For the Father has delivered and drawn us to Himself out of the control and the dominion of darkness and has transferred us into the kingdom of the Son of His love. (Colossians 1:13)
The Word of God tells us that we will overcome “through the blood of the Lamb and the word of our testimony” (Revelation 12:11). One of the most powerful evangelical tools continues to be the words of a believer in Jesus sharing with others what life in the Kingdom of God is like and what they have experienced through faith in God and His Word. This writing is, in large part, my story, my testimony, and my growing awareness concerning spiritual Truths. The most wonderful thing of all is that it is not unique, and while it may be in many cases “miraculous”, it really is a message to you, the reader, that these same blessings are for all who believe in God, His Son, His marvelous Holy Spirit and His Word.
I did not know that God really “was” until I was 32 years old. My family attended an Episcopal church during my growing up years and, except for ritually attending Sunday morning services, God was never spoken of in our home. The Bible was a book received as a symbol of membership in a church and then placed on a shelf someplace to collect dust. I never once observed either of my parents reading the Bible, or using a biblical principle to explain a life lesson. Grace was not even spoken at table. We were occasionally reminded of God when I or one of my sisters did something wrong and heard that both parents and God were disappointed in our actions. But the notion of a loving, guiding, and intensely and purposefully personal God never entered into any discussions of our individual directions in life, our goals, future families or even discussions of morality and justice. Our parents did not share with us the place God held in their thoughts and decision-making, although, clearly to their daughters, the lives they lived reflected obedience to godly principles. He was, however, a very distant awareness in our choices and motivations. Looking back now, this relegated Him to a place of insignificance and irrelevance. After all, God – our Creator – and His purposes and place in our lives and thoughts should surely be attended to! When He is not shaping attitudes, morals, a sense of responsibility and personal values during our formative years, then we relegate Him to an afterthought. And, clearly, if God is, and He is what the Word tells us that He is, He deserves preeminence in our lives, thoughts and actions.
So, for 32 years I lived in oblivious complacency about who God was and if He was. Similarly, and more significantly to my story, I had no belief at all in the existence of Satan. No one in my immediate surroundings – church, home, and school – gave any credence to the reality of the kingdom of darkness and its overlord. The comic little personality with the red tail and horns, while perhaps considered a delightful costume to wear to a Halloween party, could never be thought of as real by rational people. The existence of God was a question growing increasingly less important as I continued on through college. The existence of Satan was laughable!
And yet, I was to discover one afternoon in July, 1979, that both are very real, and very powerful (although, in truth, Satan‘s power is provisional), and that discovery altered the course of my life. However, it is necessary to go back to the summer of 1951; to begin my own personal journey in the matter of spiritual things.
When I was only 3 ½ years old, in that summer of 1951, my family had traveled for our annual summer vacation from Ohio to a suburb of Boston, Massachusetts to visit with my grandmother and my 2 aunts. My family at that time consisted of Mom, Dad, myself and my baby sister, Peggy. One evening during our 2 week stay, I was in a twin bed, sharing a bedroom with one aunt and the baby who was in a crib at the foot of my bed. I remember hearing voices downstairs as my parents, grandmother, and aunts visited into the evening hours. The aunt sharing the bedroom with me came to bed while the other adults remained downstairs. A short while later I remember hearing what I thought was running water – which transformed into what seemed to be the swishing of a long gown across the floor. At my bedside I distinctly heard a voice, a woman’s voice, which said only 4 words, menacingly – “Now I’ve got you”. In great fear, I quickly left my bed and asked to crawl in with my aunt where I stayed for the remainder of the night.
The next morning when asked why I had crawled in with my aunt I responded that I had been cold. Although I instinctively knew that speaking the truth about what I had heard would result in gentle scoffing and an explaining away of my story, with the lie I sealed the deal! I knew I would not be believed, that my story would not be taken seriously, so I did not share the truth with my family. How important it is to stand on the truth no matter what. “And the truth shall set you free.” (John 8:32) Much later, as you shall come to see, speaking the truth to one who believed would indeed set me free. Would the story of my early life have been different had I spoken the truth to my family that morning?
Several aspects of my early life were a direct result of that experience at the age of 3 ½. Whenever we traveled back for our annual summer visit to my grandmother, I always feared hearing that voice again. I was continuously afraid of the dark. I remember that my father worked very diligently to create a bedroom in the attic for me when I was a young teenager so that I could enjoy a private space of my own. Yet when I was alone in that attic room at night, I was so afraid of hearing that voice again that I moved back down to a shared room with my sister, much to my father’s consternation.
As I got older, into college and the years immediately following, there was an alteration in my response to the event. I consciously made a decision to take advantage of the experience. I remember thinking that I had experienced a spiritual contact at that early age, and that now I must delve into its significance. I began the study of witchcraft believing that certain people were able to tap into the power and secrets of the universe and I wanted to grab hold of that “wisdom”. There are any number of ways to get yourself off track, and I pursued many of them. There was no spiritual hierarchy here. I ignored God, and did not believe in Satan. I simply believed in me and my pursuit of this “Wisdom of the Ages”. Other aspects of this included an ongoing addiction to marijuana and the use of language on a regular basis that would “make a sailor blush”! I studied astrology and visited a top astrologer in Boston. I had an affair, divorced my husband and married the other man. But enough about what Satan can do to an uninformed life.
At the age of 32, a woman came into my life – a relative of my second husband. From where I sat, in the middle of Satan’s darkness, this woman profoundly touched me. For although I was seeking through astrology and witchcraft to get answers for my life, I was timid, introspective, and constantly fearful. From that vantage point, this woman appeared confident, stable, and peaceful. I remember thinking, I don’t know what she’s got, but I want it. And through her faith in God, my Heavenly Father worked the first of many miracles in my life.
She came to visit us, my second husband and me, on the weekend of July 14th, 1979. I was 32 at the time. She began sharing stories with us of the people she had worked with over the years. She worked as a Christian psychologist and her work most often involved people in bondage to past events in their lives. The gist of her conversation that Friday evening was how people got set free by speaking the truth about those events to someone who clearly believed their trauma. She prefaced her conversation by stating that just as there was a loving God, the reality was that there was also Satan and he worked at destroying people’s lives.
Because of my admiration for her, her confidence and assured manner, I opened up to the possibility that she was correct; that there was, indeed, God, and also Satan. She spoke on and on, ministering possibility to me until about 2 in the morning. The next day, we resumed our conversation as she continued to speak of people who had been set free through her “ministry” by speaking the truth of their past traumatic moments. Something stirred in me – an inner prompting said, “Tell her. Tell her now.” And I simply said, “I need to tell you something that happened to me when I was 3 years old.” She was tired and had been resting back in her chair, but, upon hearing those words, she immediately sat straight up, perched on the edge of her chair, pointed at me and said intently, “Whatever you are going to tell me. I will believe it.” Looking back on that moment from the perspective of time walking with God, I realize that the Holy Spirit had been preparing her for this moment even as He was leading me. She knew that she had been led to speak of these things for hours because I needed to hear them. When that moment came, when I was ready to share the truth, she became alert and ready for action.
So I told her the story. When I got to the words that I had heard and spoke them out to someone who clearly believed me, because she understood that these things do happen, I was set free! As the words, “Now I’ve got you” came out of my mouth, my next words were “I can’t believe what I am feeling”!
“Tell me,” she said. “Describe what you are feeling.”
“I’ve got tingling feelings all over my body, and I am going back and forth from very hot to very cold!”
At that moment, I felt something, someone, lift up and out and off of me with great anger, not wanting to, but compelled to go. And immediately, I began to sob; to wail, shaking all the while. It sounded, I felt immediately after, like wails coming down through the ages. They came from deep within me. Great gulping, body shaking sobs. And she was there, holding me fast, quietly saying, “Praise You, Jesus” over and over, until I was able to pick up the phrase and give honest, heartfelt praise and thanks where they were due for the very first time in my life, to my God and my Savior.
When I had quieted down, I pulled away from her and looked directly at her with a smile brought on by a peace that I had never known. She looked amazed and said to me, “You have to look in the mirror!” And what I saw brought more tears of joy. The very shape of my eyes was changed. I truly don’t know how to explain the transformation, but she saw it, and I, too, saw the change. They were rounder, gentler, where there had been a hardness that had shaped the configuration of my face, there was now a release of care, fear and bondage that effected a physical change.
“The old man is dead, long live the new creature.” (2 Corinthians 5:17)
Our testimony honors only God. The moments I share here and everything that I have experienced since that day are due to the loving provision of my Heavenly Father Who wants to do me and you only good.