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prophetic dreams
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I call them "baby dreams"—and these prophetic encounters have been a running theme in my life over the past decade. It seems God has been laboring with me to birth a new thing for nearly that long. Along the way, there was at least one Ishmael, a couple of near-abortions, and plenty of spiritual warfare. But God in His grace somehow worked all things together for good.

There were lessons in this series of prophetic dreams. When I put those principles into practice it caused what looked like a stillbirth to become a healthy baby. I still don't have all the answers, but God has made one thing clear to me: Sometimes a small shift makes all the difference.

The First Dream: Surrendering My Will
The "baby dreams" started about eight years ago. I had a dream I was pregnant. I was not happy about it because it was going to turn my life upside down—but I knew I couldn't do anything about it. I tried to pretend it wasn't real, but ultimately pretending wasn't an option. The lesson of this first prophetic dream was that I had to be like Mary, who gave her will over to the Lord despite the trouble it was going to cause her in the natural. I woke up and committed in my heart to let the Lord's will be done in my life and moved ahead.

The Second Dream: Birthing a Man-Child
About a year after that prophetic encounter, I had a second "baby dream." This time, I was in the hospital giving birth. When the baby was born, it was like a man-child. It had the appearance of a baby, but it had the features of a full-grown man. Immediately after the baby was born, he started running toward his goal. Those around me said, "It must be nice to birth a full-grown ministry. That's what you can expect."

The Third Dream: Making Adjustments
Fast-forward another five years. I was in a very uncomfortable position, having the weight of a church plant unexpectedly fall on my shoulders. I didn't sign up to preach, pray, prophesy and administrate the whole church but that's what was happening. I was at a crossroads, praying about whether I should exit or continue to bear the weight—and the spiritual warfare—of another man's vision or move on.

I went to sleep and had another "baby dream." This time I was pregnant. I still wasn't thrilled. I was hungry and the only thing available was some strange combination of eggs and pepperoni. My chair was too low for me to comfortably type on my computer. I had to change into clothes I didn't like. I was thinking about how I could possibly hit the gym with all of this going on. I thought about how I'd be 60 before this kid was grown.

In other words, I was doing a lot of natural reasoning. Eventually, I changed my clothes into something that wasn't ideal but still wasn't too bad. I ate the eggs for the protein and skipped the unhealthy pepperoni. I got a taller chair so I could type more comfortably. Then I woke up. I told one of my friends involved in the church plant about the dream, including the eggs and pepperoni. I had never heard of eggs and pepperoni as a dish—but it was one of her favorites. (Go figure. God wanted her to bear witness to the dream.)

From that dream I learned that I had to make sacrifices and adjustments to do the will of God. In other words, there would be some aspects of birthing this ministry that were uncomfortable, but there were ways to adjust to the circumstances and plow through the pain to get to the goal line of God's ultimate will. At first, I thought it was a message to keep bearing the weight of the church plant. But when the church planter manifested with wrong motives, it became abundantly clear that his vision wasn't my burden to bear and God released me. He actually used the experience to push me into what He really had in mind the whole time.

The Fourth Dream: Shifting Your Direction
In the last "baby dream," I finally got the message—and it changed everything. I was nine months pregnant but the baby had stopped moving. The baby wasn't kicking or rolling or showing any sign of life. (This is about how I felt after leaving the church plant.)

In the prophetic dream I thought the baby was dead and I panicked. Then, suddenly, I had the unction to shift the baby's position with gentle pressure from my hand. (I later researched this and discovered there's a name for it: the Diaphragmatic Release.) When I did, I could feel the baby kicking again. I knew all was well.

Here's the lesson I took away from this dream, which connected with the previous baby dreams: Sometimes things look dead but you just have to reposition yourself for life. It doesn't always take much. Just one gentle movement in the right direction can cause God to breathe on that thing again so you can birth it and begin nurturing what God has given you to steward.

If God has given you something to birth, it may be time to pull an Ezekiel and speak to those dry bones. It may be time to pull an Elijah and raise it from the dead. It may be time to walk away from the Ishmael, refuse to abort and just reposition yourself to receive what God intended all along. You could just be in the wrong place or in the wrong time or with the wrong people. When you decide to obey, when you decide to reposition yourself into God's perfect plan, the baby he has given you to birth will thrive in His grace. Amen.

Jennifer LeClaire is news editor at Charisma. She is also director of IHOP Fort Lauderdale and author of several books, including The Making of a Prophet and The Spiritual Warrior's Guide to Defeating Jezebel. You can email Jennifer at jennifer.leclaire@charismamedia.com or visit her website here. You can also join Jennifer on Facebook or follow her on Twitter.

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