Many dreams I have had, many dreams that have haunted me, encouraged me, strengthened me and frightened me in the waking hours of the night.  When the darkness rolls over my bed like a daunting figure eager to take my breath away, and the sickly pale moonlight finds shelter between the folds of my comforter, nightmares and dreams have overtaken me.  In those dreams, thousands of stories have been told in the recesses of my mind, thousands of battles fought and no doubt won, thousands of loves lost and loves gained.  No matter what happens in those dreams, I am able to wake up from the pseudo-reality of them, finding true comfort in the absolute goodness of life and breath.  No matter the amount of pain experienced or the crippling fear that was conjured up, I could always awaken with the refreshing noise of the sun breaking through my pitted windows, and the chorus of birds singing their praises to the Lord.  What a pleasant thing indeed!

It was that reality actualized, the one in which I move and breathe, where we all dwell yesterday, today, and tomorrow.  When we dream, do our bills get paid, does our schooling get completed, are our errands accomplished?  If we were content to “live” in these dreams, nothing tangible, nothing good, nothing of substance would ever come to fruition.

Just as our bodies fall asleep on our comfortable pillows each night and long for that blissful state of rest and dreamland, so our minds are walking around every day in a state of dreams, sleeping against the realities that are right in front of us.  And those realities are never more hidden than when we are facing trials in our lives.  Pain fogs the mind, trials and heartache make the soul lose its grip on reality, and in the midst of that pain, we are a people who long for daydream realities where we are the masters of our minds.

Most of us have had dreams where we wake up and swear that it actually happened.  The deep sleeps where fiction met reality, where you could feel the loves, taste the foods, wince from the pains; where you could remember with vivid clarity the tiny cottage among the hills and vineyards just outside of Rome, half expecting to see the structure in some tourism package where you visited the night before.  When the sun shone so brightly in the morning’s hue, you half expected to wake up with a sunburn.  As if you could wake up and expect your wife or husband, friend or relative to reminisce with you over coffee or tea and a good laugh about some Italian chef everyone affectionately called “Papa Joe” who was actually a woman.  Dreams that were so close to reality it almost seemed unfair that they weren’t, as if you were robbed of a precious gift you received the night before.

But most of our dreams are dictated from our experiences of what is real, the sights and sounds throughout our actual waking existence.  Our view of trials is much the same; we have a tiny grasp of the truth, yet plagiarize, romanticize, and morph the truth into what we desire it to be.  I believe that we live in false realities today when it comes to trials, living in a dream world.  Some dwell in the midst of a nightmare, as you will see my life thus far has mirrored, but nonetheless, we need to wake up and experience the freedom of God’s perfection in sovereignty.

There are dreams in my story that are meant to show the trains of thought I had in the midst of my struggles; trains of thought such as naïveté, control, the feelings of being alone, anger, and many more.  Some of them actually happened, some of them were actual dreams, but in all of them, I woke up from the “reality” of them.

I invite you, the reader, on a journey with me through my life, soul, and mind.  These stories are me, over an eight-year period that was one walking nightmare until I realized the goodness of the Lord outside of it all, the freedom of trusting in a God that is so much more than me.  My prayer is that you will find some comfort between these pages, some things to relate to, some things that you find horrific.  In no way do I claim to have the strength that has gotten me through these trials, the strength that has brought me through to having a blessed trust in my Savior.  The source of that strength came only from the Lord, and it is to Him that all the glory belongs.

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