My son was now 5 years old, and I had not been taking him to church for a couple years. Not regularly for sure. I had dedicated him to the Lord and I had fallen down on that promise. So I decided that Sunday night, I would go check out this new pastor.
Sunday night arrived and I left our son with his father at home while I went to scope out this new minister. The music was good and the sermon was okay. The minister looked promising, the experience certainly warranted another visit.
After the service, the minister greeted me and introduced me to his wife. She was shorter than me, a little overweight like me, but her smile was bright. I chatted with her, explained that I actually lived just a mile around the corner. If she needed anything I gave her my address, she was new the community and I could help her get to know where she lived. I even branched out as far as to suggest that we might get together. Her eyes lit up as she said, "We could do a Bible study together!" "Orrrr go shopping," I quickly interjected. I did not fool them at all. She later told me that she and the pastor began to pray "heaven down on my head".
The job that I went to school for no longer gave me any satisfaction. I was restless, anxious and generally miserable. I had been a professional homemaker for 10 years and then after the gift of a child, I would begin to work OUT of the home? What was I thinking? About that time, we also figured out by the time we calculated the car expenses, the food, the child care expenses, the extra insurance, I was only earning a whopping $30 a month. My baby would stand at the front door, crying and waving as I drove away. My heart was ripping into shreds.
I hated working my shift. I was always tired. I was only getting 6 hours of sleep or so. It seemed I was continually sleeping because I had to work that night, or sleeping because I just got off work. I was hating it. During this time frame, I still thought of Tammy and wondered about her death. I felt like I was falling apart. My husband and I started talking about me quitting my job at the hospital and providing in home infant care so I could spend that summer with our son. His last summer before starting kindergarten. I was making preparations to leave the hospital. I handed in my resignation.
It was in those last days, that I came home exhausted from work. I spent most of the day awake so I could sleep that night. We had a good afternoon and evening. We settled in for a good night's sleep.
At some point in the night, I began to dream. I was standing in a line in front of huge throne like chair. I was just a few behind, when I saw Tammy standing before the throne. A white robbed figure was flipping through a book and shook his head. Strong arms grabbed Tammy and began to drag her away. As they dragged her away, she pointed at me screaming..."You knew. You knew all about this but you never told me!" I looked at her in horror and saw I was now next in line before the white robed person. I looked from Tammy to the book and back at Tammy as her screams echoed off the walls. I began to shake as I looked at that book. I had the same fate coming, when I was told to come forward, as the book was flipped open. Tears fell from my eyes because I knew I had screwed up royally. I knew that I had scratched my own name out of that book, I was no better than Tammy.
I jerked awake. I had tears on my face, my heart was going "abangabanga bang!" I was shaking and sweating and sick to my stomach. I quietly got up and went to the living room. I would do some needlework, and try to get that dream out of my head. After a time my eyes drooped and I climbed into bed and clung to my husband.
And it began again. The whole thing. The line. The throne. The book. Tammy. The screaming, the accusation and the realization that I was about to receive the same fate. I awoke in the same condition, sweaty, crying, shaking and sick to my stomach. I got up this time and decided to do housework. I scrubbed the kitchen, I vacuumed the carpet. I got a toothbrush and scrubbed the faucets. I pulled the fridge and swept out from behind it. The weirdness of having the same dream a second time perplexed me. I wasn't going back to sleep until I was too tired to dream. I thought about 5 am that I had reached the point exhaustion. 48 hours with about 2 hours of sleep is not easy to put off. This time I stretched out on the couch, thinking perhaps a change would help.
I slept. But suddenly breaking into the void of my sleep there I was again. I was in the line. There was the throne. I saw the book, I heard Tammy screaming and saw her pointing at me crying "You knew! You knew about this but you never told me!" Then it was my turn and they were beckoning me to come forward. The book opened and the pages flipped...this time I heard a voice sadly say, "Tina's name isn't in here anymore. She scratched it out." I saw those robbed figures coming for me and I began to scream.
My scream woke me up! I laid on the couch, again with the abangabangabang! The sweating, the crying, the shaking and I wanted to hurl. Three times I had the same dream. I knew it was not a coincidence. I knew it was a message given directly to me. The number Three is very important in the Bible....the Trinity, the cock that crowed three times, the Three crosses. I had a choice and I had to make it now. The chances and you are out. Three means God is saying "Yo! Pay attention, this is important!"
I slipped off the couch and onto my knees and I begged God to forgive me for my stubbornness I still didn't trust him, but I was willing to try. God met me there in my living room and peace entered my heart. I fell asleep, exhausted on the couch again. I did not awaken up until a little person was breathing on me and building legos into my nose.
On Sunday, I took my husband and son to church and introduced them to the new pastor and his wife. They would become our best friends there.
I do not know what would have happened to me if I had not responded to that night, what I consider a Supernatural experience of dreaming the same dream three times. But I certainly have a sense that night was a spiritual battle of eternal magnitude. The other choice would bring only despair and heartbreak. God and I would struggle for years (I mean YEARS) over the inept teachings of my childhood church, my upbringing, abuse, and my fear of Him. I chose not to address all those issues in this series. I still stumble from time to time, and I don't really know what God has in store for me next, I can say this with confidence,
God and I still struggled...