When I went to Haiti (almost every time), the missionaries would tell us stories about how Haiti used to be dedicated to Satan so a lot of evil, spiritual warfare type stuff goes on there so we need to be careful about what we take pictures of and what we buy because it could have the spirit of voodoo in it (just another way of saying, it could be possessed/cursed). They were even saying inanimate objects could have spirits attached to them so be careful what we touch. To me, it was just a scary story and wasn't really a concern until just last week.
Leading up to my Vegas trip, I began to have more and more nightmares. Normally I have about a nightmare a night (for the past 7 or 8 years), sometimes I will go a night without one, but then the next night I would have 2 or 3. It sucked. I would even sleep with my light on when I still lived with my parents. It got so bad at one point that I decided to sleep with KLOVE on so I could sleep in peace. Nothing really helped. I would eventually fall asleep because I couldn't keep my eyes open anymore, but then came the nightmares so I would wake right back up. Well, I had gotten used to having this many nightmares so I began to be numb to it. I'd be fearful to sleep, but once I slept and had the nightmares, I would wake up, roll over to cuddle with my husband so I would feel protected, then fall right back to sleep. This became somewhat of a routine for me and my husband. I think he just started expecting it to happen at least once a week if not more.
So once my Vegas trip began approaching and the nightmares got worse, I started hating sleeping again. I kept thinking to myself, "I better suck it up, I can't have these students thinking I'm a freak because I have nightmares every night." My husband and I decided to look up ways to get rid of nightmares: change your diet, don't snack late, drink a lot of fluids, etc. I looked back on the past couple weeks and thought to myself, "I've already done those things. This is useless."
Once we got to Vegas, the nightmares didn't let up as they hadn't in 7 or 8 years so why would they cease now. But, this was different. Normally I could think about something else or sing a worship song to myself and my fear would let up, but I was so terrified to sleep those first couple nights in Vegas. I couldn't figure out why. I was rooming with 3 others girls. Why was I so afraid? I remember, while the girls were sleeping, it was maybe 2am, I was pacing the floor in our room trying to will myself to not be scared. Ugh! It was so annoying and stupid! I'm a 24 year old woman! What was my problem!?
A couple days later, my nightmares came up in conversation so two of the interns at Grace City prayed for me. They prayed the nightmares would go away. That night, I dreamed that Clay (my husband) died and that no one cared and I was all alone. Seems stupid and pathetic, but it terrified me. The next morning, the interns came up to me and asked if the nightmares were gone. I said no and in fact, it was awful, but I did feel like I was able to fall asleep quicker and wasn't as afraid as I normally am so maybe that was an answer to prayer.
Every morning while in Vegas throughout the week, we went to the House of Prayer for an hour and a half each morning. The same morning after my nightmare about Clay, we went to the House of Prayer as usual. The pastor who was leading that day (Dave) asked if we had any praises or prayers or whatnot. I raised my hand and said, "I've been having nightmares for a while and we prayed over them last night. Well, they didn't go away, but I felt less scared so I think that's a praise." Dave responds, "You can get rid of them." Excuse me, what?! I can't tell you how many times I've prayed for these stupid nightmares to go away but, oh since Dave said it, I guess we can get rid of them. Bummer, wish I would've known THAT 7 years ago! That was my first reaction. My second reaction was, What is he talking about? How does he know that?
At the end of the hour and a half, Dave said that some people needed to be prayed for and some of us needed to do the praying. We were to bow our heads and ask God to show us who to pray for and if we were the one to be prayed for, then we would completely blank on anyone's name in the room. I was the latter. I literally couldn't even remember how many students we brought (9, not that hard, Renee).
Dave and another guy, Sean, came and sat with me to pray. Dave told me to repeat after him so I did. About halfway through the prayer, he says, "And forgive me for dabbling in witchcraft." In my head, I'm thinking, WHAT?! I've never done that, ever! But I decided to repeat him and tell him after the prayer. The prayer ends and I lift my head, "Um, Dave, I've never done witchcraft before. I think I would know." He looks at me and says something like, "That's okay, I wasn't exactly sure if you had or not, but there is a presence of voodoo around you. Were you anywhere where you were around that kind of stuff?" Immediately, an image popped into my head of the first night I had about a dozen nightmares in a row. It was one of my first trips to Haiti. "Haiti." Dave's eyes light up. "That's it. Let's pray again, repeat after me." We prayed to break the curse that was on my nights. We prayed that I would never again have a nightmare and that what ever was pestering me with nightmares would get out and never be allowed back in my nights. The weight was lifted. And, I wasn't just believing they were gone, I knew it. I knew they were gone forever.
I know I sound crazy. I know you may not believe me. But I also know what happened to me was true. I haven't had a nightmare since. I know it's only been 6 days, but that's like years for some people. I used to have nightmares every night. I've gone 6 days without a nightmare. And it's not like I'm not dreaming. I can't stop dreaming, but all good dreams. Do you know how long it's been since I've had a good dream that I didn't wake up from freaking out? Years. Last night alone, I had about 4 dreams, all good dreams, nothing bad. I'm telling you, our God is so much more powerful and mighty and stronger than we give him credit for! God is bigger than all of our fears, all of our problems, and all of our misunderstandings. He is such a great Father and I am His. Let's start believing that and living it out. Everyone needs to know how great of a God we serve. He's not about rules. He's about a relationship and he wants all of us, all of you.