by Donna Harrelson
From the time I was a child, faith has always been a large part of my life. At a young age, I remember preaching to a crowd of my peers as if I had total understanding of who God is. Funny thing, they actually believed what I was saying. My mom continuously told me about Jesus and spoke about her faith which sparked my own relationship with Jesus and my understanding of God as a child.
My faith never wavered until I had “The Dream.” This dream changed my life forever. I dreamt I was walking through a forest—a beautiful forest full of colors from a rainbow. It smelt of fresh rain yet the sun beamed as bright as could be. In my dream, I followed a rainbow—God’s promise—to see what I could find at the end. The grass parted like the Red Sea. It was as if God was directing my path. At the end of the rainbow was a pool. It was unlike any pool I had ever seen before. On the steps of the pool were three lifeless babies. Yet, I felt God was in the mist. I had not an ounce of fear, but a sound peace that surpassed all understanding. I heard a soft voice echo a command for me to go into the water knee deep, rinse the babies off and they would come to life. I picked each baby up and rinsed them off, like a baptism. The babies came to life and then I woke up from the dream.
Later, I asked everyone I knew what that dream could have meant. It was so surreal. I knew it was from the Holy Spirit. No one really had an answer. My pastor suggested I let God reveal it. One year later, God did just that.
My sister Judy fell terribly ill. We rushed her to the hospital only to tell her good-bye forever. I was filled with grief. Her death shook my faith. How could I have faith in a God that took Judy? She was the glue to our family. She did everything right. How could I keep my faith? Ten months went by, my faith hanging by a thread and fear trying to slip me into depression.
One day my phone rang, my mom was calling. “Come to the hospital,” she said. My brother Thomas had just been rushed to the emergency room. I made it just in time to speak to him briefly before he too passed away. I became numb, mentally and spiritually, yet I still did my best to look to God for guidance. In the months that followed, I moved away from home in an attempt to restore the emptiness I felt losing Judy and Thomas. It distracted me for a while, but I remained numb. I considered counseling but I couldn’t bring myself to do it.
My job moved me back home within two years and I jumped into engagement. I thought it would give me some love back I had lost. My fiance questioned if I was ready. He said it felt as if I was still holding back. He was right, I was but I couldn’t help it.
Shortly thereafter, while shopping one day I received a phone call from my niece. “Aunt Donna,” she exclaimed, “Come quick to the hospital, it’s my mom. We couldn’t wake her up.” When I arrived at the hospital, my sister was already gone. That is when it hit, she was the third baby on the steps of the pool. “The dream!” I screamed out loud. “Why hast thou forsaken me?” Then I felt the presence of God swoop me up and say, “You will endure because your faith and obedience has brought you this far. I was preparing you the whole time for this journey. I have plans for your life through this loss.”
God gave me my ministry, Transforming Souls. I would help others through their grief around the world. To my surprise, as my ministry developed, my mom shared her wisdom and strength of how she endured the tragedies one after the other. She explained to me how she kept her faith strong throughout this ordeal. She said, “I too, my child, had the very same journey with my siblings and it was God who revealed to me that you would be a dreamer too, just like me. I prayed you would always have faith and never fear. When I carried you in my womb, I was navigating the death of one of my siblings. I never wanted any of my children to feel that type of fear because it led to so many other struggles. I prayed to God to remove the fear and give me strength through this journey. I prayed He would never let my children have fear, but rather trust in Him.”
Because of the words of my mother, my faith will always conquer my fear. God chose me to take a similar journey as my mother who instilled her love of God in me. He knew she would teach me exactly who God is which is why I preached at such a young age and why I believe my faith is strong to this day. My mother is now 95 years old and there are only the two of us left, yet the joy we feel is because we know we will see them again in heaven one day.
Article first appeared in Volume 11 Click to download past issues.
|Donna Harrelson is a playwright, storyteller, and host of the podcast, Thy Neighbor's House. Through her ministry, Transforming Souls, Donna’s work focuses on the trials and tribulations of common people all over the world. Through storytelling, she shares stories from around the world of overcoming daily hardships. Her first book, Parallels of a Hidden Agenda, will be released later this year. Discover more at https://thyneighborshouse.godaddysites.com/#|