“I had another dream about her,” I told my husband, as we both got ready for work that morning. “Yeah and how did that go? You feeling okay?” We use to have this talk multiple times when I first made the decision to walk away from the LGBTQ+ community. The dreams were relentless and it was the enemy’s number one tactic in trying to draw me back into the lifestyle. As I continued to journey through the healing process, the dreams became fewer but they still showed up on occasion as they did the night before. “It was the same as always. I was back in New York and living the lifestyle. I felt the feeling of conviction all over, but I was with her and it felt as though I never left. Not only did I feel the conviction of it all, but the feelings of missing her were there too.”
Jeremy stopped what he was doing and sat next to me, “You’re so strong, you know that? You’re the strongest woman I have ever met. You are a fighter and you can fight through this.”
I reached over and grabbed my Bible and journal off the nightstand. One is my sword and the other is a documentation of how many battles I have won with my weapon. It’s funny because scientist say that a dream can feel as though it lasted the whole duration of the night, but in reality our dreams on average last for fifteen minutes. In those fifteen minutes, the enemy tried to rob the victory of what Christ had so beautifully accomplished thus far in my life. As I flipped to a fresh page in my journal, I looked at my husband and said, “I choose you and I choose Christ. The enemy can attack me all he wants; I’m not falling for it.” I opened up my Bible and I began to digest His Truth. Page after page, I kept reading while my pen took notes of the Words that were touching my heart and building up my faith. To the physical eye, I looked like a young woman reading the Word of God, but in the Spiritual realm, I was in the middle of a battle.
“For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.” Ephesians 6:12
Every word I read and proclaimed out loud was a dagger to the heart of the enemy. Every promise I wrote in my journal was a reminder of Satan’s final destination. Every tear that fell upon the pages of His Word was filled with the hope that His joy comes in the morning and through Him, there is victory. The enemy has come to kill, steal, and destroy my life, but ultimately we know the one who will destroy His. The same person who will destroy the enemy is the same person who lives within me and has made me a new creation.
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” 2 Corinthians 5:17
I refuse to allow my fifteen minute dreams to become my truth or the standard to which I choose to identify myself. Though they may appear natural, my feelings are not solidified in truth. My Truth has a name and His name is Jesus. It is in Him and Him alone that I find my identify. Yes, they’re days where I face the temptation to walk away from Him and not only on the basis of same sex attraction. I have moments where I want to drink away the stress of life. I have days where I want to have an excuse to be selfish and care only about myself. I have opportunities to lie and wish I could cash in on them, but my temptations are not the identity I have chosen to live by. My identity is rooted in my faith and through that faith Christ says “You are more than your selfish desires. You are more than handling your conflicts with binge drinking. You are more than your sexuality.” I am more because I know who I am and that is a daughter of the one true king.
“I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” Galatians 2:20
When I first had dreams, it use to rock me to the core. I would wake up sobbing and feeling as though relief would never come, but I would cast my cares upon God and He never let me down. When I took the time to take my feelings to Him and lay them at His feet, regardless of how long it took, Jesus would meet me there and shower me with His love, His truth, and with hope. He would remind me of who I was in Him and who He created me to be. I never walked away from our secret place discouraged, afraid, resentful, anxious, or bitter. I always walked away feeling loved, joyful, courageous, bold, and as though I had won the battle. Jesus deserves the very best of me because He gave His best for me when He died on the cross, yet many times when I approach the throne room of grace, I can assure you I am not always the best version of myself. However, I have learned that's what makes Jesus a true loving Savior... He doesn't care about the mess you come with, He cares about the intentions of your heart. You can come with the whole weight of the world on your shoulders, but if you also come with a mustard seed in your hand, He will take that weight and make you light. In those moments with Christ, I learned that I cannot continually run from pain and manipulate grace to accommodate how I feel because I don’t want to face the valley. Jesus had all the power and authority to refuse to lay down His life. He could have dropped the cup in the garden and walked away, but Jesus knew that manipulating the grace of His Father would not keep Him from walking through the valley, but it would only prolong the mission that God had.
I learned to battle my dreams by taking my struggles back to the Father, but I also learned to dream bigger and better. While attending college, I was always told to "dream big dreams." The bigger the dream you envisioned for the course of your life...the better. I quickly realized the enemy wasn't attacking "Ciara Weese", no, he was attacking the Christ who lived in me. The one who gives me hope for a better future. The one who loves unconditionally which propels me to love others in response. Satan doesn't care about Ciara, he cares about the one I stand for and the lives that will come to know Jesus because of my witness. If the enemy can crush my witness, then essentially Satan can squash my dreams because the power of my witness is what drives my dreams to unknown lengths. Jesus was tempted by the enemy on three different occasions in the wilderness (Matthew 4:1-11) and He denied those temptations by proclaiming the Truth of His Word. At any point, Jesus could have justified His feelings and turned stones into bread, thrown Himself down in order to prove His deity, or become king over the world instead of a servant to thousands. We could say that being in the wilderness for forty days "gave Jesus that right" or being the son of God "gave him the right" to do whatever He wanted. Instead, we see Jesus not allowing His feelings to become the foundation in which He based His decisions, but He allowed Truth to be the cornerstone. When Christ used the Word against the enemy, it reminded Him of His mission; to die so that we could live. Using the Word against the enemy reminds you of the promises written from cover to cover which have been spoken over you. Essentially those promises remind you to dream big because you understand and know that there is nothing God can't accomplish through the word of your testimony. So when the enemy tried to tempt me for fifteen minutes, I would wake up and spend however long proclaiming God's Word and dreaming big. Dreams like: - God you will use my story to lead hundreds and thousands of people to know you! - God you will bless me with children who will be sensitive to your Spirit, lovers of your Truth, and show kindness in the face of indifference. - God you will bring purpose to my pain and what I discover through the process will change so many lives!
I will not allow my dreams or the emotions stirred up from those dreams to keep me from setting my heart on things above. I won't allow attacks from the enemy to keep me from dreaming big. God has a calling on my life and He has a calling on your life! He is more than our temptations, He is more than our past, He is everything we need and more to pursue a life of righteousness. Despite my afflictions, I will praise Him! Despite my temptations, I will trust Him! Despite my circumstances, I will rejoice and be glad! I know that the battle may seem scary, but the Holy Spirit is with you and He will not fail you! Your life is hidden in Christ and there is nothing that can overtake Him, not even death. He is walking with you and He will get you through the valley, just continue to call on Him. Healing is a journey and as Levi Lusko said in regards to the passing of his young daughter and maneuvering through that journey for the past six years,
“Much like the forming of a pearl, healing is almost imperceptibly slow. No one moment was I’m “better” it’s been 1,000 little moments of trusting, praying, dancing, doubting, questioning, seeking, singing, and resting. Then you look up one day and see how far you’ve come. All this to say: be all the way where you are right now. If you are hurting, you’ll get through this. You mustn’t give up. If you are overwhelmed, look up. You are loved. Wait on the Lord and He will renew your strength.” Levi Lusko
Wait on the Lord and continue to dream big in the face of the enemies schemes. Healing can hurt, but when you continually take it to the Father, you will find rest. Your God given dreams are no match for his temptations! Always remember that when you're in the midst of your own battle.
You are understood.
“Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ , who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.” Colossians 3:1-4