Well, yesterday was a good day. After getting myself up and moving, my Mom and I went shopping (to Target). Later on, my parents took me and my son out to dinner at the Olive Garden. My Mom always makes pork roast with sauerkraut on New Years Day. It has been a family tradition for as long as I can remember. I think it was something my Grandmother did (or her Pennsylvania Dutch family did, anyway). My Mom says that she always remembers her Mom making it on New Years. It was supposed to bring you "good luck." For years, my Mother has said the reason I haven't had good luck is because I refused to eat sauerkraut on January 1. I don't really think luck had anything at all do with my success or lack thereof; rather, I think it was just good sense on my part (Sauerkraut just stinks!)
She was all set to make her ritual meal (that was the reason we went shopping), and then she decided that perhaps 2011 was the year to make some changes. She announced that she would rather go to the Olive Garden (and use her gift card -- from my brother and his family) instead. Of course, I never turn down a chance to eat Chicken Marsalla at the Olive Garden -- it is my all-time favorite dish. So last night, after the Rose Bowl game, we went to the Olive Garden. I got Chicken Marsalla, Mom ate Speghetti, Dad ordered Chicken Parmigana, and my son ordered their Steak Toscana. It was a good meal, and I think, a very good "new" New Year's Day tradition. I didn't get my tree down or any of the decorations put away, but I did have a good meal, some fine fellowship time with my parents and son, and generally a really nice start to my new year.
When we came home, though, something was clearly "off". My DH had been home for the day, and he was not in the best of moods. You can always tell because he is just silent, not saying a word, and generally acting very moody. I have read these signs for years, but they no longer engender any sympathy on my part. I much prefer direct conversation to moodiness. If you want something, ask or say what you want -- don't just sulk in silence. It drives me nuts. If you are sad, say so. If you are contemplative, that is OK, because I am contemplative a lot. I get it, I know what that means, and I accept your quiet time for thoughtful reflection. Just don't walk around harrumphing and expecting everyone to come and seek you out, to find out what the matter is, or to bend over backwards to try and pull the information out of you. That is a tactic I am well-experienced with (other family members do that, and I no longer give them my interest). It is not that I don't care (well, that is probably more true now then ever before), it is more that I really think it is childish behavior.
It is like when you see a spoiled child who is stomping around, harrumphing, and acting all pushed out of shape. You don't indulge the child with whispers of peacemaking; no, you just ignore them and hope they get the message ("this behavior will not get you want you want.") Why then do we put up with the same kind of behavior in adults? How are they any different from the spoiled 10 year old stamping his feet and demanding his own way? In my opinion, they are simply big kids who never got enough silence from their parents to get the point: "this is not the best way to communicate." Their parents undoubtedly indulged them, and it became a habit, a way for them to get what they want when they want it. Unfortunately, I did the same thing for many years, though when my son was born, I chose to be the parent and not indulge him (thank you, Jesus -- my son has never behaved that way). Yet, still there are times when I see this behavior so close to home and I think, "why did I put up with it for so many years?" It is a form of manipulation and control -- a weak form, really. The manipulator and controller only can get so far with your permission, so if you don't give in, they cannot control you. I learned that lesson very late in life, but once learned, I will always remember it -- don't give in, and they cannot win over you.
Last night, after I went to bed (around 11), something really strange happened to me. I am a dreamer (I have blogged before on this subject), and I dream vividly. I remember most of my dreams, and often they are representative of some issue in my life (like when I have tornado dreams -- often my life feels out of control, and I dream that I am in the midst of a powerful storm.) Sometimes I dream about real-life people, and sometimes, I am just plopped down into some place, some time where I find myself interacting with the unknown (people, places, events, etc.) And, then sometimes, I have spiritual type dreams, dreams whereby I am in a semi-trance state (it is like being awake, yet knowing you are still asleep). I don't have these frequently, and I am thankful. Typically they are not nice dreams, and most often, I awake from them unsettled.
This is the kind of dream I had twice. I don't even know if it was a dream or if it was real, I just know that I was awake, I sat up, and I saw some things that caused me to be concerned. Around 12:30, I was sleeping when I noticed the light flickering down the hallway. My DH was watching TV because I could hear noises and conversation. The sound was very low, and the conversation muddled. I couldn't really tell what it was, so I drifted back to a deeper sleep. About 12:50, I awoke to my bed being shaken. It was a pounding, like someone hitting the edge of my bed five or six times to wake me up. I woke up, sat up, and heard the words in my head, "look away," which I did. I then looked round again and thought it was my DH standing at the very end of the bed. It was a figure for certain, large and black, but I couldn't really see who it was. I looked away again, and then it was gone. I was half-awake, and at first thought it was just a dream. Then I looked at the end of the bed to see if it was the cats jumping on the bed (they do that sometimes), but they were not in the room at all. Then I heard the words, "go to sleep" so I laid down and went back to sleep.
It must have been about ten minutes later when I saw flickering lights again. This time, I was a bit more grumpy, thinking that my DH was still watching TV, and that the lights from the set were flashing down the hallway. However, what I heard was his cough, and that told me that he was not in the living room, but farther away in the office. Then I heard the sound like a train, puffing up the rails. It was a steady sound, a strong beat that pounding when the lights flickered. I was pretty fed up by this point, so I looked at the light and remember saying, "Lord, make it stop." I just wanted to go back to sleep and fall asleep again. With that, I saw another person in the doorway. This time, the person was short (so not my DH) and hunched over. It was a male figure, sort of misshapened (like a hunch back). The person was there for only a minute before I heard myself saying these words: "In Jesus Name, leave my house now." I saw the person flash away, and then I said again, "Lord, make the lights stop flashing." I laid in bed for perhaps a minute or two and said to the Lord again, "I don't understand what is happening." With that, the lights stop flickering, and the noise went away. I laid there and heard the furnance puffing on, and quietly the room grew dark, and the sounds settled into silence. I opened my eyes wider to see a darkened room, no lights coming down the hallway, and the soothing voice of the furnance (slowing puffing, and then turning off -- complete silence). I then heard my DH cough, and recognized that he was in the living room asleep.
When I woke up this morning, everything was normal (as far as I could tell). I am still not certain if what I saw was real or simply a bad dream. I do believe that something (or someone) did attempt to wake me up. I do not think it was my DH because he wouldn't do that sort of thing. No, I think I witnessed two spiritual beings who were purposely in my room (at the door only) to attack me (torment me). I have not had a physical witness for about ten months, so it took me by surprize. However, this is not new to me, and over the course of my Christian life, I have witnessed such attacks often (mostly at night, but also during the day -- not as obvious or frequent, though).
The purpose of these attacks are certain; for they are designed to incite fear in Christians. I lived in fear for so many years, and often, was paralyzed when such things happened to me. Now, though, I am much stronger in my faith, and I deal with them as they come to me. I do not engage the enemy, but I do tell them to leave my home. Normally, I allow the Lord to do this, because you can actually cause them to come back if you attempt to force them away. Some ministers teach that you are to confront them, cast them out, etc. This is Biblical of course, but it requires a great deal of care and a deep understanding of Scripture. Most Christians are not prepared to handle this type of full-on assault. Other teachers say that we are to engage the Holy Spirit, and allow Him to do what it necessary. I have found the latter to be more effective in dealing with these types of spirits. If you ask for the Grace to withstand the attack, the Holy Spirit of God will defend you. You simply raise your Shield of Faith, and lift the Sword of the Spirit, and they will leave you alone. It is the easiest way to defend yourself from further attack. I think in my dream-like state, I did what came most naturally to me, and that was simply speak the words. They left, though; but I was still undone.
Some Christians are still wary of other believers who experience such attacks. Some just don't like the whole subject, and some want nothing to do with discussing it (fearing that even discussing it could bring attacks to them personally or to their families). I don't really like discussing it either, but this is what happens to me occassionally, and so I am open about it. Perhaps it will help others who first experience it, so that they will know they are not alone or weird or losing their minds. Oh well...I would have favored a tornado dream last night, but this is what I got instead. Go firgure that one out! LOL!
One thing is for certain -- there is a reason why I am being attacked spiritually. I am not suffering repeated attacks as I did last year (around this same time), and my faith has gotten very strong since then. I am now getting a direct assault for specific reasons and I need to reflect on what those reasons may be. I am not clear yet, but I do have a good idea of where the impluse for the attack may be starting. I will need to spend more time in prayer, and in conversation with the Lord to determine why this is happening now. In the mean time, I lift up my Shield and I wield the Sword of the Holy Spirit of God -- my rock, my defense, and my assurance of safety. I am safe, I will always be safe, and nothing can ever harm me or my family. May God be praised today and forever more. Amen, so be it, thy will be done.