Upon the heels of a major breakthrough in my healing this month, came two more significant trials. After having experienced a week of amazing health (perhaps the best since 2004), I was hit with insomnia unlike anything I have ever experienced before. No exaggeration. It has been two radical extremes. The six hours of prayer ministry that I received three weeks ago released me from some major strongholds, and for the first time in years, my blood pressure normalized, my energy soared, and despair vanished. When this continued for a full week, hope rose in my heart- yet it was tentative. So when a friend said to me, "If you think you have been healed, why aren't you jumping up and down with excitement?" I explained to him that it's hard to do that when you've been in prison for so long. The freedom just feels too good to be true, and you fear trusting it.
Besides, I've had windows of feeling well throughout my journey with Lyme disease. Although...this time it felt somewhat different.
I'm not sure if the insomnia and attack upon a very important relationship in my life were the retaliation in the spirit world for the freedom I had attained following the prayer, but it made sense that if the enemy could get me to become so sleep-deprived to the point of not being able to work or drive a car, I would doubt I had been set free at all. If he could get me to sink into despair over the potential loss of a close friend that I deeply loved- this would further destroy my health.
As I shed copious tears of frustration, I felt God asking me to take His hand and to come up into a higher place of Truth with Him. Moving into higher places with God always has a cost, because it means thinking and doing things that are hard, or which feel unsafe. It means trusting that what He has said He will do, He does, and that what promises, He makes come true- despite the lack of visible evidence. This time, it meant accepting apparent deprivation, making some difficult choices, and staying in the reality of my new found health freedom- though darkness was once again coming against that freedom.
Whenever I don't trust God, moving into higher places with Him feels costly. Yet whenever I am able to trust Him, I know that getting to the higher places is priceless, and that the cost is worth it.
Some months ago, God gave me a prophetic dream. In this dream, I was in a department store, and I had to try on three different evening gowns. The first dress that I tried on- a pink one- was too tight for me. The second- a vibrant purple one- was just slightly too big. The third- a red, frilly dress- fit me perfectly, though I didn't like it much. In the Bible, colors have meanings- both positive and negative. When I asked for revelation of the dream, I was told, "The pink dress didn't fit you, because you have outgrown childish things. The red dress fits you because you are in a season of spiritual warfare (red in this case, signified warfare). I wanted to wear the purple dress, but God told me I wasn't ready to wear it yet. Several months later, He told me through my prayers that He wanted to put me in the purple dress, but that I needed to overcome certain harmful attitudes and behaviors in my relationship with Him-especially unbelief. Purple in the Bible means royalty, and is also synonymous with the gifts of leadership and administration.
Because two of my spiritual gifts are leadership and administration, I took the dream and God's words as a sign that He desires to move me into places of higher authority, in my work and life's calling. But first, I must move into higher places with Him. This requires doing what feels counter-intuitive to my heart and mind, in order to overcome those sins that keep me from being fully free.
God's kingdom is like that, though. Upside down and counter-intuitive. Upside down because the person who wants to be greatest in the kingdom must humble themselves and become a servant; and counter-intuitive because blessings sometimes come from doing what feels wrong and unsafe to the carnal mind, but which is right in God's kingdom.
Only when we trust God can we effectively submit our thought processes and behaviors to Him, especially when we desperately think we are right (but He is silently suggesting otherwise). It takes courage to heed that voice, and even greater courage to do what He asks, because it opposes worldly philosophies, carnal knowledge, circumstances and most importantly, our heart, which screams for our needs to be met-right now.
When life is rough, I struggle to believe that God cares about my needs. Though His hand is extended, I recoil because I fear what going into the Higher places means. Is it not just a place of servitude and more trials? How do I know I can count on His Word to do what it says? After all, just look at the evidence of my life...all the disappointments and grief... Besides, it's just so hard to do what He asks. That whole delayed gratification thing just seems to extend into infinity.
But then I remember the purple dress, and the multiple times that God has shown me the color purple, through visions, dreams and prophecies of recent years. The promises He has given me- though they have been countered, not only by circumstances, but by well-meaning practical friends in the world who pooh-pooh prophecy and the notion that God gives us personalized promises today.
Still, I want to wear that dress, and I want my freedom. So though sleep-deprived, I have decided to reach for His hand...May He give me the grace to hold on, and may the conviction of truth propel me into those Higher places, where deception, despair, sickness, loneliness and sadness cannot survive. May He encourage all of us to take His hand, because it was for our freedom that Christ Jesus died- on Earth as it is in Heaven.