My Reflection part 2

I had a dream a few weeks ago that I know was about this journey. I was back in my childhood home, and I struggle to recall the details, but this was the first time in years I’ve dreamed of the place and the first time in my dreams I was there as an adult and feeling in control.

Standing in that room where I had longed for beauty, it was daylight and I looked about the mess and had ideas: I could conquer this! The rough wood I planned to paint a lovely blue, just like the French gate in Marseilles. And curtains! With lovely ruffles! Cupboards could neatly enclose the old open-faced shelves nailed to the wall and much could be done for beauty. I was not afraid.

Then the most curious thing. I looked below me through an opening in the floor, and kneeling with utter surprise discovered another dwelling of such beauty and majesty–fine marbled floors, a stately curving staircase leading to greater rooms and even an indoor pool. (Or was it utter surprise? Dreams are so difficult to gauge, that realm where even the most bizarre is not astonishing.)

Why was I living in this shack when under my very feet was a mansion?

Nearly as soon as my eyes took in the beauty of those impressive quarters, I heard a wind gaining strength in the distance, knowing instinctively the gales were headed my way. Suddenly, the door to the mansion below flew open and I was filled with old terror. There at the doorstep lay a girl, a waif, as if blown in by the east wind. Was this a picture of myself, was I afraid of entering into the beauty? Fear and beauty cannot live together, just as disorder and beauty cannot.

The girl stood up, revealing a pack on her back. The knap-sacked stray with long straight brown locks, unkempt with the wind, walked almost defiantly into the entry of the great mansion, and I was afraid, feeling that she did not belong here, threatened by her very presence. Was she a symbol of every fear that threatens to undo me, a whole suitcase full of anxiety?

Just today I had another perspective. I may be living in a mansion but not really living. I may have at my disposal all the riches of Heaven and be ignoring them, or just peering at them through the cracks, perhaps relegating myself to a corner. Why, oh why, would a child of God behave this way?

Such thoughts found home in me today as I walked into the guest room of my real-life house, now clean. But this room had sat a mess for months, a living specter of misorder within a mansion. Not until yesterday when the floors were cleared of shambles and every carpet tuft free of box and burden did I understand: if I exercise discipline and look closely at what I already have, I may discover that I am indeed equipped for every good work.

And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. 2 Corinithians 9:8

I’m growing in strength and beauty, but still I journey, and have miles to go before I sleep.

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My Reflection in the Dirty Pane Glass, Part 1

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8 Responses to My Reflection part 2

  1. Kristin says:

    Hi Jen, I have been eagerly anticipating part two of your Arizona childhood story (and am honored to see a certain link with in it! merci!)

    The first thing that struck me was the dream; I had an identical dream some time ago : beneath the floor there was another home (only in my dream, it may have been the opposite–with the oppressive part below…) I’m wondering if such a dream is categorized in one of the books on dreams (which might give more insight into the meaning).

    I really like your second interpretation! May we all dust off our spaces… and get busy with every good work. (I admit that I am typing this response during a leisurely nap…)

    I hope you will continue sharing this touching memoir. I’ve been busy in your archives, looking for more on your Arizona childhood….

  2. Jen says:

    Kristin, when I saw the color in my dream that I wanted for the wainscoting, I realized right when I woke up where it came from–it sailed right over the ocean from your camera, that gate photo I believe you took in Marseilles, but correct me if I have the wrong city. I saw your photo not too long before the dream and I must have really liked it!

    How funny that you had a dream about the other home, too. I’m starting to think it must be sort of a common theme, because just a few days ago another friend shared a dream about an extra room on her house that she wasn’t aware of…

    Okay, calling all dream interpreters, help me out!

    If you look in my archives you won’t find anything like these last two stories on Arizona because I’ve never shared it before. You’ll find more happy, sentimental little anecdotes, probably. Both are truth. I spent a long time intentionally focusing on the good, and wasn’t ready at all to think about the tough things. It is a journey, and God is in it all…

    ~many blessings on your weekend! love Jen

  3. Reagan says:

    The kids are going crazy..There is lunch to be served, but I must come back to this. Thank you for sharing your journey, it means so much!

  4. Wow. This is so interesting, your wonderful way of writing and telling of your past and your story and this dream.

    I love your perspective on the dream:
    “I may have at my disposal all the riches of Heaven and be ignoring them, or just peering at them through the cracks, perhaps relegating myself to a corner.” I need to examine and think about this, I know I’m here, too. And your conclusion is very thoughtful: “I may discover that I am indeed equipped for every good work”, with the scripture to prove it.

    The part about seeing the mansion under your feet also reminds me of Ann Voskamp’s book One Thousand Gifts– about finding beauty in the everyday moments, how it’s there in what we pass by every day, and giving thanks for those things.

    It’s making me stop and think. I am also reminded of a very recent Bible study, when someone mentioned this: imagine in Heaven a room, and this room is full of beautifully wrapped gifts, all unopened.
    And this room represents all the gifts that we didn’t ask for (or use, or peered at, or forgot, ignored…etc)
    Amazing, your story and your post.

    I think you should consider that blue color you mention for whatever you need to paint next. :)

  5. Jen says:

    Reagan, I know all about crazy, hungry kids…

    Anna, I hadn’t thought in this context of the beauty in the everyday moments, thanks for that. And the unopened gifts–yes, that is probably a piece of what I’m learning.

    I realized today, too, another aspect: what is inside that backpack–it includes accusations, condemnation, fear, and probably more…and I’m not to let it all (represented by the intrusion of the girl, who is both concept and standing in for literal people in my life) steal what is rightfully mine through Christ. It will take some faith and courage on my part to be free to reclaim…

  6. kd Sullivan says:

    This was nice…we do need to remember that He promised asked us to pray that His will be done on earth as it is in Heaven. We can have a little heaven on earth.

  7. Lovely post. What a multi-layered dream!

    I remember reading an excellent article by Bill Bright called, “Millionaires living like Paupers without the Holy Spirit,” or something like that.
    It was about a life lived in one’s own strength, subjected to one’s own limitations, with the aerial support of the Holy Spirit never summoned up or availed. I thought of that when I read of living in a shack with a mansion available.
    I have long thought of life as multi-layered. We can allow ourselves to be consumed by the problems and setbacks and sadnesses in our floor, or we can just step up into the next floor, so to say!
    Anita

  8. Kerryteach says:

    Interesting dream, Jen. And lovely written description of the dream and your thoughts on it. The LORD has been teaching me something of the like..I am here struggling day to day at times, then at the end of the day I realize that I was trying to live my own agenda in my own strength. I reflect and think, “What might today have been like if I had begun by seeking God’s agenda for the day instead of my own, and if I had proceeding only by His leading and in His strength?
    -Kerry

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