A Dream To Awaken


It's A New Day!

It's A New Day!


I finally fell asleep around 11:30 after a late dinner of Chinese done French style.  It was very light and very tasty I might add.

The sleep was exceptionally short for I was awake again just two hours later.  I believe it was ten minutes to 2:00 when I gave up the frustrating effort to fall back asleep, and turned the light on.  I pulled out my note pad to pen some very personal thoughts regarding my awakening heart and loving again….someday.  I will share it with you soon.

After pouring my thoughts out on paper, I thanked God for His presence and talked to Him for a moment then, again turned the light off sometime around 4:15 in the morning.  I think I finally fell back to sleep sometime around 5 o’clock.  It is now 6:35 and again I’m awake and find my pen and notepad in hand.  This is really not what I had in mind when I asked God to continue writing through me.  Let this be a caution to you, be specific when you pray.  The thought or dream that woke me from my sleep this time was not pleasant.  It left me on a very emotional roller coaster for a few minutes until I could fully wake up and think more clearly.

It’s not like me to remember my dreams or even have the knowledge I’ve had one.  The one that is still so vivid in my mind is the dream I had just a few months before I got married.  I had dreamt I’d be a widow at the age of thirty.  This is a dream that came back to my memory in the year preceding Warren’s death.  I was thirty years old when Warren was killed.  No!  I am not a psychic or often experience a forecast such as this.  Looking back I believe it was simply God preparing me for what was to come.  I reflect on His warning and find rest in the fact, God already knew about my tomorrow before it ever came.  He was already there, already on the scene and in full control.  This tells me He has me today.  God has me now and has my future firmly in His grip.  Nothing can come my way unless He allows it, and I can truly testify that His grace is more than enough to sustain even in the toughest of storms.

In the dream that woke me this morning I was in the hospital feeling fine but the doctor looked at me baffled.  He said, “You are terminally ill.  You are dying.”  He had no idea why but was certain I only had a few days left to live.  I completely broke down and collapsed on the floor while crying out over and over again, “I don’t want to die!”  A team of nurses and doctors pinned me down while they plunged a needle into my arm.  I faded into the sedation.  When I came to, I was lying in a hospital bed with IV’s in me and fully aware my family had been called to come.  All I could do was grieve for my parents.  My heart ached for them.  The strange thing through all of this was I still did not feel sick.  I felt perfectly healthy.  Suddenly, all my friends and family were standing around me.  I could see and feel their tears.  I gave a gentle smiled and asked them to stop crying for me.  I wanted to cry for them but the room was full, no, thick with God’s peace.  Then I woke up.

I was glad to see I was still very much here, still in my comfy hotel room in Cannes, France.  My emotions though were all over the place.  As I lay there reflecting on this disturbing dream the question came to me, “What would you do differently if these were your final few days?”  It took me a moment to catch my breath.

I hear a lot of people say things like, “If this were my last day I’d….” then they would fill in the gap with some crazy adventure like, go bungee jump off the Statue Of Liberty.  I always said I would eat a McDonalds Big Mac.  Then, all my friends would laugh and want to see me eat one.  Ha, That surely would send my body into shock, along with a few of my friends.  Now here the question is seriously posed to me.  The Tim McGraw song, “Live Like You Were Dying” comes to mind when thinking about this question.

Chorus:
I went skydiving
I went rocky mountain climbing
I went two point seven seconds on a bull named Fu Man Shu
And I loved deeper
And I spoke sweeter
And I gave forgiveness I’d been denyin’
And he said some day I hope you get the chance
To live like you were dyin’

All the adventurous things we think about doing or do are fine and I certainly have nothing against any of it, but what my heart cried out when the question was presented to me, “What would I do different?”  is, I would tell people how much I love them.  I can come up with a few of those crazy activities myself.  I have my own “Bucket List” also, but before I attempt any of those things I want to make sure people know they are loved by me before I leave this earth.

The first part of my dream was all about me.  It was an emotionally self absorbed moment.  Which I think we are all allowed from time to time.  We have to be honest with ourselves about what we are feeling before we can really find the truth of the matter.  The second half of the dream was all about a heart turned outward to others.  It was the selfless half.  If you recall, the second part of the dream was also when God filled the room.  There was complete and total peace.  Maybe this is the lesson I am to learn.  Could it be that loving and caring for the heart of others is where life is found?  Yes, life begins with Jesus and all He did to bring atonement for our sin, but from this point on we are called to love others.  Without Him we cannot love.  Therefore, as He comes to lives in us, He being love, then this is where life begins, but we truly start living when we learn to extend that love to others.  It’s really not all that profound but I guess it’s a hard lesson to learn.  After all, we live in a fallen sin filled world and most likely all of us have been wounded in some way by it.  If the greatest of all the commandments is, “To love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul and all your mind and to love your neighbor as yourself.” just maybe God knows this is where we will find the joy and happiness we all search for.  Isn’t it worth a try?  ~(Matt. 22:37-39)  This goes against everything we’ve been taught by this world.  The world and the deceiver himself loudly scream the opposite to us.  Our minds can find every reason to, “Forget about them!”  “Who needs them anyway?”  I lived for a long time with the mindset of, “God just give me a big dog and a roof over my head and I’ll be just fine.  I can’t take this guessing and heartache.”  How about the sway of the almighty dollar?  There’s one big fat lie!  I can’t tell you how many unhappy lonely wealthly people I’ve met.  Please do not take me wrong, I have NO problem with having things.  I like nice things and I like to take care of what I do have, but none of it takes the place of deep personal relationships.  We serve a God who longs to have a close relationship with us.  Look at His very nature.  See the Trinity?  The Father, The Son and The Holy Spirit.  They are Three in One.  It is in God’s very being to have intimate fellowship.  If we close ourselves off to one another, we also close ourselves off to God.  We deny the very thing, the very One, our hearts are searching for.  Protest it all you want.  Go ahead and seek whatever thing or dollar amount you think will make you happy, and after you obtain it, pay close attention to how much it warms your heart at the end of the day as you lay your head on your pillow with it.

I walked back on our tour bus to get some things the night Warren was killed.  Angie and I stood in the aisle peering into our closets.  I looked at all the stage cloths, I looked all around the bus seeing all the “things” we worked so hard to obtain and hold onto.  Stretched across the back lounge was where Warren’s things hung.  He was forever gone but his things remained.  He could not take one item with him.  I even held his wedding ring in my hand.  The only thing we can count as gain are the treasures we lay in heaven.  I looked at my closet and motioning to it I said to Angie, “So what!”

If I, Shannan, close my heart off in fear of pain, I experience the greatest pain of all, isolation.

Appearing to have great strength and truly possessing it are two very different things.  It takes great courage to say yes to God’s invitation to love, on any level.  Usually we are met with the enemies opposition.  He hates everything God stands for and will fight to stop us with every step, but be courageous and step anyway.  All hell may break loose for a time, it certainly did in my world, but God is the great restorer.  He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds, (Psalm 147:3).  He sets the captive free, (Isaiah 42:6-7).  He will turn our mourning into dancing, (Psalm 30:11).  If we pray for those who let us down and forgive, God will restore double what the enemy has stolen, (Job 42:10).

The portion of the dream that caught my attention too was the fact I did not feel sick.  I felt perfectly healthy.  We can be sure that in everyone of us there is some sort of terminal virus this world has infected us with.  It lies dormant waiting to steal the life God wants to bless us with.  We can walk through a some pain now and allow Him to expose the infection and clean it out, or we can wait until that life is too diseased and dies.  I choose God’s healing operation and life.

Wow!  That was some Chinese food!

Shannan Parker

September 23, 2009

1 Comment

  1. 09/26/2009 at 11:50

    “I choose God’s healing operation and life!” … faith, hope, and love, but the greatest of these is love!

    Thank you for sharing your heart and for being the example of love that I need to see.

    I love you my beloved friend!


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