I am not a mystic. I do not ever remember having a dream with some special meaning. Ever. However, I know it happens.
In the mission context, people across the world have dreams that open their minds and hearts to Jesus. It’s commonplace. But it just doesn’t happen a lot in our context. Kim wrote about dreams in Voices of the Faithful. These dreams were instrumental in opening people’s hearts and minds to the gospel.
However, I have never had meaningful dreams. So, it was with some amazement that it happened.
I was not sleeping well the first few months. It’s a common aspect of grief. One morning I was on an early flight, and I was tired. As the plane ascended, I dozed off.
I was jolted awake by a vivid dream. In my dream, Kim was about twenty feet in front of me, and she was running full speed toward me. Her face had an expression of sheer exuberance. She was elated more than I’d ever seen her. She dove into my arms and my dream ended. That’s it. Mere seconds.
“Jesus said… ‘…everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?’” John 11:25-26
Over time I unpacked my dream slowly. I’m not going to insist on this interpretation or that the dream was from God. Maybe. I hope so. Maybe God was giving me a gift. I don’t pretend to know with absolute certainty. I am reminded, however, that Joel prophesied that old men will dream dreams. And for the record, I’m beginning to fit Joel’s criteria to be able to dream those dreams (Joel 2:28).
Kim normally didn’t run but when she did it was never fast (although a little known fact about Kim is that she played soccer for the University of Georgia). I concluded her exuberance was a result of being with Christ. Heaven was beyond anything she’d ever known, and it showed on her face. Pure ecstasy. Elation. Given the choice, she would not come back to me. She loved me, her children, and especially her grandchildren. Not to mention her extended family and friends. But in the light of her new life in eternity, she would want me to know that she’s perfectly fine. Heaven is for real. She would graciously decline any invitation to return to us and her life here even if offered the opportunity. Heaven is that good. Jesus’ presence is that joyful.
“But, as it is written, ‘What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him.’” 1 Corinthians 2:9
“In mansions of glory and endless delight, I’ll ever adore Thee in heaven so bright…” William R. Featherstone, “My Jesus, I Love Thee”
As a result of my stunning experience of loss, I see heaven differently than I ever have before. I feel like Stephen (in Acts 7:55). He got to gaze into heaven before he went there. Maybe this dream was a gift to allow me to gaze into heaven, see the ecstatic joy on Kim’s face, and long for the beautiful presence of Christ even more.
But for now, I live on. I need to carry on faithfully. I need to honor Kim and God in the manner I live.
“For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. If I am to live in the flesh, that means fruitful labor for me…” Philippians 1:21-22
Living on in the flesh will mean fruitful life, relationships, and work. For me, apparently, it is more necessary. I need to grieve and mourn appropriately so that health and effectiveness return. Then, I’ll be able to embrace the “more necessary,” the investment into the accounts of others. But for now, I am encouraged by a glimpse into eternity.
“He will swallow up death forever; and the Lord God will wipe away tears from all faces…” Isaiah 25:8
“O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?” 1 Corinthians 15:55
It is reassuring to project yourself into the future when death is, indeed, swallowed up and defeated. Tears are wiped away from every face. Struggles are behind us, and the persecutions are put away. The reproach of God’s people is removed. While we live here on earth in the day-by-day stuff of life, it’s encouraging, faith-bolstering, and even comforting to know it will one day be put behind us. Death, mourning, crying, and pain will pass away.
“But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope.” 1 Thessalonians 4:13
“Giver of immortal gladness…” Henry Van Dyke, “Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee”
“He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” Revelation 21:4
“Then I shall bow, in humble adoration, and then proclaim: ’my God, how great Thou art!’” Stuart K. Hine, “How Great Thou Art”
I had a “Vision” one afternoon after Larry went home to heaven. I was laying on the couch (where he had passed), I was half asleep but knowing I wasn’t really asleep. I looked up and saw my Larry standing at the front door with Roses in his hand. He was smiling the biggest smile. I had such a sense of peace and joy seeing him smile. I went to get up and looked back at the door and he was gone. I went outside and my rose tree that he had given me on previous years Mother’s Day had burst into full bloom. I truly know that God does comfort us during times of change and loss here in this world. I know Larry lives with my Jesus.
He is our Comforter and knowing of the certainty of heaven is comforting, too.
Amazing DRay! Just amazing. Thanks for sharing. This means a LOT to me!
So glad to hear this! I had a similar dream about Scott about 5 months after he died. I told Aunt Katrena about it. I saw Scott, with a huge grin on his face, back in the home where he grew up in Smyrna – which is the place I spent the most time with him and with Kim as children. It was very comforting to see that he was so happy. So thankful we have a mighty and loving God who can use dreams to bring us comfort.
We do have a mighty and loving God…and he has given me the gift of Kim’s whole family!
Beautiful thoughts you’ve shared, D Ray. Thank you!
Our God has such a intimate way of touching us when we need it the most! Thank you again for sharing your heart. My husband’s death anniversary is in a few days………………I am believing that this pain will pass.
May the anniversary of your husband’s death be a sweet reminder of God’s goodness to you, Annette. I remember turning my grief into gratitude. May you realize God’s goodness, kindness, and grace to you in the gift of your relationship with your husband. I have been reminded over and over of God’s kindness to me by sharing Kim with me.
D, Ray we have read all your blogs and always with tears because we were imagining what you were going through. Today I feel differently. You are still in deep grief but you are seeing light, there is fresh hope. Am I right.. ?. We are grateful for your blogs. You are writing really well. Kim would be so proud, and we are proud of you also.
Yes, there is and has been fresh hope. While there are feelings of fear and dread throughout a journey of loss there are also recognitions of light, joy, hope, and peace. I’m trying to share it all and it will be a journey filled with many more experiences and lessons of hope.
I love this story. I can see picture the scene as you describe it. -kim running, her brightness, big smile, and the reassurance that she’s ok. What a sweet gift from the Lord. As I read, I was thinking of Kim as a writer, and how amazed and proud she would have been to read this. You really transport us, Dray. You allow us to walk in your shoes; learn and grow from your experience. Reading these are always emotional, but I love how, though you honor Kim, the Lord is on display. It’s the way she would want it. Pressing on and digging deep.
I’m so glad to hear that it resonates and accomplishes what I want to convey. He should be on display. As I said at her funeral, she would want me to make much of God and not so much of her. However, I do want to honor her. She and I would want to point others to Christ.
D.Ray, I lost my mother on Good Friday and your words mean so much to me. Although she and I were well prepared for her death, it still hurts and I miss her so much. I long to ask her what the journey to heaven was like? How is it there? What is her room in his mansion like? Is it all she hoped for? I know the answers… but I’d so love a glimpse of her new world, a confirmation that she arrived safely and all is as she believed. So I am praying for a dream too.
So sorry for your loss on Good Friday. Because of Jesus, your mother didn’t have to wait until Sunday! What a thought!