I Saw Hippie Jesus in Amusement Park Heaven

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This is not one of those off-kilter end-times “prophecies,” nor am I trying to be irreverent by portraying Jesus as any less than the exalted, holy King that He is.

But I had the weirdest dream, and in it Jesus had foregone the white robe and purple sash and was dressed much more groovily.

My dream was probably a result of the Chinese food I ate before I went to sleep, but it’s funny how God can use even silly things to deliver a message that needs to be heard.

Truthfully, He used a scripture that I read after I ate the Chinese food and before I went to sleep … but apparently, I needed a repeat lesson with more visual emphasis.

In my dream, Jesus was letting me have a taste of a small part of heaven that felt like Disneyland with none of the long lines or commercialism. It was all joy, excitement, adventure and thrill in this beautiful, natural setting. Also, the rides were like nothing I have ever seen in real life, and they had no safety restraints. Jesus let me ride them all to my heart’s content, and I never even thought of would-be perils or the possibility of flying into a dark abyss.

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Please bear with my change in trajectory, but when I was musing on the oddity of my dream later, I remembered a time soon after Olivia was born. A new parent who had read far too much about the dangers of SIDS, I had put Olivia to sleep but kept incessantly checking on her every 3 to 5 minutes. I was afraid that she would roll over onto her belly or get stuck under the crib bumper pillows. Also, I was so overwhelmed with love for this tiny little girl that I ached to hold her, even though she was a few feet away in the other room. After what seemed like my 7th or 8th peek into the crib, I heard God speak to my heart, “This is how faithfully I watch over you.”

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For me, it took experiencing a mother’s love to comprehend even a drop in the bucket of what the Father feels for His children and how steadfastly He looks after His own.

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Now back to the scripture that I was reading after the Chinese food and before the dream.

“I lay down and slept, yet I woke up in safety, for the LORD was watching over me.”–Psalms 3:5

See … for a type-A personality who has spent most of her life trying to control pretty much everything–Chinese food inspired dreams, and whispers heard in the middle of the night over an infant’s crib, and Psalms 3:5–they all carry an invaluable message:

GOD IS IN CONTROL, SO I DON’T HAVE TO BE. It’s OK to go along for the ride. No seat belt required! It’s alright to lay down and rest. No need to keep one eye open!

Once again, Jesus is teaching me to surrender. To let go of fear so that I can enjoy the ride. To simply REST in Him. When I say rest, I don’t mean sleep. My family will attest to the fact that I am an expert at that.

No, the kind of resting that I need to better learn involves resting FROM worry and anxiety and resting IN Jesus. It requires taking my hands off so that His hands are free to work. Resting means:

NOT analyzing every conversation to find imagined reasons why this or that person might be annoyed with me
NOT succumbing to the tornado of fear that attempts to rip through my mind every time the car breaks down or an unexpected bill arrives in the mail
NOT insisting on perfection when God has never required it of me

Resting means:
–Leaning into Jesus instead of trying to spin the plates of my life alone
–Looking to Him for THE solution instead of scouring the internet and every other human resource to find a plan A, B, and C

Some of you reading this may not find it hard to rest in God. Maybe you struggle with something else and need to dream about Jesus in a business suit. (LOL!)

But for me, learning to trust God has been a lifelong journey. My own blindness to God’s faithfulness has often left me stressing when I should’ve been relaxing–just enjoying His goodness. So many times I’ve tried to build safe guards when I should’ve reveled in the freedom of the ride.

Here’s to riding and to resting … to raising my hands like a wild woman at the top of the climb and resting in God’s faithfulness all the way down the hill.

Holding on and Letting Go

holding on @ freetosurrender.com

At times it feels as if we are hanging hazardously  from the edge of a cliff; in those moments, the only salvation is found in releasing a precarious grip in exchange for the steady hand of the Savior. 

This is is the story of my “Isaac life”–the only way I know how to describe the spiritual phenomenon that allows us to simultaneously hold on and let go.

When you have a child with a serious medical diagnosis, the world and human instinct tell you to hold on tight. SEARCH for answers. DO something. HOVER to protect what is fragile. And I did those things. I scoured the internet looking for an obscure clinical trial or study. I made a mental list of everything a good mother should do and checked it twice. I fretted over every sniffle, cough and low-grade fever.

Sarah Struggled Too

Thousands of years ago, another woman reacted to a difficult situation in much the same, desperate way. She was Jewish, and I am a random mix of Dutch, Irish and Cherokee. Her access to health care was beyond limited, while I have the benefit of modern medicine at my fingertips. But the God we serve is the same then and forever, and He still keeps his promises today.

When Sarah, couldn’t conceive, she took matters into her own hands. In offering her servant to her husband, she accepted a counterfeit to God’s promise. This is often the result when we choose to control things that belong in the hands of God. But God’s grace was sufficient then, just as it is now. Isaac was miraculously born, despite Sarah’s interference, and God’s promise to Abraham would be fulfilled through him.

Abraham’s Sacrifice

Then God asked for the unthinkable, and Abraham found himself trekking toward a mountain with a knife in his hand, as his teenage son trailed alongside. Abraham’s words to his servants are the key to faith that holds on while letting go.

“Stay here with the donkey,” Abraham told the servants. “The boy and I will travel a little farther. We will worship there, and then we will come right back.”–Genesis 22:5 (NLT)

Words of Faith

Not just I, but WE. “WE will worship there, and then WE will come right back (emphasis mine).” Abraham had been asked to sacrifice Isaac–his only son, and he was willing. He chopped wood and loaded it up. He went so far as to tie his beloved son up, raising the knife high overhead. But before Abraham ever climbed the mountain to sacrifice Isaac, he spoke words that revealed the depth of his trust in God: “WE will come right back.” Abraham let go of his promised son and surrendered him fully to God, come what may. But the totality of his surrender was matched by the strength of his faith in the God who keeps promises. And God did keep His promise.

Holding on to the Promise

God has been gracious to whisper many promises to our hearts concerning Olivia. Robert and I  hold tightly to those promises, even as we remove our own hands from the situation–surrendering her to our trustworthy God. At times it feels as if we are hanging hazardously  from the edge of a cliff; in those moments, the only salvation is found in releasing a precarious grip in exchange for the steady hand of the Savior.

I’ll write more about the promises that we hold on to, but today I’d like to ask you to stand in prayer with us for Olivia. Below, I’ve written a short  prayer that will probably be followed by many more in future posts to this blog.  If God has stirred your heart in faith, will you pray? If you know others who would also pray for Olivia, will you share this post?

 He [Abraham] staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God; And being fully persuaded that, what He had promised, He was able also to perform.–Romans 4:20-21 (KJV)

Father,

I thank You for your goodness and that in You, there is no shadow of change. God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob–You come through for your people today, just as You always have. I pray that You would strengthen our hearts with faith so that we are fully persuaded that You are able to perform your promises in our lives. Teach us not to stagger before your awesome words but to hold firmly to them and to You. I ask that You would teach us to know You better so that You are greater in our eyes than the problems that we face. May we understand your Father-heart for us and comprehend the length, width, height and depth of Your great love. Father, I thank you that your promises for Olivia are certain and that her future is secure in You. Thank you for your good plan for her life and that your purposes triumph over Satan’s plan to kill, steal, and destroy. I declare that You are Healer and ask that You bring wholeness and health to every part of Olivia’s body. Thank you for the sacrifice that Jesus made in dying for Olivia’s salvation and for the stripes that He took for her healing. I place my faith in the work that was done on the cross so long ago. As You show yourself strong in and through Olivia’s life, I pray that people would come to know You and that Your name would be lifted high. I entrust Olivia to your care, knowing that Your love for her is greater than I can fathom. As others join us in praying for Olivia, I ask that you would be faithful to fulfill your promises in their lives too.

In Jesus’ awesome name, Amen. 

To read Olivia’s Story, click here.