The dream gave Paul his map.~Acts 16:9
I hadn't been able to shake the dream. It was a disturbing dream. I'd found a wailing baby that I could not comfort. A child so exhausted that she could not rest. "God, what do I make of this?" I prayed.
Days mounted into weeks, and I forgot about the dream until I ran across a phrase in Acts. "The dream gave Paul his map." Who is this baby, God? What does she need? How am I to comfort this child? Am I the one to comfort her? More days go by, and there is silence from God. A stillness. I am attracted to this calm and find I am swallowed up inside it. I sense God's comfort and compassion. "You've been exhausted almost all of this year. You've written about your fatigue in your journals, your blogs. You are the disconsolate child. I want peace and rest for you." I asked, "So what do I do about my wailing, Lord? My struggle? What is next?"
More silence. More stillness. I stay inside this circle of peace. While looking for a book on the side table by my bed, I discover a greeting card welcoming a new baby that I never sent sandwiched in the stack. Photographs of precious sleeping babies are on the front of the card. I think, "This complete giving over to rest and peace is what God wants for me. Be as little children."
I am part of an online spiritual community led by Graham Cooke. I listen to a podcast. Mr. Cooke provides an assignment. Go through the promises you have from God, your dreams, impressions that you've been collecting. Write them down. God will bring to remembrance Scripture; He will remind you of how He sees you. Then craft a prayer that reflects what has surfaced. As I complete the assignment, I realize there is guidance. There is a map. There is direction. A prayer emerges.
Thank you, God, that you desire peace and rest for me--that you meet me in the dry places of my life--go out looking for me to provide grace and rest.
Thank you for speaking to me. Always. Thank you for the dreams.
Oh, God, every day fill me with your strength and courage. Protect me from being intimidated by my circumstances and the chaos and noise of this world. Thank you for silence and stillness. Your gift of peace.
I rejoice that you stride before me and simultaneously are with me. That you won't let me down. Won't abandon me.
Thank you that when you look at me you see someone whose heart is attuned to you. A warrior. A writer and poet. You see royalty. Let me see myself as you do.
Lord, thank you for the assurance of a brilliant future, your promises my revelation. Give me the experience of your presence in greater and deeper ways so that the realities of your goodness become my norm.
"They found grace out in the desert...Israel out looking for a place to rest met God out looking for them."~Jeremiah 31:2-4 (The Message)
"Be strong. Take courage. Don't be intimidated...God is striding ahead of you. He's right there with you. He won't let you down. He won't leave you."~Dueteronomy 31:6-8 (The Message)
"I know what I'm doing. I have it all planned out.--plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for."~Jeremiah 29:11 (The Message)