Thursday morning I woke up at 7:05. I know what time it was because I looked at my watch right away. I felt so go-o-o-od, and it seemed like I should mark the significance of the moment somehow, so I did it by glancing at my watch to see exactly what time it was.
I sensed God very near to me. "This is a hug from my Father," I thought to myself and snuggled back in, exulting in the sense of feeling utterly loved. I slipped quickly and easily into my early morning quiet time with him, first spending some time under the covers just enjoying the intense sense of closeness and acceptance I was feeling, and then getting out my Bible to read for a while and listen before heading off into my day. Sometime during that hour, I remembered a recurring picture I've seen in my thoughts a time or two before when I was spending time communing with him. I wouldn't call it a "vision", exactly, but a "thought picture", kind of like looking at something, then closing your eyes, and being able to still see it for a few more minutes.
The picture I saw was of me lying down on my back, and Jesus unzipping me from my neck to my abdomen, as though I had a big zipper down my front. Then he reached inside and lifted out a perfectly lovely form of woman who was obviously dead, or very sound asleep. So sound asleep that her arms flopped backward and out to the side, and her head flopped backward too, chin pointing up.
I saw him lift that form of a woman and I knew it was me... The true me. The essence of "me".
I thought when he picked her up she would wake up, but she didn't. And I found myself praying, crying out, "Please Lord, wake me up. Why is she sleeping? Please wake me up!" and then wondering if he was trying to tell me something or it was just silly thoughts coming to distract me.
That night I went to a small gathering of women (and one sound "guy"!) at our church who our leader Sue calls, "The Freedom Fighters". I was a bit late, coming in part way through the first half hour of the meeting, which is spent in worship and waiting on God before going to a time of instruction in principles of emotional healing. Soon Sue was standing at the front and explaining what we'd be doing that night. We were going to see a film about "the slumbering spirit", a teaching given by John and Paula Sandford.
As they began to share, I could identify with some of the symptoms they described. After my experience with God that morning, and the picture I had of the deepest part of me needing to be awakened, you can bet I sat up and took note. A number of things on their list of symptoms applied directly to me and I knew God was speaking to my heart.
At the end, they said the only remedy for a sleeping spirit was to be able to receive the unconditional affection and love of a father or a father substitute. He recommended that people get attached to a small group of believers - to find a safe place where they could experience the Father's love from one another. But I couldn't help but think about my experience upon awakening that morning, that strong sense of being in my Father's arms.
What a journey we're on, eh? I love how God leads us so gently, and how he makes sure we sit up and take notice of things that in his love and concern for us, and in his commitment to conform us to the image of His Son, He needs for us to hear. If I hadn't wakened up "in Father's arms" that morning, I KNOW I would have missed that teaching entirely. But He made sure I was primed and ready. And before I even heard what needed to change in me, He had already let me know that the remedy was right at hand. All day today I've been remembering that I am in my Father's arms and that I am fully known and fully loved. I was reduced to tears several times today, just by the wonder of it all. Is it any wonder they call Him "Wonder-full"? Not to me!
The saga continues... but suffice it to say that I'm a lot more awake and alive than I have been in a very long time.
Thank you Father, for being such a good, kind, gentle, and thorough teacher, deliverer and friend. You are all these things and so much more!