29 Jan

Dear Friends,

A couple days ago we had a speaker come in and talk about dreams, and how God can speak to you through them. 

Near the middle of the lecture, the speaker said that he had heard God tell him that there were people in the room that had experienced horrible nights, filled with nightmares and demons, and that through that, had eventually decided to make a vow to themselves never to dream again. As it would be better to not dream at all, then to experience the paralyzing fear attached to having a nightmare.

I was one of those people.

If you asked me today I still couldn’t tell you what the rest of that lecture was about. My mind was frozen on the realization that I had, in fact, blocked the part of my brain allowing me to dream. Subconsciously. I haven't had a dream since that.

The day after, another speaker talked about his experience with nightmares, and how he would wake up in the middle of the night physically paralyzed with fear. And that he heard voices and saw shadows.

I knew that God was telling me something. As I have had my fair share of horrible nights. 

I remember one night, I must've been around 16. I was laying in my bed and woke up from a horrible dream, to voices telling me I was going to die. I pulled the covers up to my eyes, and with all my heart I felt something standing over me on the other side of the bed. I was scared. I truly thought I was going to die. 

I thought it was God preparing me for death, warning me or something. I saw a vignette of darkness around my eyes as I stared at the ceiling, the darkness slowly moving in. I lay there frozen, afraid to blink. Hot tears poured out of my eyes. This is it I thought. I wanted to get someone- but it was as if I were paralyzed. 

After a few moments, I grew the strength to climb the stairs and get to my parent's room. I sat on my mom's side and told her that God told me I was going to die, and that I was scared of dying. My mom immediately started to pray, telling me that God speaks words of life and that he doesn't tell you things that will scare you, or harm you. My mom then proceeded to tell me that it was the enemy telling me lies; and that he comes to steal, kill, and destroy. 

My mom then started to cry, as she declared the name of Jesus over our house, over my room, over me. It felt as though there was a silent war occurring. Loud but quiet. I later realized that there was, in fact, a spiritual war occurring. All at once I felt the demons flee. My mom yelled at the evil one- telling him that he had no right to feed my such poisonous lies.

My face stung from the salt from my tears, and I looked up at my mom. And she looked at me and said. 

Be encouraged.

Be encouraged? I thought. What on earth is encouraging about being attacked by Satan and his demons?

Satan notices when you advance towards God's kingdom, she said. And he doesn't like that one bit. 

After that night I decided it was easier to never dream again then to rehash what I just felt in my bones, body, and spirit. I decided I didn't want to understand why I should be encouraged. 

And that brings me to today. Today I learned that that experience was preparing me for battle. 

"He trains my hands for war, so that my arms can bend a bow of bronze." Psalm 18:34

That was the verse the speaker had said, explaining how God works. And at that moment, all the scattered papers of that terrifying night were bound together into a book. It all made sense to me. My story, had a plot. 

If it weren't for that night, my mom would've never taught me how to rebuke the devil, and cast him out in Jesus name. She taught me that there is power in the name of Jesus. 

I've always hated how sensitive I am to the spiritual realm. Ever since I could remember, I've been able to feel things around me that no one else could. I felt rather alone in this area and felt that it made me weak and vulnerable to the things unseen. But sometimes, your biggest weakness is your biggest strength. 

I prayed to God that I would dream again. And I have been. And while I cant remember them when I wake. I always have a sweet taste in my mouth in the morning because of them. And to think that I've been missing out from dreaming for almost 2 years. It took everything in me to let God into my dreams again. I finally let him take control.

God has been preparing me for war. Through every awful night he was there, right there next to me, helping me grow stronger. And I should, without a doubt, be encouraged that the creator would bother making sure I was ready to fight for and with him. I feel strong, I feel worthy, I feel ready. 

So here I stand. Bending bronze, and encouraged by God. 

Happy day,

Jasmine Mancuso

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