set apart this dream

Elizabeth or Elisabeth is the Greek transliteration (Ἐλισάβετ, Elisábet) of the Hebrew name Elisheva, meaning “God’s promise”

He chose me before the foundation of the world. [1 Peter 2:9]
He has known me in my most inmost being, the most delicate parts [Psalm 139]
He calls me beautiful. [Song of Solomon 1:15]
I am more valuable to Him than any animal. [Luke 12:7]

Ever since I was a small child I have known the presence of God.
His voice. His guiding. His watchful eye.
As a small child, running through the piles of crisp leaves on a brisk autumn afternoon I remember Him there. In the way the sun caught between the emptying tree branches and in the essence of the cool breezes that signified the winter to come.
He has always been with me.
I have always known I was His.

But then I was older.
I could think for myself.
It was easy to do whatever I wanted and ignore Him.
That’s when it got dangerous.
My delicate, innocent heart was left open to the lies.

…and I believed them. Every word.

it wasn’t long before I had forgotten those days as a child.
I was lost and afraid.
in a dark wood, covered by the terror of night.

then He came for me.
a dazzling streak of purity and strength shot across my night sky like a blazing star.
I strained against my chains and the manacles around my wrists reminded me it wasn’t going to be that easy. this was going to hurt.

He came for me that night.
when I saw His pure luminescence in the dark of the night, it was painful to my eyes.
painful to my heart.
I didn’t want Him to see me like this.

As I sat shaking in the cold and dark, He knelt down and reached to lift my chin.
Tears began to fall thickly and violently. Was this really happening?
I heard His smile, daring to gaze into His eyes. oh the love in His eyes…
He called me by my name then. softly. gently.
no one had used my name for such a long time..I had been so very alone.

Finally He stretched out His arm, reaching for my hands, reaching for the locks with no key.
it was there that fear swept me under. I shook my head and shoved my hands behind my back. I did not want Him to see the wounds, the marks the chains had left me with.
Not Him. Not like this. Not here.

instead of fighting me, He extended his arms around me protectively, holding me.
dirty me. broken me. scarred and wounded heart.
ultimately He won me over with His safety and persistence.
I sighed and looked up at Him.
“okay” I whispered, barely audible.

as I revealed my filthy, bloodied wrists to Him, I swear I could see tears in His eyes.
His strong, clean hands clasped over my wounds and He gingerly removed the heavy metal from my weary arms. at first I didn’t know what to do, I was still shaking.
we sat for a time, Him holding me; I was crying the entire time.
Eventually He rose and reached out His hand. He didn’t say a word, but I knew I could not stay here. this was my rescue.

I remember waking in a palace.
the most glorious light invaded my eyes and blinded me. was it really morning?
gazing around me I noted that I was wearing a gown and my skin was no longer blackened by dirt. could this be? surely I must be dreaming.

clambering out of the massive bed, my feet hit the warm carpeted floor and I scrambled to the door, seeking someone, anyone to help me. I did not belong here.

almost instantly, a kind blonde female, relatively close to my age entered the room, smiling warmly at me. “I’m so glad you’re awake!” she grinned, “we have much to do! the King wants to see you!!”

“The King…?” I replied back with a puzzled expression on my face.

“Oh yes! You’ve been asleep for days m’dear! He has not slept a wink since you got here, He only wants to be with you!” she gushed.

“Oh…um… are you sure He means me?” I hesitated. How much could I trust her?
“I’m not exactly…royalty…or even a common person. I’ve actually been a slave my whole life. See?” And I reached out my arms, shaking back the sleeves of the silky robe. Sure enough, there were clearly visible scars, only barely begun to heal. This, however, did not deter my new friend. She simply smiled knowingly and gestured for me to sit down.

“Yes. It’s you He is waiting for–He has been waiting for years. I have heard many stories from Him about you. He wasn’t exaggerating either, you are incredible and you are BEAUTIFUL.” she halted and looked full into my eyes. “There is a lot of work ahead of you. I am not saying this to frighten you, I am saying this to speak courage into your heart. Let me tell you something you ought to know: you once lived in this palace. You were stolen at a young age and forced into slavery. Many of us who live here had the same thing happen to them and it is ONLY because of the incredible love of our most precious King that we have been restored. He means to restore you also, but you MUST trust Him and you musn’t give up. There is much to do in your heart and He will not give up on you. Not ever. You have incredible value to Him.”

I must have looked utterly shocked because it was then she introduced herself. It was a name I recognized but I wasn’t sure why. Smiling, she answered my unspoken question. “We’re sisters. You had forgotten, but now you are remembering. You are waking up. You can trust me. We’re in this together.”

My head was swirling and I was glad she had then left me to get changed, though I wished she had stayed, this gown was ridiculous. Who even wore clothes like this?  I sighed deeply, “She was right…this IS going to be quite the process. This isn’t me at all.”

I didn’t even bother to touch my hair, what was the point? I didn’t know what I was doing at ALL, so why try? Irritated, I made my way down a long golden hallway towards a commotion and a noise. Why did I hear so many voices? How many people were in this place anyway? Still disoriented with my head trying to comprehend my…sister’s..words, I noticed two giant double doors. It seemed all the noise was behind them so I reached to open them and as I did so, they opened of their own accord.

My eyes were overwhelmed suddenly by the massive brilliance that was before me. There were hundreds of people, thousands maybe, all at a table that was a size I could barely believe. Once I shifted forward, straining to figure out whether or not I should even be here, the great hall went completely silent and I was afraid. Everyone was looking at me, some people were crying, others grinning in sheer excitement. There was a movement at the far end of the room and I just knew. It was Him.

And then He was running towards me.
He was faster than my fears.
There was nowhere to flee, nowhere to hide.
Then suddenly, He was before me.
Brilliance and splendor were shining from His face.
My knees buckled and as I began to crumple to the ground, He reached and caught me.
We embraced and I was crying.

The food was wonderful, but I barely remember it. I was enamored with Him.
Everything He said, how He treated everyone. His every movement captivated me.
There were so many faces, all of them I recognized yet I could barely remember them.
and then…it was over.

He lifted His hand and I put mine in His.
we rose from the table and ventured to a new place I had not yet seen.
it was a garden overlooking a great valley. the light was bright and everything was full of life. birds darted above us and butterflies danced all around.
there was a gleam in His eye and His joy was infectious. I couldn’t help myself, I laughed.
we wandered over to a glorious waterfall and facing each other, we sank to the ground talking and laughing, already reminiscing of the feast and the fun we had there.
He hadn’t let go of my hand and now He reached for the other one, I did not hesitate to give it to Him. this was SO safe. nothing could happen to me here.
with my heart full of joy, I couldn’t even imagine anything bad…that is, until He asked to see my wrists. “let me see the wounds. they are already healing, but I need to see”

shame flooded my heart and my face.

“No. You can’t.” I resisted.
It was then I noticed how much that hurt Him to hear. The pain it caused me to see Him hurt was more than I could bear. Gritting my teeth, I inhaled deeply and rolled back the sleeves of my satin gown. The blood was gone now, but the marks were extremely visible and deeply etched. Tears sprung to my eyes and visions of the darkness came back into my heart.

“You are safe here. I love you. I have saved you for a reason. Everything from now on will be okay. I will NEVER leave you.”

Courage rose in me and I threw my arms around Him only to realize He was already embracing me. This was joy.

As the weeks went on, and we spent more and more time together He began to tell me who I really was, explain what happened to me and we walked through healing together. Day by day He built courage and strength into me, a boldness I had never known became my own.

He began explaining about how there were others like me, lost and still bound to death and darkness. “Together.” He said we would bring freedom. He asked me if I was able to fight with Him.

As long as He was by my side I knew I could do anything.

Then one afternoon, He began to speak to me about love.
He gave me a promise, but He asked me to wait.
“Set apart this dream for me” He requested.

It was the night before I was to go on a mission, a very important and dangerous mission to recover one of our own and I couldn’t sleep. Completely restless and feeling the heaviest of weight on my shoulders, I left my chambers and began pacing beneath the light of a silver moon in the valley garden I had come to love and adore. The cool night air was refreshing to my lungs and taking deep breaths, I gave myself space to think and calm down.  I was not very long gone, not very far away from the castle when I faltered in my step and waited.

“I’m so glad You’re here. I couldn’t sleep.” turning my head, I felt Him rest His hand on my shoulder.

“Yes, I know.” He replied. “Remember: I am WITH you wherever you go.”
Smiling I reached out and placed my hand in His, letting Him lead me back to the castle gates. “Come.” He beckoned, “Let us rest before the seige begins. We will need all our strength.”  As He led me back to my room, I noticed an assurance in my stride I had not known previously. I was His and nothing was going to change that.
He left me in my room with a kiss to my forehead and I soon fell fast asleep.
That night in my dreams I could see the hurting and the hearts abandoned.
My yearning to see them know love was more than enough.
I slept so well that night, but before I knew it, morning had come again and it was time to go.
As I slipped into my fitted armor, I reached for my sword and noticed a piece of paper near the hilt. A letter? For me? My trembling fingers broke through the wax seal and as the words leaped off the page and seared themselves on my heart, I gripped my sword ever tighter and firmly set my face to the east. Time to go.

“oh, lovely and beautiful, precious and priceless
you’re so much more than you know, heart of the purest gold
pure clean and white as snow clothed in such splendor
oh, what a beauty for Me”

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