brain is going to continue to work overtime and keep me from rested slumber, at the very least I hope there’s a new book in there somewhere! The last book came when I least expected it, so perhaps there’s a remote possibility that this insomnia is working up to something amazing. Lord, I hope so! If I’m going to be half crazy from insomnia … hmm, foggy brain can’t complete a simple thought and I really am half crazy working my way up to a full-on crazy!
In the meantime … happy reading … happy writing to all of my fellow creative word junkies!
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