Healing Through Dreams
We were all in our old house in Santa Barbara. It was the home we had always dreamed of and lived in for many years. There were huge wooden gates at the entrance, draped with grape vines, the name “Puerta del Cielo” (portal to heaven), engraved on the wall and opening to a gravel road that led to a gigantic back yard full of fruit trees, olive trees, a garden bursting with delicious vegetables, chickens clucking away with fabulous eggs, and the most amazing light that was almost as if it was from heaven some days. My husband, youngest son and I were searching through the house, trying to find some kind of reminder of our daughter Lexie, who had passed away eleven years earlier. The house was empty now, but maybe we would find a bow from her hair, or a tiny sock, something that would remind us of her. Suddenly our daughter Lexie came running in. She was 8 years old, beautiful and happy and would run up to us and talk excitedly and then run away. We were so happy and elated that we could see her this happy.
Mike asked her if she would like to come home with us, but she answered happily “No, I’m happy here, and I’m going to stay.” and would then run away only to come back again and laugh and talk.
Suddenly a man walked in the house and wondered what we were doing there. Mike guessed he was the realtor and was upset with us for being in the house we didn’t own anymore. He had the Santa Barbara look, with a pressed shirt and khakis, and a tanned face as if he had been at the beach. When Mike explained that he was looking for a reminder of our daughter the man said “Oh, you’re here for a memorial service.”
Mike answered as though he finally understood why he was there. “Yes, that’s why we’re here!”
“Let me pray for you” he gently encouraged us. This man went to gather us together to pray and Mike noticed his huge shoulders; and when he surrounded us with his arms, we felt so safe and protected. At peace.
Can Dreams Have Meanings?
That was the dream my husband had 3 nights ago. The reason this was so significant was because our daughter Lexie died eleven years ago and she was only 3 years old. She had a lot of suffering in her life, and my husband was so distraught in her final days that he prayed that she could go to heaven. That thought had bothered him for such a long time, wondering if he had been selfish to want everyone’s pain to end, including his own.
Lately, he had also had been longing for our house in Santa Barbara where we’d had many good memories. Some days he thought about his past and how life in Santa Barbara just seemed easier and he was tired of trying to make things work. When he had that dream, something came together for him.
In the dream Lexie was totally healed and could talk. She couldn’t do any of those things here on earth. To be able to see her free, healed and happy was more than he could have hoped for. He was also able to say goodbye to our home in Santa Barbara in this dream, and to be able to know our daughter Lexie was healed and happy in her “new home” heaven, and that the realtor “Jesus” was helping him to come to peace in his thoughts and say goodbye.
A friend of ours had some thoughts after we told her the dream. She wondered if maybe Lexie was showing him what it would be like in heaven. That home in Santa Barbara was always like heaven to us. What if Lexie and the realtor Jesus were building us a mansion in heaven? What if Lexie was so excited about Jesus and heaven that she wanted to tell us all about it and that she couldn’t wait until we got there? I liked those ideas.
Losing our daughter was so hard. Many times we didn’t even talk about the thoughts we had. We just carried them around in our minds for years. Dreams have a way of bypassing the mind and going right into our thoughts and sorting things out some times.
I decided to look in the bible and find some scripture that might line up with those thoughts.
John 14:1-5 “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have tod you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.”
If the bible is true, and I believe it is, then the dream could have been showing him that very thing. That Jesus is preparing a place for us in heaven (John 14:2-3) and Lexie is there already; and that he will wipe away every tear and that there will be no more pain and suffering. (Revelation 21:1-5)
Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. 2 I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. 3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. 4 He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain,for the old order of things has passed away.”
Another Healing Dream
After my mom died, our daughter Amber was really disturbed because she didn’t get to say goodbye to her. We had been having trouble trying to get mom settled in a new place, and Amber only remembered that difficult time was the last time she saw her alive. Not long after mom passed away, Amber dreamed that her grandma came to her and they had so much fun together. It was a fun time, and they were able to hug and say goodbye in the best way. When Amber woke up, she felt so at peace and happy, finally having a way to say goodbye to one of her favorite people, her grandma.
Where Can We Go to Learn How To Do This?
Years ago I began to study dreams and dream interpretation after my husband, daughter and son began to have so many dreams. Some times they were directional dreams, or healing after a particular event or some times revealing fears or trouble in our hearts.
The bible is full of dreamers and their interpretations. Pharoah asked Joseph to interpret a dream for him and he ended up ruler over Egypt. Jacob dreamed of angels descending and ascending in the spot that he was sleeping. Mary and Joseph had angels come to them in their dreams giving them direction and confirmation.
I decided to look further into whether or not dreams were important today. I was directed to a website which contained a lot of information about dreams. John Paul Jackson has a website that has a complete teaching on dreams. He believes all dreams are from God or satanand that we just have to learn to interpret them through the bible. He gives courses and helps with interpretations. I began to study the information and apply it to the dreams my family was having. I felt encouraged and connected to God in a new way.
Children dreaming about dead people?
Many children report wild and unexplainable dreams when someone they love dies. These can rage from visitations, to advice-giving conversations, to observational dreams. Sometimes adults are quick to dismiss childrens’ dreams, while others may be concerned when they hear that their child is “talking to dead people.” However, some fascinating research studies have shown that children can use dreams to help them heal from grief, trauma, and can participate in spiritual experiences to derive meaning from tragic events. Dreams are among the most mysterious phenomenon that we experience as humans. For thousands of years, people have theorized about what dreams are, why they exist, and how to interpret them. The most brilliant secular and theological minds have still come up short when it comes to answering the age-old question, “What are dreams?” To this day, there is no definitive answer. That said, dream work is frequently used in counseling, and implemented through a variety of techniques such as verbalizing the dreams, journaling the dreams, or creating an artistic rendering of the dream.
What are dreams exactly? To boil it down to the most basic definition, dreams are thoughts, emotions, and images that are encountered when asleep during the rapid eye movement phase of sleep. Research shows that during an average lifespan, a human being spends about six years in dreaming which is around two hours every night. There are legitimate, peer-reviewed published research studies that suggest for children, dreams can serve the important functions of:
- Helping to reflect on their experiences & make meaning of them
- Assist with the grieving process
- Provide reassurance and coping strategies
- Suggest solutions to problems
- Develop spiritual intelligence
In one of the published studies, authors interviewed a 10-year-old girl who recently lost her grandma. Though she was not religious or living in a religious household, this girl reported dreaming of her grandmother taking a bus ride. She interpreted the bus ride as the journey for her grandmother to heaven. Further, this girl also interpreted the dream to mean that someday she too would take “the bus” and be reunited with her grandmother in heaven.
Science has shown that there are areas of the human brain that becomes activated when praying, meditating, or perceiving a spiritual experience. Studies have shown that dreams can play a huge role in helping people come to terms with death, dying, and grief. By finding meaning in dreams, dreamers are able to develop a spiritual intelligence.
Although dreams that contain themes of death and dying may be concerning to some parents, these dreams may offer reassurance and provide a needed source of support and information for children.
It seems that dreams are made of a mix between the biological make-up of our brains and the spiritual realm. In grief therapy, we encourage the clients not to ask “why” regarding the dreams, but rather to ask “what now.” Much like trying to make sense of the loss of a loved one, asking “why” with dreams does not usually result in a satisfying answer. However, once a child reports having a vivid dream, we can be curious about the content, be open to a variety of interpretations, and be open to the possibility of dreams guiding our own healing as well.
For more information on dream interpretation I recommend this book: Understanding Dreams by Doug Addison. You can also learn more about dreams on his website