This blog is where I can pour out my heart with my longing for God.

Posts tagged ‘shooting’

“They Shall Rise Up In The Land”

KKK robe
Have you ever had a nightmare or a scary experience while you sleep? I believe some things that happen in the night are simply the result of too many tacos before bed. However, there are other experiences that are direct attacks from the enemy (satan and his demonic henchmen) who try to hit us under cover of darkness when we are in our most vulnerable state. THAT is the kind of attack I am about to relate to you……

The year was 1999. I have no memory of what went on that long-ago day or that evening before bed. My first recollections begin when I was engulfed in the following dream……

I was in my den during the daytime, pacing the floor, troubled by something. My dear friend, Vicki, was sitting in the floor with her back against the couch, flipping through a book on the coffee table. All of a sudden, I gasped and cried out, “I remember what I dreamed last night!”

Vicki stiffened and abruptly quit turning pages. “You don’t even have to tell me!” she said, in mournful tones. “You dreamed of a man made of ice.” Terror gripped me as she indeed had revealed exactly what I had dreamed; somehow the “Iceman” seemed absolutely and insidiously evil.

Immediately upon Vicki saying that, I woke up (or so I thought). It truly was nighttime, and I was in my bed. Suddenly I heard Vicki prophesying loudly as she walked up and down in my narrow hallway, “They shall rise up in the land! They shall rise up in the land!”—over and over again repeating that phrase.

I remember thinking, “If she doesn’t hold it down, she’s going to wake my babies!” My daughter Abigail was still in her crib, with my son Elijah in a toddler bed at the foot of her crib.

Then came the horror. Into my bedroom—not from the bathroom door, but from the door that opened up into the hall where Vicki was prophesying—walked a hooded figure in a white KKK robe. The pure evil he exuded began to stifle me. He walked by the foot of the bed, ignoring my husband on the closer side of the bed to the door, and approached me. As he did, I became more and more panicked and suddenly realized I was paralyzed.

I had had that feeling of paralysis during sleep before; you try as hard as you can to utter even a word, but you struggle and can only speak in slow motion, if at all. The only times I have experienced this, though, are when I am dreaming of a demonic attack against me……same thing in this case.

As the Klansman rounded the corner of the bed and came closer to me, I began to try to pray aloud. I strained against the paralysis, only able to moan rather than speak clearly what I wanted to: “JESUS! IN THE NAME OF JESUS!” Still, I kept struggling to get out those words, knowing that the name of Jesus was the power that would make this demon flee.

The evil apparition stopped directly beside me and simply looked down at me. I don’t remember the look of his eyes through the slits in the pointed hood. I just remember the hatred that oozed out of him toward me. Without words from him, I could absolutely sense that he was spewing out a caustic and total hatred and desire for vengeance toward me. He wanted to harm me, he wanted to destroy me…..but he knew he was not allowed to, which made him even more furious.

It was then that I saw my husband rise up to lean on his left elbow and stare down at me. He just kept looking at my face, while I wondered why he didn’t do something. Inside I was crying out, “Don’t just lie there! Wake me up! Pray against this demon standing beside me!”

After a while, he finally nudged me and said, “Leslie, Leslie, wake up!” It was only then that I could move and speak. Immediately the Klansman disappeared.

“Why did you wait so long to wake me up?!!” I cried.

His face looked surprised as he asked, “How did you know I waited?”

“I SAW you just leaning there, looking at me!”

“How did you see that? Your eyes were closed.”

I shook my head, puzzled. “I don’t know how I saw it, but I did. I was awake in another dimension and could see everything going on—even you staring at me, trying to decide what was wrong with me.”

“What on earth was going on?” he asked.

Terror still sending chills up and down my body, I shook my head again. “I can’t talk about it now. I’ll tell you in the morning.”

When morning’s light indeed came and I told him what had happened, he gasped and interjected: “I had a dream last night of several of us looking at a map or some kind of paper in critical times, and we heard a voice say, ‘You’ll know the enemy when you see him. His name rhymes with ‘Iceman.'”

Well, as you can imagine, that’s all it took to nearly make my hair stand on end!

For the next year, I’d periodically think about “Iceman” or “a man made of ice,” and I’d wonder about the connection with “They shall rise up in the land!” and the KKK demon visitor. My instinct was that “They shall rise up in the land” had to do with civil unrest somehow—stemming from issues involving race. But at that time, there were no major news stories dealing with racial issues, despite the ever-present specter of racism.

That was the very year—1999—that I finally began hosting prayer meetings in my den for revival in my hometown of Walnut Cove, N.C. I knew the dreams and visions of local revival that God had given me since early 1996 were calling me to intercede for my town. One dream, in particular, that stood out was of an incomplete circle of people standing at what seemed to be my old junior high (now Southeastern Stokes Middle School). The people were primarily black, but there were a few white people scattered here and there. I was directed of God to walk down a hill and join hands with those people. When I did, the circle was complete, and a steeple began to rise into the air in the middle of our circle.

I remember thinking, “What’s up with this? Am I supposed to go witness to all of my junior high friends? What does this mean?” I didn’t know, but I knew the racial contrast in the dream was key.

So people—black and white—began to meet in my den every week, praying/interceding for revival in Walnut Cove. And I heard God direct me to hold a community tent revival in the downtown area.

The story of how He worked out that tent revival in the year 2000 is an amazing one, but not the subject of this blog. The pertinent story began on the day we began to raise the huge tent on a vacant lot beside East Stokes Outreach Ministry in downtown Walnut Cove. As the men labored in the August sun to erect the massive cover, an older black man named Henry Gibson—known locally as “PeeWee”—came limping across the property, on his way back from the store.

Suddenly, PeeWee stopped, leaning on his cane, staring solemnly at the workers. I approached him to say hi and then noticed the tears welling up in his eyes. “Are you okay?” I asked with concern for this man that I liked so much.

“Yes, ma’am,” he kindly replied. Then he shook his head as if in disbelief and continued to speak quietly, “But I just can’t believe it! Black men and white men working together here to put up this tent!”

I was puzzled. “Yes, sir. The church I go to in Winston-Salem is multiracial.” I didn’t see why that was such a big deal in the 21st century.

I guess my voice relayed my questioning, because PeeWee suddenly turned his eyes from the tent workers to focus intently on me. “But, Miss Leslie, don’t you understand what that means on this land? On THIS property?”

I shook my head, “What’s so special about this property?”

He asked in amazement, “You don’t know?” As I again shook my head, he continued, “This is the vacant lot where the KKK used to burn their crosses to keep us black folk in line…..back when I was very young.”

His eyes took on a faraway look, and I knew he was not with me anymore. He was in the 1950’s and early ’60’s. “Yep,” he sighed. “This was the place those crosses burned. It wasn’t often—just every now and then when they wanted to make sure we knew our place.”

Then his eyes rejoined the present as he turned again to the tent workers. “So this means something, Miss Leslie. Seeing black and white men work together on THIS land to put up this tent to bring revival—it MEANS something!” His tears spilled out of his eyes onto his cheeks, and my own eyes were suspiciously moist as well.

racial reconciliation

PeeWee’s story—one I had never heard—stayed at the forefront of my mind for the rest of that steamy summer morning. As I drove home in the late afternoon to rest, I still pondered the divine justice of how God had worked it out to let that vacant lot be the only one we could find for the tent revival that was designed to bring glory to God by uniting all races and cultures in our little Southern town.

When I arrived at home, my answering machine was blinking. I pressed the button and heard an unfamiliar female voice. She sounded angry—almost threatening—as she insisted I call her back. I did not recognize her name, but her tone let me know I better check to see what was going on.

So I returned her call, noting that the last four digits of her number were the exact same as those of my dear friend Tracey in Winston-Salem. This lady’s number, however, started with “591” rather than Tracey’s “784.” (I still remember the final digits but won’t repeat them, in case the lady is still at that number. I still have her name written down as well—16 years later.)

She answered the phone and was immediately belligerent, demanding to know why I had called her house earlier in the afternoon. Startled, I began to protest, “Ma’am, I have been gone all day. I certainly did not call your house from this number or any number!”

“Yes, you did!” she nearly screamed. “It showed up on my caller ID!”

“But I couldn’t have called you when I wasn’t home! The only thing I can figure is that perhaps my husband was calling our friends in Winston-Salem who have the same exact number except for the first three digits. And he probably just forgot and automatically dialed our local ‘591’ first,” I kept telling her, wondering why she was so irate. I soon found out.

“Well, when I saw your address was ‘Pine Hall Road,’ I began to be afraid,” she finally confessed, beginning to calm down. “You see, my ex-boyfriend lives on Pine Hall Road, and I don’t want anything to do with him.”

“Oh!” I replied, finally comprehending. “I see—you thought maybe he was calling you from a neighbor’s or something.”

“Yeah,” she shared, her anger dissipating. “And to be honest, I am scared of him. He is stalking me, and he can be dangerous. You just don’t mess with Iceman.”

My blood felt as though it lost several degrees of warmth as goosebumps rose up on my arms. “Did you say Iceman?”

“Yeah, you ever heard of him? That’s my boyfriend. He was the first to bring crystal meth into Walnut Cove, so they started calling him Iceman. He’s a drug dealer.”

In my astonishment, it was all I could do to finish talking to this lady, but as I did, I was furiously writing down what she was telling me about Iceman—what kind of car he drove, his real name, and more. I had never heard of him, but I didn’t think it was an accident that all of this had happened on the very same day I was told of long-ago KKK activity in Walnut Cove. My mind was racing back to the year before—when I had dreamed of “Iceman,” followed by a demonic Klansman tormenting me in the night.

I never spoke with that lady again, but I never forgot the “too-much-to-be-coincidence” quality of that August day.

That was 16 years ago, and only periodically does the subject of my dream and demonic encounter come up—primarily just between my children and me. But it resurfaced this past Wednesday night, July 6, 2016, as a deep prayer session ended at the church I now pastor in Walnut Cove—”The Well.” The only three people left praying were my two adult daughters and me.

I had heard God tell me of a demonic stronghold in Walnut Cove that was like a fungus—something that grows sometimes inconspicuously, but as it takes hold, it has one goal—to decompose anything it touches. It was revealed to me that such a fungal-type evil force has been allowed to spread unchecked through our town, decomposing even the very buildings that are allowed to sit and decay. (He revealed specifics about this to me, but I must protect the privacy of some individuals.)

As I told my girls what God had shown me, my daughter Meghann began to research fungi on her iPhone. She suddenly spoke out, “Scientist found two types of fungi on Otzi the Iceman!”

When she said, “Iceman,” my senses were alerted. My other daughter Chelsea cried out, “Remember when I felt led to study Otzi the Iceman a few years ago because I kept feeling something about Mom’s ‘Iceman’ dream that was never resolved?!”

I did indeed remember. Otzi is a 5,300-year-old mummy found frozen in the Austrian Alps; literally, he has nothing to do with anything we are praying about. Figuratively, he does—even if it is just in the timing of when a mention of him “pops up.” That the mention of “Iceman” would surface again on this night of deep intercessory prayer when God had just revealed a major cause of the prior decomposition of Walnut Cove was uncanny……especially when this entire week had been dedicated to a special service we were holding on Friday night, July 8. The guest speaker for that service was my childhood friend, Peggy Adams, a former Stokes County girl now living in Tennessee, who is a powerful intercessor in the Kingdom of God.

When Peggy came for the first time in April 2016, she told us that God had given her three words for our direction/mission in Walnut Cove: reconciliation, redemption, restoration. She said reconciliation primarily means reconciling the races in our town—that some sort of reconciliatory healing needs to take place. I nodded in agreement because I have known since the circle dream long ago that one of my primary callings in Walnut Cove is to help with that racial reconciliation.

racial reconciliation 2

That is why the devil would like to torment me. That is why a demonic Klansman stood over my bed and hated me—wanted to destroy me. But the enemy cannot have his way with God’s people; nor can he stop God’s plan for racial reconciliation to take place in Walnut Cove.

Our nation is in turmoil today. Videos of black men being shot and killed by white police officers are making the rounds online. News bulletins are flying through cyberspace and across TV screens, telling the latest in the deadly, retaliatory murders of police officers in Dallas, TX. Facebook and other forms of social media are alight with hurt, anger, outrage and often even hatred.

Yes, I hate injustice and am saddened/shocked/angered by these murders. But I also recognize the enemy’s tactics to divide us as a nation right now, in particular. And I urge Christians everywhere not to be a part of this division. Yes, stand up for what is right—absolutely! I am standing in agreement with you for that! Wrong is wrong and should be justly punished.

praying at crossBut even so, we Christians are called to do everything we do—even protesting and crying out for justice—with God’s grace. And we need to recognize that rather than getting embroiled in the multitudes of arguments out there, the most helpful and powerful thing we can do right now is pray—and not just some quick “Now I lay me down to sleep” prayer either, but rather a deep prayer for our country and its people. Couple that prayer with fasting, as Jesus said, and you will more easily be able to tear down the demonic strongholds of racism, prejudice, injustice and hatred.

“They shall rise up in the land!” Yes, that is happening even as I type. But when the enemy’s minions rise up to divide and conquer, and when we allow our hurt and emotions to make us rise up in bitterness and hatred, let’s remember how to turn this thing around. That will happen when God’s warriors RISE UP in the Spirit and in truth and say, “No more! God, send us a fresh outpouring of Your Spirit across this country! Lord, baptize us anew with the Holy Ghost AND with FIRE!!! We rise up, Jesus, in Your name to demand that satan and his demons back down before Your righteous and holy presence!”

He is looking for a people who will pray with that kind of authority and in the love of God.

“Who will go?” the Lord said.

Like the prophet Isaiah, may you and I join together to cry out, “Here am I, Lord! SEND ME!!”

here am i

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A letter to my little son

Dear Malachi,DSCN7129

This has been a day that will go down in infamy–December 14–when 20 young children were shot and killed in a Connecticut school. I know that you were somewhat aware of what was going on due to me watching CNN all afternoon, but I tried to keep you occupied with the pleasantries of our daily life so that you wouldn’t totally process what happened. I know that you, with your sensitive nature, would’ve deeply pondered the senseless killing.

I’m writing this to you so that one day, you can look back and read it and understand just what your mommy went through on this horrific day. Parents nationwide are shaken to think that innocent children were slaughtered in what is supposed to be a safe environment.

I’m also writing this because you are not with me tonight, and I long to hold you close. I’m reading on Facebook tonight how parents all over America are clinging to their children as if to reassure themselves that surely this couldn’t ever happen to them. I just read comments by hard-nosed newspaper editors and reporters who said they rushed home from work to clasp their children and tell them how much they love them. One man said that his daughter is in college, but all he could see today was her five-year-old face.

I do not begrudge you your time with your dad. I am so glad you have a daddy who wants to be with you and will take good care of you while you’re there. But that doesn’t mean that I am not having a particularly hard time tonight with you gone. At the time of such tragedy, parents naturally want to be near their children. And tonight I sit alone when what I need is your little head on my shoulder as is your late night custom.

After you left tonight, the house was suddenly so quiet. But I know that, God willing, you will soon be running around the living room again, playing your brilliantly imaginative games with your Mario figures. It makes my heart ache to think about those parents in CT whose houses will never be the same again. No five-year-olds playing with their Barbies in the floor. No six-year-olds running their Lightning McQueens and Maters over the furniture.

Empty

A few minutes ago, I heard your little voice on the telephone. You said, “Mommy, when are you gonna pick me up?” And when I told you I’d see you early in the morning at your basketball game, you cried out, “Yay!!” Before I hung up, you said, “Wait a minute, Mommy!” Then I heard your voice bark like a dog. You told me, “That was my doggie telling you good night.”

You insisted that I tell our dog Rocky good night for you. So I, too, barked like a dog and said, “Rocky says good night to you, too.” Then your sweet little boy voice told me, “I love you, Mommy.” And I choked back tears as I said, “Love you, too, little buddy.”

I am tormented by the thought of the parents of the deceased school children–parents who would literally give a limb or vast amounts of money if they could only hear the sweet voice of their little child. No more “I love you” at night before bed. No more “Mommy, will you read me a book?” after bath time.

I find it comforting that just before and at the time of this tragic school shooting, I was able to spend such great one-on-one time with you. I will never forget your face yesterday when you reached your decision about attending the midnight showing of “The Hobbit” with your four siblings. You had had such trouble deciding–having looked forward for so long to the premiere of that movie–but when you did, you were rock-solid. You smiled at me and informed your brother and sister, “I’m staying with Mommy! I want to see the movie with Mommy!”

My heart just melted like warm butter when you said that. And when they all took off a little after 10 last night for the movie, you and I snuggled up on the couch to watch “Rudolph, the Red-nosed Reindeer.”

Remember how we bundled up to go outside on the deck and watch the Geminid Meteor Shower? You saw the first one and pointed it out with joy! The memory of the two of us in the frigid December air, our faces looking heavenward to the crystal clear sky where stars glistened with unusual clarity, the peaceful silence of the night, is a memory that has now been etched in my heart.

When we got too cold to stand out there, remember how we rushed inside, turned off all the lights and watched from the big window in the living room? We each saw a few meteors streaking through the sky–gasping with delight at the sight–before we gave up the vigil and went to bed. You barely had time to strategically place your favorite stuffed animals around your pillow and kiss me before you were asleep. I remember gazing upon your innocent face before I switched off the lamp and snuggled up beside you.

Empty

This morning, weren’t we so excited to wake up and know that it was OUR turn to go to the movie?! I kept looking back at you on the ride to Winston-Salem as you were happily staring out of the window at the sunny December day. When I’d ask, “You okay, buddy?” you would nod and smile. I remember telling Alan what a nearly perfect boy you are when your other siblings aren’t bugging you!

So there we sat in the darkened theater, our 3-D glasses on our faces, ready to see Bilbo Baggins, Gandalf and our other friends from Middle Earth. We shared our popcorn, and I kept admonishing you not to drink too much so that we wouldn’t have to miss part of the movie to go potty. Through the exciting movie, I kept looking over at you–just wanting to see the joy on your face. Sometimes you would feel the scrutiny and turn to smile reassuringly at me. Occasionally, I would take your hand and you would squeeze mine.

When it was done, I enthusiastically asked you, “Where do you want to eat, little fella?” You thought for a minute, having been torn between Burger King and Taco Bell (after telling me with superiority that you just didn’t care for sit-down restaurants), and decisively said, “Taco Bell.” How you tore into those soft tacos! And weren’t you thrilled with the Baja Blast you don’t normally get to drink?

In the midst of this idyllic day when I was so thrilled to have this mother-son time with you, there came a text that changed the mood of the day. It was your sister Meghann telling me about the elementary school students being shot and killed. For a split second, the world stopped turning as I imagined the horror for the children before they died, the torment suffered by their parents and the scarring of the children who escaped but witnessed the carnage.

And I held you even closer, trying to come to terms with the fact that we live in a fallen world where monsters exist all around us, clad in normal clothes and walking the ruts of life just as we do.

I wish I could tell you it will never happen again. I wish I could assure that you will never feel hurt in your life. I wish I could shelter you from the pain and sadness that are inevitable parts of this life on Earth.DSCN7243

But I can’t. I can only point you toward a God Who loves you unconditionally, Who has promised us peace in the midst of the storm, Who holds us in the palm of His hand despite the rigors of life in a fallen universe. And I can pray that you will see His light in the gray day of normal life, that His love can spread to the Adam Lanzas of this world so that they no longer feel the need to strike out with harm to others.

Before long, you will be too big to sit on my lap. You will eventually grow taller than I and move into a place of your own. I would hope that you will have children so that you can experience these feelings that I feel for you.

But until then, I pledge to take care of you, to mentor you, to protect you as best I can, but most of all, to love you unconditionally in a way that only a mommy or daddy can do. Such love overcomes all tragedy and the hatred that leads to the violence we saw today.

I wanted you to know all of these things, my little son. This has been a day of great joy yet great heartache for me. But through the sun and the rain, one thing remains constant–the love that God has given me for you.

Love,

MommyDSCN9533

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