Growing up as I did, there was very little talk of the Spirit being “poured out” upon anyone. That was for those Pentecostals who did the foot washing and speaking in tongues and such. We were of the “intellectual knowledge” ilk–no shouting, very few “Amen”s spoken during preaching. We had a bulletin and by golly we followed it to the letter. No disruptions or upsets in our services–come in, sing, give offerings, listen, pray, dismiss. That’s it. We liked the box God was in and the familiarity of knowing what was going to happen on Sunday mornings. And Sunday nights. And Wednesday nights. We said our prayers because we should and we read our Bibles because we should. That’s what good Christians do. I taught Sunday School. I played the piano for worship and Vacation Bible School. Church was my social life, as it always had been.

Until it happened.

Until God showed up.

There was a restlessness of spirit among us…a feeling that there was more to faith than what we were doing, but we just didn’t know what. There’d been rumors of prayer meetings where prayers were answered. My grandmother’s cold blue foot, starved of blood for well over three hours due to a clot, was healed, and the surgeon who came through the door to take her to remove it found the foot alive, pink, healthy and undamaged. Another man who’d been diagnosed with untreatable cancer was healed. My own Daddy, stricken with an unidentified illness which kept him flat on his back (literally) for 2 weeks due to unbearable dizziness, prayed, accepting the task God had called him to do, and was healed instantly. There was some strange stuff going on. Weird, even. And a bit far-fetched.

I wasn’t surprised at the dreams I had during that time. After all, I always have strange ones. Vivid ones which linger sometimes into the next day, affecting my mood and draining me. But this was different.

In one of them I dreamed I was in the church where I spent my life from age 9 until I was nearing 40. I was alone in the classroom which was for little children (we called them “Beginners”), with Daddy. We were just talking, but I happened to look up and saw this strange undulating cloud of clear plasma–almost like clear hair gel–with sparkles within it. I smelled the most wonderful, light, beautiful aroma–one I’d never smelled before. I looked at Daddy and he was smiling with glee. He said “It’s ok! Just watch!”, so I turned my eyes back to the ceiling. There, in the midst of the plasma, were two hands, reaching down from above, reaching for MY hands. I was stunned. And afraid. Daddy, still grinning, said “No, I promise! It’s wonderful! Go ahead!”

So I reached up, tentatively, for those hands. They were strong, tough hands. Long narrow fingers wrapped around mine and lifted me off the floor, holding me tightly as they allowed me to dance in mid-air, flipping over and under, laughing as Daddy laughed down below, and all the time feeling this intense joy and unbelievable peace. Those strong fingers, hard but not calloused, held me firmly yet gave me freedom to do things I couldn’t do before. I recall clearly thinking “If I can touch my back to the ceiling, I will KNOW this is real!” And I did. With no trouble. It was as if I was no longer hampered by my body and its human-ness. I was graceful, light, filled with joy and able to do anything so long as those hands held me. Daddy, when I caught a glimpse of him, had taken off his glasses and was wiping tears from his eyes–tears of joy as he laughed and rejoiced at what I was getting to experience.

All too soon, FAR too soon, I felt the hands gently lowering me to the floor again. I cried out “No! Don’t go!” But the hands had already released mine and were withdrawing through the “sparkly stuff” and away. I began to cry…I didn’t want that sense of joy and wonder and amazing grace (yes, GRACE–for the first time in my life, there was gracefulness!) to go away. But Daddy said “No…don’t cry! He will come back again…I promise.” The sparkly stuff withdrew, as well, leaving behind the familiar white ceiling. And the sweet scent that had filled the air still filled my nostrils as I awoke.

I wondered over that dream for many years…through our leaving the comfortable church in which it took place, and through the beginnings of the new church, born during that “time of more”, as I like to think of it.  That sweet aroma which filled my nostrils during the dream was one I never encountered until meeting new believers who had so much to teach me about “more”–it was Frankincense. I knew it immediately when a bottle of anointing oil containing Frankincense was brought to anoint those for whom we prayed. It is still one of my favorite scents…and reminds me of that dream and the feeling of freedom while I was held in those hands.

The “sparkly stuff” I had such a hard time describing (in my mind it was “Dippity Doo with silver sparkles inside”) reappeared at times when the Spirit was moving among us in a mighty way. Someone finally told me that what I’d seen was a “Glory Cloud” (I’d never heard of such). The things I’d seen and experienced in that dream were real. And I had no idea they even existed. I had no inkling that I would learn of them from people I’d never before met, whose lives were being lived in Florida, Raleigh, northern California, South Carolina, and other places miles away the night the dream came to me. People who happened to end up in Western North Carolina just at the time I was ready for “more”.

The people who clarified that dream to me are scattered far and wide now. Some are in Heaven (Daddy and Marianne), some are in New Mexico, or Oklahoma…others have simply gone away, their season in my life over. I won’t forget them, no more than I will forget the “more” they explained to me.

And that sweet sweet aroma that filled my nostrils;  the time I danced gracefully with my Father as my father watched with joy–I won’t forget that, either.

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