It Started With a Dream-Guest Post by Jen Orona

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I vaguely remember the conversation. My oldest daughter, 8 at the time, was telling her dad about a dream she had. The rapture had happened, and her WHOLE family was there. She had an uneasiness in her voice, she was torn. It wasn’t just her immediate family; Mom, Dad, and sisters. Her Grandma and Grandpa went to Heaven with her. The way she spoke stuck out to me most. There was questioning in her voice. “Dad, how could that happen? Grandma and Grandpa aren’t saved.” My husband hesitated for a moment to collect his thoughts, his response… something along the lines of the dream being God’s placement upon her heart and we need to continue praying for them because God can do miracles.

We had been praying, our whole marriage, my whole life, desperately wanting my Mom to find Jesus. I had become so jaded with unanswered prayers that I honestly had somewhat lost hope. Nothing I could do would be enough to bring her salvation.  When I began working at 14 to earn my own steady income, I lost hope. When I handed over paychecks because the rent was short, I lost hope. When I agonized through cold showers because, once again the heat was turned off, I lost hope. In those times when I hoped she would become who I wanted her to be, and she didn’t I told myself it was because I wasn’t enough. She must not love me enough to stop her addiction.

It started when I was around 13. My Mom began going to Bingo with my Grandma, harmless, right? Then she went more and more until eventually, if I wanted to see her, I had to go, too. I never would have believed someone if they told me they were addicted to Bingo, but I now know firsthand that if a person has a hole that needs to be filled, they will find SOMETHING to fill it. I got used to the cycle, so did the rest of us.

Bingo turned into Blackhawk. Our relationship deteriorated. I spent as much time away from home as I could. I felt guilty for being away from my little brother, but I wanted so much to be free from it all that I left as soon as I could. I needed to be a part of something important, and I also needed to be far. At 17 I left to the Marine Corps.

My own journey towards salvation was somewhat simple. I was raised Catholic, but my relationship with God truly began as a Junior in high school when I read the “Left Behind” series and navigated my thoughts and questions about God on my own. I went on to foster my new beliefs in a new part of the world and tried to let go.

Things with my Mom got worse while I was away, her problems piled higher and her hole got bigger. I have never begrudged my Mom for being overwhelmed with the pressures of her life. She was dealt a tough hand and struggled with her own feelings of emotional neglect from her parents. At 16 she gave birth to me and raised me as a single mom until she met my Stepdad. He was young too when they met, so together we all were trying to grow up. Now, as a mom myself, I sympathize with her struggles. She did what she thought was her best and gave what she was capable of giving.

My commitment to the Corps was close to over and I had no intentions of living again in Colorado. However, my new husband was determined to be near the Rocky Mountains so, pregnant and newly married, I returned. For seven years, there were consistent ups and downs. My parents adored my children and I saw my Mom share affection with them I didn’t know she was capable of expressing. I heard her say “I love you” freely to them and each time my heart ailed because I wanted it to be directed towards me. My husband and I tried hard to establish boundaries with money, but, just like the addict, the enabler has difficulty saying “No.”

Around the time my daughter had the rapture dream, we were coming off one of the most painful incidents we had been through. I felt so betrayed and damaged that I went through depression. My Mom and I were barely on speaking terms, almost all communication centered around the girls. I had written off all hope but continued to pray out of routine, expecting my prayers to continue to be unanswered. When my daughter shared her dream, I was as befuddled as her, my parents weren’t saved, why did she dream they made it to Heaven?

The circumstances surrounding her finding God moment I reserve for her to share. What I will share is that when my husband contacted me on May 13, 2016 and told me my Mom called him earlier in the day and said she was ready to accept Jesus, my heart stood still. Really? Is it possible? With a tinge of hesitance, I called her and heard her out. For the first time, I said “I love you,” she said it back, and I knew she meant it. The dream my daughter had wasn’t a fluke, it was God’s foreshadowing. When she heard that Grandma was saved, she became so full of emotion she excused herself to another room to cry and praise God, her dream came true. After her grandma’s baptism, she insisted on cake and a party.

My Mom has been coming to Mosaic faithfully since that day. I’ve seen her mature in her relationship with God. Her hole is finally filled and I can now put into perspective that she didn’t withhold love from me, she simply didn’t have love to give. The agape, selfless love that only Jesus shares has persisted and found its place within her heart.

If you’ve taken the time to read through all this- thanks for your patience, I can get kinda wordy. I appreciate the opportunity to share my story, others might be in a similar situation and I hope that my happy ending gives you hope, especially if you’re feeling hopeless. God hears your prayers and can do miracles!

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