Have you ever had a fear that was not only a fear, but left you terrified?
Perhaps you still do? Don’t worry, you are not alone.
I am writing a book about mine. This fear gave me nightmares for twenty years. I would wake up in the middle of night afraid to breathe because I was so terrified. I was paralyzed by my fear.
My fear was so alive in my night, it would haunt me, and even hunt me. Literally, it would hunt me. I dreamt I was being hunted by wolves. The nightmares were so vivid, I feared the wolves would hear my breathing when I was awakened by them, so I lied there motionless and paralyzed in my bed. Fearful to even blink.
It wouldn’t take much to trigger the nightmare.
We would see a stuffed wolf in a museum, in a movie, or especially a living one at the zoo. “Well someone’s going to have nightmares tonight,” Dad would point out.
We didn’t realize we could treat them, these nightmares were part of my life until I started seeing a counselor in my mid 20’s. She wasn’t just any counselor, she didn’t tell me what my problems were, she allowed me to point them out myself so I took ownership of them. She specialized in inner healing, allowing the Spirit of God to reveal painful areas I never wanted to face, but knew I needed to.
I decided I wanted to face them, because I knew God wanted me to be whole, and the only one holding me back from that was myself.
I trembled even in my 20’s as I relived and gave all the details to my counselor, who was at Breakthrough Biblical Counselor graduate, studied under Dr. Sandy Burkett.
My counselor Pam, asked me if anything ever happened to me that resembled the nightmare.
God indeed reminded me of an actual event that traumatized me as a child, that started these night mares.
I shared the real moments of being alone in the woods when I was a nine year old little girl. At least I thought I was alone.
I relived the event of being hunted by two teenage boys and Pam helped me walk through the healing of it. Months of meeting with Pam, facing fears, facing hurts, facing trauma, and facing the spirit of victimization. I didn’t need to live as a victim anymore!
But you know what? Since having those moments connecting with Christ, I never had the nightmare since? He’s truly healed me emotionally and spiritually of the trauma that took place in the woods when I was a little girl. We met every week for months… but I was meeting more than just Pam.
(The details of the actual event and nightmare will be further shared in my book).
….ten years later
Our friends, Amos and Shelby, told us about a Wolf Conservatory in Colorado Springs. I was sitting on the floor petting their puppy while my boyfriend (now husband) sat at the dining room table in their Colorado home listening to the details of how a wolf can sense your fear.
Not only could they sense your fear, but you have to earn their trust. If you earn their trust, they approach you slowly and treat you as another member in their pack, by licking your teeth or inside your mouth. (Sounds gross, I know, but its their behavior). Many owners of wolf-dogs were alarmed by this, thinking it to be aggression, but its the way they communicate and accept you.
Amos and Shelby continued talking about how the wolves sensed fear. The more they talked, the more my spirit deep within me bubbled up knowing I had to face my childhood fear. I wanted to earn the trust of the thing I feared the most.
I dealt with it ten years ago emotionally and spiritually, but it was time to deal with it physically.
Now to ask Dad to face it with me….
“Hey, Dad, do you remember how I used to have all those nightmares about wolves? Well, I learned about a Wolf Conservatory in Colorado that you can get in a cage with them, and I would love if you could go with me?”
Perhaps he was caught off-guard that I was asking him to get in a cage of wolves with me on the other side of the country, but I was absolutely serious.
“It’s the last thing to do before I complete writing my book. It’s something I know I need to do. I’ve dealt with this fear emotionally and spiritually, and I need to face it physically. You were there all those years, I would love for you to go.”
My book begins with this reoccurring nightmare of being hunted by wolves, how I dealt with it, how I faced my fear, and overcame adversity. There is so much more, but for this particular mission, it was about facing fear. A piece of all of us has a fear like that somewhere, it’s the matter of dealing with it that gets in the way for most. I wanted to face my fear and help others with theirs.
Dad was concerned about retiring in seven months and would consider it after then. (It was devastating. Three weeks prior to Dad retiring, he was diagnosed with ALS.)
“No, Dad, you don’t understand, it’s something I know I need to do as soon as possible. As soon as I can get out there, within the next month or two. I know this is something I can’t wait on.”
He was set on waiting while I couldn’t ignore the urgency in my spirit. If there is one thing I am guilty of, is living life to its fullest while I can. Life is short and full of opportunities if we choose to see them and embrace them. We all have a story to LIVE and a story to TELL. This was part of my story; facing my fear.
Wake up, sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you. Be very careful, then, how you live–not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. … Be filled with the Spirit! — Ephesians 5:14-15,18
This is one of my life verses for me. For I was once that sleeper and now filled with His Spirit.
(to be continued…)