It’s a sure sign of healing that I’ve forgotten to talk about nightmares until now.
I’ve had problems with nightmares for years. I remember being a very small child and waking up terrified – I rarely explained what the dreams were about because they often didn’t sound scary (one involved me being a cookie that got eaten; another was a giant sandbox full of potatoes – but they were both frightening).
As I got older, the dreams tapered off until I began teaching. I started having nightmares again and this time they sounded scary. I taught in the inner city and although I was never scared while I was awake and at the school, the terror came out at night. I dreamed about red-eyed demons at the school, and about violence – a lot of violence. I dreamed a lot about getting shot except I usually woke up before I was actually shot but while I was still in the terror of anticipation. Once I dreamed that Satan was chasing me while I tried to run up a mountain with all the students – he was following me, throwing fire at me and trying to kill the kids. There were a lot of dreams about Satan – not as a devil with a pitchfork, but as a nebulous evil presence. Often, he was chasing me. Sometimes I started praying in my dreams; once I just repeated Jesus’ name over and over. The nightmares were all about fear – unrelenting, all-consuming fear.
These bean to be extremely common – a few times a week, and I usually woke up with such bad tension headaches from having all of my muscles tensed that I couldn’t move. The headaches were worse than any migraine I’ve had and sometimes I couldn’t get out of bed for hours, even to take medicine.
The funny thing is that I don’t really remember now how they stopped. I know I had a lot of people praying for me, and I wanted to give up hope many times. I asked a couple of pastors at my church to pray for me and they took it very seriously. At one point, they offered to come pray at my house and asked me to invite friends over to pray. Looking back, it’s pretty amazing that I had so many good friends – there were probably 12 or 15 people who showed up to pray over my house. I don’t remember if that’s when the nightmares stopped – I don’t think it was right away. All of a sudden, maybe a year ago, I just realized that I wasn’t having them. I wish I had paid better attention because this was a major major problem – definitely something I thought would never get better! It was crippling me, and now it’s just gone.
Nightmares: gone. Depression: gone. I don’t know if those two things will stay gone but in the meantime, I don’t really need more proof that God works miracles.