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The Locked Door
     By Shirley

The road was narrow with many twists and turns. In the stillness the crunch of the gravel beneath my feet sounded unnaturally
loud. Towering trees lined each side of the road, overhanging branches making the dusky twilight seem more like the darkness of night.

Suddenly I stopped short; ahead of me loomed a large rock building. This was structured more like a castle than a house. Turrets adorned the left side, and the heavy wooden door appeared massive. The house itself was encompassed by swaying trees, branches sinisterly reflected in the over-abundance of windows. The huge branches had the aspect of tentacles, reaching out to ensnare the unwary, while conversely appearing stilted. Reluctantly I began to walk slowly toward the
house, drawn yet repelled.
I awoke with a start, heart pounding, pulse racing. I was drenched, yet the room was cool. My feet could almost feel  the roughness of the gravel, and my room felt unfamiliar. I lay back down, Knowing I would be unable to sleep again. I wondered what the dream could mean and why the house frightened me so.
So began disturbing dreams that would occur for many years. Foreboding dreams of an unknown house with a mysterious room with a locked door. Invariably upon awakening from these dreams
         I was aware of a heaviness I could not dispel.
Growing up in a small rural town on a farm, my childhood was anything but normal and happy. Deprived of love, affection and discipline, I often felt lonely, insecure and unwanted. It was difficult for me to make friends because I was very shy and insecure, thus I had no real friends I could turn to.
Unfortunately, I carried these attitudes and insecurities into adulthood. I was constantly searching for love and acceptance, driven by an inner void to seek, yet not knowing what it was I was seeking I often  accept a poor substitute for love for I felt it was all I deserved. My own parents could not love and accept me, so how could anyone?

When I was almost 16, I married a man who I thought loved me it did not take me long to discover he didn't. A few weeks after we married, he began to have affairs, and he didn't stop all the time we were married. Of course not having known love, I did not know how to Existence during those years was a series of seemingly hopeless days, followed by night of escaping into fantasies of a life that was uncomplicated, happy, and full of love. I was not a good mother to my children: I was still a child myself emotionally. I did not know how to be a mother. Eventually we were divorced, and I became a single mother.

I still was hungry for love and acceptance, and I still searched for it. I fell in love, was hurt when it didn't last. I promised myself that I would never let anyone hurt me again. In a relationship, I always  ended it. To be sure no one would ever left me again, I would always leave first. I erected a barrier I allowed no one to penetrate. I lost touch with my real emotions crediting myself with good feelings I wanted to have but could not. I felt lost, lonely, afraid, and so unhappy.
This was the pattern of my life when the disruptive dreams began to occur. Always the same dream, always the same house, always the walk on the gravel road. Actual entry into the house did not happen until I had experienced the dream for many years. I became 'familiar' with the large house through my ''night  vision. ''Each  visitation'' of the dream would reveal more of  the house and its surroundings. I was still fearful of this house, seemingly without reason.
Meanwhile I sensed a different longing; a longing for something different, an inscrutable yearning for meaning" to my life. I was compelled to search, still not realizing what it was I was searching for. After trying different things, I decided to go back to school. I had quit school in the middle of the tenth grade, unable to cope with the teasing and being 'different' from the other kids. I did get my high school diploma. Having a diploma was good, but failed to make the difference I had envisioned. I was unsettled in both mind and emotions, and needed healing on the inside.
I enrolled in college, but had to drop out because of a situation with my oldest son. Still unhappy, still searching for love, still searching for meaning, I lived life with a hopeless attitude, thinking nothing would ever be better, for me or my children.

The dreams kept many nights in turmoil. I would advance closer and closer to the house. Ultimately, I felt  drawn to venture inside the house I was terrified of what I might find within, yet driven to "know."
Finally, I explored all the rooms except one. This room was always locked, with the key inside the lock. This room filled me with dread as I tried to hurry pass it. On the surface, this was unexplainable, for I had found  the house to be beautifully and tastefully furnished, and not one to invoke fear. Be that as it may, I was totally frightened and totally alone!
The dream progressed until I was standing in front of the door, not trying to hurry past it. I would stare at the door handle, part of me wanting to reach out and turn the key, while fear held my arms immobile.

One night my dream came to it's culmination. I was standing before the door as usual, held in an icy grip of fear. A wave of weakness enveloped me as I slowly reached for the key to open the door. Some power almost beyond my control bade me to enter, me enter, darkness surrounded me as I tried to resist. What mystery lay beyond that locked door that had dominated so many of my nights? What change in my future, and the future of my children would occur when I opened that door?
Finally, I gathered the remnants of my diminishing courage, turned the key and stepped into the unknown. Caught totally by surprise, I was astonished at what met my unbelieving eyes. I turned slowly around the room, almost in a daze. Windows covered the entire room, the largest one in front, a huge telescope pointed towards the heavens. The windows were all opened, and a myriad of stars twinkled and danced in the clear night sky. The moon was full and luminous, and shone with a brilliant radiance.
I was enveloped with the purest love in invisible arms of acceptance! I was heady with the sheer joy of this new experience, and I never wanted to wake up! HERE was the peace and love I had sought for so long, how could I have been so frightened by the very thing I had so desperately searched for and so desperately needed?

I accepted Jesus Christ as my personal Savior soon after. The dreams ended, but they are still a part of my life; I do not ever want to forget them. God has shown me that the was a symbol of the 'door' of salvation that I had felt was locked to me, I had felt that God could not possibly want me, that I was too bad and I did not deserve salvation. Satan kept me bound with this lie for many years; I blindly believed him
However, God helped me realize that although none of us 'deserve' salvation, He has given it as His free gift. Genuine love and acceptance is ours when we accept the Source, Jesus! His is the unconditional love we all seek. I now can say that I have I now accepted His free gift of salvation, and I have never been sorry I have failed Him many times, but He has never failed me nor will He ever.
My relationship with Jesus is the center of my life, from which all other things revolve. Christ has opened many doors for me; this web site being one of them. He has also worked in the lives of my children, who are all serving Him. He has truly turned ashes into beauty!''

If you are reading this and you feel the things you have done in your life are too "bad" for God to  forgive, don't believe that lie from satan!  God loves you, and He wants to make you His own, give you a new life, an abundant life lived for Him. Your part is to believe that He is, and that He died so that your sins could be forgiven. You must accept His gift of salvation, invite Him into your heart and live for Him. He is the only thing that truly satisfies! You can  search and search, but you will never find what you are looking for until you meet Jesus! Let Him unlock that door for you, He's waiting inside to give you love, peace, joy, and everlasting life!
My Mom wrote this to share the love, grace
 and mercy of the Lord Jesus Christ!