First of all and most importantly, I need to confess that I've been having some difficulty laying aside my nightly wine drinking. No, that makes it sound too innocent. I'm having trouble with alcohol. How it even got to this point is a mystery to me. It crept in slowly over the years; a few margarita's here, an ice-cold beer there, some lovely merlot, a nice cranberry and vodka until it turned into a nightly event. For years I've been doing this. It isn't every night, but most. A few months ago, I started to wonder if I could stop or if I was truly and addict, so I stopped for a few nights with no ill effects or even uncomfortableness. I figured I had it under control and started right back to it, not really seeing that I was lying to myself. It is all just so ugly and upsetting, I'm having a very hard time bringing it out into the light. I've not wanted to let this go. Somehow I wanted to be free while in chains. I wanted to be the Christian that could still keep my "little" sin. I do not think that the drinking of wine or spirits is sinful, but abusing it is and that is where I am.
Please don't feel sorry for me. I am and will be seeking help. God shook me to the core last night and I'm going to try and explain it.
Rodney and I have talked about quitting drinking many times. "It's too expensive. It is stupid. It's not healthy." That kind of talk. Yesterday, while we were sitting at breakfast, we talked about it again. We were talking about being physically fit and healthy and that alcohol was a hindrance to that. Agreed, we said we just wouldn't buy anymore. Kind of like if you buy Oreo's, you're going to eat them...so just don't buy them. Simple. However, there was a bit of chardonnay in the fridge and a little Citron in the liquor cabinet. Like a child, I reasoned that I would have to get rid of it...by drinking it.
Last night, after church (I will understand the judgement) and before bed...I poured a glass of chardonnay topped off with Citron. I sipped it, enjoyed it, loved it and wondered why I'd never mixed the two before. When that glass was empty, I made another. This time it wasn't as lovely. It felt like a chain around my neck. The fog and euphoria of it was no longer fun but I kept right on drinking it. There was just enough left for another glass and, I went for it. I can see how some people would think that 3 glasses of wine really isn't that much. It is when it's got Citron in it and it's never taken that much for me to become inebriated.
I picked my sad self up and headed for bed. I was brushing my teeth and staring at myself in the mirror. I'd been in this shape a thousand times before, wondering if I would ever wake up...will you ever look at yourself in the mirror and be honest about what you see? A 38-year-old woman who's been drinking like a college kid on spring break...AGAIN! How sad are you?
Rodney came to bed and kissed me. I tried not to breath, thinking that this would somehow disguise the fact that I'd had 3 drinks. (I'd waited until he made his nightly run to the chicken houses before beginning my little purging party) That somehow he wouldn't be ashamed of me since we had just talked at breakfast about NOT drinking. The last thing in the world I would ever want is for my husband to be disappointed in me. But, I knew that he must have been thinking that I was a pitiful shame.
My sleep was restless. I had to get up about 4 different times to let Emma out and back in and back out. Every time I awoke, I was very aware that I was still quite drunk. Somehow, I always wake up in the morning fine and dandy, except for not fine and not dandy. Just not drunk. I kept thinking that if I could just get some sound sleep, I would wake up and it would all be over. I would wake up to a house with no alcohol in it and that would be that. Little did I know that God was about to shake me to my core and turn me over to Satan himself.
I realize that dreams can be very vague in nature and that listening to somebody try to explain a dream can be a grueling thing to do. I'm writing this for my benefit. Read on if you want to. I'll try to be succinct and make sense. The dream will be in italics, please don't mistake it for reality.
Rodney woke up before I did and sat on my side of the bed. He nudged me awake and told me he was heading out to work but, he handed me a revolver and said, "keep this with you today". I hesitantly agreed, placed the gun under a pillow near my head (in it's holster) and nodded back off. Later when I was about my day, I went out to the backyard, heading for my garden. I'd forgotten about the gun. While I was in the yard, I called Rodney on the phone to see how his day was going. We were chatting about nothing in particular and I was looking towards the chicken houses, which are west of where the house is. In the west sky, beyond the farm, I saw this flickering light. It was very bright but not a pleasant light. It was almost like the arc from a welder, but huge. I asked Rodney, "what the heck is that light in the sky?" As he was trying to see what I could see, the sky suddenly became incredibly ominous and huge lightening bolts came down from every corner of the west sky all at once. It wasn't like a storm, it was just a lightening filled sky. It was accompanied by a very loud crackling thunder. Not one of those rolling thunders that make you want to take a nap...a fierce and angry, piercing thunder. It happened very fast and created more fear in me than I've ever felt.
During the trauma of witnessing the event and the power of the lightening itself, I lost contact with Rodney on the phone. I ran in the house for shelter from whatever the event was. I walked to the front door to look out and my "big" door was open and only the glass storm door was shut. And there, standing in the doorway, was a man. He was tall and squarely framed, dark and sinister. The fear that I'd felt from the lightening was nothing compared to the terror I felt when I saw him standing there. He was dressed sort of like a cowboy. Denim shirt, jeans, (he had on a hat but I can't remember what it looked like). His clothes were dirty with grime and his face was smudged with black like he'd been in a coal mine. His hair was brown and shoulder length and kind-of curly. If I had to pick him out of a line-up, I would definitely be able to recognize him. His physical appearance was pale in comparison to his is presence, which was pure evil. (I'm literally shaking as I write this). And, I was sure that he had arrived with the with the lightening as his transport.
I'm not sure how, but he made it into the house. He was standing in my entry way and began to make some small talk. He asked me how I was doing. I told him that I was very concerned about the incident with the weather outside. He looked right at me and told me it wasn't anything to worry about, almost like it was none of my business. He moved toward me and I threw up my hand and asked him to please not come any further. (I remember being impressed with my strength to stand up to him even though I was frightened to death). I was wearing my overalls and kept reaching in pockets trying to locate my phone to call Rodney. I couldn't find it anywhere and couldn't remember what I'd done with it after the lightening strike.
I then remembered that the gun was on the bed. I had a sense of urgency that I needed to get to it, but somehow I knew that this man knew it was there and that he would thwart my efforts to get it. I tried so hard to act composed and unconcerned with his presence trying to simply bide my time.
This is when it gets weird.
The man then asked me for a glass of whisky. I told him that I was sorry but that we were all out of any kind of alcohol. He looked right in my eyes and scoffed, "well now, that's a real shame isn't it?" The sinister tone in his voice was chilling. He pushed his way past me and into the kitchen. Another man came in the side door, less menacing but still a threat. They began to completely ignore me and started going through my cabinets and found a big bottle of homemade wine (which I cannot drink but use to cook with) and poured themselves two big glasses of it, just like they were pouring a glass of tea.
Rodney came walking into the kitchen (from where he came, I do not know). He seemed aggravated that there were men drinking in my kitchen but remained cool. There was an understanding between us, without even speaking, that we would have to do something to get them out of our house. He looked at me and said, "I just brought home a bundle of switch cane for fishing poles. I laid it in there on the bed if you want to go look at it". (I told you this was weird). Somehow I knew that this was a clue for me to go and get the gun. So I made my way to the bedroom. Everything was very odd in the house. Like walls were missing and furniture was moved and everything was a big mess. When I found the revolver in the bed, it had come out of it's holster a bit and I tried to put it back in so that I could carry it in my pocket. While I was trying to holster the gun amid a mass of pillows and blankets, it went off. The bedding muffled the sound so much that I wasn't sure that it had even fired until I saw the holes in the bed and could even smell the smoke of feathers and down smoldering. The dogs had followed me in the room and were standing there when the gun went off.
I got the gun securely holstered and worried that Rodney would be angry with me for being so careless and shooting a hole in the bed, but for now that didn't matter as we were facing a much bigger problem. As I began to make my way back to the kitchen, Emma was walking in front of me and stopped. I noticed that she had something all over her, like poop. I thought, "what in the world did she get in to?" And then it struck me that I must have hit her with the bullet. I began to panic. Suddenly the men in my house didn't matter any more. I called for Rodney. He and the two men were on the back deck. He'd managed to get them out of the house and I could tell that he was convincing them to leave. I carried Emma out to him and began to cry that I'd shot her. I laid her on the deck and began to try to call Dr. Martin. Rodney started to minister to poor Emma and the two men looked upon us and sneered and laughed. Neither of them had done a thing to hurt me, but I knew they meant me harm and, in my own ignorance and panic, I ended up killing something very precious to me. The last thing I remember was looking into Emma's face and realizing that she was dying and I started to scream "NO".
I know that there is no way on the earth that I can convey in words the impact that this dream had on me. It wasn't the things that happened or the sequence of events, it was the extreme amount of fear and the threat of my life that affected me so deeply.
When I awoke, my heart was racing and I was sweating. I couldn't even move for the amount of fear that remained in my body. I was literally paralyzed. As I laid there, remembering the man's face, remembering the way he made me feel, I started to think of how to defeat this fear.
I started to repeat his name over and over. Jesus, Jesus, Jesus. Tears started to stream down my face and onto my pillow. Jesus save me. Come and heal me. Take my broken mess of a life and free me. Give me peace. Take the ugliness from my life. Jesus, Jesus, Jesus.
I reached out to put my hand on Rodney because I was still feeling so much terror. I thought if I touched him, it would ease my fear. I heard God as clearly as anything speak to my heart, "My child, Rodney can't save you." I turned on the lamp beside my bed and heard Him say, "the light won't rescue you". I started to think, it will all be ok when the sun comes up. "no, you have to find me in the darkness. I will never leave you or forsake you, but you must come back to me". I could no longer find a way to save myself. I began to pray. The tears were pouring from my eyes. I began to sob.
Rodney woke up, "honey, what's wrong?" which only made me cry harder. I explained that I'd had a bad dream and without any explanation, he just held me and told me it would be ok.
It will be ok.
I could go into all my interpretations of the dream (many that occurred to me while I was writing this) and all my resolutions to become free but, I won't do that today. I just want to say that I am a changed person today because of a dream. There is no doubt that it came at the hand of God and it was probably the most powerful experience in my life to date. If God had to scare the begeeeses out of me to get me to turn my life around, it certainly worked. He is faithful and He is good.