Amanda Grace's life changed in an instant in August 2002, when she felt fluish, and then collapsed in her mother’s home starting a 16 year battle with a rare neuropathy and autoimmune disease. The Lord brought her back from the verge of death multiple times, and raised her up from being paralyzed in a wheelchair. This amazing testimony is truly a testament to the power, grace, and love of Almighty God!
***THIS TESTIMONY IS IN THE PROCESS OF BEING WORKED ON***
"And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature." (Mark 16:15 NKJV)
Amanda Grace is the founder of Ark of Grace Ministries LLC, and Animal Sanctuary. She gives all glory and praise to the Lord for all He has done as she ministers to those around the world, as well as helping animals of all kinds, including those with disabilities, who are in need of a place to call home. Amanda Grace also takes care of her husband, Chris, who suffered a traumatic brain injury in January of 2019. He is a true walking miracle! You can learn more about her, the work she does, and the animals on her YouTube channel. If you feel led to bless this ministry that ministers to both people and animals, please click on the PayPal icon. Thank you & God bless!
"Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses." (1 Timothy 6:12)
“Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.” (Psalm 23:4)
"For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." (Jeremiah 29:11)
"But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me." (2 Corinthians 12:9)
"Everything is possible for one who believes." (Mark 9:23)
"The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit." (Proverbs 18:21)
"Dear friend, I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well." (3 John 1:2)
"I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come." (Isaiah 46:10)
"But Samuel replied: "Does the LORD delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the LORD? To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams." (1 Samuel 15:22)
"Surely the Sovereign LORD does nothing without revealing his plan to his servants the prophets." (Amos 3:7)
"Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness." (2 Corinthians 9:10)
"Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you." (James 4:7)
"Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much," (Luke 16:10)
"And I will restore to you the years that the locust hath eaten, the cankerworm, and the caterpiller, and the palmerworm, my great army which I sent among you." (Joel 2:25)
"Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there,' and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you." (Matthew 17:20)
"...Fight the good fight of the faith." (1 Timothy 6:12)
"...for the joy of the LORD is your strength." (Nehemiah 8:10)
Corey Burns, thought he knew God even though, he was very far from Him. In college, he was caught up with the atheist crowd, learned a bunch of spirit science, “alien” secrets, masonic knowledge, drank, smoked, chased women and lived what he thought was a “good” life. Then, one day Corey learned from a terrorizing experience, that all he thought he knew was a lie.
"I waited patiently for the Lord; And He inclined to me, And heard my cry. He also brought me up out of a horrible pit, Out of the miry clay, And set my feet upon a rock, And established my steps. He has put a new song in my mouth--Praise to our God; Many will see it and fear, And will trust in the Lord. Blessed is that man who makes the Lord his trust, And does not respect the proud, nor such as turn aside to lies." (Psalm 40: 1-4)
Before I really knew Christ, I thought we had a special thing going on. Yes, I know I got caught up with that atheist crowd when I was in college, learned a bunch of spirit science, “alien” secrets, masonic knowledge, drank, smoked, chased women and frankly lived what I thought was a “good” life. In my mind, God would never judge me, or see me as unrighteous—after all, I didn’t kill anyone, and I took things day-by-day helping and loving people where I could. We’re friends, God and I. Yes, I believed that I loved my neighbors even though sometimes—I’ll get blisteringly angry with them and maybe—even hold a grudge or two for a few years, or ten. Yet, in my heart, the Creator God, the true one, the one who actually made everything, we had a good thing going on. How straight up deceived of the devil I was! Oh, and definitely don’t talk to me about Jesus, you can ask my mother about that. I give thanks to God for passionate born-again—blood-washed—redeemed-seekers because, I wouldn’t be giving this testimony if it wasn’t for all of their prayers.
My mother was praying for me for over a year, and I believed she had slipped off the deep end. I would listen about Jesus for a bit, but this was hardcore! She would continue to send e-mails and call me on the phone, but her messages began to get me thinking about this whole hell and Jesus business. One day, my mom and I had a war-of-words, and we didn’t speak to each other for several weeks which, really didn’t sit well with me since she is my mother. During that time, I was laying on the floor of my apartment—arms stretched out—thinking about my mother, and I’m not exactly sure what internal conversation was going on at that moment, but I said in my heart, “If she wants to talk about Jesus well—that is what we’ll talk about because—she is my mom, I love her, and I want more than anything else to talk with her while we can”.
I grew up in a family that was not well-to-do, and we suffered a lot. I didn't really have a background in faith or religion. I knew that this Jesus guy existed, I knew you should go to church, read the Bible, and try to be right with the Lord, but I choose to live my life the way I wanted to live and do the things that made me feel good. I had a lot of issues, but I was able to overcome them by developing a craft of photography which is something, that I love very much and make a good living out of it.
One night, after a very long day—I felt like getting some pot to relax. I went to the first weed shop and they didn't have what I was looking for—I went to the second weed shop and they were closed—then, I went to the third weed shop and for some reason, I wanted to get out of there as quick as possible! There was just something inside of me that said..."Get out of here! You don't need to be here!", but as stubborn in my way as I am—I filled out the paperwork even though signing it felt dirty. After buying my joint, I went home feeling some sense of victory.
Once home, I put on some YouTube videos and sat down to meditate as I would usually do while smoking my joint. All of a sudden in a blink of an eye, I had a vision and immediately I knew where I was—I knew this place was not a good place, I knew that I had somehow messed up badly. I always thought I was a good person and showed a lot of mercy to people especially to those I knew and cared about. I started begging for my life—begging; begging; begging like I have never begged before. Demons answered my begging with the most maniacal talking. They were saying...“Yeah, Corey you were a good man, yeah you were there, yeah you did call your grandma, yeah hum; hum." It was a gang of 3 or 4 of them, and they were each trading off in being extremely cynical. As I continued to plead—I mentally went through my life history, and I told myself…“but I loved people” and then, came a phrase that brought on so much terror—a deep in your bone type of terror as it came to mind, that I enjoyed the atheist crowd, learning about spirit science and “alien” secrets, Masonic knowledge, drinking, smoking pot, chasing women, and turning my back on people because I thought that I was better than them. As I looked back upon my life, there was a lot of shame! I can’t even describe into words when you go through your life and you actually see the moments, the times, places, spaces that you inhabited where you just didn’t have any kindness for people. Eternity is a timeless situation, and it felt like I went through a million things—a million arguments and all of them were maniacally shut down. It was to my understanding that I would be in my own terrorizing box of hell forever. I messed up and I understood when the punishments began, these creatures were going to cause indescribable pain upon me, and that’s what I was begging for them not to do. There’s a tremendous knowing in hell. I knew they were going to get me and it was going to be a party for them. They began to say “This is going to be so fun, it’s going to be beautiful; beautiful”. I knew they were talking about my suffering. I felt so sorry that I grieved God and that I didn’t have a relationship with Him. I used to make fun of Jesus. Yes, faith & religion were at the bottom of my list. I would go to church, so I could take pictures as a photographer and make some money, but I didn’t go to give glory to the King and Creator of everything. Very shamefully, I didn’t give any thought to this until now when it seemed like it was too late. I wanted to do what I wanted to do—I wanted to do what I wanted to feel. In this terrifying place—I came to know this all very well. While I was begging, I even noticed that there are no tears to cry because there’s no water in hell. I felt I was completely drained and there was absolutely no hope. I ran out of every excuse and argument that I made and finally in a child whimpering voice I said…“Doesn’t God love me?" Then, this voice rose up and I believed it to be the voice of Satan himself because it was bellowing and encompassed my entire being! Satan's voice resonated and said…“I am your god now and you will worship me!” It was such a sickening voice that it made me nauseous and then, something welled up in me with a serious boldness and I said…“You’re not God, You’re not Father God, Father God is Father God & Jesus Christ is the Savior who died on the cross and shed His blood & the Holy Spirit has defended me on no less than 3 occasions!” Then, all of a sudden, I was out of that place! I would have never known to say any of these things, so this surprised me. I immediately went to the front door of my apartment and sat down outside to pray to God “Father please forgive me! I have sinned and I want to give you and your son Jesus all the glory—I give my life to you!"
I know that I was shown my own little box in hell and if I really died—I would have spent eternity there without any chance of getting out because I didn't know Christ as my Savior. I don’t want to be in that horrible place ever again and I don't want you to find yourself there either. The rules in the Bible are there and very clear. You need to be of sober mind because you never know when the time will come that your life is over. You can’t be going around and doing anything you want to do and think that there won't be any consequences. Because of what I have experienced, I feel that I have a responsibility to warn others and share about Jesus—I want to do everything I can to give glory to Jesus Christ. I got washed in His blood and got baptized. I went to church not too long ago before this terrifying experience, and they offered me the body (bread) for communion and the wine for His blood and I turned away in a prideful way. There are many things that I’m not proud of in my life, but I want to share this testimony with you and encourage you to be on the straight and narrow. Father God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit are working for you all the time. How would you feel if you’re working for someone day in and day out and you have no respect for them? I would feel pretty bad if I’m working for someone all day and everyday and I got no respect. My life has been saved on 3 separate occasions, and I never told Him thank you. I was so blinded and would make fun of people that were trying to talk about Jesus to others. It is only through Jesus that we get to go to heaven. A relationship with Him is one that you have to work at every day out of love for Him. This is not just a Sunday type of thing—this is a whole life type of thing because when they say everlasting glory in heaven, it is everlasting glory in heaven. It’s real and awesome, but few people will go there because this world tells us that it’s all right to live with sin. Sin is not only an activity—it's a living creature that's absolutely detestable to God. He has a zero tolerance policy on sin. If we continue to sin we are harboring these creatures giving them a safe haven, so they can in turn effect others and lead many others astray. I am so fortunate that God showed me the vision of hell because of my stubbornness; I would’ve never turned from my ways. It’s shameful that it took this extremely dark experience to turn to Jesus because we live in a country where there are churches everywhere telling about Him. My prayer is that you repent for your sins.
I want to help people see and know that Jesus is the only way to heaven. I encourage you to give your life to Christ and read the Bible. It’s a very narrow path.
Some Scriptures to Encourage You:
"She will give birth to a Son, and you are to give Him the name Jesus, because He will save His people from their sins." (Matthew 1:21)
"Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved." (Acts 4:12)
"For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all people..." (1 Timothy 2:5-6)
Corey's Testimony on YouTube
Non-believer has a brief taste of his personal prison cell in hell, finally turns to Jesus and is saved.
Wendy Burpee grew up in a Christian home, but along the way...she strayed far away from God finding herself in abusive relationships, and choices made to abort pregnancies. Wendy's story is one of hope and redemption, in which she now uses the mistakes she has made to help many women chose life for their unborn babies.
"...but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy." (1 Peter 4:13)
I was raised in a Christian home and attended Christian school all my life. My Dad was very strict and the world seemed very black and white in those early years. I viewed God as a judge waiting to throw the book at me for my sin. On the surface, our family looked like we were put together. I have a half -sister who spent weekends with her father and then, when my Mom was 38, she announced she was pregnant which I had a hard time absorbing. A year later, she sat me down to tell me she was pregnant again. My sister had married and moved out by the time my brothers were born. I finished high school and left for Pillsbury Baptist Bible College in Minnesota. When I came home on break there was a lot of stress about whether I would return to college. My parents were in their 40’s with 2 toddlers and what felt like a whole different family. During this time, I started to hang out with a boy I knew from my part-time job. We were sneaking around to see each other. When my parents found out–they told me that I had to make a choice between him and living in their home. I didn’t want to give up what I thought was true love, so I packed my things and left. I stayed with his sister while we tried to figure out what to do. About 2 months later, I shared the news with my then boyfriend that I was pregnant. He didn’t seem happy, and to be honest–neither was I. I was panic-stricken that my parents would find out and then, I would never have any chance of being part of my family again. I had no one to talk to so, as terrified as I was, I walked into the Allentown abortion clinic and ended my pregnancy. My fear of having anyone know, that I had sex outside of marriage and got pregnant was more powerful to me than my fear of having an abortion.
I remember feeling numb afterwards. They told me as the medicine was putting me asleep, that when I woke up– it would be all over, and I could go back to my "normal" life. What an incredible lie!!! When I woke up the last of my innocence was gone, and I felt broken and damaged. I think my boyfriend felt guilty so out of the blue; he asked me if I wanted to marry him. I thought to myself..."Now, you want to get married–Strange response to what had just happened". Well, a few weeks later, we went to the courthouse and got married. After about a year together, our relationship fell apart. I realized that he was seeing someone else and within a few months he left. I was 21 divorced and alone. This is when God began to whisper..."I’m here, come back". But, while God whispers, Satan is hard at work. He sent a good looking guy into my life to distract me. He gave me attention that I craved after being divorced just a few months before. I felt wanted again. Everything seemed exciting and new until one night when I came home from work. My new guy was waiting by my back door. He walked up to my apartment with me. It didn’t take me long to realize, that he was very drunk. He began interrogating me about where I was all day, and thought that I was seeing someone else. My answers only seemed to fuel his response. You never forget the first time someone hits you. It went on for what seemed like an eternity. He choked me, suffocated me with a pillow, threw me across the room several times, called me filthy names and then assaulted me. Sometime before morning he passed out, and I managed to crawl across the floor and call the police. They hauled him away in handcuffs, and I thought..."Thank God it’s over". I didn’t call anyone or ask for help. Reaching out to my family or my church was in no way an option because surely, this was punishment for the horrible things I had done. I did the best I could to cover the bruises and went back to work. I shoved the experience into the box with the abortion and nailed the lid on tight. A few weeks later, one of my boyfriends friends came by and handed me an apology letter. It said how much he loved me and he didn’t mean to hurt me. He was just jealous and drunk. I felt guilty that he was headed to court and was charged with aggravated assault and rape. He might have to serve years in jail. He continued to send messages until–I caved in and dropped the charges. Not only that but, I agreed to see him again. My expectations for a relationship were now at an all time low. In fact, clearly there were no expectations. For a few weeks he was good to me and then, the drinking began again. He would push me and knock me down. The names were worse than the physical abuse. I can’t tell you why I stayed. I didn’t grow up in an abusive home. I knew my life had gone way off track, but somehow no matter how severe the abusive got–I would always give in to his manipulation and accept his ridiculous apologies. Two years went by, and then the unthinkable happened. I was pregnant again. The abuse instantly increased and his desire to see me miscarry was clear. I still remember the day he punched me in the stomach just aside a bar we stopped at so he could get a drink. When I got up off the ground, I told myself I can’t do this. Again, I drove to Allentown and let them convince me that the fetus was early and "just a bunch of cells". I knew in the deepest part of my soul, that was not true, but in that moment–I needed to justify what I was about to do. The next day when my boyfriend came home from work, I told him something was wrong and he needed to drive me to the hospital. It was Friday, so he was already drinking and using. As we pulled up to the emergency room he told me to go in and he would park the car. Well, he never came into the hospital because it was more important to him that he went back out to drink. No one was there as I was taken to surgery for a Dilatation & Curettage for a botched abortion. Now if you think the horror of my story can’t get any worse well then, you don’t fully understand how deeply the devil wanted to destroy my life. Just 10 weeks later, I was pregnant again. There was no saying no to this man anymore. I kept thinking this cannot be happening. I didn’t even think this time–I just went to Allentown, and became an official repeat offender. I was taking birth control, but because of the trauma and abuse–the pill was not very effective for me. I sat in that horrible place thinking..."How in the world did I go from an honor student in my Christian school to living in hell?" My life had spiraled out of control and nothing seemed to matter anymore. It very much seemed that the devil had won. After all, he had destroyed my heart, my emotions, and my will to want any better for myself. I began to accept the beatings like they were well deserved. Nothing mattered. And then, my friend, Joanna, from high school, looked me up and got in touch with me. Truly, God sent her just when all hope seemed lost. She told me to stop by so we could get together. So, I went to her townhouse and met her sweet funny husband who was a youth Pastor. They talked about wanting a baby and what the future would hold. I just sat there thinking..."I will never have a life like this". She kept in contact, and finally one day stopped by my apartment. She knew I was in trouble. She knew I would never admit how bad things really were. She saw the bruises on my arms and the pain in my eyes. She looked around and went back to her car bringing in an empty box. She started emptying drawers and asking me what was mine. So I asked her what are you doing? She looked at me and said there is no way I’m going to let you stay here with him another minute. I was terrified and sadly could not even imagine at that point a different healthy normal life, but somehow she convinced me to leave. I would return to my boyfriend one more time before making my final escape ending 5 years of pain and abuse. Over the months that followed I went to counseling briefly but struggled to connect with anyone. I never brought up the abortions in my counseling sessions. No one knew what I had done, and I was convinced if they did–they would be horrified. You see, I wasn’t like the clients that come to Genesis, which is the name of the pregnancy center, that I am blessed to be the director of in Pottstown, PA. I didn't grow up in a troubled home. I knew better. I knew what abortion was. There could never be forgiveness for someone like me right? I couldn't imagine why God would ever want to have anything to do with me. I already perceived Him to be a judge waiting to punish people for even the smallest sin. Clearly I was not deserving of anything good from Him after all I had done. This is where my redemptive story really begins. Over the months that followed, God sent people into my life that showed me love including, the man that would become my husband. Through this, I began to see a different side of God. Could it be true that He was a loving Father, and was it even possible, that God still loved me? I returned to church which was one of the hardest steps for me. My parents began to check in with me and my Mom and I really reconnected. Although, I never consciously decided to put away my past where no one would find it, it just kind of happened that way. A year later, I got married and 9 months later gave birth to my first son and 2 more children soon followed. I was living the life I never thought I would have. My husband had a great job and lived in a beautiful home. The past was gone. I had banished it. I had no plans to ever speak of those experiences again.
So now we move to 2017. My life is settled. I am married 18 years to a hard working husband and have 3 great kids. I was working from home for my brother’s insurance company as a successful sales agent. Our family has been faithfully attending Valley Forge Baptist in Collegeville, PA for over 10 years. I begin to feel like there’s something more I should be doing for the Lord. So, I start to pray..."God do something with my life". Take my story, and use it for your glory. Whatever you want–I will do. Now, let me warn you before you utter these words to God, be sure you will be willing to do what He will give you to do. A few months later, a friend from church who was volunteering at Genesis Pregnancy Center, told me about an opening for a director at Genesis. I was not very familiar with the center, and I told her that I didn't know anything about running a Christian non-profit. She strongly encouraged me to apply. After submitting my application–I began to pray, Lord if this is what you want me to do, I will do it. Now, I don’t really know what "IT" was yet. I’m intrigued by the thought but not really aware of what this job really entails. Only for the briefest of moments do I think I might be faced with my dark hidden secrets. I had asked the Lord to forgive me, but I still had decided not to bring those events out into the light. I pushed those thoughts aside and convinced myself I could leave the past safely where it was. I can’t tell you how excited I was to get the call that Genesis wanted me as their director. Now, Genesis has been around for 35 year. The previous director left the center before I came. The client advocates were on hold waiting for me to get my head around the job. The administrator had left and there were no volunteers coming. So with a key to get in and a prayer for God’s guidance–I opened the door to Genesis and the journey to this day had begun. I hired an administrator, called the advocates and did my best to get things going again. Financially, things were grim but since business was my strong-point, I was able to cutback to only necessities and work on getting out to the Pastors to spread the passion of our center to the churches to get support coming in again. There were challenges in those first 3 months. I was replacing a director who had been on the job for 23 years. Many of the churches were unsure of our future and were waiting to see what changes would be made. Our board of 3 expanded to 7, and the support began to come again. We finally were settling down and getting into what really mattered. THE WOMEN! I filled in as an advocate when needed, but the pace was fairly slow, and I spent most of my time visiting churches and finding new connections of those who may want to support us. However, on occasion–we had a women who came with a story of domestic abuse and eventually, I would be faced with an abortion-minded woman unsure of what she would do about her unplanned pregnancy. My mindset of keeping the truth of my story hidden was no longer possible. When sitting across from a young woman who may go ½ mile up the street to Planned Parenthood, and abort her child–my past poured out in order to change her mind, and see the reality of her decision. There was no question God wanted it brought to the surface in that moment. As the next year passed and Genesis began to grow again and thrive, God began to work on my heart. Healing is a personal journey and my dark secrets couldn’t remain hidden any longer. In time, I knew what God wanted me to do. You have to tell your story Wendy; I could almost hear his voice saying. Let me use you for my glory. My answer to Him–God, telling one woman in a room alone to stop her from destroying a life is not the same as standing in front of one's peers, and letting them see that part of you best left forgotten. After much prayer and consideration, I told my board and client advisor's bits and pieces of my life as to not overwhelm or shock them. I continued to pray if this is what you want Lord, please make it clear to me. I decided for several reasons to obtain the records from that first traumatic assault event in my life. As I sat in my office reading over the report–I quickly glanced to the top of the page and noticed the date, MAY 1, 1994. I lost my breath for a minute and sat there in awe. I had been invited to share my story for the first time ever at a National Seminar for Christian pro-life Directors and their staff in Michigan. WHEN? May 1, 2019, 25 years to the day since those traumatic events had taken place. The President of that group connected me to Jeanne Pernia. Jeanne like Abby Johnson had been the director of an abortion clinic in Miami, Florida. She had received Christ and is now a champion for the Christian pro-life movement. I sent for her book, and read it very quickly. Her story brought memories flooding into my head, that I thought were long gone. I reached out to her and we began to email. God brings the right people along to promote healing and encouragement when you need it. Is my journey of healing over? No, the process continues every day. I know the God of this universe has forgiven me and has allowed me to be part of His plan at Genesis Women’s Clinic. I don’t know what God has for me in the future, but I share my story with you today trusting that His purpose for my life is fulfilled in my willingness to tell the whole story. It would have been easier, so much easier to share just one abortion experience with you, but then God would not fully be glorified for ALL that He has done in my life. I don’t know why, but in those moments, I felt a rush of emotion about my past. You see it’s not about me and what people may think of me after I speak the truth–it’s about how God took a broken woman, a sinner; a Christian who came to know better and–redeemed her for His purpose. He does that in the Bible over and over so in reality, I feel honored to tell you today. I have suffered the trauma of abortion 3 times. I am a saved by grace and a follower of Christ who will fiercely fight for the lives and souls of the women in my community. God has forgiven me, and reached deep into my heart to bring healing to my life. He has placed me at Genesis, which truly has been His gift to me. Today, I bring meaning to the 3 unborn lives that walk the streets of heaven with my Savior. I give honor to them, and glory to my Lord for His redemptive, gracious, power. Since our medical launch this past May, we have saved the lives of 12 babies and ministered to their mothers. All the glory goes to God for His direction in my life and for Genesis. It is a blessing as well, to speak for the Christian pro-life community.
Sue Thomas faced overwhelming odds when at the age of 18 months she became profoundly deaf. With dedicated parents who refused to institutionalize Sue, they set out to provide the tools that would enable Sue to live and survive in the world of sound. It was imperative to them that little Sue would learn to speak, even though she heard nothing. This began years of speech therapy to give her the voice that would be heard around the world. "It is only in the silence that we will truly hear the still small voice of God, the silence will teach us, if we listen." ~Sue Thomas
"And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose." (Romans 8:28)
I have had an incredible life with an incredible story—God's greatest sinner saved and transformed by His grace and His grace alone!
Most who know me know two things, I am profoundly deaf and worked for the FBI as their secret weapon with my lipreading expertise and later—had the award winning TV series called Sue Thomas: F.B.EYE inspired by my life. The second thing you might or might not know is that I carry the FBI name in a very public way. I am Sue Thomas, (F)irm (B)eliever (I)n CHRIST.
I was born and raised in Youngstown, Ohio, and faced overwhelming odds when at the age of 18 months I became profoundly deaf. With dedicated parents who refused to institutionalize me, they set out to provide the tools that would enable me to live and survive in the world of sound. It was imperative to them that I would learn to speak, even though I heard nothing. This began years of speech therapy to give me the voice that would be heard around the world.
Deemed “a dummy” and put into the slow learner class throughout my public school days, I was finally discovered by my typing teacher who saw the raw potential that was concealed by my deafness. Through the life of this teacher, I went on to college where I studied Political Science, International Relations, and received my BS degree before doing post-graduate work in counseling at Case Western Reserve and Columbia Bible College and Seminary.
Being profoundly deaf, was the one thing that drove me to the Lord. For 35 years in spite of being successful with the FBI using my lipreading abilities to capture the bad guys, I resented and despised my deafness and the silence. My deafness kept me from the very thing that I love—people. Helen Keller said it best, "blindness separates a person from things and objects; deafness separates a person from people." How well do I know these words.
I tried to run from the silence in every way possible, alcohol, drugs, alternative lifestyle, you name it, I did it to try to find acceptance and live with the silence.
My parents taught me as a child that God never makes a mistake, but the older and supposedly wiser I got—I believed my parents were wrong, and that God did indeed make a mistake when He allowed the silence to over take me.
I left a successful career at the FBI to find God to make Him confess He made a mistake. I found Him in seminary in what is now known as Columbia International University in Columbia South Carolina. It was there at the age of 35, that I fully surrendered to God at the foot of the Cross in all of my shame and sorrow. It was there on that day, that the transformation of my life was to become complete for the very thing that I hated, despised, and rejected—the silence—would be transformed into my best friend, the thing that I loved the most—the silence. It is only in the silence that we will truly hear the still small voice of God, the silence will teach us, if we listen.
It was with that transformation thirty five years ago, that God placed in my heart to build a sanctuary in the wilderness where the silence would never be broken, "that God's people shall return from exile far away and will rest beneath His shadow, and be as a watered garden." (Hosea 14:8)
The Wonderful Sanctuary & Vision of WaterBrooks
WaterBrooks is a wilderness sanctuary nestled on 113 acres in the green mountains of Vermont. It's indeed a different kind of place. It's a refuge, a strong tower, a place where the silence is never broken, and a special place where one can come and know that He is God. WaterBrooks is not a church, but a place that God’s people can be strengthened and then return to their church to strengthen it’s body. We ask for your prayers in the days ahead that Almighty God will provide accordingly in the richness of His Son, Christ Jesus. Our needs are great as we build our first project for the lodge. Only God and God alone can bless our endeavors for His glory and the hope of His people.
The silence will teach us if we listen. Perhaps, just perhaps, the church bells will ring once again to call His people to worship.
Sue is the co-founder of WaterBrooks a sanctuary being built in the green mountains of Vermont and Operation Silent Night, an outreach to the homeless.
Sue continues to travel and be a witness for the Lord. Churches and Christian functions can book Sue through the Ambassador Agency and ask for Gloria at (615) 370-4700.
My life consisted of nonstop run-ins with the law, getting arrested, fighting, abusing my body with drugs and drinking, and even witnessing friends around me die that were living the same life that I was living. All along my stepfather never gave up on me...he kept bringing up this one name...Jesus...Yet, I continued to shrug him off.
Christopher J. Maskey
"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest." (Matthew 11:28)
These are the words that were spoken by Jesus Christ—Yeshua Hamashiach—who has changed my life and this is my testimony.
Many of you know me from preaching the Word of God, and from helping lead others so they come to a place of accepting Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Savior. But, my life wasn’t always like this—my daily thoughts and motives weren’t always this way.
I grew up in a small town about an hour north of New York City, named Cold Spring. It was a quiet little town, where I would end up spending the majority of my time alongside, my mother & stepfather. My biological father and mother split up shortly after I was born, and my mother married my stepfather when I was around 5 years old. My father had problems with drugs and alcohol and when I was 6 years old we had received the phone call that he was found dead in his apartment from an apparent suicide. As a child, my mother wouldn’t tell me the truth of his death—she would just tell me that he was really sick. Even so, as a young child, it affected my life and was always in the back of my mind that my father was gone.
My mother was my best friend. She was the best mother any kid could ask for—on top of having a great stepfather, who was always supportive and there for me—it kind of took away some of the pain, I was experiencing with losing my father at a young age. As a kid, they both decided it would be best that I attended a Catholic school where I also took part in all of the required sacraments and was an altar boy. At this time, my mother & stepfather, were truly seeking the Lord in their lives, and became disappointed because they just weren’t finding what they were looking for inside the Catholic church. They eventually gave their lives to Jesus Christ and both became born- again Christians.
The majority of my childhood, I remembered my mother & stepfather reading their Bibles, going to church, and both living their entire lives for Jesus Christ in all that they did. They did all they could to lead by example, and to teach me the truth about the Word of God and Jesus Christ. As a child, I believed in Jesus Christ—but the temptations of being a teenager, and getting involved in the things of the world took precedence in my life.
During my senior year of high school, my life took a turn for the worse when my mother got the phone call that changed our lives forever. She found out that she had cancer and needed to be immediately rushed in for radiation treatment. While most of the kids were enjoying their final year in high school, and planning on where they were going to college—my mind was occupied day and night with the health of my mother and what my life was going to be like without her if she died. I noticed my mother and stepfather always were praying, and instead of me joining them—I hid behind drinking and using drugs to take away the pain of what I was feeling. At 17 years old, I was borderline an alcoholic and stared to experiment with drugs to escape from reality. I remember my mother would always keep a positive outlook, and her faith in Jesus Christ was unlike anything I’ve ever seen. Standing before these doctors who were showing her the cancer that was growing in her—she continuously, remained strong and trusted in her faith in Jesus to get her through it.
As the months went by, my mother went through numerous surgeries, radiation treatments, and she was now but a shell of the person she once was because of it. The cancer had literally destroyed her body—but it couldn’t touch her spirit. My senior year came and went, and eventually my mother’s cancer had gone into remission right before I was to start my freshman year of college. I went to a local college about 20 minutes away and was able to still come home and visit my mother and stepfather often to check up on her. Everything seemed to be getting back to normal—my mom’s health was improving, and my new life as a college student had just started. Shortly into my sophomore year—the cancer had come back, and as it did—I continued to seek comfort in drinking and using drugs. Coming home and seeing my mother smile knowing that she was struggling was tough to see, but one thing her and my stepfather always had was their faith in Jesus Christ. It was during my sophomore year, that I came out to visit my mother, and she had the difficult task of finally telling me the truth about my father—he didn’t die because he was sick, but that he indeed killed himself. My life was crushed, all the years of believing he was just sick now, I had to face the fact that he committed suicide—I truly wasn’t prepared mentally to walk around with this news. My mother and stepfather always would talk about the power of having Jesus Christ in their lives, but I ignored what they told me and tried to seek comfort in the things of this world.
Halfway through my junior year of college, the cancer was now fully attacking my mother’s body and was more aggressive than ever. I decided to drop out of school and move back home, so I could take care of her, and spend every day with her while she was fighting for her life. Shortly after, she was asked to come into Sloan Kettering’s cancer center in Manhattan for a last effort surgery to remove the cancer that was inside of her mouth and throat, but just an hour into the surgery the doctor’s called us down to let us know that the cancer had spread throughout my mother’s body and they knew there was nothing they could do. My life came crashing down at that point, and reality set in that soon—I was going to be losing my mother. We walked back up into the recovery room to see her sitting up smiling, and asking how she did—I didn’t have the heart to tell her the news the doctor told me, so I just hugged her and told her how much we all loved her. Throughout her entire battle with cancer my mother had her Bible right next to her. I couldn’t understand where she was getting this courage and comfort from just reading a book—she was staring at death and yet she wasn’t afraid at all.
A couple weeks later my mother finally passed away. I was now a 21 year old college dropout, no job, no money, medical bills coming in, and I just lost my best friend in the whole entire world. It was just me and my stepdad living together in our little home, and I remember how he used to tell me about Jesus, and how I needed to fully ask Him into my life, but—I still wasn’t ready. I was very angry inside—angry that my father killed himself, angry that God would take my mother away from me, depressed and at that point—I really didn’t care much about living anymore.
The drinking had fully taken over my life—drugs were taking over as well, and I began to seek ways to take out my frustrations in life, and I found it in the form of music. I had always been interested in hip hop music; it was my life for the majority of my childhood and as a young adult. The sound was very aggressive, angry, and the songs were full of violence which was exactly fitting for the way that I was living. I began going to the studio week after week, getting high on drugs, and creating my own songs. I was going on the radio performing, doing shows, sleeping with different woman every week—the life of a rock star as many would call it. The pain and anger in my songs was something that really made me stand out from the majority of the other artists, and I was quickly making a name for myself in the New York music scene. I had opened up for some of the most popular artists in the industry and it seemed as if my time was coming to be next. It seemed on the surface that I was happy, but inside I was full of pain. As the years went by, I had lost sight of who I was—the drugs and alcohol had fully taken control of me, and when I looked in the mirror, I couldn’t recognize the person I was looking at. I never once faced any of my problems. I buried them deep down inside—hidden behind a wall of drugs & alcohol, but I found out quickly that just because they are hidden, doesn’t mean they go away. My life consisted of nonstop run-ins with the law, getting arrested, fighting, abusing my body with drugs and drinking, and even witnessing friends around me die that were living the same life that I was living. All along my stepfather never gave up on me, and kept bringing up this one name—Jesus. Yet, I continued to shrug him off.
I maintained this lifestyle for over 6 years, and with no sign of any future or reason to continue living in my mind. Until the day that Jesus Christ finally got hold of me. I was coming down off of a 2 day binge just sitting in my room, and at my lowest point in life. Staring at a picture of my mother—depressed and upset at the thought of how disappointed she would be of the person I had become. I sat back on my bed and then it happened—I overheard in the other room my stepfather listening to a message from a preacher on the television. I walked closer to the door, and I felt something leading me to listen to what was being said. It was as if the preacher was talking to a whole congregation of people, but the message was directed towards just me. He started talking about sin, and how Jesus Christ died to take away our sins to give us a new life—A NEW LIFE??? That’s what I NEED!
He then started talking about the devil and how Satan wants us to keep seeking drugs, keep seeking alcohol and women. It was like everything I was hearing was about MY life. How could this be??? Then the preacher said the one scripture that forever changed my life. He quoted from the book of Matthew when Jesus said, “Come to me, all you who are wary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” Rest??? Nobody needed rest more than I did at that very moment. Rest from running away from my father’s past, rest from the pain of losing my mother, rest from the anger inside of me, rest from all the drugs and drinking that ruined my life—I was mentally and physically exhausted, and now this man is telling me that Jesus Christ can give me rest??? I wanted to stop, I wanted to change, but I was so scared because I didn’t know how—and, I didn’t think I was strong enough to leave behind my old life and fully trust in HIM. But I knew that I wasn’t going to last much longer if I continued, and it was at that point I fell down to my knees, and called out to Jesus Christ—with tears in my eyes I said, “I just can’t do it anymore—I was ready—I needed rest—I needed a new life—I NEEDED JESUS!!”
I can still remember the prayer I made. I said to Him that He could have my life, but I just ask that you find me someone that I can marry and have a child with to start over and have new life together. I remember asking for Him to bless me with a good job so I can provide for my family. And, I remember just laying down everything—fully giving my life to Jesus Christ that day. I felt like a new person, I felt like for the first time in years the weight of the world was taken off of my shoulders, and I just wanted to live every day from there on out for Jesus.
As I sit here and tell you my testimony, it’s hard for me to believe that it’s been almost 9 years already. Since then the Lord has completely blessed me with a new life, a happy life, a lot more abundant life than I could ever imagine. Shortly after I called out to Jesus Christ and asked Him into my life, He introduced me to an amazing woman, who eventually would become my wife. We’ve been together now for over 8 years, and have been blessed with a beautiful baby boy, and a 2nd child that is on the way in November. I was also blessed to land a great job shortly after meeting my wife, and I’ve been there for over 8 years as well. Literally, everything I asked for when I gave my life to Jesus Christ the Lord has blessed me with, and more! I look back at where my life was, and where He’s brought me from and I can’t help but praise the name of my Lord & savior Jesus Christ—Yeshua Hamashiach—for saving me. My change was not overnight—little by little He’s been removing my old ways of living and replacing them with His righteousness, changing me into His image, and He’s still working inside of me every single day.
For years now, I have been completely free from the hold of alcohol and drugs in my life, free from feeling the pain and anger that was inside of me, and replaced with His everlasting love. All along the answer to my problems was right in front of me—the same thing that my mother used in fighting her battle with cancer—the same thing my stepfather used to get through the tough times of losing my mother, and—the same thing I needed in MY life—Trusting in Jesus Christ and asking Him into my life.
Galatians 2:20 says, “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.”
Jesus Christ died not just so you and I can have eternal life, but He also died so we can experience true life on earth, the type of lives that our Heavenly Father wants us all to live! All we have to do is trust in Him and seek Him to give it to us—and it will be.
2 Corinthians 5:17 says, “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”
I urge anyone out there who may be reading and listening to my testimonial video below, to call on the name Jesus Christ. You don’t have to keep struggling—there is a way to obtain a new life. And it’s not by going out and trying to conquer your problems on your own. COME AS YOU ARE! The bible says “Come! Whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.” If He could change my life—He can change yours for it was nothing that I did, it was all in Jesus Christ. I was just willing to take that small leap of faith and call out to Him, admitting I’m a sinner, acknowledging that He died for my sins and was raised 3 days later, and then finally asking HIM to take over my life—HE hasn’t left my side since. If you are struggling in life, please don’t wait another day. NONE of us are promised another hour in this life. Jesus is the one and only way to eternal life—He’s the only way to bring about the changes we all are seeking in our lives on earth. I come to you as someone who was once in your position, and I plead with you to stop fighting these battles on your own, stop running—JESUS is waiting with open arms for you to come home—your new life is right before your eyes, and the power is all in the name of Jesus Christ and what He did on the cross! Don’t wait another day.
Ruth Almada, shares her incredible story--Strength in Scars--to give hope to ones's extraordinary circumstances--especially from the pain of generational abuse.
"Wisdom is the principal thing; Therefore get wisdom. And in all your getting, get understanding." (Proverbs 4:7)
In this life, we do not choose who we are born to or in what conditions we are born under. God knows what He is doing, and He never makes a mistake. In my book and story, there is nothing that is politically correct, ear tickling, watered down or sugar coated. It is as raw and authentic as it gets because that’s what this world needs more of-- especially, when sharing about the very REAL power of God in our lives.
My story starts off knowing, that we live in a fallen world run by the devil, and evidence of this is literally--in every single facet of the conditions that I lived in. It was most definitely not an easy journey, and with being born to two lost folks (my parents)--I was bound by decades of generational curses at the time of birth. However, Jesus had another plan.
A plan so powerful that knowing about it now, still very much leaves me in moments of sheer amazement and utter gratitude. A plan so powerful that I am able to thank God for our trials today. I have learned along the way, that Jesus is pulling many people out of the very same hell we endured. There are no words that can properly describe this other than GLORY to God in the highest!
Here is a summary of my story:
As a child, we learn based on what is poured into our lives, experiences and environment. There is a large family dynamic, that God has lovingly and powerfully touched that governs five lines of my families generation. From grandparents to grand-babies. The easiest way to describe it is-- the enemy has placed assignments on my bloodline for who even knows how long. This spans from decades of abuse in most-- if not all--forms that seemed to keep repeating over and over with each new generation.
My story talks about this from my own experience as a girl up until roughly eight or so years ago. I have experienced physical, emotional, sexual, and mental trauma most of my life and--on many different occasions. In many instances, I thought most of it was perfectly normal yet, knowing deep down inside there must be a better way. I remember thinking, I wish I was normal because normal people could cope with life far better than I could. I often felt that something was deeply wrong with me. This was the 4th grade me, who didn’t realize that in my terms of “most” I was looking at people, that had not endured what was occurring and--had occurred most of my life.
I gave my life to Jesus as a girl, but didn't realize until YEARS later the profound impact of the ultimate changes of my path would be based on this vital and literally life-saving decision. It was not until my painful past was attempting to replay with my own children, that a true consensus needed to be made no matter the cost and WHAT A COST it was! I am eternally grateful for Jesus, and owe him absolutely everything!!
I have seen first-hand unexplainable miracles in my life, and the very fact that I am even alive today is most definitely one of them! I have been raped, beaten, molested, mocked, and tormented all before the age of seven. Many of these instances happened other times even after this. I tried drugs for the first time at fourteen, and this was given to me by my momma. I also became a momma, right after my seventeenth birthday to a beautiful set of twins, that I couldn’t afford to care for.
With the deepest heart-felt intentions--I place them in their paternal grandparents home while, I served in the US Army--not knowing the real intents of these two people that I loved deeply. They did unspeakable things to my twins for the first few years of their lives. They wouldn't even let me have them back, and I had to fight for several years in court--with almost every spare dime, that I could muster to get my boys away from them. I never understood why until several years later.
There was a sick, dark, and sinister plan unfolding in my children’s lives that I didn’t even know was there. It was not until my precious daughter, Hope, had the courage at the very young age of three to tell me. The rest is in the book however, I can tell you this much, our story is NOT just our story, it's MANY people's stories. God has done such a work in my life and in the lives of my children, that the ripple effect has now spilled outside the doors of our home on to other family members such as, my siblings and parents and many others.
God has broken these curses all of them that included: pedophilia, rape, poverty, abandonment, abuse, word curses, and many others. He has HEALED my mind, body and spirit. He has HEALED my children. He has HEALED my relationship with my parents and YES--even with these grandparents that did this to my children. My heart and mind has been HEALED in Jesus name!! ALL THINGS are possible for those who love Him, believe in Him, and are called according to HIS will. Who the Son sets free TRULY is free indeed, don’t for a second just think that, KNOW IT!
Our story is a story of REAL hope that the LIVING God cares, and wants to set you free from past and present bondage. He truly wants to HEAL your deepest wounds and we are living breathing proof that it's in fact possible.
The other dynamic of this is that the God of this Universe is PERFECT in duplication. His seeds produce fruit after their own kind. He also gives us the unique ability to comfort others with the same measure He has given to us! If God can set me free from my horrible fallen past and use it to help someone else (which He has and still is HELPING MANY)--then my friend--He can, and will do the same with yours! Hang in there, because Jesus is coming for you and counting on YOUR breakthrough, so you can help many others too! What He has done in my life, He most definitely can in yours! Praise Jesus!!
"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;" (Proverbs 3:5)
"Sometimes we go through life just living and not knowing where the journey is taking us. We think we know where we are going, but we have little idea as to the plans that God has for us. When we hit those “memorial stones”, do we realize how far He has brought us?"
My name is Missy (Dr. Missy Hood) As a young kid, I was carefree and very happy because I knew I was deeply loved by my family. However, when I was 7 years old—my life became anything but carefree because someone outside of my family started to sexually abuse me, and this was when the darkness started to settle in. The sexual abuse went on for 3 years until I got smart and realized that if I stayed close to my Dad at family functions this perpetrator couldn’t touch me. Even though, the abuse stopped—the darkness didn’t. It was later in life, that I learned the enemy (the devil), was after my prophetic gift, and the gift of loving others. (Some are given the gift of faith, others joy, but I was given the gift of love from birth). The Holy Spirit would teach me that His presence had been instilled in me. To prepare us for the Joel 2:5 Army that God was raising up for these end times.
(Joel 2:5) "With a noise like chariots Over mountaintops they leap, Like the noise of a flaming fire that devours the stubble, Like a strong people set in battle array."
It was about 41 years ago, that you would have seen me as just some “tom boy”, who was struggling with life. I was struggling with learning due to severe A.D.H.D/Dyslexia. Also, at a young age, I felt like a walking radio tower because everyday I would find myself knowing things about people and saw many visions. I now know that this is a prophetic gift, and God was calling me to be a prophetess. I had such an amazing Faith and I would tell my parents—“Mom/Dad, God is going to give me such and such and it would come to be.” This was to their amazement, because we did not have much money and they could not afford what I was asking for, but God would provide every time! So, I learned to DREAM BIG from the start and my family watched as God would take me into even bigger dreams. However, in the meantime I was still trying to understand all this and process what God was doing in me.
Then my life, because of the abuse, would start to spiral out of control due to bulimia and drinking. These became the two ways that I used to control my body when I was in pain. I started to spiral out of control up to the age of 22 years old. That would be the year when my entire life would fall on it’s head—the day the enemy took my only protection that I had known—My Father died! It was this day, that my Dad went down into a field to cut wood on a family outing and died instantly of an aneurysm. I was the only one that wasn’t there for him. I had been out partying the night before with my boyfriend, doing drugs, drinking, doing all the things my Christian family had raised me not to do. Up to this point, I didn't really know God. I knew Him in my prayers, but to truly know Him—this would be the beginning of my journey on October 31, 1987.
At this point, I felt overloaded, frustrated, beginning to develop a drinking problem, had a eating disorder, and felt SO STUCK in life. I was ANGRY SO ANGRY at God for the loss of my Dad/my protector from all the perpetrators of life, and it was all gone! So now was the time when I had to learn to defend myself.
"In life, when you have the gift of love—you live life to the fullest until it overflows EVEN if—you live it wrongly. You do everything to the extreme because that’s the nature of true love. To love and live life DEEPLY, and everyone around me saw it in me as I was self-destructing."
When I was 26 years old, I broke up with my boyfriend and enrolled in college. I decided it was time to go back to school and start learning about my God, the God I had only known about in my prayers. I felt love calling me back to Him, my truest sense of self, and I started having this unbelievable drawing to help people. I actually had it since I was 8 years old, because at that point, I was a year into the abuse, and maybe I felt like no one was there to help me. My Dad tried because he knew something was wrong, but he didn’t know what the problem was. A year later, God would allow me to walk in heaven to tell him “goodbye for now” as I would hear my Dad tell me, “God’s going to use you to help bring the Glory/Love back into His Church. Life just kept moving me onward after that.
For a long time, I had this HUGE dream of designing in Hollywood—BIG faith that kept telling me “Move to Hollywood—THAT will be your ticket out of the pain and then, you can BE SOMEBODY!” So I got my BA in design and spent the next 28 years designing for college & church live productions. I handled budgets up to $150,000.00 for choir and show costuming. Sometimes making theatrical costumes ranging up to $5000.00 (for Mi Mi Rogers on the film Stop Loss). What propelled me into film occurred after our million dollar production the “Austin Christmas Pageant” which I designed for yearly for about 4 years.
In the 4th year, I would find myself standing in the middle of a room full of pastors when my choir director would spin around in front of over 500 people telling me, “Missy, we’re going to pray for you! We’re going to pray for you to design for churches!” To which I quickly spun around telling him “DON’T YOU DARE! I’M GOING TO HOLLYWOOD!” I felt a sadness in my heart as I felt like I was declining the Lord's invitation of what He was offering me. As I left the show wrap party that night—I heard a voice say to me: “OK, if this is what you “think” you want to do, I’ll let you chase this dream that you think is of Me, but I’m going to visit you in a while and we are going on a journey.” I thought the conversation was strange, but dismissed it as quickly as it had come, and I was off to pursue my own dreams of design and fame, the thing I thought would give me identity and value. Little did I know, the only way to find identity was through My Father in Heaven—a lesson I would later learn. I spent the next 10 years, designing on huge movie sets for Paramount and Warner Brothers films such as the “Gunman & Stop Loss” with Mi Mi Rogers (Austin Powers Movie), Sean Patrick Flannery, Joey Lauren Adams (Big Daddy with Adam Sandler), Cerin Hines, Ryan Phillipe & Cerin Hines (Tinker Tailor Solder Spy). God has allowed me to meet so many stars, and be connected to all the fame in the world, but even that never settled my soul. It wasn’t until I walked into a set trailer one day and said out loud, “I hate this job!”—that I realized that this wasn’t my passion. HOWEVER, designing came naturally to me while learning academics DID NOT (because of my severe A.D.H.D). I had tried to work in the working world for years (outside of design/arts), and I wound up losing 40 jobs in 15 years because of the way I learned. I was at this place in my life where I was unsatisfied, very broken, and knew I needed a new life. I had gotten so far away from my Christian roots that I lost myself, and the purest sense of knowing what love really is. Hence, just like the voice had told me years earlier, “I’m going to come for you and take you on a journey", MY REAL JOURNEY BEGAN! I left the film industry and began to pursue what I felt what was God's plan for me.
God connected me into prophetic ministries where He would use me to minister to people non-stop in Austin, New York, and New Jersey. I began to face one of my biggest fears of obtaining a Master's Degree in Occupational Education. My Thesis was written to help those suffering with A.D.D., A.D.H.D, and other learning disabilities. My Thesis earned me awards and was the ticket that would get me invited into the Ph.D. program.
At this point, I called out to God and said, I want to help your people, and inspire your warriors, intercessors, and Front Runners—those called to battle at the front lines for the body of Christ. During this time, God was teaching me a NEW WAY TO PRAY, and to wield His sword with such agility & strategy for high level warriors. He’s raising up a special regiment of warriors. (Joel 2:5) These warriors have been primed by fire from the onslaughts of the enemy and persevered through the pain and struggles of life.
We are now in a season where God is teaching us how to stand back up to where we KNOW the way in which we are to walk. We’ve been raised up out of the pain of the past, to where we now use the past as a platform upward to help others learn how to climb their mountains. Church Reformer Leaders that are preparing the end-time Army for such a time as this! Teaching them how to maneuver through the 4 contraction points of the year (the birthing of Jesus Christ) through His remnant so that, we can be the LOYAL, HONORING bride He meant for us to be. Think about it! Would you ever “befriend or date/OR EVEN MARRY, anyone who dishonored, or betrayed you? Absolutely NOT! Neither would God! So, why should we think He would accept any less from us? He's demanding a pure spotless bride, a bride that is truly ON FIRE for Him, passionately in love (in the spirit) to where we can show others how to get back into the “real deal!” Back into His spirit—like we once walked as a society, but at deeper levels. Back into truth & love the way God always meant for us to walk in.
Dr. Missy Hood
Visit Dr. Missy Hood's site by clicking on her name below.
For years, Simone Peer, lived a life of defeat. To fill the void, she began to dive into the New Age Movement in which she became a witch that practiced Reikre, Feng, Shui, Hinduism, esoteric healing, mind control, and a lot more. One day however, she began a relationship with Jesus and she has never been the same.
"For I,’ says the Lord, ‘will be a wall of fire all around her, and I will be the glory in her midst.’ ” (Zechariah 2:5)
Simone Peer Certified Professional Coach, Mentor & Trainer (Contact information is at the end of her testimony)
Growing up in the Bible-Belt—I was certainly no stranger to the presence of Christianity. There were plenty of churches on most corners.
My immediate family didn’t go to church; although there were some attempts to get my siblings and I to attend. My paternal-grandparents and great-grandparents were devout Southern Baptists. My grandfather was even a deacon at his church, but I can probably count the number of times, that I went to church or Sunday school with them on one hand. While on my mother’s side, the only presence of Christianity was that my step-grandfather was Catholic, and his biological children practiced the faith too. I didn’t view them as much different as "we" were—just in being allowed to drink. Even though both religions have distinct differences—for whatever reason, I saw them as bible-beaters, who had strict rules that were, extremely hard to live by. This alone, made me feel neglected, overlooked, and more like a burden. Sadly, I can’t say what got in the way of them trying to ensure that my siblings and I had Jesus in our lives.
I remember at one point, my mom got us involved with a church, but I think, it was more of a way to “dump the kids off” for a few hours, than caring about us learning about Jesus. I mostly remember waiting in the parking lot for a long time after church was over for our mom to appear in the station wagon to take us home. My aunt also brought us to Vacation Bible School one summer when I was staying with my grandmother. It was only one week, but it was memorable. She also got us enrolled in an outreach program that picked up wayward kids and brought them to church and Sunday school. That was 40 years ago! By the Grace of God, I still have, (and now use), the Bible I earned (for memorizing the books of the Bible). I also took with me a song: Blue Skies and Rainbows—the good parts anyway that help keep Jesus alive in my heart.
In my teen years, some dear family friends got saved, and they started to spread the word of salvation among their circle of friends. My mother, brother and I, joined in with great delight. My sister was already out of the house, so she didn’t come, nor did my father. I never knew why he had no desire for anything church or Christ related, but I always suspected growing up with his "Bible-beating" parents and family, that he must have gotten turned off to God and Christianity. He never spoke about the Bible, God, or Jesus, but—I suspect he knew all about them. There is no way he could have grown up in that household, and not read it a time or two. I’m left to wonder, if he called out for salvation before his remaining moments on earth.
The return to the church—with most of my family in tow—was the most memorable and powerful church experience of my childhood! At this time, I was 15, and found myself in a dynamic environment where the members were on fire for Jesus. It was a Pentecostal church where people jumped to their feet in the middle of service, used tambourines, and sometimes even leaped up to run a lap around the sanctuary shouting praises to the Lord. Folks also would drop down to their knees and spoke in a prayer language called "speaking in tongues. This church was alive with the Holy Spirit, and I wanted what they had! We had Sunday school and weekday Bible study classes. The pastor lived next door, and had an above-ground swimming pool. One night after service, I got baptized in that pool. I don’t remember how it came about, but I remember that it was dark outside and the idea of a whole new way of life was exciting. I wanted to speak in tongues, I wanted to be overcome by the Holy Spirit, I wanted to know Jesus the way they did. Much to my dismay, that didn’t happen—Sadly, it didn’t stick or rather, I should say, I didn’t stick to it. This would be my last attempt at knowing Jesus until He came for me about 34 years later. I remember being in Sunday school asking questions and feeling frustrated that the teacher didn’t have answers. In retrospect, I have no idea why I couldn’t satisfy my cravings or why I couldn’t get what I was looking for because now I see all the answers are right there, in the Holy Bible, but back then—I never got what I craved. I never spoke in tongues and that was a deep disappointment. After a few months of being active members, my mom, who was a hair dresser at the time, was called into a meeting with the pastor. He gave her an ultimatum—Stop cutting hair or stop coming to this church. Well, she stopped going to church. This was a devastating blow for me. My brother and I, continued going to church, but it was by the grace of our family friends coming to pick us up. We lived in the opposite direction of the church, so I imagine this was a bit of a sacrifice for them. Now that my mother was not welcome, I started to feel ostracized, like an outsider who was no longer welcome at the church, so it wasn't long that my brother and I stopped attending too. I suspect some of the things that led to us to leave was that we didn’t follow the rules. This was the kind of church where women wore skirts and dresses only, they didn't cut their hair, and they didn't wear any makeup or jewelry. I don’t remember if there were men rules, but the men did cut their hair, generally short and neat. They would call the television “the devil box” and encouraged members to not own TVs, nor participate in worldly things, such as bowling. The church was pretty strict; however, I recall at first, they said that our non-adherence to these things was not a problem, but I’m left to wonder what was really being said in private. In my opinion, they sent a whole family straight into Satan’s arms. WARNING: IF A CHURCH IS CONTROLLING AND MANIPULATIVE IN RULES AND REGULATIONS SETUP BY MAN--THIS IS NOT OF GOD, AND YOU ARE ENCOURAGED TO RUN AS FAST AS YOU CAN TO FIND A CHURCH THAT DOES THINGS GOD'S WAY.
When I was 16, my family moved across town and that meant new friends and opportunities. Somehow at my new school, I ended up going to a presentation in some kids’ basement that was on “backward masking”. I recall that he played Led Zeppelin, The Beatles, and who knows what else backwards and—we could actually here satanic lyrics. It was intriguing and creepy at the same time. I met one of my new best high school friend at that meeting, and thankfully she found the Lord way before I did, which was a blessing for her, and one in disguise for me. I had started experimenting with smoking cigarettes, drinking alcohol, and with some drugs when I was only 13, (yes, even in the midst of trying my best to know Jesus). Unfortunately, by the time I was 17 or 18, I was high almost all day—every day. Somehow I started going to a group meeting with teens my age who were trying to get clean and it worked for awhile. I have no idea why I quit going or what happened, but I stopped.
I mentioned the church part of my upbringing, but I haven’t talked about the occult and New Age influences. My mom was a psychic and talking about ghosts, spirits, horoscopes, numerology, and energy vibes were all common place in my childhood. I don’t know where it came from, but we had a Ouija board “game”, which I recall playing many times. Other "scary" games we played with the neighborhood kids were Bloody Maryand Wanda Witch. We would share real-life, family ghost story experiences as well and this was all normal to us at the time. When we moved to a new house—the ghost and spirit activity followed us—Lots of incidents and things happened, and we weren’t exactly freaked out about it.
My personal fascination took a deep; deep dive into the occult a few years later. My brother had sold a car to a woman who read Tarot cards and when I was home on a visit from college, I called and made an appointment to meet her—I did and was hooked. She was so radiant and her eyes sparkled with love and light. WARNING:“For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light.” (2 Corinthians 11:14) It was during this time period, that I was drinking, getting high, and having way too much fun. Needless to say, it wasn't long before I wasn't doing well in my premedical studies. Then I became seriously ill, and didn’t have the energy to catch up, so I ended up dropping out from that semester, and a few months later moved back home.
Once I was home, I became a diligent student of the Tarot card reader. She helped me recognize that I already had “psychic abilities” and they just needed to be fine-tuned. I followed in her footsteps reading cards, but her primary lesson was to sharpen all abilities because “you won’t always have your cards with you”. She had several proteges and we each had our unique expression of our “gifts”. In addition to developing our skills, she also helped us develop businesses doing readings. I became a regular member of the myriad of psychic fairs, that were held locally and within a few hours radius of our home town. I became part of a growing network which included several occult and new age bookstores and magical art shop owners. I became a frequent flyer into these shops devouring all the knowledge I could get access to—I was building my arsenal of tools, spells, information and enchanted ingredients.
I remember walking to or from my mentor’s building one day, and receiving a “divine downloaded” message about the truth of Jesus—or so I thought. Only when Christ came for me and showed me who He really is, did I feel that lie leave my heart, forever. The message that I received all those years ago was—everything is light, we are all light, and God is light because we reincarnate for eons, and each lifetime—we have an opportunity to gain more light until in one final lifetime, we become "total light". In essence, Jesus was no different than me, except that as a teacher, He was more evolved than I was—He also had more light when He came here than I did, but eventually—we would both be part of the light, that was earned by each soul in the evolutionary process. I often signed my name with "Love & Light" because, I thought it was a tribute to this great and beautiful “truth”. I even had a tattoo, that I called the yin-yang of angels, that I thought was depicting light wins over darkness. I cried in repentance, and for Jesus to forgive me because the Holy Spirit revealed to me I actually had a tattoo of Lucifer/Satan. At the time, I thought it was beautiful and divine because the image had occult origins, but I was very blind to the real truth.
As I said, I was a sponge for the occult, and began to study witchcraft and practice magic. I became enamored with spells, herbs, oils, incense, colors, candles, sigils, crystals, channeling, psychic readings, ghost & spirit hunting, and channeling the power and knowledge of "the divine". I was a practicing witch and as such, was introduced to someone who would become my sister in the craft. Drawing more people into our circle, we all thought we were “white witches". I was into the power of sigils and spells and my sister, was more into practicing Wicca. I had an arsenal of candles, oils, dried plants, parchment, enchanted inks, crystals, incense and "sacred" items for my altar, and so much more. As I write this, I’m thinking how thoroughly deceived I was! I was into so much darkness, that I can hardly believe that I even thought I was an agent of “The Light”. The great deceiver is indeed good at his job!
In working with my sister witch, there were three others we called to us to work pentagram magic. Each of us identified with one of five main gods and goddesses aligned to the points on the pentagram for circle work, with elements and all manner of things that were designed to open us, and fill us with the spirit of the one's we picked; although I think we had already been chosen by the principal demon who had us, and were just playing out our part. I had access to the “heavens” as well as, the underworld and her influence upon me reigned as the power behind magical works of spell-craft, sorcery battles, and the ever-expanding—always mysterious—and always alluring supernatural.
Many memories flood my mind while sharing my story—part of me wants to include it all, and part of me wants to erase it all. I do remember at the beginning of this journey, that Jesus was there for me; even though I was not there for Him. He rescued me from something sinister and yet—it didn’t draw me back to Him. I think it shows that nothing happens without God’s approval—He let me go as far and deep as He needed and wanted me to go, but kept me relatively safe, so when I was really ready to live for Him—I was there to answer yes!
One of the times that God came calling, I was a Tarot card reader and working with crystals. I was at a physic fair and looking for a particular kind of stone. I spoke with some vendors, and one man in particular said, that he had some in his inventory at home, and he could send it to me. I signed up on his mailing list, and because it came up that my birthday was coming—he gave me some crystals. One was a very particular kind assigned certain tasks and properties. When I got home, I put them in my room.
That night, as I lay on my side in bed, that man or one of his demons came to me. He lay with his body and leg draped over me and spoke into my ear. I recall being unable to move, or speak. In my head, I was shouting for every piece of protection and then, I saw Jesus’ face before me and almost instantly—the demon was gone! I was relieved and shaken at the same time!
The next day, I took the crystals to a friend and she found a demon had been attached to the crystal with me as its assignment. That mission was not accomplished because Jesus did not allow it. She was an artist and drew a picture of the hideous creature. Sadly, my response to this event was not to come to Christ, but to double down in my quest for more occult knowledge; I never wanted to feel powerless or risk any degree of uncertainty about how to handle anything like that should it happen again.
I had built up a clientele for doing psychic and Tarot readings, and along the way—clients who needed and wanted magical warfare and protection began to find me. I found myself battling witchcraft and Satanism and built a reputation as someone who was not to be messed with. Meanwhile, the explosion of industrial Goth and “alternative” dance music clubs, and raves begged for the dark and mysterious. The most popular club in my town was in an old storefront in the abandoned downtown area, and I got myself set up to be the resident Tarot reader. I would set up a magical space in the storefront window and later one of the parlor rooms. Little did I know that this not only attracted fans and new followers of the arts, but also those that hate the occult.
This was the kind of place where all black, lots of leather, studs, kink and club kid regalia was the norm. There was a man that was a regular there and he was very quite. He always dressed in leather kink-wear, and danced by himself, so how we came to sit in one of the parlors and chat at length escapes me. He shared that he was a Satanist and described in detail his path. We shared and compared notes about the kinds of magic we did. Remember that I thought I was a white witch, so the black magic he worked seemed a far cry from what I did. In retrospect, now that I know ALL MAGIC IS SATANIC, I wonder if he knew there really wasn’t any difference between us. I’m not sure because he did say he didn’t like that I was a love-n-light witch, or that I was doing my thing in the club. As we spoke, we actually fostered something pleasant from there on. I tell this story because I remember thinking: “He and I are equal opposites", and I completely respect his position. I didn’t agree with it, but I respected his devotion to his craft as much as I was devoted to mine. I also thought I had more respect for him than I did for Christians because Christians were so hypocritical. They preached how people should live then would do the exact opposite. My disdain for Christianity was growing. I got to a point where I could not even say the words God or Jesus. In my mind, they were part of a system used to conquer and control the masses of the world. I laughed at the idea that Christian Holidays—ALL OF THEM—are pagan/satanic holidays celebrated by witches worldwide! When I finally came to Jesus, I learned that we need to live what He teaches to be a great witness to the world. Unfortunately, the Christians I came across both in my childhood, and during my days of practicing witchcraft—did not live out the scriptures as He teaches.
THE GREATEST COMMANDMENT
"One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?” “The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’There is no commandment greater than these.” (Mark 12:28-31)
I can see that God had His hand upon my journey, and the patience to get me to the point, that I could be His in an instant. Looking back to my journey out of witchcraft, I’m inclined to show how much deeper in I went. For a few months, I moved to London and brought all my light [dark] arts with me falling into crowds where everything I was into flourished.
One week after returning home to the states, I moved to a much larger city than I grew up in. One in which I had many friends and had visited many; many times. I already had friends there who were involved in dark arts and of course drugs and alcohol were still the norm. This city had a much larger cultural spectrum than where I came from and I was introduced to many new paths and forms of witchcraft. Pretty much everyone I cared to hang out with lived the same way. I recognized in some arenas, that I was the pioneer that led many others into this intriguing and mysterious realm. I continue to repent and pray for every single soul that I helped lead astray, of which there are many.
My first divergent path was into Santeria. The mother of a friend was a Santeria and I started seeing her for “cleansing”, or protocols to wash off “the bad stuff” and avail me to “the good”. Although, I don’t recall all the details the main thing that stands out is that these were limited to things that smelled good and included flowers. I was invited to attend her group meetings where I was asked to do water scrying (a basic method of divination).
I continued along my own path of witchcraft, psychic phenomena and new age “energy”, studying Shamanism (traveling into the upper and lower worlds and finding/using your power animals), and learning how to astral project. I was invited to a Native American sweat lodge because Native American practices had also intrigued me. This led to my deeper involvement into Native American and Mexican/ancient Aztec/Nahuatl practices which, included pipe ceremonies, vision quests on ceremonial lands, and lots and lots of prayers using tobacco and other herbs. There was always honoring of the ancestors. I was gifted with an eagle feather among other ceremonial treasures. This led to being introduced to a woman who practiced an ancient African religion known as Ifa. This is the origin of Santeria (as well as the Cuban, Haitian and Brazilian versions) and where my journey took a much deeper dive. The entree into this world included lots of readings with the Opele, which then led to rituals, ceremonies and initiations. This is where the rubber met the road for me, and I didn’t even know it. Animal sacrifices were a regular part of my path here. I had many ceremonies done in the darkest hours of the night with blood dripped over my head that ran down my face and onto my clothes, special herbs were then placed on my head and wrapped on for sleep. I would then wake very early to follow specific instructions to dispose of the head stuff and complete the ceremony. I had to follow specific instructions regarding disposing of the animal’s body: sometimes in a cemetery, sometimes in running water or a nearby quarry.
This morning when I woke up, I thought of how intriguing and compelling this kind of journey was and how I wished someone had told me that anything that needs to be done in the dark, need not be done! JESUS does everything out in the open—in the light for everyone to see. I listened to someone else’s redeemed Satanist testimony and he said at one point when he realized what he was involved with he actually asked…“Is this a satanic cult?” And the response was…“Yes, it is and you have already completed most of the steps for full inclusion—would you like to complete the rest?” He replied…“sure!” He wasn’t told what the other few steps included, just as many who get into deeper with their “secret lodges & societies” in order to lure members down the ladder which, leads to the threshold of no return. They get so hooked—intrigued—and likely don’t realize how dark, evil, and disgusting it becomes. They give up their freewill and give Satan a legal license to run & completely ruin their lives. Thankfully, there is a way out for them! Thankfully, Jesus took ALL sin and evildoing upon Himself and to the cross, so we might be free of the traps set by the great deceiver—Satan.
As an Ifa practitioner, I began to study the Yoruba language along with all the tale stories of the Orishas. I not only brought animals to be sacrificed on my behalf, I also did the killing as well as, ate of a sacrificed animals. I was taught this was honorable, sacred work to have gratitude for the animal taking my place. Ancestor worship was a large part of these practices, too. Along with “sacred” articles of initiation, I also had ancestor altars; everything had to be fed with prayers, food, liquor, palm oil and/or blood, regularly. I spent much time in daily prayers and practices and again—I loved it.
Because of the career I was just beginning though, I began to meet people who were doing different approaches to energy and spirit work, and like a good spiritual power junkie, I was hooked on the next new high. This new world that I entered, was actually an old one; one of the first books I had ever picked up when I began this whole journey would leap out, and lead the way into another aspect of the new Age (of Lucifer), I had not yet delved into too deeply.
Discord within the varied circles I participated in made it easy to move on. I happened upon a new thought church, and when I heard about what their beliefs were, I thought this is exactly what I believed. I didn’t know there was an organized body of believers, and what intrigued me most was the idea of omnipotence that made everything else I did seem like paltry child’s play. Finally, I was on a path that didn’t require a lot of pomp and circumstance in order to make things happen. I won’t say it was easier because the real work came in the realm of mental mind control.
“There is nothing more powerful than a trained mind”—this work did not focus on manipulating external influences to make things happen, but was put solely on the individual to live his or her goodness through thoughts that create things. The premise is that there is a “creative substance” in which all things are formed. The thought put and held in this substance—creates the thought in form, i.e. physical reality. Thus, think what you want in life and do the work to uncover hidden opposing thoughts—then root those out, so all of your thought energy is focused on what you really want. I spent a few years studying the underpinnings of this doctrine. The concept of God was referred to as the mind, universe, and the source which, is essentially terms to an idea of creative consciousness. It was the moment that this creative substance became aware of itself that creation began.WARNING: THE DEVIL KEEPS PEOPLE BLIND TO THE TRUTH.
SCRIPTURES OF TRUTH:
"Satan, who is the god of this world, has blinded the minds of those who don’t believe. They are unable to see the glorious light of the Good News. They don’t understand this message about the glory of Christ, who is the exact likeness of God." (2 Corinthians 4:4)
"Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me." (John 14:6)
I had embarkedon a new career path as a life coach and a few years in, I was invited by one of my mentors to participate in something that took on a whole new “thought movement”. It was like thoughts on steroids, and the work we did was completely focused on energy and its potential. I called this navigating “the invisible side of the visible world”. This was all about having living intentional consciousness on both sides and being able to call things into creation. This is where I experienced the black goo—it was a luxurious feeling—like a paradox of excitement and deep peace. I likened it to being like liquid, pitch black, silk velvet; these words hardly express the gloriousness of how it felt to both the energetic touch and to be amidst its presence. I also called it creative cosmic goo that you could just dip in and grab huge handfuls of and create reality from it. The “work” that my colleagues and I did felt cosmic—beyond enormous and miraculous. I traveled around the world to learn and be trained in groups—I then, became a trainer myself, and I was indoctrinated into “godness”. This evolutionary consciousness work was beyond anything I had ever experienced before and nothing ever felt so good again, until—JESUS.I was completely immersed in this way of living and working. Everything I did launched from this foundation/platform and from there, I packed my things and hit the road to refine my purpose and cultivate more intimate relationships with people who mattered to me at the time. My work was done on the phone and via computer, so going global was relatively easy. What I didn’t know was what God had in store for me. Someone recently asked… “Was it God or Satan who sent you on the road?” and, I wholeheartedly believe that it was God paving the way for me to be ready for Him...sometimes you have to go to rock bottom before you go up—or in this case—look up to the true living God who was calling me for years, but I kept doing my own thing as He continued to pursue me.
A year or two before I left for the unknown, my sister and I, were serving Christmas dinner at a large homeless center. This is something that we did each year, and this particular time—one of the guests, was straggling behind at the very end of the meal. I began cleaning up the trash & putting away the salt and pepper shakers when she came over to minister to me about Jesus. I could feel Him calling me again with the things she shared. Something inside of me wanted to say, “YES!”, but I just couldn’t. Something else inside said, “You don’t believe that about Him—you can’t say yes!” Well, all of a sudden, one of the workers from the center came to rescue me from possibly going crazy and say YES! I remember leaving with tears streaming down my face. Satan’s grip was extremely tight on me, and I now know that he sent one of his minions through someone else to get me away, and it worked. This memory, has puzzled me at times, because I have wondered what was in me that wanted Jesus so much—especially because He became OK in my eyes, as I came to think of Him as an enlightened master, but not higher than any other. WARNING: THE DEVIL IS A LIAR AND KNOWN AS THE FATHER OF LIES. In Luke 8:44 is says..."He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies."
When I hit the road, I sold most of my belongings and then, packed my car and put the rest into a storage facility. My plan was to accept a myriad of invitations, put them all together and travel the country for about two years. I expected by the end of the two years, that I would come to know something that I didn’t know and then, have a better idea where I should live.
The biggest things that stand out during my four and a half years on the road was that I got deeper into my spiritual/energy work AND—I got further away from truly coming to know the Lord. In removing distractions of everyday life, I was able to focus on “clearing out my inner clutter”. This meant a whole lot more of doing all kinds of energy things: past life regressions, re-birthing, reikie, feng, shui, crystal bed healing, esoteric healing, DNA reattachment, entity attachment removal and a few more. I also got drunk and high at a heavier pace than I had for some time. Yes, my focus was on making money and having a good time.
About this time, I started getting interested in “truther” research. At this time, I started to notice how the music industry was becoming so blatantly satanic, and it made me wonder what was going on. I began to feel, that many things were waging war against my mind, my body, and my spirit. This spread to deeper research about hidden aliens (I was already a believer in them), and reptilians, cloning, mind control, and so on. This rabbit hole got real deep—fast! That brought something to my attention, that really blew my mind: the New Age Movement originated as The New Age of Lucifer around the same time as the New Thought Movement. I learned that the founder of the esoteric healing treatments, that I had been receiving almost every week for over two years, was a part of developing this movement—I found this very unsettling. Although, I didn’t "believe in Satan", (which is hard to believe because of how much dark and evil I was involved with)—I didn't like the idea that something I found to be so much about love, light, and healing had its origins in something so purely dark and evil.
By this time, I had settled into what was finally and quickly becoming my new permanent home. As part of my settling in, I joined the Unity Church because I wanted to integrate into my new community, and it was the closest thing I was aware of in town that aligned with my beliefs. I went deep! In my opinion, I really grew in this community, that I jack hammered away at limiting beliefs, and went back to my new thought roots. While on search for a new minister, I gave the Sunday morning talk a few times, and each time—was a reminder into how much I loved this stuff. I was able to draw upon my historical teachings, blend it with the creative cosmic goo, and mix it up with my truly unyielding faith in God. I truly believe, at some point along the way—that I was always and earnestly seeking to know God. SERIOUS WARNING!!! I was looking for God, but in the wrong places. THE UNITY CHURCH IS NOT A TRUE CHURCH—IT’S A CULT!! This cult, teaches the principles that promote a way of life that leads to one’s health, prosperity, happiness, and peace of mind. They seek to “create their life” experiences through their way of thinking. To do this, they align themselves with specific mediation's. THE BIBLE WARNS US OF SUCH THINGS, SO WE ARE NOT LED ASTRAY AND, SO WE CAN TRULY COME TO KNOW CHRIST AS OUR SAVIOR. ANYONE OR ANY CHURCH THAT GOES AGAINST WHAT GOD TEACHES IN THE BIBLE, IS A SERIOUS DANGER SIGN TO STAY AWAY AT ALL COSTS!! A CULT DECEIVES PEOPLE FROM KNOWING THE ONE & ONLY TRUE GOD. AS SATAN DISGUISES HIMSELF, AND PEOPLE FALL FOR ALL THE LIES & FALSE MIRACLES—THEY ARE LED RIGHT INTO THE PITS OF HELL INSTEAD OF HAVING ETERNAL LIFE WITH JESUS.
BIBLE SCRIPTURES TO HELP YOU AVOID SATAN'S SCHEMES:
"For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine.Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths." (2 Timothy 4:3-4)
“I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." (John 14:6)
"God is light; in him there is no darkness at all.” (1 John 1:5)
"For such people are false apostles, deceitful workers, masquerading as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. It is not surprising, then, if his servants also masquerade as servants of righteousness. Their end will be what their actions deserve." (2 Corinthians 11:13-16)
"The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, and with all unrighteous deception..." (2 Thessalonians 2:9-10)
"For they are spirits of demons, performing signs, which go out to the kings of the whole world, to gather them together for the war of the great day of God, the Almighty." (Revelation 16:14)
A few months prior to Jesus coming for me, I signed up for a series of energy sessions that utilized a combination of techniques to help clear PTSD and trauma memory from the nervous system. The process was based on some particular body movements in conjunction with saying certain things. The result was to reboot the brain and clear the neural pathways. It relied upon Neural Linguistic Programming as well (NLP). The first session mandated an NLP script while doing the hand techniques that focused shutting the door on suicide—this obviously dealt with death which, I didn't do in awhile. The standard technique was done a few times a day throughout the week. After the first week or so, I started feeling anxious and restless. I was waking up in the night stalked by death. It was strange and disturbing. I reached out to my coach/practitioner and requested an urgent session, then she walked me through some other scripts, and then back to the “close the door on suicide one”, and something amazing happened. In my mind, I could see a room with a door that opened up to suicide. I also saw myself trying to pull it closed with all of my might while at the same time —a demon was trying to pull the door open with all of its might. The instant I realized what was happening—a bright light emerged causing the demon to instantly let go, and whooshed/sucked out into a big black hole of the universe. Again, Jesus rescued me—In fact, He kept on rescuing me—until, I was ready to be saved!
On Thursday, June 29, 2017th, I watched a video titled, The World Belongs to Satan which was a testimonial interview of Alice Cooper. (Video is below) Anyone growing up when I did, and doing the things I did—knew and loved Alice Cooper, so to hear him tell his story was the straw that broke Satan’s hold on my life. Alice mentioned something about a hellfire deliverance ministry, and as soon as he did, I pulled out my phone and started searching for deliverance ministries in my town. One link led to another, and I landed onBibleKnowledge.com.BibleKnowledge.com, helps people grow in their relationship with the Lord through teaching(s), and there's a variety of other topics that a person can search to find answers as well. As I read through the requirements for deliverance, I learned about breaking off generational curses. It was through deliverance, that I learned about salvation. The most important intimate relationship that I cultivated was the one I had with God. He turned my heart of stone into flesh, and I could feel it! When Alice Cooper spoke of deliverance, something inside of me said GO, and I could feel my heart cracking wide open, and Jesus was there. It was His love that was bigger than anything that I was looking for before.
Witchcraft and the occult is a lot like addiction; at some point you’re going to need more and more to see how far you can go. In reality though—Satan just keeps sweetening the pot and enticing people to go deeper and deeper until one day—there’s just no turning back. I can hardly believe this whole story is just a glimpse into my life, but all praise, glory, and thanks to God that it’s not now!
When it was all said and done, and I mean done—I cast Satan out of everything. With tears pouring down my face, life pouring into my soul, and peace pouring into my body—I said, YES to Jesus! Then I said to Him, “I don’t know what all of this means, so I ask that you to teach me”—and teach me He did!
One minister that really helped me understand how dark the path of “light”, I was living in was—Johanna Michaelsen. Johanna, authored the book The Beautiful Side of Evil, which demonstrates that Satan doesn’t really care about what kind of supernatural work it is because—IT ALL WILL KEEP US FAR AWAY FROM JESUS!! Her personal story, really opened my eyes to the truth of how evil my life had been.
The Holy Ghost just took me from one teacher to another, and I quickly learned about demonic/satanic legal ground and— just as in Acts 19:19, I realized that I too, had to get rid of ALL THE STUFF IN MY HOME, as well as—quit yoga because it’s Hindu god worship—no matter how one tries to spin it. Every pose in yoga is designed to worship, and evoke one of their many millions of gods. As much as I loved it, I quit on the spot even with two more months on my unlimited class pass. Acts 19:19 says, ”Also, many of those who had practiced magic brought their books together and burned them in the sight of all. And they counted up the value of them, and it totaled fifty thousand pieces of silver.” WARNING—THE DANGER OF YOGA! Yoga is a 2,000-year old Hindu religious practice used for spiritual and occult purposes. It is pagan—it is part of the occult/the devil, and GOD STRICTLY FORBIDS IT!! All the physical postures of yoga, are keys to unlock the spiritual realm with the purpose of becoming "unattached from oneself and the world”. YOGA IS VERY DANGEROUS AND GOES AGAINST SCRIPTURE!!
BIBLE SCRIPTURES TO HELP YOU AVOID SATAN'S SCHEMES REGARDING YOGA:
“You shall have no other gods before Me.” (Exodus 20:3)
“Now the Spirit “expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons…”. (2 Timothy 4:2)
“Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.” (John 8:12)
Within the first week of my salvation, I threw out everything in my home that I could find that had a connection to the occult or new age. Occasionally, I still find a little something here or there that for whatever reason went unnoticed; maybe just I didn’t have the eyes to see fully yet, or I had bypassed it in my flurry to purge my home of the enemy—when I come upon it now, out it goes! WARNING: Please DO NOT give any occult items to those you know or to thrift stores etc. because, it will only be recycled out back into the world, leading others astray from the truth of Jesus.
After salvation, one of the most critical factors is deliverance. Deliverance made way for me to put a lot of emphasis on spiritual warfare and to armor up! I think spiritual warfare through Jesus is one of the most powerful gifts of salvation, especially in order to live this life for His glory despite the enemy’s attempts to derail us. In the Bible, Ephesians 6:10-18 teaches about THE WHOLE ARMOR OF GOD. It is this armor that protects us from what Satan tries to do to us in our daily lives.
THE WHOLE ARMOR OF GOD: (Ephesians 6:10-18)
"Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints"—
The Armor of God
I hope that my story helps you avoid the many demonic pitfalls that I feel into. It is only through Jesus that we have eternal life, and I fall more in love with Him everyday! May you prayerfully consider to give your life to Christ as I did. It's the best decision, that I have ever made!!!
SOME HELPFUL SCRIPTURES FOR YOU IN YOUR DECISION TO FOLLOW CHRIST:
"If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." (1 John 1:9)
"For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life." (John 3:16)
"For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord." (Romans 6:23)
Yes, Jesus Christ of Nazareth, King of Kings, Lord of Lords swooped into my life, filled my heart and drew me to an absolutely new way of life.
Saved, Delivered, Baptized, Testified, Devoted, and doing the best I can to obey, learn, listen, follow, and—everything else in God's plan for me. Meanwhile, after a lifetime of occult and new age spirituality, I've been busy doing what many do when they're on a coaching journey: walking a parallel path.
One is where I use the discernment I'm gaining with eyes to see and ears to hear to clean up the life I created and lived for over five decades.
The other path I'm walking opens up my mind, world, life, reality to experience what it is to really know Christ. To understand and exult in what it truly means to have a Savior. To be loved that much is kinda mind-blowing. It's all new to me, and I couldn't be more delighted, excited and blessed!
Professionally, I'm exploring what it means and how I can use my coaching and mentoring expertise and gifts for God's glory. I've got some ideas, but it's not really up to me, is it?!
Today, I find myself getting slightly grieved with conversations from those who have no idea about the lifestyle or mentality of the LGBT community. I find this grievance to come about, because of the lack of knowledge of this lifestyle. I take it personal, because years ago...I too was part of this community and here is my story.
"For nothing is impossible with God." (Luke 1:37)
As a young girl, I found myself to be different, not because of any skill or creative ability, but because at a tender age of 5 I started to have a strong attraction to women. Most people argue that this is not possible...but that's not true, and perhaps...it's the reason that there's hardly any awareness for children struggling with their sexuality at such a tender age. In kindergarten, I used to tell my best friend that I was a boy. I was not abused nor mistreated in my home, as a matter of fact, both parents were in the medical field and married; not to mention a big part of my life. I lacked nothing. My mother used to pray with my eldest brother and I...she taught us about Jesus, and how to hear the voice of God. As a child, I paid attention to the wise words of my mother, but there was always a voice that I would hear. I now know that this voice was Satan.
This voice tormented me, and would say that, I was going to hell. In my innocence...I took this as, that I was "going downstairs". I ran upstairs to tell my mother, while she was on the phone, and she turned to me and said...“Well, go downstairs”. She didn’t know what I meant, and I didn’t know how to express it, so I never said another word about "going downstairs". Fast forward to my preteen years...I began to flirt with the imagination of being with a woman, from having crushes on older women to telling myself what to dream about. I fantasied about being intimate with women, placing myself as the masculine figure. I then, joined online chat rooms, and started having relationships over the phone with women until high school, when my dreams became a reality. This is when, I entered my first relationship with a woman, that took my innocence. From years of that relationship...I entered into another relationship with a woman. This relationship was my longest, and it changed the woman I was, and I ended up in the darkest place of my life.
Although, I was indulged in a perverse lifestyle, I still considered myself to be a good girl, but this relationship took me down a spiral. Hurts, infidelity, down to stealing finances, I dealt with it all...right down to the fact that suicide had become a pleasant option. I would try to listen to songs that would keep me depressed, and for some reason Marvin Sapp's song---He Saw the Best in Me, came on an R&B station. It blew my mind because gospel hardly played on this station especially in the late hours, but God was speaking to me through this song. At that moment, my identity was broken and enough was enough.
I remember taking a shower and saying 3 words that changed my life forever; I said, “God, I’m tired”. I went on to say, "take it away", and I introduced myself to God as if, He never knew me. I told Him everything down to my favorite color. That was a Saturday and then, that Sunday...I gave my life to the Lord. I hardly got any sleep, and I showed up to service right at the very end...when the doors of the church were being opened. I thought I was arriving on time, but I guess you can say that I did arrive on time. Since then, God has restored my natural affection towards men, and not once have I backslid with a woman or looked back to desire that lifestyle. God set me free and changed my fragrance! I am happily courting and planning marriage in the soon future. I am here to say with confidence, that JESUS will and can set you free! He died for the homosexuals just like any other sin---He loves you, and He will make you brand new!
Tiara's Testimony on YouTube has reached over 128,000 people inside and outside the country.
Each week, there are more views & with each one...another life is changed.
George Carneal, was raised in the Bible Belt, by a Southern Baptist minister. Throughout his school years, he was tormented with physical and verbal abuse. George was called a queer, faggot, and a homo. Eventually, he turned his back on God, the church, and fully immersed himself in the queer culture. Today, he shares what God's love has done for Him so others can also break free from the lies and grip of sin.
"As far as the east is from the west, So far has He removed our transgressions from us." (Psalms 103:12)
George Carneal -- Author, Speaker, Singer/Songwriter
I’m a Baptist minister’s son who grew up in church and gave my life to Christ when I was seven years old. I also struggled with a same-sex attraction. Living in Tennessee, in the Bible Belt, in the 70’s, homosexuality wasn’t a topic I heard about unless some random person was making a derogatory comment about “fags.”
All through school I was tormented with physical and verbal abuse with one guy threatening to slit my throat. Being called a queer, faggot, homo, I didn’t understand how my peers were able to identify something about me that I hadn’t been unable to understand and come to terms with myself. This was confusing.
At church, the pain was compounded by the inevitable sermons on Sodom & Gomorrah. I felt condemned by God for something I didn’t ask for. On the inside I was filled with rage and told God I hated Him. I suffered in silence.
While heterosexual peers dated, I spent 12 lonely years yearning to be loved by a man. A random encounter with a guy out of high school confirmed this is who I was…a homosexual. Shortly after this encounter, my father was relocated to a church in Florida.
Not long after the move, I ran into a guy who invited me to a local gay bar. Walking into a bar filled with attractive men was overwhelming and exciting. I finally found a “home” where I wasn’t being bullied, could be myself, and be around other guys like me. I craved affection from guys and became promiscuous.
Since countless “loving Christians” insisted that God destroyed Sodom & Gomorrah because of vile perverts like me, that God created AIDS to kill queers, and that I was destined to burn in Hell, I believed that maybe God does hate me. So, I turned my back on God, the church, and fully immersed myself in the queer culture.
Sadly, after three years in the gay life, I was masking the pain with drugs and alcohol. Pornography became a part of my life, I developed a sex addiction, became a hustler (a male prostitute), struggled with depression, suicidal thoughts, and eventually attempted suicide. I felt no hope.
My journey would eventually lead me to Nashville where I met a guy, we became boyfriends, and moved to Los Angeles. I secured a job in the music industry.
After seven years, we broke up because I was still tormented and struggling with my faith and sexuality. I longed to be in church and eventually found a church home. I was filled with constant anxiety for fear that these Christians would discover my secret.
After church I cruised adult bookstores and bars because I was so hungry for affection and love. Random encounters meant quick sex, but I didn’t care…it was a brief moment of feeling desired by a guy. I couldn’t see it at the time, but I was searching for something to fill a void in my life. I had yet to comprehend that Jesus was the answer.
After a mild confrontation with a deacon over rumors regarding my sexuality, I left the church and found a gay-affirming church with a homosexual pastor. Surely, I would find the answers and come to accept that God made me this way. The turmoil was still there. Unable to find concrete answers, I left that church.
Working in the music business, I had the chance to meet and be around countless celebrities/rock stars/movie stars. In our celebrity-obsessed culture, many believe that fame and fortune will bring happiness. However, some celebrities weren’t that pleasant to be around and appeared to be just as unhappy as I was. I personally knew miserable people with immense wealth. It was clear. Money and fame doesn’t bring happiness.
I extended my search into the occult, new age and Hindu arenas hoping to find different paths to get to God. I still yearned for Him even though I wasn’t sure He wanted anything to do with me. I had no desire to serve Satan but wondered if God was holding out on information that Satan was willing to impart. Could I get to God through a supernatural means?
Casting love spells seemed appealing...as I desperately wanted a man to love me, but something in my spirit...compelled me, not to open that door so I didn’t. I spent countless hours in new age/occult/psychic bookstores, browsing through various books on “world religions”, while waiting to have my tarot cards read by psychics. I was desperate for answers yet became cynical when all they could provide was vague information about relationships and financial issues that could be applied to anyone.
The New Age emphasis on sacrificing ourselves for the good of mankind, fighting darkness that was consuming the world, appealed to me. The search for “ascended masters” to become more enlightened intensified….with no luck.
Attending a Hindu temple in Hollywood, the “teacher” read from sacred Hindu texts, even God’s Word. While Jesus was respected as a great teacher, He was also equal with other Hindu gurus. That was unsettling. No matter how confused I was, something was settled within me that Jesus was God’s Son and no one compared to Him. I also knew idols had no power and I certainly wasn’t going to bow down and worship them.
Additionally, the new age and Hindu (even Buddhist) teachings regarding reincarnation were distressing. My current life was one of misery. The thought of being reincarnated, coming back to live many lives over and over and over in order to become perfect, striving to reach moksha (Hinduism)/nirvana (Buddhism), without any knowledge of past mistakes in order to do better in the next life, brought about more despair.
Deep within me, I knew Jesus was the one, all-sufficient Savior who paid for my sins on the Cross. Instead of me having to do the work, Jesus did the work and that comforted me. God confirms that we live once, and then...the judgement (Hebrews 9:27). I eventually, rejected the Occult/New Age/Hindu teachings.
I wanted a relationship with God, but I didn’t want to be around Christians. I hated them. Church was a place of anxiety for me. The thought of attending church was like going into the lion’s den.
Disillusioned with life, one night I drove to a Christian bookstore in Long Beach. I searched for books on suicide, but from a biblical perspective. After one failed suicide attempt, I was ready to try again. However, I feared God would send me to Hell for taking my life. Suicidal thoughts were as common as what I thought about eating each day. The depression was brutal. I cried all the time. The voices in my head tormented me. I needed peace. Finding nothing on the subject, I sat on the floor and cried.
I went back to the bars and slept with men in order to mask the pain, the loneliness, only to struggle with constant heartache as I desperately searched for love.
Sitting at a dive bar in Hollywood one night...(among the prostitutes, hustlers, former jailbirds, drag queens, kids tossed out of homes because they were queer, women whose wrinkled faces revealed difficult lives, and old gay men getting drunk at the bar)...I faced the cold, harsh reality of life. This could be me. My heart hurt for those people. During this time, I was unable to share how much God loved them by what Jesus did on the Cross because, I couldn’t see it for myself thanks to mean-spirited “Christians”. I was a vile homosexual. I had no hope yet something had to change. I couldn’t do this any longer.
A television commercial from a local church advertised a Bible Study on the book of Genesis. I felt led to contact them and spent two years attending that Bible study. I hungered for God and enjoyed studying His Word. My view of God started to change. I eventually started to see that God didn’t hate me. He hated my sin. There was hope that I could have a relationship with God! I also met Christians who truly had the heart of Christ as I slowly immersed myself back into the church.
God eventually led me to a Baptist church through a retired pastor. The current pastor moved to have a class for LGBT individuals. I was excited because I would now have a safe place to meet others struggling with this issue. Unfortunately, the pastor and teachers were moving us in the direction of “Being gay is OK, we’re under Grace, God created you that way” and I was confused. Scripture is clear we are not to abuse God’s Grace (Romans 6:1-2; 14-15).
I had heard numerous stories of LGBT individuals whom God was bringing out of that life so I was perplexed as to why the pastor/teachers were pushing us into that life. I was now more confused. I was mentally and emotionally exhausted dealing with this issue, especially when I didn’t ask for these feelings!
I sat in my car so many times and cried, banging the steering wheel, yelling at God, begging Him for an answer, for peace! I often prayed this sincere prayer to God: “If homosexuality is OK in Your eyes, give me peace about it and I trust You will put a good Christian man in my life who will love me. If homosexuality is wrong under all circumstances, give me peace about it, help me to recognize it, and I will still serve You.”
As the months passed, wanting to believe that “gay is OK”, I was still tormented. I said enough and accepted that it was not in God’s will. I left that church, turned my back on the gay life, repented, and truly surrendered my life to Christ. The most amazing thing happened. God gave me what I had longed for my whole life...peace with myself, peace of mind, and finally...peace with God! The issue has been settled and I am no longer tormented in my mind or by my past! (Isaiah 43:25; Psalm 103:12; Romans 8:1)
Numerous LGBT individuals have accepted that homosexuality is not a part of God’s plan. Some LGBT individuals have transitioned successfully into a heterosexual life. Those who still have a same-sex attraction, like myself, have chosen celibacy. We desire to live a life that honors and pleases God. I’ve been on this path for about 13 years now.
The Apostle Paul asked God to “remove the thorn in his side” and God responded with “My grace is sufficient” (2 Corinthians 12:7-10). If this is to be my thorn, so be it. What matters is that God provided the healing I needed in order to have the strength to walk away from that life. My desire for sex with men no longer controls me!
This journey has been difficult, but I praise God for bringing me though it because I now understand God’s grace and His mercy. There is hope for everyone no matter what your bondage is….drugs, alcohol, food, sex, pornography, even issues of shame, rejection, abuse, rape, guilt of abortion, criminal activities, etc. If one is truly sorry and repents, God’s free gift of salvation is available to anyone who wants it (Romans 6:23). Jesus paid it ALL on the Cross at Calvary when He shed His precious blood for our sin. God desires to have a relationship with you but you must come His Way and that’s through Jesus. (John 3:16-17; 10:9; 14:6; Acts 4:12; 1 Timothy 2:5). Give your life to Christ today and know real peace. You matter to Him!
**In the back of George's book, he put all the talking points the LGBTQ activists and Christian liberal theologians use and he debunks them with Scripture. He says..."So if you have individuals in your life who are not willing to listen to this give them the book or at least get it and familiarize yourself with those talking points so when they do come at you and say no; no it's okay you can give them scripture because they are not going to sit down and study God's word to get the truth for themselves."
Connie, grew up in a dysfunctional home with an abusive alcoholic father. His actions, left her with emotional scars which caused her to believe lies about herself.
"I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth." (Psalm 139:14-15)
Connie Tresedder Contagious Life & Purpose---Author, Coach, Trainer & Speaker
The third born of three and only daughter in my family, I am an out-going, funny, joy-filled lover of people. I love to teach and interact with others. I have taught at the college level for over 20 years; taught junior church at my local congregation for about 15 years; and a youth group for high school and college age students. I currently lead a women’s group which encourages us to find and move forward into our God-given passions and purpose. What most people don’t know is that I suffered from low self-esteem for much of my life. People who know me now would be shocked to hear me say this. By listening and watching me speak, most would think I’ve never had a problem with confidence. Just the opposite is actually the truth.
This is because I grew up in a dysfunctional home where my father was an alcoholic. When he wouldn’t come home after work, we knew he was at the local bar drinking. My mother, two brothers and I would spend the evening with a knot in our stomachs. We never knew when he would come through the door but we knew it wasn’t going to be pleasant when he did. I went to bed scared many nights. My father never physically abused me, but those of you that have suffered verbal/emotional abuse know that this leaves scars as well. My father would become physical sometimes with my brothers and mom. I don’t remember ever sleeping through the night if I went to bed when my father was still at the bar. He was loud, angry, and cussing when he would return home. Often he would make my brothers get up and out of bed. I would lie in my own bed listening, worried for my brothers. He usually just opened the door of my room and swore at me as I pretended to be asleep. Besides speaking words to me that I cannot imagine uttering as a parent, my father never seemed to have any use for me. I did not feel valued by him in the least.
These types of nights weren’t the only thing that caused me to be nervous as a kid growing up. I felt the need to keep all of this from my friends. It is not an easy secret to hide when you live in a small town. What would my friends think if they knew? I was convinced their parents would put an end to our friendship if they knew what went on inside my home. I felt ashamed for having a father who drank and acted the way he did. I was in elementary school when I realized the way my dad treated us was not “normal” compared to what I witnessed at my friend’s homes.
I will be forever grateful for one of these homes I was invited to for a neighborhood Christian kid’s club. I attended every day for a week when I was in 5th grade. The gospel was shared with us through stories each day. I remember on the last day having the opportunity to invite Jesus into my heart. I had never heard the “Good News” before. Though I had been baptized in a Lutheran church as a baby, we had never attended church since moving to Michigan when I was six years old. Little did I know that day when I raised my hand while all heads were bowed, and prayed the prayer of salvation, that my life would be changed from that moment on. But, that is exactly what happened.
The challenges in my life did not magically disappear but everything felt different. I knew I was not alone. I knew there was someone to help me get through the challenges. I knew there was hope for my future. I asked my mom to buy me a Bible and she got me a teen version of the Living Bible. This was so easy to understand and had devotional type readings throughout. I devoured the Word like someone receiving water in the desert. Looking back at my life I see so many answers to my first prayers. God had a specific plan for my life and he has been so faithful leading me along my life’s journey. Each chapter has built upon the last. In this season, I am being used as a Christian life coach and speaker to bless others. As God would have it, I end up being blessed as well. It is exhilarating teaching and encouraging others to step into their purpose for this season in their life. I am so humbled when God uses me to help someone identify and move past what has them “stuck” in one area or another. This includes facilitating inner healing for past wounds at times, or helping someone re-wire their brain so that worrisome, negative thoughts don’t hold them back. I am discovering God puts us in community with others so that we can all keep moving forward in His plan for us.
Back in 5th grade, the same family that invited me to the Christian kid’s club, started bringing me with them to church. It was a Bible teaching, evangelical church where I soaked up truths about God like a sponge. Though I strayed somewhat in high school, I still read my Bible every night. I know now that Jesus never left me, but just patiently waited for me to turn back towards him, which I did when I found promises in His Word that I couldn’t deny. I remember thinking, "Why am I making choices that go against God's Word when...I could be living for Him completely, and receiving ALL the blessings He promises?" I had no mentor or adult helping me come to this conclusion, but I’m convinced people somewhere were praying for me. John 14, is what He used to get my attention. The whole chapter is full of promises, but my teenage heart really soared at the truth of verse 13, “And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son”. Truthfully, this verse still makes my heart soar. I now know the power the Comforter promised in this chapter. I know how to listen, be taught by, and receive the peace offered by God’s Spirit. I understand that God intends to do life together with us and that his plan is above and beyond anything we can imagine.
When I was a young college student God started the process of supernatural inner healing for my childhood wounds. I came to the revelation that the way my father treated me was more about him than me. I understood that my father was broken inside and probably full of self-loathing. Though I don’t know what events or circumstances played a part in my father’s brokenness, God taught me that hurt people, hurt others. God cultivated a compassion in my heart for my father and I was able to forgive him. When I look back now, I realize this is nothing short of a miracle for God to give me so much grace to act maturely at this young age. This was such a blessing because the last three years of my father’s life we became closer than we had ever been. I had finished my undergraduate degree and got married a few years before my father was diagnosed with cancer. He stopped drinking and underwent surgery and treatments. The next three years, was a roller-coaster of emotions. He would respond well to a treatment, and we would all be filled with hope only to have the treatment stop responding several months down the road. Up and down we went, but I am so grateful for the time I and my husband had to spend with him and my mother. We enjoyed time together doing fun things like playing cards, going to movies, and eating good food. My dad was fun! Who knew? He absolutely loved my husband, and I felt like my father was proud of the woman I was becoming. I cherish the memories from this season and am so thankful I chose forgiveness over bitterness.
How could I not forgive my father when my heavenly Father forgives every one of my sins beginning back in 5th grade? I knew full well that Jesus had paid the price for not just my sins but my father’s sins, as well. I am confident that my father is in heaven because he was able to receive this great gift. This isn’t to say I haven’t had to deal with some issues throughout my life. I explain in my upcoming e-book, how all our experiences throughout life make us believe things. Unfortunately, a lot of the time the things we believe are lies! The tricky thing is, when we believe a lie, we don’t realize it’s a lie because we believe it! I love helping people uncover these lies and receive healing like I did myself. When my own father didn’t value me, I believed the lie that no one else would. Why would anyone find value in what I taught or shared? How convenient it would have been for satan if I had continued to believe this. He could have stolen my calling, my voice, and my purpose, but that wasn’t my story. Healing and re-wiring our brains is a continual process, and I am ever so grateful to God for allowing me to be a part of people's spiritual growth and healing.