When I decided to leave in 2007 it was because of a dream. A dream which made me realize that leaving the Portland assembly was the only way to save my life. It was difficult because my husband wasn’t given the same dream nor did he have the same perceptions. At one point we discussed divorce because he wasn’t going to leave and I wasn’t going back. Mercifully God intervened and he realized he couldn’t divorce me just because I refused to go to church. The physical extraction from this place took our family almost a year — it started with the death of my father-in-law in Fall 2007 and ended in June 2008. The spiritual extraction is still happening.
While I stayed home with my girls, my husband and son went to church. Every Wednesday and Friday evening and every Sunday afternoon and evening. Occasionally I’d let him take the girls but for the most part they stayed home with me. During this time I began to understand who Jesus really was and what grace actually meant. I spent hours reading books about the simplicity of Christ and being loved by the Father. I would read the Bible but had no idea how to see anything but what I had learned for 30 years. I fell in love … beyond all words … with Jesus. I would listen to Michael W Smith worship CD for hours, crying and begging Jesus to help my husband see the truth and to keep my son safe. My son was in the school and I was terrified they would take him from us. I now realize this was a subconscious trigger of my childhood experiences in the cult. One desperate night I asked him to help me. His response: a dream.
We used to live on a 17 acre parcel in Scappoose, Oregon. It looked over the Columbia River with Mt St Helens in our view most of the time. On the border of our property was a large parcel of old-growth firs. BIG beautiful trees that I loved to walk underneath. Our house was a 2-story traditional home with a large basement. The back of the house had several large picture windows which took in the view. It is in this house where the dream took place.
I looked out of my kitchen window and saw the clouds were dark. The trees were swaying and I knew a storm was coming. I began to panic because my son was outside with his friends. The wind began to blow harder and I told my husband we needed to call our son to come inside. He responded, “He’ll be ok. He’s with his friends. He knows his way home.” The wind suddenly became violent and I looked in horror at the reason. Heading our way was a tornado. I screamed for my husband and ran to the door, fear overwhelming my thinking. All I knew was my son was outside I needed to get to him. My husband stopped me. “NO. We have to get to the basement with the girls. NOW.” I sobbed the whole way down the basement stairs to the closet where we waited. Strangely enough there were other people with us from the church. I looked around and realized my friend and her daughter and husband were there but her son was outside with mine. We held on to each other and prayed for the safety of our sons.
The storm was over and my husband said it was time to leave the basement. The further we made it up the stairs the more I became afraid. I ran to the window and looked out over the valley below. It was devastating. Those big beautiful trees were down. Shock was quickly replaced by the urgency to find my son. I ran outside calling his name. My friend was racing beside me. We finally found them huddled beneath the branches of the big oak tree. Somehow that tree stood and protected them from the devastation. We began the trek up the hill only to be greeted by a friend who told us that the greatest devastation was beyond our border. We left the children safely in the house and made our way to the beach.
NOTE: The beach is about an hour from where we lived but in the dream it was just a couple blocks away.
The beach was filled with devastation. People were lying everywhere. Some were screaming for mercy. Others were softly crying. Those who were not injured were trying to help. I realized that our little group was the only one who had shelter during the storm. Next to the beach was a store that was still standing. I sent my husband and the others to the beach to get the wounded and take them back to our house. I went into the store to get supplies and food. As I was walking across the aisle I saw him: My father-in-law. I looked at him. He was young, his cancer-ravaged body replaced by a healthy body. I asked him what happened, “You survived a tornado.” Well duh, thank you for that revelation! I told him I missed him, I loved him, that my husband was lost without him and why did he have to leave us. He just smiled and said, “Tell *** that his dad says to stay where he’s at. To not go back.” Then he was gone. As I left the store I had a very specific conversation with the pastor of our church which I’m not going to share…I left the conversation with a heavy heart because I knew he turned his back on God’s warning. I rushed to the beach to help the others. As I looked up at the sky I saw the clouds begin to darken. I began to yell at people, “Get them to the house. NOW. Another tornado is coming.” Some people took the warning and followed people to the house. A group decided to go into the store and wait it out. Others argued with me. The pastor told people to not listen to me, that the safest place was on the beach. I took the hand of the last sister I could get to listen and we ran toward the house. I looked up as I stepped into the kitchen – the tornado was coming. I heard God speak: “It’s time. Go into the basement. It’s too late to save the others.”
That dream happened in February of 2008. I’ve shared the dream with many people trying to understand what it meant. I do believe it was a warning of what was to come in Portland. At the end of 2008 the church split apart and the place that I once called home, the city of refuge, was shattered. The devastation of that event on people’s souls is beyond words. The pain sometimes was unbearable. And yet, despite the warnings, some stayed. Some went into a safer version of what we had before. Some left the area all together. But some of us went back into the safety of the shelter of our Father’s arms.
Last night I couldn’t sleep. And finally I just whispered, “Abba, you tell me what to speak, no matter what it costs, I’ll speak it.” And he said, “Remember your dream.”
The dream was a warning then, and it’s a warning still. The second tornado is coming. It will at some point be too late to be saved from the devastation of the second tornado. Abba is calling to his children to come out of the path of the destruction and into the safety of his arms. Psalms 91 speaks clearly what the Father wants to say to my brothers and sisters who are still standing in the path of the tornado: “He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler.”
I pray that these words speak to you and if they do that you call to Abba, and ask him to show you what he wants for you to do. He is your protector. He alone is the keeper of your soul. He is the one who will keep you from the terror at night and the enemy of the day. He is your shelter, your rock, your fortress. May you hear his voice and run into the shelter of his arms.