This week I moved to the cute little college town of Searcy, Arkansas (by little I mean population of 23,000). Searcy is the home of Harding University and ASU Searcy. College kids are everywhere and as a result, so is a number of coffee, laser tag, and rock wall climbing businesses. I moved to downtown Searcy in sort of the historic district overlooking an art gallery on West Market Avenue and as of yesterday my apartment finally looks livable! I’ve spent all week unpacking, putting artwork on the walls, and hanging up all the clothes that have been piled on my closet floor.
Finally, last night I ventured out to be with friends. I felt like it had been days since I had seen a living soul (other than my co-workers) as I worked to make my new home become presentable. It felt good to be around a bunch of people that love Jesus so much. But as usual when I’m around, our topic of conversation turned to prophetic dreams and encounters. I love this topic because I think God is so exciting and I love how He makes life interesting and supernatural. He speaks to us in so many ways, some ways more subtle and others… way less subtle.
You see, in the last few months since going to Grace Fellowship I have been inundated with intense attacks from the enemy. I know this is not a result of the church itself; if anything, Grace has been a source of stability for me while I have been going through it. But I do however feel that the enemy is not happy that I am with my current church body. Let’s just say these attacks have included everything from overt demonic encounters, to demonic dreams as well as less overt temptations to pull me out of His will and my calling. At times I have felt like I have been literally going crazy. Not fun.
Wednesday night I woke up from one of the scariest dreams I have had in awhile. It was so intense, I woke myself up screaming “HELP!” at the top of my lungs (and then hoped that I had not also woken up one of my neighbors). Nothing was attacking me in my dream but the threat was definitely there and I knew it was a warning to keep pressing forward and to not look back. I was shaken for hours after the dream and as I sat down on my living room floor to spend time with the Lord, I remembered some other dreams I had in the same night. I remembered dreams about Jesus exchanging my sorrow for joy and dreams full of adventure and destiny… yet there I was letting the enemy ruffle my feathers again over this one stupid dream.
In that moment I chose to give satan the cold shoulder. He was just trying to scare me and I decided to ignore him. As I listened to Holy Spirit and what He had to say about the situation, I felt confidence in the Father’s protection over me. I saw myself wrapped up in His arms while the enemy cowered before Him. Holy Spirit reminded me of things He had spoken to me before about my authority and His strength and power to keep me. I remembered that He was for me and that all I had to do was believe His promises over my life. I had no reason to disbelieve what He has said in the past. He isn’t a God who lies and how dare I agree with the accusation and lies of the thief. I understood that the place of rest, trust, and belief was the greatest form of spiritual warfare.
Remember the armor Paul talks about in Ephesians 6? Faith, truth, righteousness, and peace are all important in shielding us from the evil one. Don’t just read the Word but believe what it says. Ask Abba who He is and choose to agree with Him. Recognize the lies of the enemy for what they are and speak truth right back at him. Obey Jesus, even when it is hard and even when it hurts and dive headfirst into His grace and forgiveness. It’s important to practice these things because there are two kingdoms at war right now and though I know Jesus’ kingdom is going to win, I also know that I want to be on His side. I want to make His name great because He is so worthy of it and because I am so in love with Him.
Me and Jesus at nighttime equals incredible. I have had some of the sweetest moments of my life with the Lord in the middle of the night. I have always been a night owl. I love being in my room alone with the Lord when I know everyone else is asleep. It feels like just me and Him hanging out. Sometimes I’ll just lay on my bed and cry as His presence washes over me. I don’t need to say anything to Him and wake up my roommates. He already knows my heart. Sometimes He has a lot to say at night and sometimes we just sit together and enjoy eachother. These incredible nights first began when I worked the evening shift at a bookstore in Dallas. I usually got home at around 11pm in which I would immediately watch Conan O’Brian while I ate my Ramen noodles and then turn Conan off, lay across the living room floor on my back and stare at the ceiling fan. My roommates were all asleep so nobody could hear my conversations with Him. We would talk about my family, my church, my failures, His plans and other items that were always up for discussion.
When I was in Fire in the Night– an all night internship at the International House of Prayer I learned that there were many verses and actually whole Psalms devoted to encountering God in the night.
“I will praise the LORD, who counsels me; even at night my heart instructs me.” Psalm 16:7
“Though you probe my heart, though you examine me at night and test me, you will find that I have planned no evil;” Psalm 17:3
“By day the LORD directs his love, at night his song is with me— a prayer to the God of my life.” Psalm 42:8
“On my bed I remember you; I think of you through the watches of the night.” Psalm 63:6
“My eyes stay open through the watches of the night, that I may meditate on your promises.” Psalm 119:48
Psalm 134 was believed to have been sung to the nightwatch as they entered tabernacle of David. Yes. There was a nightwatch back then. The tabernacle had 24/7 worship and prayer and so David actually had hired guys that came in and hung out with the Lord all night long.
“1 Praise the LORD, all you servants of the LORD
who minister by night in the house of the LORD.
2 Lift up your hands in the sanctuary
and praise the LORD.
3 May the LORD bless you from Zion,
he who is the Maker of heaven and earth.” Psalm 134
I was able to be a part of one of these nightwatches in the summer and winter of 06. I came into the prayer room at midnight and paced the stinky floor of the IHOP prayer room until 6am. I would like to say it was heaven and sometimes, yes it was, but there was a lot of time where God was preparing and strengthening me for many things yet to come. It was a time where He was speaking destiny over me in the middle of the night. Where he was calling me to a place of really hearing His voice and working out the rough areas of my life that I hadn’t yet submitted to Him.
And not only do I encounter Him when I am awake at night but I encounter Him in my dreams. In my dreams I see Him washing my feet, sitting on the side of my bed having a conversation with me, or giving me a hug. Sometimes I encounter Him in ways that are NOT so sweet. Like maybe I’m exposing demonic forces and wake up speaking in tongues at 5am (like this week) , fighting in an endtimes battle, evolving into the prophet Jeremiah, or maybe He’s revealing secrets to me about the future that aren’t so pleasant.
So when I heard Norah sing that first line this week I couldn’t help but feel He was calling me back to that night season again… and I couldn’t be more thrilled.
I was in second grade in Mrs. Franklin’s class when she directed us to write a fictional story about our class discovering dinosaur bones on a field trip. I remember the excitement I felt as I penned sixteen pages of glorious second-grade prose into my spiral notebook. I created an elaborate story, complete with dinosaur bones coming alive and scaring old Mrs. Franklin. I had never felt more awake in my young life than I did as I crafted that imaginary story.
In school I was not the mathematician or the scientist. I never did well in those areas but when it came to writing and literature, my teachers would often tell my parents “encourage her with this! she has a gift!”. I was a daydreamer and instead of listening intently during 4th grade math, I would spin fairy stories in my head, come up with character names and even details about their 19th century clothing. This daydreaming would come back to bite me when I received my report card but it paid off when I would win the county creative writing contest or win awards in the Duluth News Tribune for my creative narrative and eventually, in high school, become student editor of Speak Out, a column for local teens in the Ashland Daily Press.
I went on to study English Literature at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock but three years into my degree, a personal tragedy struck and I dropped out of college, heart-broken. It would be years before I was able to be focused enough to write again… or would even have the desire to do so.
Being in the prayer room while on staff at the International House of Prayer began to stir something in me that was akin to that feeling I had in second grade. That feeling of heat in my belly, probably even aroused by Holy Spirit, that would urge me to communicate ideas that were on His heart. I began writing in a blog truths that the Lord had been teaching me, but in my head, was still hesitant to acknowledge myself as a writer again.
After moving to Ottertail, Minnesota and joining the Firestarters writers group, I felt a pressure to create that I had not felt in a long time. Unfortunately, working full-time as a legal secretary, didn’t offer me a lot of time to ponder and think and create. I felt miserable at my job, exhausted all the time, and trapped into doing something that I hated just so that I could get by with my very meager income.
Then it began with a dream (as it usually does). I walked into a bedroom where both of my parents (who are no longer married to each other) were sitting on a bed. They asked me what I was reading and I responded that I was reading Journey of Desire by John Eldredge and Dreaming With God by Bill Johnson. My mom began asking me what I wanted to do with my life and in the dream I replied that I wanted to write and preach the Gospel. My mom then informed me that I needed to quit my job and said some other things that I don’t care to write about at the moment. Huh. Well I couldn’t just quit my job…. could I?
A couple weeks after that dream I had another. It was simply a snapshot dream where my boss came to me and let me go from my job. I woke up, knowing I would be let go, and that it was for a specific purpose. Three weeks later, it was exactly as I expected… my boss pulled me into his office and told me I was no longer needed at the office. Instead of distress I felt absolutely relieved. I knew it was the Lord directing me into a better path… one that fit me perfectly.
Days after my last day at the law office I traveled to Kansas City, where I still am, for a time of prayer and re-focusing. Thoughts of inadequacy plagued my mind. I’m not good enough to do this. How can I ever pull this off? Does God really desire to bless me enough that I actually get to do something that I love to do for a living? At the Awakening Service on Wednesday night, a woman from the prophecy teams spoke to me and said that she saw something creative around me. She said that I didn’t feel that I was good enough to do what He was calling me to do. I knodded in agreement. She looked me straight in the eyes and firmly told me that what I did was powerful and it would impact many. If that wasn’t enough, the Lord knew I needed some specific confirmation. So this morning, I went to check my email and noticed a message from a nightwatch leader at the House of Prayer. This is not someone that I communicate with much at all and in the email he tells me he has a prophetic word for me and that he has been thinking about it all week long. He blatantly tells me that I am called to be a writer. How is that for confirmation?
I am very eager and excited to start this journey and I know from this day forward, my life will never be the same. Aside from my primary calling as a lover of God, this is the day I know myself as a writer. And that, my friends, is my journey into this knowledge.
Interpreting our dreams oftentimes can be a confusing process that can take some time to wade through. I have listed some hints and steps to assist you in interpreting some of your night visions.
- First and most importantly, ask the Holy Spirit if the dream is from Him. You may also use my blog “Dream Types” as a reference tool.
- The second step is to write the whole dream down containing every detail that you can remember… everything from the color of a shirt to a number. Write it down as soon as you wake up. The sooner you write it down, the more detail you are likely to remember.
- Tell someone… not anyone and everyone but SOMEONE. I can’t tell you how many times that I have told a dream to someone and suddenly had understanding of the dream as I am telling it. Be careful to tell only trustworthy people as some of the details may be personal. It’s important to guard secrets that the Lord gives us.
- After you have written the dream down take the dream and break it down piece by piece and ask Holy Spirit for insight into each piece. Here is an example: “I am in a van”– Interpretation: small ministry. “The Number 40 appears on the windshield”– Interpretation: Wilderness season, trials, testing… this is when a dream dictionary may come in handy, however, don’t treat these dictionaries as fool-proof. Remember that the Lord speaks to us in our own language but a Christian dream dictionary can serve as a very useful tool. As you go along, remember to ask Holy Spirit for help. This is also a good way to learn how to listen to Holy Spirit and discern His voice.
- After you have broken down the dream piece by piece, go through the whole dream and you should be able to identify the general theme of the dream.
- Most importantly ask WHY the Lord gave you this dream. How are you suppose to steward this? Is it for you? Is it for someone else? Is it for your church body? If it is for someone else, you may not need to tell them about it. The Lord may want you to pray for this person.
I’ve often wondered which side of the family I get my prophetic dreams from. Oftentimes, spiritual gifts are passed on through generations. I discovered today, that this gift was passed onto me from my father’s side of the family.
My dad had been in full-time ministry for twenty years and because of life circumstances, had to leave and get a “real job” when I was about 17 or 18. But for some reason, crazy stuff would happen. Many of the businesses he worked for would close up. Random, weird things would happen and he was not excelling at all in his job. I remember the Lord speaking to me about this many times while praying for my family and one day I called Dad up and told him that he was having problems in his new career, simply because he was called to ministry and the Lord had lifted favor off of him for that reason. Of course, I was his little girl so my credibility in life situations wasn’t exactly reasonable so he didn’t necessarily agree with me ;).
Well about a couple of years ago my dad had a dream that he was in a prison wearing an orange jumpsuit with a bunch of other prisoners… and who was there with him but Jesus, Himself! My Dad and Jesus rounded up the prisoners and led them out of prison… a long stream of them.
Sometime later, not sure if it was a few months or a year later, my Dad hears of a position as a ministerial counselor in a nearby prison. He applies for the job and they interview him THREE times… but they decide to hire someone else. It was a pretty big disappointment. But dun dun dun……
Today, Dad phones me and tells me that yes… a year or so after he was denied the position, they call him up and offer the job to him FOR REAL this time. I responded to the news with a simple statement “it’s just like the dream Jesus gave you Dad!”
You see, Jesus gives us little hints like this to confirm that when it actually happens… it is because of HIM all the way! I am so thankful for his provision and leadership and that He loves to be a part of our lives.
Since I share so manyof my dreams on my blog, I have decided to write a series on the significance of dreams in our spiritual lives. Dreams are one of the primary ways the Lord communicates to me… this isn’t necessarily the same way He communicates with others, though. Though we may have dreams, these are not necessarily prophetic or even from the Lord at all. Your first step to identifying yourself with a prophetic dream gift is to take note of what kinds of dreams you are having. Below, I have started with a list of the different kinds of dreams you may be having and how to identify if they are from the Lord.
- Nightmares These dreams are not from the Lord (obviously). Usually, if they are demonic they bring terror without any kind of revelation. I have had frightening dreams before but oftentimes, the Lord will speak to me through these about the book of Revelation or endtimes prophecies. Instead of having an oppressive, controlling fear, I will wake up with the fear of the Lord and have a weight of the urgency of the hour we are living in. If the dreams don’t give you any spiritual insight or provoke you to go hard after God, these are probably not from the Lord. Another sign of a nightmare is that the dream is not in color, but in black and white.
- Subconscious Leaks These are what the vast majority of the population has. Sometimes we dream about things that are on our hearts or minds– even if they seem spiritual, they are not necessarily prophetic. If we are believers, chances are we will dream about spiritual things. If you break the dream down, piece by piece and it really doesn’t make sense, than it’s probably just… a dream.
- Clarity Dreams I have these often. It is when the Lord brings clarity and encouragement to seasons and moments in my life. Sometimes, I have had moments of great emotional healing during my dreams… sometimes I feel the Lord’s compassion and love or He may just be giving me understanding to a current situation.
- Prophetic or Foretelling Dreams This can get very tricky. Before we can establish any dream as a foretelling dream we must first have a level of accuracy in receiving foretelling dreams… which means we have to dream it and then it needs to come true. Many fall into the trap of dreaming about something simply because they want it to happen so badly. I have had many many foretelling dreams. Sometimes I dream about a situation the night before it happens, the week before or in many cases a couple of years before. Some of the prophetic dreams I’ve had are taking place right now! I have had prophetic dreams about situations for friends, situations WITH friends, as well as three (maybe more) which prophesied about my time here in Ottertail with the Firestarters. They are just confirmations to encourage others, encourage myself (that I’m actually hearing from God) and confirming the leadership of Holy Spirit in my life.
I want to continue with this discussion in the next few blogs. Coming soon, I will be writing about interpreting our dreams, scriptural basis for prophetic dreams and how to make the most of our dreams.