Accounts across history document sacred experiences between man and the Divine; moments when the soul connects with deity and clarity is achieved. These communications vary in their form; some involve visitations from angels, while others bear record of physically seeing the Lord Himself. Many accounts document sacred dreams where the recipient receives a message he or she believes to have come from a divine source.
Lehi, a man living in Jerusalem during King Zedekiah’s reign, received such a dream from God. He was instructed to assemble his family and to leave their material possessions behind to undertake a journey to the Promised Land. Two of Lehi’s children doubted their father and his dream, calling him a foolish and visionary man. God warned Lehi that he and his family would be destroyed if they remained on their current path in Jerusalem, so they pressed forward in faith into the unknown.
This dream was life changing for Lehi and all of his posterity. It prompted a move across the planet and set their lives on completely different paths. The dream brought about difficult circumstances; turning brother against brother, subjecting the family to hunger and strife throughout their journey, and ultimately causing wars in the family’s new homeland. But it also brought immeasurable good because it spread knowledge of Christ and His gospel to countless people, both in the past and today.
These life-changing dreams still happen. God continues to speak to His children, and sometimes that happens through dreams of warning like Lehi experienced. After a year and a half in a very unhealthy relationship, God sent me a dream like that.
It came on an August afternoon after I’d gotten home from work. I don’t take naps, but I felt a strong pull to lie down on the couch. Sleep took me immediately.
I realized I was throwing a party in my apartment. My mom was there, which was strange because she lives in Illinois. I started to walk over to her, but there was a knock at the door and then the man I was seeing walked in.
Suddenly the party was at an outdoor pool where he and I liked to go at night. We were in the hot tub and I was grazing my fingers across his collarbone like I always did. It seemed intimate to touch him here, on this bone that felt vulnerable because it was so close to his heart. I was running the pad of my fingertip along the top ridge when I noticed something was coming out of it.
Saliva pooled in my mouth and my cheeks rippled with revulsion as I watched my tender place distort. Hundreds of tiny bones began to rip through his skin, slowly unfurling like a hand. They were thin and grew four inches long, taking form as the clicking, jointed legs of a tarantula. They were waving at me.
I tasted metallic and pulled away in the water, repulsed by the squirming bones that continued to pulse back and forth underneath his chin. I pinched my eyelids to escape the grotesque scene, but I couldn’t wake up.
“Mandy, we need to talk,” he said.
I couldn’t stop staring at the bones.
“I’ll go grab my stuff,” he said as he climbed out of the water.
My mother came to me then. Her green eyes were so aware; they had the same vivid intensity my deceased grandpa or grandma’s eyes had when I’d seen them in previous dreams. This distinction made me realize that while my body was asleep, my soul was very much awake and there was a message for me.
“Why don’t you see him for what he is?” she asked. “All of us,” she said pointing to the rest of the people at the party, “see him. But you don’t.”
Then he was back. He went to shake my mother’s hand but he couldn’t; their hands wouldn’t connect. An invisible obstacle blocked the contact, so he walked away from her and motioned for me to follow.
“Don’t go with him,” she said.
But I did.
We were walking to his car when I realized there was another woman with us. She was on his other side, an ethereal blonde like Galadriel in Lord of the Rings.
“Who is that?” I asked.
“Oh, she’s with me,” he said as he kept walking.
I stopped. “I thought you wanted to talk?”
“I do, aren’t you coming?” he asked, turning around.
The woman looked back at me. She seemed to sense my confusion, then she said:
“I’ll always be with him.”
The dream slowed down. Her words confirmed a truth I had suspected but ignored for over a year. I knew there were other girls. But I had always believed he would choose me in the end.
I was wrong.
I ran from them until I reached the parking lot. I saw my mom and her car so I jumped in the driver’s side and locked the doors.
Then I screamed. A raw, carnal upheaval exploded out of my mouth and reverberated around the car with spectacular force. I couldn’t stop it, and I felt my jaw crack from the strain of the sound.
When it finally ended, my mom turned to me with her knowing green eyes and she smiled.
I woke shaking on the couch in the night.
I had never feared God or His power until that moment. There was no doubt in my mind that this dream was from Him, and His message to get out of my relationship was clear. But I didn’t want to acknowledge it. This was partly because I loved that man, despite the emotional pain I was in throughout our relationship. But more than that I was frightened to join the league of people who receive dreams from God because that meant I was on a really bad path if He felt the need to intervene.
It took me two weeks to accept the dream and act, and that meant not only ending my relationship but also my commitments that involved him. I’d revolved my life around him for so long that I didn’t recognize myself or my daily routine once he was gone. Not only had our relationship died, but it also felt like part of me had too.
I ached for him and felt my heart rip each time he’d post a picture with a new girl. I ended the relationship but I still cared and it killed me to realize he didn’t. His absence from my life tore me apart once he was gone and the scars are still pink.
But I never doubt the dream or the actions it inspired. I still hurt. Mr. Right hasn't suddenly appeared. Yet my life is changing and I am starting to be okay.
Lehi's dream saved his family and millions of souls that came after him. My dream probably won't have such an incredible effect, but it saved me. And that is more than enough.