The Nightmares

The Nightmares November 5, 2013


I have nightmares. I can gauge the rawness of the dream by how long it takes to feel like my normal self again. A garish nightmare will take days, maybe even a week to work through.  A bad nightmare may take  half a day at least.  A bad dream, maybe 2-4 hours.  Something someone else may articulate as merely a “weird” dream takes 15-20 minutes post waking time to come down from.

Right after I got married the garish dreams came on strong.  They ebb and weave in out of my life with grueling consistency.  We celebrate 14 years this May. There are times we’ve had to pray every single night.  There are times we’ve involved others. I’ve brought the dreams, the content to my therapists, we’ve discussed them ad-nauseam.  Yet, here they are. Still.

I’ve woke up screaming. I’ve woke up crying. I’ve woke up shaky.  I’ve woke up sweaty. I’ve woke up calling the name of Jesus over and over again. I’ve woke up clinging to Dave for dear life. I’ve woke up begging God to calm my brain the freak down. I’ve woken up terrified, tormented, assured demons were surely swarming the room.

Sometimes the content is straight out what I’ve consumed.  I don’t watch scary movies anymore, I stay away from crime drama’s (though I confess I am WAY into Breaking Bad right now).  The content is generally surrounding my real life, (worse) especially the most insidious of the dreams: the ones where it’s Ma or someone I love torturing me.  Other times the content is other worldly evil.  Beyond anything I’ve ever taken in or seen.  It’s downright devil inspired.

In the past few weeks, they’ve come back.  I had at least 6-8 months with nothing, maybe even longer.  Maybe 1 or 2.  A few weeks ago, I had the garish kind three nights in a row.  Dave & I went back to nightly prayer intercession, begging God to calm this storm.  Heal this thorn, Lord.

I’ve considered the apostle Paul.  He was so freaking annoying in his perfection wasn’t he?  It’s hard to stay mad at the brotha when he spit so much wisdom…ya know, having written half the New Testament and all.  That whole mess about him pleading with God three times to remove his thorn but finding God’s grace sufficient? It’s not exactly encouraging.  To me it says -in the nicest way possible- DEAL WITH IT.  But that was Paul.  Badass Paul.  When I see his face in Heaven, I’m not sure if I want to hug him or smack him.

I believe 100% God’s grace is sufficient for me, no matter what I face.  The dreams have been quite the anomaly for my life squarely because I have no control over them.  They happen, it’s difficult to face, there is no little blue pill to fix it.  I have tried everything.  I am fully, wholly leaning into God for deliverance because what else is there?

On the one hand, it’s freeing and beautiful to know God sees and knows the content I see and live in my nighttime grave, yet it’s painful to know I can’t do anything differently to prevent it.  I’ve caused a lot of trouble in my life making poor choices and accepting those consequences feels justified.  But this?  It’s a disease I didn’t ask for.  On the one hand, that’s life: deal with it.  On the other hand, it pushes me, forces me into the arms of Jesus in a different way than when I know I deserve it.

I may never shake these nightmares, that’s okay.  I remain confident in this, I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.  Nightmares or no nightmares.


Linking up with Heather of the EO this morning for Just Write, an exercise in free writing our ordinary and extraordinary moments.

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    … & peace be upon us all who struggle nightmares & terrors.

    • Thanks so much, Erin. I take it you understand. And yes, peace be upon all of us. xo

      • I definitely understand what living through nightmares is like. Understanding your specific life experience isn’t something I want to lay claim on, knowing that it is unique to you and your life. But I can offer a shoulder and an ear and love. Hugs.

  • Megan

    Thanks for writing this, Grace. It’s hard to understand why God doesn’t always answer us the way we want. I have bad dreams a lot, but nothing like what you describe – I can’t even imagine. I echo the prayer for peace, and I hope you get to understand the reasons someday.

  • mongupp

    Praying with your husband…that is an intimate blessing. “A cord of 3 strands is not easily broken.”

    • ahh yes it is. Thank you so much for the prayers, babe!!!!

  • Jillie

    Hi Grace. Your words today are powerful. I too, struggle with nightmares, but not to the level you describe. I also have many just weird dreams, and I always dream in vivid colour. Do you?
    I’m currently reading Mary deMuth’s new book, ‘The Wall Around Your Heart’, and she talks about the “thorns” in our lives. She expresses the very same thing you say–that these “thorns” draw us ever nearer to the Saviour, the Only One who can give peace, the only one who can heal, the Only One who understands every thorn in life. There IS a reason and a purpose in all of it. I’m trying to remember that. And these things certainly keep us on our knees, dependant solely on Him. Right where He wants us.
    I pray for peace for your heart and soul, Grace. As Erin says, “May peace be upon you.”

    • Jillie, I’m not sure about dreaming in color. It’s funny that you mention that, I don’t know if I’ve ever actually processed that…what was in color or not. What I always remember in FULL painful detail is every emotion, every feeling and fear & gutteral reaction present in each dream. // Love Mary’s stuff! That’s true for me as well. Thank you so much for your prayers…and I accept & receive all of the peace available! =)

  • Sharon O

    nightmares are no fun and a part of the ‘resting mind’ to resolved the memories buried. I have found in dreams or even bad dreams, some truths of what was hidden come to the light or the surface and I can see, feel and know, that is wrong or what took place. Praying for you.

    • Thanks, Sharon for the prayers. I think my mind likes to resolve any & all inner sub-conscious turmoil in my dreams…which in some ways is helpful, and for obvious reasons can be really hard too. Overall, God’s goodness is real.

  • SpDr

    My soon to be fiancee has dealt with similar nightmares. It always leaves me wishing I could do more than just listen, and find some tangible way to help. I’m assuming your husband is in a similar position, as really as men we just want to take that nightmare, stomp all over it and tell it to leave our women alone! I’ll be praying for you as my baby actually specifically texted me last night to pray for you, and I said I would pray for both you and her. These things are not easy to deal with and the image of the nightmare demon implanting horrible visions into a sleeping woman really gives a great graphic as to how horrible these kinds of nightmares can be. Praying grace makes this journey at least somewhat easier for you (and my baby). You’re in my thoughts. Now that I think of it, I think my mother dealt with horrible nightmares, too.

    • Calvin, wow, thank you so much. And tell that sweet fiance’ of yours thank you as well. How thoughtful and kind of you guys!! I’m so touched by this & all the responses of those who’ve offered to pray for me against this battle. What a wonderful reminder of the power of community! Blessings!!!