This picture was taken at the end of April 2017. At this point, life was good. After dropping out of high school, a failed marriage, twenty years of bulimia, and no achievements, I had a good marriage, two beautiful children, a group fitness certification, and a growing Beachbody Coach business. I was finally doing it! At the age of 34, I was finally becoming something.
Until it all came to a crashing halt. The me in this picture holding the apple for my healthy eating following had no idea what would befall her in a little over a week. Everything would change and she would be no more. And to the outsider looking in, there seemed to be no reason why.
It was the night of May 7th, 2017, I dozed off and had a short, vivid, dream. My son, Ryan, who was four at the time was dancing around our basement in this whirl of smoke. Suddenly from my right side came a vivid, multicolored snake. It had streams of bright green, blue, white, and orange markings running lengthwise down its body. It raised in the air and grew to be massive then swallowed Ryan completely! But then he unswallowed him—I don’t know how to describe it correctly; the snake covered him and then uncovered him. The next thing I know, Ryan was behind me in the dream all dressed in white.
I said, “Are you okay?”
Ryan looked himself over and replied, “Yes. And look at me! I have a new body!”
I woke up feeling strange. The dream was not normal. It was extremely vivid and symbolic. I didn’t know if God still gave people dreams today or not, but if He did, this dream seemed like one from HIm.
I was terrified.
I had always been an obsessive person. The twenty years of bulimia is only one example. Once a thought hit me intensely, it stuck with me, good or bad. I couldn’t stop thinking about the dream.
Does God still talk to people in dreams? Is this dream from God? Is he telling me that Ryan is going to die and go to heaven? If so, I don’t want to know!
I couldn’t get away from the wondering. I thought about the dream and Ryan’s possible fate more and more until it was all I ever thought about. Anxiety grew and grew until it began to present itself as physical daily panic attacks. Weeks passed, months passed. I grew more and more insane with worry.
Until this point, I had called myself a Christian. I was baptized around ten years old, then went on to try my hand at the “Most Rebellious Teen” title. I ran away from home, dropped out of school, and lived the most sinful life I possibly could all while still calling myself a Christian and saying prayers at night before bed. But in my mid-twenties, stuck in a horrible marriage and dying of bulimia, I decided Christianity was more trouble than it was worth and became an atheist.
God was still gracious to me. I met my current husband and we got married six months later. I decided I believed in God after all but there was no life change. We had Ryan two years later. I had never loved anyone or anything so much. In my mind, this love was definitely from God, and it was how He loved His creation! But still, I hadn’t grasped His love. I didn’t know the fullness of His love that was Jesus Christ.
Four years later, I had our second child, Anna, and life was as I said it was at the beginning of this post. Good. Having a family, being physically fit, the group fitness certification, and a multi-level marketing gig that was actually bringing in income was the best it had ever been for me. I had come to love the Lord and thanked Him for all I had. I loved Proverbs 31, the Excellent Wife, and tried to be her daily. I even made a vision board with all of my goals on it and surrounded them with verses from Proverbs 31. I prayed over it daily, giving my plans to God—I was going to be an excellent wife!
A word of caution: when you pray to God, when you commit your plans to Him so that He will establish them, He will answer you. But if you have a lot of refining to be done, His showing up will be your undoing.
And it was.
The May 7th dream happened and I went crazy in the months that followed. Looking back, it seemed much like when God took Nebuchadnezzar’s mind. I couldn’t get a hold of myself! I couldn’t sleep, I couldn’t eat, I couldn’t work, I couldn’t stop crying. Did God speak through dreams? Did He speak through feelings? Because if so, everything He was telling me was something terrible. I had never read the Bible and thinking there was no time for that now, I watched and listened to sermons obsessively and scoured the internet for words of comfort. I found none.
Sometimes anxiety is from God. Sometimes fear is from the Lord.
See, there are tons of comforting sermons online and there are wonderful God-glorifying articles too. But God kept me from seeing any of them back then because I had never read His Word nor had I grasped the true Gospel of Jesus Christ. Praise God that He didn’t comfort me or ease my fear when I asked because I would have never come to the Bible out of sheer desperation of not finding answers anywhere else!
I would have never read the Old Testament. I would have never seen how God is perfect and requires me to be perfect. My heart would have never broken over my hopelessness that I cannot please God. I am not worthy of His presence. I am not deserving of anything good. And the punishment for my sin is death.
I would have never gotten to the New Testament where a baby was born. The Son of God born of a virgin. And that baby grew into a man who would tell a woman of the town who lived a sinful life that her faith had saved her and she could go in peace.
If I wasn’t affected, I would still be ignorant of the weight of Christ’s death. He is perfect and He is worthy, and He.died instead of me, He died on the cross that I deserved. And when He rose again, He not only miraculously came to life but gave me new life with His life. He made me a New Creation—the old has gone and the new has come! Thank you, LORD!
The dream was from God…He used my greatest fear to drive me into His Word and plant the Gospel in my heart.
And my greatest fear, my son dying, is what God did for us. He sent His Son to die for the sins of others. What kind of love is that? The greatest of all loves.
Something terrible could still happen to Ryan. I have no assurance that it won’t. But the affliction is gone, and I do not think about it. I have peace and true joy. May 7th, that dream will have been six years ago, and it has been only six years that I’ve been really living.
It was good for me to be afflicted so that I might learn your decrees. Psalm 119:71