My mom tells the story of when a tornado hit while we were living in a trailer park in Georgia. At the time, my parents were young, still a little care-free, and definitely not in church, and still the Lord intervened on our behalf that night in the most mysterious and unusual way. That night when she went to bed, my mom was not thinking about the weather, and yet when the trailer shook with the gusts of wind she immediately jumped up. Anyone who has ever lived in a single wide trailer can tell you that they move a lot when wind gusts around them. That particular night she got out of bed to see what was going on. As she walked toward the living room, something outside her bedroom window caught her attention. The nearby trees were bending under the force of the wind, and even the rain slanted violently in accordance with the storm. Outside the night was pitch black and yet something moved when the lightning flashed with frenetic energy. As the trailer continued to shake she moved closer to get a better view, and immediately she noticed what appeared to be a man standing outside in the rain only a few feet away from her window. She blinked to clear her sleepy eyes and focused again on the man standing, now, only a few feet away. He was dressed oddly, even for the seventies, in a long, brown trench coat and a felt hat (much like what we call a Fedora). Of course, her first thought was, why is he standing in the rain? (My thought would be more along the lines of why is he outside my window??) She moved closer to watch him, just to see what he was doing. It suddenly seemed as if the storm was only a backdrop in her mind. She said that she didn’t feel fear of the winds or even of the odd man in front of her window. As she watched him, he never turned his eyes toward her; instead, he stood there with arms stretched high toward the sky, and moved his mouth continuously as if shouting toward the heavens. She listened to see if she could make out the words that he was saying, but no matter how much she strained the thunder and the raging wind seemed to carry the voice away from her. Rain streamed all around his rugged features and at one point he falls to his knees as if in deep supplication. After what seemed like an eternity, the wind began to calm down, the rain started pouring like a normal rainy day, and the trailer stopped shaking with the force of the storm. In astonishment, she climbed back in the bed. The next morning after learning about the massive storm damage in the surrounding area, my mother once more thought of the man outside the window. Was it a dream? She wasn’t sure, in fact, she admitted that she felt a little crazy thinking about it. It felt like a dream, and yet she remembered every detail as if she had been awake the entire time. Without a doubt something significant had taken place during that stormy night.
What is the difference between a Dream and a Vision?
Much later, after studying dreams and visions, and having a couple of my own, I learned that dreams and visions are much different. Dreams are more symbolic, and we are most always asleep. They often involve sometimes simple, but more often complex, symbolism to create in you a hunger to search deeper to find what it is the Lord is trying to say (after you discern whether it is a dream from God – something I will blog about later). Dreams rarely lend themselves to self-interpretation, which means that unless it is simple and easy to understand you will most likely need to search it out to discern the true meaning. In fact, dream “language” is a way to prompt us to pray, listen, and search the Word, search His face, in order to find out what He is saying. Proverbs 25:2 says, “It is the glory of God to conceal a matter, but the glory of kings is to search out a matter.” In dreams, the Lord goes straight for the heart and our Spirit man. Another cool fact about dreams is that they are usually for a later time period and not meant to be “right away.”
Visions are a little different. In a vision you are usually awake or semi-awake. Even though visions can use distinct symbolism they are still considered easier to interpret as they are meant to be taken in a more literal sense. Visions can come through vivid images, pictures, and/or mental snapshots. In Zechariah 4:1-7, we encounter a man having an exciting and powerful symbolic vision. Then Zechariah turned to an angel near him in the vision and wisely said, “What are these, my lord?”. Sometimes, depending on the depth of the vision they will need to be searched out and interpreted. John Paul Jackson, a great man in the study of dreams, used to say that visions bring greater clarity, and greater clarity equals greater cost. In other words, visions are meant to happen (most of the time) quickly.
In the case of my mother’s vision, the angel stood in the gap for her and our family. Do we understand why? Even today, I don’t know the fullness of her vision. I have come to realize (and let me add that this is very difficult for me) that everything does not have to be laid out in a neat little row for me to see. I just have to trust that God has a greater plan. His Word tells me that He has a greater plan. Jeremiah 29:11 says, “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.” Wow! He amazes me every day.
Why Did I Have A Corresponding Vision?
May 2008, my first vision came. We were all asleep in the upstairs bedroom (my two girls at the time slept in there with us), and I suddenly startled awake. I looked around a little confused, and then my eyes fell on our entry way right outside our door. Normally, it was just a busy, messy school room, but on this night I could see nothing but green grass flowing for miles. I tried to sit up but found that I couldn’t move. I watched as little cherub angels flitted around in the entry way preparing greenery all over this huge, cement portico (like you might see in Rome, Italy). I started saying, “Cheyenne, wake up”, and even though I was talking loud my husband never moved. I watched as the preparations continued, and the angels brought out this huge, white, fluffy pillow and placed it directly on top of the cement portico. Then in an instant a foot much larger than my home came down and sat gently on top of the pillow, and then it was all gone. The next morning I called my pastor, a prophetic friend that I was in contact with, and another minister that I knew. I prayed, I sought for guidance, but I felt that the answer was not yet to be revealed. I was so excited to see my first vision but felt a little disappointed because I didn’t know what it meant. My friends and spiritual mentors all prayed with me, offered some insight, and agreed to search it out. I mean, I was on a literal high! I felt ecstatic that the Lord showed me something so extraordinary. I had prayed for more dreams and visions, and He had heard my cry. Two weeks passed without any news or revelation, and then it happened: May 2008, Mother’s Day Tornado. At 2:00 a.m. I was up praying because the storms had been raging around us all evening. My family was asleep on the living room floor on an air mattress, and suddenly the weather man said, “Tornado Warning”, and it was my exact area. I said, “Everyone up, we have to get to the closet.” In the moment it took me to say this the house began to shake. The revving of a loud Monster Truck began to sound all around us, and we barely made it into the closet. I was praying in tongues (and I don’t mean quietly 🙂 ), as the house began to breathe. I could almost feel the walls moving in and out, and as I shouted above the noise of the storm tearing things up outside I saw the Lord’s foot again, and it came down upon my home. I heard, “This far and no further,” and immediately I felt peace. The storm moved off, and when we surveyed the outside damage (which was extensive including our brand new huge barn) I looked at my untouched home with awe. Not a piece of tin, not a block from the foundation, or a board from the porch was moved. Instantly, I understood the larger scope of my vision. I was being shielded by the angels, by the Lord Himself, much the same way I had been when I was a little girl, and my mom had her vision. I was in absolute amazement at the goodness of God.
So, What Does It All Mean?
I still don’t know the fullness, but I know that a God in heaven loves me beyond any scope of my understanding. When we ask for Him to show us, then He will. Like Daniel I believe that “He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to those who have understanding. He reveals deep and secret things” (Daniel 2:21-22). He reveals the deep and secret things. . . are we willing to receive? “Wisdom and might are His”, and yet, He willingly gives to those who call upon Him. He said, “Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know.” Today is the day. Seek Him to show you mysteries of the Kingdom. Let Him show you the seemingly impossible. Be blessed!