I toss and turn all night, my dreams vivid and real. The same thing replays over and over in my mind, like a broken record. Even after waking and falling back asleep, my dreams start again and I wake in a cold sweat. I can't escape them! My dreams are so vivid, so real. Every scene is charged with adrenaline. I am finally putting someone in their place. In real life, I have to stuff so many emotions and feelings down deep inside, and keep a calm facade, but in my dreams, none of that exists. I am angry, and I am telling people what I really think of them. No restrictions are in place, and I am a raving lunatic.
I awake with a pounding headache, and I know, deep in my soul, that things are not good with my heart. My feelings, my tension, my stress- it all comes out in my dreams. So much so, that when I am going through stressful times in my life, I loathe falling asleep. I stay up late reading, writing, or doing housework in an effort to escape myself. Because, in reality, I can stuff all my feelings and emotions about a situation down deep in myself all day long, but my mind is a traitor. It turns on me in my sleep.
Thoughts that I didn't even know I had surface in the dead of the night. When the house is quiet and everyone is supposed to be sleeping, including me, my mind doesn't sleep.
And I hate it.
My recurring dreams have happened a few times in my life. They are always at stressful times, or at times when my heart feels like it is being broken in two.
Times when loved ones have died.
Times when I am uncertain about my future, or my family's future.
Times when relationships are in turmoil.
I have a hard time becoming close to many people. As a pastor's wife, I have trust issues. I will just admit it. Since starting our church almost nine years ago, we have had many types of people come through. Most have had genuine hearts. Others have not. Women who I thought genuinely cared for me and my family have turned on me in an instant. While I try not to let it bother me, because, you know, most of them turned out to be psychos, their words still leave scars.
Their words come back to haunt me in my dreams.
While I try to be friendly with all, but close to few, I know I unintentionally put walls up. People have let me down so many times. People who I have trusted with my heart have turned against me, throwing my words at me like daggers, and also letting me know how they really felt all these years. People who I love have left our church- maybe for a move, maybe out of anger, but whatever the reason, it hurts. And the ones that hurt the most are the ones that surprise you. The ones that you felt confident becoming close to, because they were going to be the ones to stick around.
I love my church and the people in it. I love Illinois. I love where I live. To me, home isn't about location, or climate, or city versus country. Home is a good church family and being surrounded by people you love. That's what makes home.
All that to say, when I start having recurring dreams that keep me up all night, it's time to fix what's wrong. I have to sleep. I have to be able to function the whole day. Coffee only helps for a little bit! So what are some things I do to help mend my broken heart a little, so that sleep will come once again, without the vivid dreams?
Write. That's why I am up late at night right now. Writing is cathartic. I let the words spill out onto the keyboard, from my heart to the computer screen. Whenever I am done writing a blog post, I feel a bit of peace wash over my soul. If my words can help anyone at all, then it makes my heart happy. I try to be open and real in my writing so that other women will know they aren't alone with their feelings and emotions.
Remember that even though man fails me, Jesus never has, and he never will. At the end of the day, he is the only one who is constant and faithful. I can't make friends stay. I can't make someone handle my heart gently. All of my relationships will never be perfect. But Jesus has been, and will always be there for me. I know that he understands, and that he will handle my heart with care.
I have a good cry in private, (I don't like to cry in front of others) and then I tell myself, it is enough.
I stop thinking about the things that bring me pain. After I cry, and I call out to the Lord to help heal my broken heart, I give it to him. I give him my pain, and my trust issues, and my mean thoughts about someone who hurt me, and my sorrow, and my hurt feelings. I tell him it's too much for me to handle on my own, and that it's his burden now.
I start praying for the ones who have hurt me. If I don't, I feel myself becoming bitter. I find that when I am praying for someone, I can't hate them. I don't ever want to become the bitter old hag, so I pray that God will bless them. Even though my heart is screaming at me to pray that God hurts them as much as they have hurt me, I pray for the opposite. I am sure that I have hurt others, and I don't want them praying for God to shower curses on me, so I pray for others how I would like to be prayed for.
I get deep into Scripture. It's one of the only things that helps my battered heart.
I realize that someone always has it worse. I mean, look at all that our Savior went through. He was despised and rejected of men. He had family and friends desert him. He was beaten, and spat upon, and ridiculed. He died a horrible death in my place. My "sufferings" don't even begin to compare. No matter what happens to me tomorrow, someone, somewhere, has it worse.
And finally? I rest in Jesus' love. He alone can heal broken hearts, and mend wounds. He is the only source of true peace, love, and comfort. I rest in his arms as I cry out to him.
And then I wipe my tears, tell my heart, "It is enough", and I lay my head on my pillow in blissful, dream-less sleep.