Monday, January 14, 2013

My Nightmares

It’s after work and I close my door, almost tripping as I’m climb into bed, I’m so tired.
It’s warm outside, but I put a blanket on anyway.
It’s a security thing.
It doesn’t take long to fall asleep and I’m in a state of nothingness when I hear it.
It’s the door.
It opened, I swear it.
It may be my nightmares so I try to drag myself from my sleepy, stupid slumber.
But I decide against it and tell myself I’m dreaming.
It’s so easy to fall back into zzzz’s and I relax until,
I hear it…
It’s footsteps, slowly, creaking… I can almost see the intruder, everything but his face.
It’s almost as if he’s smiling, knowing I’m home alone.
“It’s just a dream,” I scream inside my head, like I actually believe me, but…
It’s getting closer.
It’s the footsteps I hear, softly at first, growing louder as the intruder makes his way down the hallway.
It’s almost like he smells my fear and mocks me as he stands at the doorway, forever.
“IT’S JUST A NIGHTMARE,” I try to whisper out loud, shrieking inside my head, until…
It’s the doorknob… turning, slowly turning, I don’t open my eyes, but I hear it’s sound.
It’s… it’s, unmistakable.
It clicks about mid-turn. Every time.
“It’s not a nightmare this time,” I try and breath so I reach for my knife, but in my sleepy stupor I can’t grasp it, I can’t even lift it, which only adds to my fear.
It’s hot outside, but I’m shaking, my teeth clattering, shivering, and sweating all at once.
It’s fear. He knows it. I know it and I try to hide it, to pretend it isn’t happening.
It’s just the stuff of my nightmares, it’s just a nightmare, it’s just my nightmares...

I’ve dreamed this dream a thousand times. I can never wake myself up, but I think I do.

I’m REMming and think I’m out of bed, walking, trying to shut and lock my door, but I can’t push it. So then I know I’m still asleep. Once that realization hits me, I’m immediately back in bed. So it starts over. I try to wake myself up. Walk. Shut my door, grab a knife, hit the lock, only these tasks are impossible. Once that happens, I know I’m sleeping. Bam! I’m back in bed, so I focus on trying to WAKE UP. It’s exhausting. I hate it so much. I’m so sick of being tired and so sick of being afraid to close my eyes.

I’ve always had weird dreams. As a kid my dad said I had night terrors where I’d wake up, point to the same corner, and scream, “Don’t you see it daddy?” Thank God, I don’t remember what I was trying to get him to see.

Eventually it evolved to me sleep walking, but the worst of them was my upside-down dreams. Yeah, seriously. Everything was upside-down. After having this dream, I’d open my eyes and everything would still be upside-down. Briefly, but it scared the heck out of me. Scared me so much that I refused to close my eyes again, knowing what would happen if I did.

These dreams continued long into my twenties, when I was living on my own. People told my parents I’d “grow out of it.” I guess I haven’t grown up yet. I had nightmares after watching this stupid movie about a witch who couldn’t survive in the light, so the poor guy bathed his house in it. It was a stupid movie, but I dreamt about it anyway. I even remember having nightmares after watching, “The Legend” with Will Smith. They’re stupid movies. I know that, I tell myself that over and over and over again, but it doesn’t matter. It’s like I’m feeding my nightmares. Why do I do that to myself?

Then I made the biggest mistake. I watched “The Exorcist”.  Dumbest move ever. I had the “all my friends are watching it” mentality. It has forever affected my dreams.

The last movie that affected my dreams the most, which will totally surprise you, was "The Passion". I totally recommend that movie to anyone and everyone, you will not be unaffected, But the part that affected my dreams was the demon children who followed Judas to his hanging himself. Read on and you'll see why....

The movies weren’t the “icing on the cake,” so to speak. It was a break in attempt. It was around and I was on the phone with Kyle, who was my boyfriend at the time, when suddenly my front door slams open. Whoever wanted to get in, tried really hard because it actually bent the screen door when whoever-it-was opened it. Today I thank God for two things: one, I had my pad lock locked and two, my lab, pit bull mix puppy went nuts. Because once she started barking the door knob stopped jiggling and whoever it was ran away. THAT’S when these dreams started.

At first I was trying to wake myself up so I could defend myself against a break in, but eventually it lead to little demons running around my house. I even thought a few times that I was actually being levitated off the bed! The worst part was… I knew I was dreaming, so I’d try to wake myself up, and was never successful unless I got Kyle’s attention. I’d try shrieking his name, hitting him, screaming as loud as I could, but he told me over and over again, after waking me up, that I was just “breathing weird” and making "strange noises."

It was almost like demons were haunting me through my dreams. I hate writing this down, or even admitting it out loud but it scared the bejeebees out of me. Plus, it sounds crazy. Demons? Really, Becky?

My dad told a story of a woman he witnessed, after asking a group of men to lay hands on her and pray for her, barely being held down by numerous men after attempting this prayer session. Her anger was obvious and her overall demeanor changed, and the way my dad described it – it was not of the heavenly world. I’ve heard others about scales over the eyes, voices changing, angry dispositions gone. Believe me, this isn’t fantasy. The more I thought of this, the more I wondered if my dreams weren't just dreams.

So I figured I needed to figure out a way to peaceably sleep. But, I soon found out I am unable to do that.
I went from having these dreams every, single, night to disappearing altogether. It’s because my trust focus changed from, I need Kyle to wake me up or I need to wake myself up, to “God, please help me.” I began praying and quoting every Bible verse I knew. I still have freaky dreams occasionally, but I suddenly realized they feared God more than I feared them! AND I HAVE GOD WITHIN ME! What was I to fear? It was never about me after all! DUH! Once this realization hit me, the dreams were less frequent.

It’s crazy, I know it, but these dreams returned after hearing my pastor preach about Angels and Demons, adding to my plethora of scary stories. I mean, come on! I hear a sermon – confirming what I already know – and it brings these dreams back?! It’s like a relapse of PTSD. I hear one story about a kid possessed with evil spirits, how he told him he was “hearing voices,” and cutting himself because it was the only way to stop hearing them – and wham, bam-a-lam, I have another dream. After this dream they stopped for a while again.

Until last night.

I can't explain the dream really. But I can tell you what happened...

I was exhausted and couldn't help closing my eyes, but the moment I did the darkness changed. I don't really know how to explain it except like this... close your eyes, now put your hand over your eyes. It went from dark to dark-er. Then there was a heaviness. I struggled to breath, talk, or lift my arms. So I'd pray and wake myself up. Again, I was exhausted and had a hard time keeping my eyes open, but the moment they were closed, I felt the darkness and heaviness, so I'd pray, wake up, close my eyes, pray, etc. Then I tried to wake Kyle to pray with me, but I think in the moments when I was most awake I was still partially asleep because it did not affect him in the slightest. I was terrified of closing my eyes, so I decided that I had nothing else to do but get on my knees and pray, beg, for God to help me.  I fell asleep in that position and next woke up on my hands and knees, sleeping peacefully.

So telling this, writing it down, is an attempt to figure out why I'm having these dreams and to ask that you, as the reader, pray for me. Maybe I'll never figure out why I'm having these things happen to me, but I have a feeling that this isn't the last of these nightmares. Thankfully I have faith in the promise for a perfect ending with no tears, frustrations, or fears because Satan will be defeated. Call me crazy, but I seriously think that I'm being haunted by a demon. I only wish I knew the reason why. But until the day this all goes away I will face this demon straight on, knowing I have the power of Christ Jesus. The Holy Spirit is way smarter than me, or any demon, and thankfully He resides within me, so there’s one thing I know beyond a shadow of a doubt: I’m not alone. I can face my nightmares having faith in that one fact, because now when these dreams do occur – whether I feel like I’m floating above my bed, or dealing with an overpowering mess, or someone is trying to break into my house, or if I have little demon children running through my hallways, I find myself praying and praising God! And guess what? My nightmares haven’t entirely stopped, but when they do come, not only am I able to wake up, but I’m able to peaceably fall asleep afterwards.

Dang. The power of prayer and praise, to a God so worthy of it, amazes me still!

Friday, January 11, 2013

CraaaAaaAzzy Quigley, Part 2

Quigley has been particularly crazy since my last post (CraaaAaaAzzzzzy Quigley) and I had to share his latest....
  • He loves to stand in front of heaters with his mouth open, breathing in the warm air. I had to spent a significant portion of the day teaching him that it's not ok to sleep RIGHT up against the space heater.
  • He also loves rattles. I had to put all of Brielle's toys that we play with periodically through the day in a tub, (and make sure they are always picked up when we are done) with a lid, because he'll take them and shake his head around vigorously.
  • He is a HUGE fan of anything FEET. If you walk by him he believes that it is an invitation to play and will shove his head between your knees and attack your feet. His new thing is to hide under the bed and attack your feet as you walk by. He also loves shoes, socks and slippers. He has yet to destroy anything (ok, the insole of Kyle's right slipper has seen better days) but if we're missing a sock or shoe we always know to look in his kennel where he "stores" them. He's been known to take the socks right off Brielle's feet. She doesn't seem to mind this in the slightest, but his obsession is getting out of control. So Kyle took some old beat up socks, tied knots in them, and gave them to Quigley. He's in heaven.
  • If Quigley likes something that he doesn't want to share, he'll "bury" it. I'll find rawhides under the rugs, blankets and pillows. It's absolutely HILARIOUS to watch him bury something in the house. He'll use his nose and paws to "keep it hidden" which of course, it's not.
  • Lately he will shimmy himself under the bed in the basement guest room, bark, growl and whine at whatever is under there (which is nothing, cause I've looked). He'll sprint under the bed, make a significant amount of noise, fly out from under the bed, sprint around the bed and into the family room, and he does all of this with his ears back and tail tucked (which I'm guessing is a tactic he uses to increase speed).
  • Marley, who looks like a midget dog compared to Quigley, displays his dominance daily by sitting ON him. Quigley could care less. In fact, MARLEY gets in trouble for nipping at Quigley's ears, making him cry! So much for Quigley being the bigger, more dominant male dog.
  • If I'm sweeping, I'll find Quigley with a dust bunny hanging from his mouth, which scatters the pile everywhere, causing me to start all over.
  • He is a quick littler learner as well. It didn't take him long to learn to sit and lay down. We're still working on the ability to stay - he gets SO EXCITED! He also does very, very well on a leash. Better than Marley.... We're so glad that Quigley is the opposite of Marley's stubborn behavior, because we couldn't handle it if he was. Quigley is so laid back. Marley is high strung and doesn't understand that when he gets himself all worked up over something (like the mailman) Quigley INSTANTLY wants to play, which frustrates the HECK out of Marley, who hides under tables and growls at him. Quigley, in the mean time, has his butt up in the air, whining, and wagging his tail, ready to play, which was never Marley's intention. Poor Quigley, he just doesn't get it.
Quiggles (yes, we occasionally call him that) is such a goofy, crazy dog and we love him! Kyle and I laughed at whatever crazy thing he was doing the other night and commented that we are so glad we picked the name Quigley, it just suits him! He most definitely brings a whole new level of entertainment to our home.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

2012: A Memorable Year!

I will always be able to look back at this year with amazement. Memorable doesn't even begin to describe the last few months of our lives. I truly believe that this is one of those years where we will be able to look back and see God's faithfulness. We have "little" reminders through out our daily lives, but this year offered enormous events that proved in so many ways that we can truly rely on God for everything. Finances. Groceries. Home Remodel. And... our LIVES.

This year has been full of blessings, heartaches, wake up calls, heart stopping moments, and through it all we are reminded as we look back that God is sovereign. He is in control of it all.

As I look back I bring myself close to tears as I recall....

Bringing in the New Year wondering if we were expecting. We had one discussion trying to decide whether or not we were ready to start a family. Our conclusion? God's in control. If He wants us to start a family, well, we'll start a family. One week later. No joke, I just knew I was pregnant. So when New Years came around we had a twinge of excitement - but no solid "positive" test at that point.

I remember taking test after test after test and they all came back negative. Which was slightly crushing. I was convinced that either I was prego or that something was seriously wrong with me. One morning, after a negative test, my husband and I decided to go out to breakfast. I spent the morning in tears, boo-hooing that, "This is just so much fun! I love having coffee with you! I love you so much!" This was not my norm and as my husband looked at me with, "my wife's a weirdo" eyes, he stated simply, "You've got to be pregnant!"

One Wednesday a few days later I finally got the positive we'd been anxiously waiting for!

Now, we had a decision to make. I loved my job as a junior high reading teacher, however, we felt like God was leading us to make the decision of being a stay-at-home mom. It was so hard! I just finished my masters degree in 2010, I was just getting to the point where I felt like  I "had this teacher thing down," and I loved my positions as head JH basketball coach and assistant HS track and field coach. Despite the fact that I was where I had always dreamed of being, I felt like staying at home was what I needed to do. It was the hardest resignation to submit. The moment I handed the superintendent the letter, I wanted to take it back. It was a leap of faith, because I felt a tug in both directions. What finally made my decision was two things: 1. The one day care provider we trusted, was full. and 2. Kyle said, "Becky, you can always go back to teaching, but you'll never have those first years of you daughters life back."

So when April rolled around, I finally announced that I would not be returning. I was then beginning to focus on preparing for our baby.

Part of the preparation was going to church. Sunday mornings during Sunday school we studied Ecclesiastes where we learned what it means to fear God and that He is in control -
"What has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done, and there is nothing new under the sun." (1:8)
Basically, God knows what happened yesterday, today and what will happen tomorrow. Why worry about it? Enjoy the day. Give thanks to God for it all and
"Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man." (12:13)
Then on Tuesdays we were studying Romans where my understanding of what it means to be a Christian increased ten fold! I honestly didn't know how valuable those two studies would be for me later....

When "later" rolled around my faith was put to the ultimate test....

Except for the first trimester where I felt like I had the flu and spent every moment sleeping, the pregnancy was flawless. We went to every appointment hearing, "Everything looks great!" Until I went to the doctor to monitor her heart rate five days after my due date. Her heart rate dropped to a scary low. This happened all during labor as well, until the doctor finally told us that if we didn't do an emergency c-section, we were going to lose her. I remember during my peak to peak contractions my sister asking the doctor, "Why are her contractions so long and intense?!" And the doctor replied, "Because she should be pushing!" My goal was to do the birth without meds, so while I was enduring the most intense portion of labor my cervix didn't want to cooperate. It acted like a funnel, with the top only dilating to three centimeters (after 22 hours of labor) and the bottom was dilated to nine centimeters. Our daughters head was being pushed into a tiny space, causing her to lose oxygen, thus dropping her heart rate significantly. It was one of the scariest moments of our life, but once they stopped the contractions her heart rate shot back up and she was born healthy and beautiful.

She  almost died that day, but it was an experience that Kyle and I can specifically say, "Wow! God is definitely in control."

We had an incredible first week at home together as a new family.

Then ten days later I experienced a scary postpartum hemorrhaging experience. I went to take a nap and woke up to my mother-in-law wanting to take me to the emergency room. I remember her asking questions and thinking I was answering them effectively, however she told me later that she had to ask multiple times, "Becky, what's the passcode to your phone so we cancall Kyle at work?"

"Becky, what's the passcode to your phone?"

"Becky, what's the passcode to your phone?" (x3)

...or what my address was so she could tell the 911 operator. We laugh about this now, but she said that the 911 operator asked her how old I was and I responded without even my mother-in-law repeating the question to me. How is it that I struggled answering questions and then I hear a question from someone else -on the phone- and I answer it right away? I was loopy.

So after losing conscienceness twice, getting rescue breaths, sternum rubs, going on an ambulance ride, finally "stabilizing" to move me to the helicopter where I was transported to Cheyenne, I found out that a piece of placenta had been left behind after the emergency c-section. In the course of 10 days I received 7 units of blood and 2 units of plasma. I look back on that whole experience and thank God that I had Kyle, my family, and faith in an unchanging God.

I almost died that day, but it was an experience that Kyle and I can specifically say, "Wow! God is definitely in control."

When we came home our house was clean and we had a new bed thanks to my wonderful family. They unloaded the mattress into the garage for Kyle to take to the dump later. As he was loading it in his truck my family asked me if I wanted to see it. I sat with my back to the window for a while, debating. When I finally decided that yes, I wanted to see it, I was blown away with how much blood I actually lost. My mom and I sat at the window, bawling, as we stared at two huge spots that had soaked clear to the box spring. We kept asking, "How did I live through that?!"

I asked Kyle what he would've done had we lost Brielle and then then days later me... "I would've closed the door to our home and never set foot in it again. Everywhere I look I see you and your preparations for our daughter. I don't know where I would've gone, but I would not have been able to stay."

My heart broke for him, how sad is it that he actually had to think about that, twice?

Since then I've had minor problems, a couple of infections on my incision that caused tenderness, but nothing major. I was amazed that after my second surgery in the same spot, that I felt so much better! I honestly didn't know that it wasn't normal to walk around Walgreen's for ten minutes and feel utterly exhausted. I didn't know that it wasn't normal to not be able to push Brielle's cart at the hospital over the door threshold. I was so incredibly weak! Just a walk through the hospital hallways exhausted me! I remember feeling sooooo tired after walking down the stairs or showering and getting dressed! After my D&C I was a new person. Who knew that one tiny piece of placenta could cause that much havoc!

Now that both ordeals are over and I'm finally able to say that I feel good, the medical bills are coming in one after another after another. It's overwhelming. We were expecting medical bills, but we weren't expecting a flight for life bill, an ambulance bill, an emergency room bill, a 2 surgery's kind of bill... as they come in we've literally been on our knee's, in tears, begging God for some kind of miracle. He is faithful. That's been obvious as we look back at this year's events. We know we'll be taken care of, but everything is in HIS timing. So we're learning patience and our faith is being put through the refining fire. We know we need to trust in Him, but do you know how hard that is when you're literally in the red every month? So we go back to Proverbs 3:5 over and over again,
"Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him and he will make straight your paths."
We praise God that we have a warm house to live in. Groceries to put on the table. Clothes to wear. We praise God that we have a beautiful baby girl and that I'm alive to watch her smile for the first time! We praise God for everything we learned - growing in our relationship with Him as we studied His word. We praise God for the events of this year, because without the fire, our trust in God would not have grown to where it is today.

2012 was most definitely a memorable year, but we'll always be able to look back at the memories and know we can trust in an ever faithful, unchanging, loving, strong God who promises to take care of us.