“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans for your welfare, not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11 HCSB
“This wasn’t the life I envisioned for you.”
My well-meaning mother spoke those words to me at the beginning of my relationship with Steve. Her words stung, but she wasn’t saying them to hurt me. She loves me very much, and I really believe she would give years off her own life to spare me the hard and cruel lessons the world can teach.
I was raised to love Jesus and pray. I was raised to remain a virgin until my wedding night. I was raised to do the speed limit, to eat my vegetables, and to get a good education.
I was not raised, at least in my Mother’s opinion at the time, to fall in love with a man who had a three-year-old and an emotionally unstable ex-wife.
My Mom’s soft green eyes looked at me with worry and sadness as she wrung her hands and listened to my latest woes and drama. The blissful beginning that most dating couples face was soon replaced with a stressed out boyfriend, a little boy who missed his dad, and an ex whose disturbingly long phone rants would carry on during (and well past) dinner. Sometimes the only reassurance Mom could give me was a sincere but troubled, “Honey, all I can do is pray for you.”
Little did I know at the time that Jesus was guiding me through one of the darkest valleys of my life and he was raising me up in His OWN way.
Fast forward quite a storied, beautiful and sometimes difficult 17 years. My Mom’s frequent and intentional prayers are felt like warm rays of light all around me. Steve and I are at a good place, a joyful place. My Mom and Dad quickly saw the measure of the man who became my God-fearing and magnificent husband. My Mom now says, “I can’t imagine life without Steve and Keegan. My sweet Lynnette, you are blessed beyond measure.”
Sometimes our limited minds cannot understand the struggle God has purposely planted in our lives. My friend, there is beauty in the struggle. There’s also unexpected elation, gained wisdom, and grace. We can’t comprehend with our human eyes the perfectly designed tapestry of life Jesus has planned for us.
What our loving and great-intentioned family and friends want for us might not align with what GOD wants for us.
Step-moms and step-dads, you will get a bevy of advice during this journey, some good and some not at all. Ask for a discerning heart as you wade through the muck of good intentions. Ask the Lord for wisdom and listen closely as He directs your footsteps. He won’t lead you astray. Your life belongs to Him, and HE envisions for you to be a beautiful story of His mercy and love.
Pray With Me:
“You hear my cries for help, Lord! You ease my despair. Sometimes I get really stubborn and fiercely independent in my thinking. I start out doing things my way, forgetting to relinquish the control to your able Hands. Reel me in today, Lord. You love my strong spirit but you WANT me to depend on you. You are CAPABLE of handling all of this I’m going through for good. I hand it all over to you, and I TRUST you.”
I don’t know how old I was in this dream, but I felt young. However it could be late 20s to recent history. A young man who looked to be anywhere from 25 to mid-thirties lived in my house. He was either a roommate or lived with me and my family. I did not recognize the house. I did however know in my dreams that he lived with me and was a friend. I did not feel a romantic attachment to him but one of great concern for him as a person.
I would describe the man as very tall with shoulder-length curly dark hair. He was very handsome and healthy looking. He had bright eyes, beautiful skin, and charisma.
My dream interaction with him was brief but one I never will forget. I walked into the hallway to check on him (or maybe he had called me to his door). When I got to the hallway and looked in his room he was in the process of removing his white bedsheets from the bed. My eyes immediately noticed a shocking sight. His sheets were askew and they were covered in fresh, bright blood. I was so worried for my friend. What had happened to him? As he was shuffling with the sheets I noticed another overwhelming and distressing sight. His back was covered in deep crimson wounds. They looked bloody to the touch and painful beyond comprehension. The gashes were long and they cris-crossed each other. It looked like he had been beaten with a whip or belt containing a nail as the striking point. My poor friend had bled all over his sheets and he clearly needed some medicine or something to soothe the pain.
As I stood there in shock, he approached the doorway where I was standing. He had a look of urgency in his eyes yet seemed to be unusually calm to have such intense lacerations.
(At this moment in my dream, I realized who this man was. It was Jesus Christ. Remember it’s a dream and dreams can be odd with all kinds of interpretations. But realizing that Jesus himself is your roommate must be very exciting whether in REM sleep or not.)
I wanted to help Him so very much.
“Jesus, my friend, please let me wash your sheets. You have bled all over them!” I asked Him as tears welled up in my eyes.
“No Lynnette, it’s ok. I can clean them up for you.” Jesus said.
I pleaded with Him to let me help Him. He shook his head with a bit of exasperation and then looked at me with so much urgency. He then placed both His hands firmly on my shoulders and looked right into my eyes.
“No Lynnette, I’ve got this part. I’ll be ok.”
He looked even deeper into my eyes and I could tell He had something else to say. I will never forget this next sentence.
“But I need your help.”
The dream ended with that simple sentence and Jesus’ intense gaze. Jesus needed my help.
But with what? What could I possibly do for Him? Does he need help with a particular mission? A person? Why did He ask me?
Almost a year has passed since I had that dream. I don’t know if I’ve “helped” Jesus with what He requested. I hope I’m at least making an effort in His holy eyes. Maybe, hopefully, I am.
I could list here dozens of blessings, trials, births, deaths, unimaginable joy, and indescribable grief over the last year. I can think of many examples of light and love, darkness and a deep valley. We’ve come through it all with the love of Jesus, and I know that EVERYTHING works together for His good.
But back to my dream, I’ve yet to have such a vivid dream again. It’s my most memorable to date. Someday Jesus will reveal the meaning, the why, and the result. For now I will get back to helping Him and all the while trusting that He’s got the rest.