For years I had nightmares. I didn’t sleep much and when I did it was fitful sleep. The demons I could hold at bay during the daylight hours plagued me at night. I would pray as I closed my eyes to sleep that no evil or fear would find its way into my dreams but more often than not, the nightmares came. Then my life took a decided turn. More secure and more able to live in the Light I found sleep less fitful. The nightmares dwindled and eventually disappeared.Over the last several months a cousin of those nightmares has resurfaced. Rarely are they as severe as they were but now it isn’t a few nights out of a week but just about every time I close my eyes to sleep. I pray. I fill my mind with Scripture and with praise but still the dreams come. Once again my sleep is fitful. I wake up often but when I return to sleep the same negative images await.
Just today I was thinking and praying, trying to find an answer. There has to be a reason for this interruption of my rest. There has to be a faithful way to dispel the images. Each morning when I wake up and can make mental choices I praise God. I do what I can to chase the ugly thoughts away and I get out of bed praising God. Each morning, whether my dreams are pleasant or unpleasant or if I even remember, I praise God.Weeping/sorrow/fear may last for the night but rejoicing/joy comes in the morning.
This morning I heard a song that calls on the words of this very Scripture and I had an epiphany. Odd as it may seem this is part of the lesson of giving thanks in all things. In this same time frame I have been hearing and reading a lot about gratitude. As I make it a practice to be as grateful as I can and then to ask to become more grateful this all makes a strange sense.I hate those dreams or nightmares. I hate waking up feeling as if I were in a fight the entire night. I have not one time thanked my Lord for those dreams. I have asked, no, begged to be released from them. I have told my husband about them and fought them but I have not one time thanked God for them.
Are we not told to give thanks in all circumstances? (Philippians 4:6) Listening to the song about joy coming in the morning I realized that I need to be thankful for those dreams that threaten my peace. If for no other reason than the one given in Philippians but also because of how incredibly sweet the joy of the morning feels in comparison.God does not ask us to like our circumstances. He tells us, however to give thanks. I have prayed and prayed to be more grateful, truly grateful. Starting now, I am thanking my Father in heaven for those nasty dreams. They may stop. They may not but one thing I know for sure, joy comes in the morning.