What is the weirdest dream you’ve ever had? Mine happened on Friday night, and I’m still recovering from it.
I rarely have a dream I can remember. To this day, there are maybe a few dreams that I’ve had that have stuck with me – mostly these are nightmares of loved ones dying, me falling indefinitely, or being lost in a sea of clowns at the circus.
My imagination is a scary place.
So when I woke up on Saturday with a dream lingering still in my mind, I knew I should pay attention.
I still remember vividly being the father of three beautiful girls: an emotional and moody teenager, an overly energetic 10-year old, and a small delicate baby. The dream took place in what I imagine is my childhood home. The only child whose name I remember was the youngest, whose name was Charis, which means grace in Greek. I remember wrestling to encourage the oldest, settling down the middle, and holding the youngest in my arms. I woke up feeling so out-of-sorts. I felt love for children I have never met – a longing I’ve never experienced before. I felt my love for them in my sleep and that love is still echoing in my heart days later.
Every night I’ve gone to bed asking God to let me meet them again in my sleep. And every morning I’ve woken up disappointed. I have never had a “prophetic” dream before, but because of the impact of this one dream and how much I’ve dwelled on it, I started asking God if He was trying to tell me something.
THAT’S WHEN IT HIT ME…
Last month my mentor told me that his goal for me this year was to “grow in grace” – to be easier on myself and my role as a husband, pastor, and child of God. I strive for perfection. I put my value in what I do. And I gauge that value on others’ opinions of me. So I always feel like I can be better, or if people really knew me they wouldn’t like me, or that I am always “performing” and never able to truly be myself. My mentor knows this and was encouraging me to look past others and see myself as God sees me.
So it hit me that these three children are representing my life. The oldest was me as a teenager, lost and depressed, locking myself in my room to write songs, searching for meaning, wondering if there was more. Then I found new life and hope in Jesus, and with that came energy and excitement. I was a new person, completely different than the depressed kid of the past. But now my life has given birth to something else – Grace. And the same way my heart has been longing for Charis every night before bed, my heart needs to long for God’s grace.
I finally came to the realization of this truth three days after the dream. It happened Tuesday morning before I did my devotions. Later I shared it with our church staff, finally sharing the details of the dream and the name “Charis,” something I didn’t even share with my wife. I just wanted to share what I felt God was speaking to me. It was good to get it out there and put my faith in what God was speaking into my life. I was also hoping I would get some confirmation that I was hearing correctly what I felt God was loudly screaming in my ear.
About an hour after all of this went down, I got a message from my dad that he was at a hip coffee shop he thought I would like. He said it reminded him of one we used to frequent together in Ohio. He knows I love coffee, so he thought I’d appreciate it. With the message he sent a picture of the coffee shop. This is what the coffee shop’s name was along with what was written under it:
That which affords joy, pleasure, delight, sweetness, charm, loveliness.
Undeserved kindness or favor.
THE COFFEE SHOP’S NAME WAS CHARIS!!!
Okay God… I get it.
I needed to not just think God was speaking. I needed to know – especially with the weight of this dream and the depth of emotion it made me feel. And God spoke in such a powerful way!
SO WHAT’S THE POINT?
I need to let Grace grow in my life, let it develop and mature. I need to nurture it and care for it like it is my own flesh and blood. I need to feel it in my heart of hearts – God’s never-ending grace and mercy. No matter how far I’ve fallen or how short of the mark I am, Jesus still died for me and is offering me grace, mercy, and forgiveness. And while I don’t deserve this grace, I need to remember that no one deserves it. That’s why it’s grace.
What is God trying to speak to you? Are you listening? Are you waiting and asking for clarity when He speaks? Is He wanting you to understand something regarding His personhood – like He was speaking to me about His grace? Is He reminding you He is with you in your pain or uncertainty? Maybe He is encouraging to take a step of faith with a job or in reaching out to a family member or friend. But we need to be listening. And when He speaks, we must not dismiss it. So let’s open our ears, let’s listen to our hearts, and let’s expect God to continue to give us visions and dreams like we’ve never had before!
“My grace is enough; it’s all you need. My strength comes into its own in your weakness.” – 2 Corinthians 12:9, The Message