I am breaking a few years of silence on this blog because I felt it was time to share one of my sweetest memories with you of a time that Jesus touched my heart.
The one profound realization that stood out in my mind after these events was that Jesus is more involved in my life than I realize.
Before I forget even one more detail, I want to quickly record the events of what happened. The sweetness of those events are still something that I am pondering in my heart.
It’s unclear to me what happened before I first met him. The other details almost don’t matter. I just know that I was at some event. I was in attendance with the J-man (my hubs) during our dating years.
We were watching kids playing in and around water. Suddenly, we saw what appeared to be a child dressed up like a stuffed scarecrow — something we often see around this time of year (Halloween/fall). At first, it seemed fine, but the child was down in the water in a cave-like entrance and hadn’t come up for oxygen. Everyone was questioning whether this was a fake scarecrow or a real child in the water. I became very concerned and decided to do something about it. I went into this cave-like place to rescue the child. Even though something like that would normally terrify me, concern for the child caused me to go into the water.
At that point, a stranger also joined me and helped me pull the child to shore. Thankfully, the child was okay soon after, but I was still very affected by what happened. I began to cry and shake over the events. The child had come so close to drowning, and my heart was still broken for what could have been.
The stranger which I had never noticed before this event stepped up beside me and wrapped his arm around me to comfort me. At first, I was very awkward because I felt disloyal to the J-man (my date). This man though had this aura about him that felt very pure and safe. Oddly, he showed me how to receive comfort and again pulled me in close with a side hug. The hug felt so comforting that my anxiety quickly left, as well as my tears.
The guy then asked me if I wanted to hang out. Strangely enough, I agreed. Even though I was never a “player” in the dating scene and very loyal to the J-man, I agreed to go with the stranger on a date. It was also very unusual because this was not a guy that I would have ever picked in a crowd, noticed, or to which I would have been naturally attracted.
That date led to a series of dates. I don’t remember the details of the dates — just that they were incredibly special. I always felt safe, completely okay to be myself, and completely loved. Yes, I felt loved in that short time of spending time with him!
This guy started asking me about the things that make me afraid. I felt safe enough to tell him about my fears, one at-a-time. He then asked me if he could take me on a date and do each of the things I feared (fears that had to do with activities). Once again, I stepped out of my usual response and said, “Yes.” He took me swimming and patiently worked with me until I could dive.
At one point, I said that I was afraid of flying (I didn’t know that I was before this) so he invited me to go flying with him to meet his parents at Thanksgiving. That seemed like a big deal to visit his family, but I said, “Yes.”
Every time, he took me on an activity to face my fears, the fears seemed to lose their power. He somehow began to replace my fears with happy memories. There were no hiccups in my time spent with him, no doubts, no disagreements. It was beautiful, joy-filled, pure contentment, perfection.
While on vacation with his family over Thanksgiving, he continued to take me places to face my fears. One of the events that stands out to me was when I admitted that I was terrified to wear a bikini. He asked me about it, and I told him it was because I was embarrassed — embarrassed over my imperfect body. I was also afraid to be so vulnerable. I was raised in a modest family and had never worn a bikini in public. I was afraid of men’s lust.
Some would argue that I should just do my thing and forget about men’s lust, as it’s their problem. Yet, I knew that regardless of my personal “freedom” to do what I want, the reality is that I live in a sin-filled world where everything does matter. That’s why I don’t walk alone at night, leave my house unlocked, flash my credit card around, or shout my social security number in a crowd of people.
The truth is that I am no longer in the Garden of Eden where there is no shame or fear but just pure bliss, complete freedom, and pure innocence. This world has stolen our innocence. When Adam and Eve ate the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, they didn’t realize that knowing evil was never God’s intention for them nor the chains it would bring. They also didn’t need to know the religious form of good. They already knew goodness through personal experience in the Garden. Everything was absolutely perfect there. There was no sin, sickness, death, fear, shame, or separation from God in the Garden. As God said, “Everything He had made was good.” Everything was perfect — the utopia for which we all long.
Any other “good” besides what God gives us is a replacement that leads us away from the very things we think it promises.
Because I knew that exposing so much of my flesh for another’s man’s eyes held risk to me, I had never worn a bikini in public. I didn’t want to expose myself to lust and unwanted advances. As I shared my feelings with this man I had been dating for a few weeks, he simply asked me if I wanted to wear a bikini and go to the beach with him. Even though it was Thanksgiving, we had found a beach location at that time of year that was still pleasantly comfortable. It was also a beach that was very private. There were beach properties, spread out along the shore, but I don’t remember meeting up with any other soul that day, other than my date and I.
I would never have worn a bikini with any other guy, but with this man, I knew I was safe. I just knew it deep within my soul. His love for me and regard for me was perfection. I felt completely loved, adored, and valued but also completely safe. There were no strings attached or expectations on his part. He didn’t have any self-motivated reasons behind what he did for me or said to me. It was simply perfection.
In our culture today, if we met someone like that, we would imagine fault or something off about him because that type of purity doesn’t appear to exist. Yet in that time, it did for me.
There was never a time that I didn’t feel completely loved and completely free to be me. During our time spent together, he challenged me to grow, to face fears, to accept myself fully, to imagine, to explore. He challenged me in a way that was giving me complete freedom. I didn’t feel pushed, cajoled, judged, rushed. I felt invited but always knew that he was taking the pressure of my fears and somehow carrying them for me.
Some of you may be thinking that this guy sounds so perfect that he sounds boring. Yet, I can assure you that he wasn’t boring. He was funny, enjoyable to be around, adventurous, thoughtful. I don’t know how else to explain him because he still is the most unique person I have ever met. He was himself, and around him, I was completely myself — the most authentic version of me.
I remember one of the most recent dates we had. I remember the whiteness of the ocean and complete calm. I also remember that I was wearing a white, cotton outfit with thin, green stripes running lengthwise. It’s an odd detail to recall, but it’s one of my last thoughts of our time together.
I remember that everything was so calm and so peaceful. There was almost this stillness in the peace — this ability to simply exist, without anything else pressing in and weighing down.
It wasn’t long after that last visit that I asked his dad about him. I said to his dad, “He was so perfect that I imagine he was just like Jesus. Is it possible that it was Jesus I encountered?” I will never forget his dad’s response because he had a peculiar expression with a hint of hidden laughter in his eyes, and he said: “It just might have been.” The conversation ended, and I felt wonder in my heart that maybe I was right all along. Maybe, I really had spent those weeks with Jesus.
Who else knows my fears like Jesus? Who else knows how to comfort me so perfectly but without any selfish or ulterior motive in His “loving?” Who else makes me feel completely safe and free to be my most authentic self? Who else challenges my fears but never rushes, pushes, or shames me over them?
My recollections of white beaches, sparkling diamonds on calm ocean waves, and peaceful bliss melted into the white comforter of my bed. I awoke and looked around at the sun shining in my windows on a fall morning.
My heart felt very full as I pondered my long dream from which I had just awakened. This was the fourth dream I have had where I knew at the end that the One I was encountering in my dream was Jesus.
Is it possible to date Jesus in your dreams? Nothing is outside of the realm of Jesus. What I do know is that Jesus has been revealing Himself to me in profound ways in my sleep. Perhaps, it’s because it’s some of the only times where He has my full, undivided attention. I have been missing the times I used to have just to spend hours in uninterrupted time with Him. I miss Jesus — just simple time spent with Him, enjoying Him.
Is it possible that He is answering my heart cries by meeting me in my dreams? All that I know is that these experiences are actually teaching me more about the character of Jesus, how love actually looks and feels.
Even though I love my husband, kids, family, friends, I am discovering that there is no sweeter love than Jesus’s. He really is the One my heart longs for and that satisfies all my deepest desires.
I know there are those that will want to argue theology over this, but I am not going to do that. This was a dream, but it was a dream that God used to teach me about the reality of His character.
The day beckons me so I must finish writing, but I walk away with joy and peace and this awe in my heart: “Am I really that loved by Jesus?”
Obviously, the cross proves the extent of His love for me, and it’s amazing! I am forever grateful, but what about me today — 2000 years later? Can I know that same Jesus today, in my every day living, and can I be that intimately known by Jesus now?
Is Jesus really that concerned about my fears, dreams, and feelings today? Do I matter, or was the cross just about Him getting rid of my sin but not about also getting to know Him today/now? Am I one in a billion of sinners, or am I one that He wants to know personally? He knows me, but does He invite me to know Him personally, even in a dream?
I know the answers in my heart, but I invite you to explore life with Jesus and encounter the God of the Bible. Encounter His love. Encounter His peace. Invite Him into your fears, dreams, and desires.
He is worth knowing!