She gulped the air as she pushed her body out of the water, desperate for a breath. In her mind she struggled to sort the strange details.
The sky all around her was dark from a storm. Thick clouds, heavy with moisture, hung close to the surface of the frigid water. The wind whipped hair into her face, blocking her vision.
Treading water with one hand, she pushed away the loose strands but was pulled under again. She surfaced as her lungs screamed for oxygen.
What was she doing out here? She wasn’t a strong swimmer at the best of times. Why would she be out on a night like this?
Peering through the dim light, she couldn't see any land. She began to panic.
The howling wind stirred the waters. Another wave smashed overhead, pushing her down into the cold, murky depths. Death loomed before her. She wondered how much longer she could last. Her arms and legs burned from the exertion of the struggle.
Oh God, help me…
In that instant, as her strength came to its end and her body sank below the surface, two strong arms wrapped under hers pulling her out of the water and into the safety of a boat.
“My child, lean back on me.” The voice was familiar. “You have fought well, but now your weakness and surrender has allowed me to rescue you. My strength will be yours.”
The calming voice continued. “Your life is precious to me. Though the storm rages around you and the waters sweep over you, nothing will separate us. I, the Sovereign Lord, guard your life…”
A noise buzzed near Leigh’s head. What on earth? She cracked open one eye, squinting through the dark and groaned. 7am flashed on her bedside clock. Her mind began processing. The details of her day, her brother’s funeral service, time at the graveside followed by an open house, crashed over her like the waves she had felt in her dreams.
Someone tapped on the door.
“Mom, Sarah’s not in her room. Looks like she didn’t come home last night.”
It was a rogue wave. It pulled her into the murky depths of worry and fear. What next? Leigh dropped to her knees and sobbed, “I can’t take anymore, Lord.”
She cried until, it seemed, there were no tears left to release. Then, at her weakest and most vulnerable, she felt strangely lifted, as if strong heavenly arms pulled her out of the waters of discouragement, into a boat of hope and peace. Familiar words were whispered to her heart.
“I, the Sovereign Lord, will rescue you. I have given you life, through my Son, and I will never leave you. Not even in these times of pain. I am guarding your heart and your mind. Now lean back in my arms. Rest in me and allow my strength to compensate for your weakness.”
Suddenly, it all made sense. Leigh’s early morning dream had prepared her to receive this provision from the Lord. She leaned back in the arms of her “Life-Guard”.
A few hours later, her sister-in-law, collapsed in grief at the sight of her husband’s coffin. Leigh gently reached down with the strength of her Heavenly Father and, enfolding Sue in her arms, helped her to stand.
“He guards your life, dear sister. He will not let you drown in these stormy waters.” Leigh encouraged with a whisper.
As the family gathered that afternoon, Sue was able to comfort her young son, telling him of the life-preserver of God’s grace that would keep them afloat in the days to come.
“God has placed His life in you, Simon. Always remember, He is your life-guard. He'll help you to stand tall and strong no matter what you have to face.” Then she had wrapped her arms around the little guy as Leigh had done to her and as it had been done to Leigh that morning, starting in her dream.
Yes, there was much trouble in their lives. Her brother’s death was certainly the most immediate. Leigh’s gaze fell on her daughter. Sarah, was fully engaged in the midst of the family gathering, yet so unsettled in her teen heart.
“Guard her life, my Father.” Leigh whispered. “And preserve her heart for your Kingdom”. With a gentle smile she turned back to the conversation around her.
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