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!!
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?!
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."
Through years of domestic abuse, Darla Colinet, came to know that the mindset of abuse, starts at an early age. Being unaware of her brokenness, domestic abuse, and Christ’s truths about love made her vulnerable to become a victim of an abusive marriages. From overcoming domestic abuse to living and loving fearlessly...Darla, now focuses on
educating individuals and churches about how to end domestic abuse by using Christ’s Perfect Love Design.
“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you." (Deuteronomy 31:6)
“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” (John 13:34-35)
Darla Colinet Champion for Abused Women, Christian Keynote Speaker & Author
Overcoming Domestic Abuse: Living and Loving Fearlessly
The mindset of abuse starts at an early age. Loving and following Jesus doesn’t make you immune from being deceived into an abusive marriage.
Even though my parents loved God with all their hearts, and they tried to do their best, they were too afraid to let God and other professionals help them work through their brokenness. They lived in unhealthy co-dependency and were rarely available for me.
The result of their unavailability left me feeling love-starved as a child and young woman. My natural quest to feel loved left me vulnerable to being date raped at the age of fifteen. The wounds from the violent rape were painful. However, the words from my father’s mouth stating, “I was unworthy of good love,” shattered my heart. His words changed my self-worth and the course of my life.
To prove I was loved I took the first offer of marriage at the age of eighteen. I married the “bad boy” in town who claimed to be a Christian, and I endured thirteen-years of abuse. I was acting in the broken design of love I knew, which is what we all do.
Without knowing Christ’s design of love, I used what I understood as love to try to fill the holes in my heart. Being unaware of my brokenness, domestic abuse, and Christ’s truths about love, made me vulnerable to become a victim of an abusive Christian marriage for thirteen-years.
Deep inside I knew it was not God’s will for him to hurt me. However, without Christ’s truth in my mind and heart, I believed what I experienced and what I heard from pastors. They said my marriage vows made it my responsibility to help my abusive husband to come back to God and find healing. These are lies and misinterpretations from scriptures.
In August, in the thirteenth year of our marriage, our boys were visiting my parents. My ex-husband started calling me names again. Something snapped inside of me. I had left several times before, but this time, I was done. I wasn’t going to take his abuse anymore. I stood up to confront him, and I woke up on the floor, staring at the ceiling. A picture flashed through my mind. I remembered him telling me he would kill me before he would let me go, as he stretched his hands around my throat. I quickly scanned the room, and I realized I was alone. I was furious with my husband, myself, and God. I prayed for thirteen-years for God to stop the abuse, but nothing changed. In a rage, I screamed out, “God either you end this tonight, or I will!”
I went to the gun cabinet and took out a shotgun. I loaded it and sat in the chair across from the back door, waiting for my husband to come home. Pictures of him hurting me over the last thirteen years flashed in my mind while his degrading comments echoed in the background. I had no more tears, only rage, and darkness.
The next thing I remember was slowly opening my eyes as the sun beamed through the window in the door. Immediately, I felt the weight of the shotgun in my hands. I was horrified. I heard a peaceful voice whisper to my spirit, “I’ve made a way to escape, take it. This is not love.” At this moment, I realized God had made a way to stop the abuse, and I ran.
You would think after my abusive marriage I would stay clear of men, but all I could feel was the pain of feeling love-starved and unworthy. Deep inside I kept hoping to find true love. I let my emotions lead my life, and I married a college man. I did not realize he was a deceptive “wizard behind the curtain” who brought more verbal and mental abusive. When I asked him to get help, he filed for divorce.
After my second divorce, you would think I would not believe in love, but I knew I loved Jesus and he gave me hope. I met and married a man who loved to have fun, only to realize he “never wanted to grow up” from drug addiction and to be financially responsible. After the seventh year into our marriage, I became determined to overcome what was causing me to choose abusive relationships.
I opened my Bible and read, “Your mistake is that you don’t know the Scriptures, and you don’t know the power of God”. (Matthew 22:29) These words were a gong in my mind. I realized I had believed and lived in my dad’s definition of love for me and I didn’t know Christ’s perfect love design.
I saw how my unawareness of my brokenness, my unawareness about domestic abuse, and my unawareness of Christ’s design of love left me vulnerable to be caught in the deceptive web of abuse. As I began to discover, to understand, and to live in Christ’s design of pure love over the next six years, my heart healed. I set up healthy boundaries with my irresponsible husband, and after thirteen years, he walked out.
The end of my third marriage was very different. I didn’t feel love-starved or unworthy. I realized Christ’s love design filled my heart whether I was married or single. I stood with confidence knowing that I am worthy and filled with Christ’s unconditional love. I knew the love of people could never fill my need to feel loved unconditionally by Jesus Christ.
Living in Christ’s Love Design
As I have come to live in Christ’s design of love and use it as my compass, my heart has healed and my life now overflows with his abundance of love, joy, and peace. Using Christ’s revelations with my life lessons has helped me create a path for women and struggling marriages to find happiness and healing. They are encouraged and empowered to take control of their life, pursue their dreams, achieve their goals, and fulfill their destiny in God’s grand plan.
As I stepped into God’s purpose for my life, I was content to be single. However, in 2014 on a tour of Italy, God chose to bless me with the most amazing man. My husband lives like Christ and loves me as if I were Christ. When you use Christ’s love design as your compass, you never know what he will do for you. I am living proof that when you partner with Jesus, he can make your messes into a masterpiece!
**** Darla is now focused on educating individuals and churches about how to end domestic abuse by using Christ’s Perfect Love Design. Contact her for Domestic Violence introduction class, workshops, retreats, and online classes. ****
God's Transforming Grace Focused on educating individuals and churches about how to end domestic abuse by using Christ’s Perfect Love Design. Contact Darla for Domestic Violence introduction class, workshops, retreats, and online classes.
Living and Loving Fearlessly I help women break through their road block to live and love fearlessly through Christ and achieve their dreams and purpose in God’s grand plan. I help them through the forward process of transformational life coaching.
Doris Homan, was born in Cairo, Egypt, in a very strict religious environment. She grew up attending church and loved Sunday school, but yet God seemed so far. Doris's Christian Journey set her on a path of knowing God as much as she can, so she can teach others to do the same.
Since, the mid-1990's, Doris has been actively participating in women's ministries in the capacity of teaching Bible studies, leading small groups, speaking at women's faith-based events, one-on-one discipleship and Christian counseling.
----“my beloved brethren…my joy and crown, so stand firm in the Lord.” (Philippians 4:1)
I was born in Cairo, Egypt, in a very strict religious environment. I grew up attending church and loved Sunday school as a child. I desired to know God but somehow He seemed far. At the age of 9 my family and I moved to the US. It was a difficult time of transition for me. Finding myself in a foreign land with no extended family or friends, I struggled with loneliness and a sense of not belonging for many years.
A couple of important things happened in my teen years; I was invited to attend an evangelical church and around the same time, some friends from high school asked me to attend Campus Crusade meetings. I began to attend both regularly and for the first time in my life I heard that I could have a relationship with God and know Him personally. This was amazing and a defining moment for me. This is what I really had desired all along, not religion but a relationship!
I struggled for a while as I felt I was already a believer in Christ but one evening, after church, I remember sitting in my room and talking to God. I acknowledged my faith in Him and my desire to have a relationship with Him. I turned leadership of my life over to Him to transform me into the person He intended me to be. (Proverbs 3:5-6)
Slowly, I began to study the Bible, pray and grow in my relationship with Christ. Over time, I began to see many changes in my life. Christ took a very shy and insecure girl and transformed her into someone He can use to initiate and reach out to others. I never thought I could stand before a group of people and speak, let alone prepare lessons and teach the Bible. He gave me a purpose and a mission. (Galatians 2:20)
During my college years, I met my husband and a year later, we got married. In my thirties, the Lord began to stir in me a real desire for teaching the Bible to women. I had the opportunity to attend several training seminars by Precept Ministries and through the inductive study method, I learned how to study, prepare and lead Bible studies.
God has given me a heart for women and a passion to see them established in His Word and using their spiritual gifts in service for Him in their local church.
For the past 20 years I have led women’s Bible Studies, 6 years leading women’s Sunday school class as well as small group. It’s been a joy to work in women’s ministries side by side with other women of faith.
Soon after a Bible Study series on the Names of God, one of our ladies was diagnosed with cancer and went through a long period of treatment and recovery. I will never forget when she told me that if it wasn’t for the Names of God study we had just completed, her faith would not have been as strong during this storm in her life.
Another important part of women’s ministries is developing future leaders. I am passionate about seeing women grow into future teachers and leaders so they can train other women on their journey with Christ. (2 Timothy 2:2)
A few years ago, I saw a need for this curriculum; material that covers the basic aspects of the Christian life all in one study guide. This study is the culmination of the last 35 years of my walk with Christ. It is important as a follower of Christ to know what we believe and why we believe it. It is my heart’s desire and goal that this curriculum will have an impact in women’s lives and firmly establish them in the scriptures. It is one thing to read the Bible and another thing to study it; to dig deeper. I have often said to my ladies that the Word of God is like a mine; the more we dig the more treasure we will find.
This journey has taken over 6 years to compile with numerous revisions. I had the opportunity to take a group of about 20 women through this study after which many more revisions followed as I saw areas for improvement.
About 4 years after writing this material, God brought Davia Rinehart into my life through a mutual friend. Davia has been engaged in discipling women (Disciples of Christ) for many years. Living about 500 miles away, she graciously came to Cincinnati to meet with me several times. I am so grateful for how she has invested of herself in this project. I am indebted to her for the hours she has spent reviewing the curriculum and hours of meeting with me with her suggestions and recommendations; her godly perspective and insight enriched this material. God also sent others into my life to provide editing and input on content. It’s such a privilege to serve our faithful God. I love the opportunities He continues to give me to come alongside other women especially and pour into their lives. Discipleship is the heart of my calling.
(Galatians 2:20), describes my new life ---- “I am crucified with Christ nevertheless I live yet not I but Christ lives in me and the life that I now live, I live by faith in the name of the son of God who loves me and gave Himself for me.”
Ralph Brown, 50, of Spring Hill, and Robert Brown, 51, of Merritt Island, managed to cross the Atlantic in a Suzuki powered 21' Flats Boat that Ralph's company, Dream Boats, Inc made. This boat, does not have a cabin, a keel to stabilize the boat if it were to flip, a sail, an escort, and---it had to carry its own fuel. They were exposed to the elements for the entire voyage and survived being run over by an iceberg in Greenland, almost running out of fuel hundreds of miles from shore, refusing to be rescued three separate times, surviving massive waves from the remnants of two hurricanes, being slammed into rocks by gale force winds, running out of money, and---many other amazing events during the 8,312 mile voyage.
Robert and Ralph Brown's purpose for this outrageous 8,312 mile voyage was to honor Robert's former Marine comrades who died in 1980 in a botched mission called Operation Eagle Claw, in which several branches of the military attempted to liberate the American Embassy in Iran after terrorists took the ambassador and his staff hostage. The brother's raised money for military charities and began to publicize their boat’s seaworthiness so that the brothers could get their boat company, Dream Boats Global recognized to help business.
Tuesday, July 28, 2009 – Cartwright, Labrador, Canada
When we woke up this morning [They were anchored just offshore.—Ed] we were surrounded by whales, which is kind of neat. We saw a few seals and several whales blowing and eating fish not too far from us. Then we also got surrounded by mosquitoes...So we were glad to fire the engine up and get moving. This is our last night in North America. We will be ending up in a Nuuk Greenland, about 600 miles away.
Wednesday, July 29 – In the Atlantic
Once we were about 30 minutes off shore we started putting on our ‘cold-weather’ gear, which is long underwear and boots. Also we are rearranging our sleeping area. It may not be much but it is an improvement. We are sitting much deeper in the water because we are carrying a lot more fuel.
Video of what it's like in the Atlantic in a flats boat....
Thursday, July 30 – In the Atlantic
11:36 AM: Last night was the most miserable night we have had yet. It was wet all night and very, very cold. But we are moving along, moving steadily. Always when we load the boat with gasoline, the first 100 miles we get terrible fuel (economy) and terrible performance. It has been about 6 foot seas out of the east most of the way. Not good. It is cold and windy. Hopefully the sun will come out today. We counted 21 icebergs yesterday and named 5 of them.
We are about 150 to 200 miles off the coast of Canada. Not making very good time thanks to glaciers and fog, and occasionally 8 to 10 foot waves.
3:20 PM: The waves are steadily been getting bigger and bigger, coming closer and closer, and that means they are building, and are not going in our direction...we are going very, very slow, we are not going to make Nuuk Greenland at our predicted time.
Saturday, August 1 – 152 miles from Nuuk, Greenland
At 3 AM this morning we picked up our sea anchor and started moving forward about 90 miles before the wind/seas picked back up again. It is still against us, but not really bad, we could easily go on but we are very concerned about our fuel consumption and because of that we are dropping the sea anchor and are going to wait for calmer seas, or the wind at our back, otherwise we can sit for a couple of days if we have to.
When we left Cartwright Labrador we had 310 gallons of fuel on board which is more than enough to go 900 miles under normal conditions. However we are only going 600 miles and the wind and waves were supposed to be out of SE at 3-4 feet. Unfortunately, instead we had waves about 5-9 feet, a little bigger than that in some cases and strong winds out of due E, right in our faces the whole time which ate our fuel, so now we are very conscious of the fuel left and are waiting for the right weather to burn it. We have our sea anchor out to minimize our drift and we are going from there.
Sunday, August 2 – Moving Again
We are now using our 9.9 horsepower kicker which is running well and giving us good gas mileage. It burns about three quarters of a gallon per hour and we are moving at 4 knots. When we started this process we had 60 gallons on board. That was enough to go for 100 hours at 4 knots or 400 miles. We don’t want to go that far at 4 knots per hour, we have around 100 miles to go.
Tuesday, August 4 – Arrived at the Greenland Coast!
5:00 AM in Greenland which is part of Europe! Every which way you can look are icebergs and rock islands. Unfortunately gas is almost 20 miles inland, reachable by water.
Thursday, August 6 – With the Greenlanders
Icebergs sink boats. They won't sink this Intruder 21, but they might damage the prop. That is why we are dodging these icebergs, and growlers, small chucks of Ice.
You have to realize how few Greenlanders there actually are. But they all seem so friendly. We met them today on our way from Qaqortoq to Nanortalik. (Population 300.)
Everyone seems to have a hard time believing that we came from Florida in this flats boat, it is only 4,400 miles. What is the problem?
Saturday, August 8 – It Is Getting Cold!
Last night Bob and I were on our way to Aappilattoq, an Island on the Way to our last stop in Greenland, Tasiilaq. It was dark and the wind was blowing hard. Driving at night is very dangerous because of the small icebergs. If you don't see them they could break your motor or sink some boats, not an Intruder.
After a while we took shelter behind an Island. We put out two anchors. We went to sleep. Bob on top of the bean bag wedged behind the helm. Me, on the back of the boat in the surf board bag. It is semi waterproof and semi warm. I was sleeping with two pairs of socks, a survival suit, the Interstate Battery Jacket, a separate jacket liner, three pairs of pants, gloves, my Interstate Battery Hat, a hood, and a shirt on. I completely zip it up around me except for a tiny air hole. I am sawing logs, sound asleep.
Wednesday, August 12 – Last Day in Greenland
Tasiilaq, Greenland is a town of about 1000 people located on the east side of Greenland. The whole east side of Greenland is uninhabited with a few exceptions. It is one of the most beautiful places on earth. Giant mountains come to the sea, with glaciers becoming Icebergs.
Seals, birds and whales roam while the thousands of icebergs float by. It is a 400 mile run between the town of Prince Christianson (Population 5) to Tasiilaq. On the 400 mile run from Prince Christianson we got rained on several times. It is a fine mist of rain that covers everything, our hands and feet were frozen. At that point it is very hard to sleep on the boat.
Thursday, August 13 – Only 147 Miles to Iceland!
12:49 PM: As we left Tasiilaq Greenland yesterday afternoon a whole bunch of kids gave us a standing ovation and some of them jumped into the 35 degree water with icebergs floating everywhere and the kids were swimming in the icy waters to say good bye to us.
We had some hot Quaker oatmeal for breakfast/lunch and we are approx. 147 miles northwest of Reykjavik Iceland.
Thursday August 20 -- Off to the Faroe Islands, 250 Miles Away
2:30 PM: We just left Westmen Island full of gas, going very smoothly, weather is beautiful, rolling breeze, four footers, calm seas, absolutely gorgeous. We also know we are just ahead of the big storm. It’ll take us a couple of hours burning off enough gas before we can go faster, we will be putting along at 8-9 mph heading toward Faroe Islands. We’ll get there tomorrow around noon give or take; it depends on how we beat the storm. We should be seeing some big seas.
10:36 PM: We are 250 miles from the Faroe Islands, black as all get out, trying to outrun the storm. We cannot see where we are going.
Many people think answered prayer is about how holy we are. I think that is wrong. I think answered prayer is about who God is. That is why we see people like David, Samson, and Elijah getting prayers answered. David and Samson did terrible things, yet, they prayed. God heard their prayers. All three took massive risks. The scriptures teach us that Elijah was a man of like passions as us…. Yet he prayed.
Bob and I are regular people, nothing special about us. We will tell you, we prayed, not because of how good we are, but because we needed God’s help.
There are dozens and dozens of episodes that cannot be explained other than God chose to smile on the I Am Second Wounded Hero Voyage. I Am Second means God is first. Here are four quick stories.
Friday, August 21 – 104 Miles from the Faroe Islands
We are 104 miles northwest of the Faroe Islands. We are still trying to beat the storm. The waves have kicked up to about 10 to 12 feet! They are still coming out of the southwest while we are going southeast. They are not helping us any at all. As a matter of fact they are hurting a little bit. We have to go slow. Bob and I are both soaking wet from head to toes from both rain and waves. It is raining off and on. Waves are splashing over the front of the boat.
Saturday, August 22 – “It Can’t Sink, It Can’t Sink, It Can’t Sink.”
[Written at a computer after the fact.—Ed.] It can't sink, it can't sink, it can't sink were the words going through my mind along with help us Lord Jesus, and trust your equipment. Bob is saying don't panic. He did not remember saying those words to me, but it actually helped me to remember not to panic.
Huge waves are breaking into the boat, we are being pushed up on a shoal among the Faroe Islands. The boat is full of water and if it is not tied down it is gone. The antenna has fallen, the T top dry box just bounced open and all my important papers are falling, the waves are pushing us up to the rocks that we can't see, it is pitch black out with a cloud cover, our spotlight is only good for a few feet because of the fog. We are scared, I am scared both for my life and for the mission, especially the mission.
The waves are over 10 foot and it is black out. We see a couple of light houses in the distance, and Bob wants to tuck in behind an Island.
I want to get out to the open sea. I will take my chances with the bigger waves, but not the rocks. Bob, let me take the helm, gladly. It won't sink, it won't sink, it won't sink. Don't panic. Don't panic, Help me Lord, help us Lord, please, Trust your equipment. Trust your equipment. I set a course back out. The boat is full of water, more waves are breaking.
Aluminum pipes holding the T-top broken in numerous places
We are talking to search and rescue, we only want directions, they want information, and I don't want to change screens to give them the coordinates.
Can't get the boat straight, Bob climbs out to fix the antenna, waves are still breaking into the boat. It is pitch black out and it is hard to drive by GPS only. It is slow to respond, hard to starboard, why won't this heading change, too far, hard to port hard to port. Waves are still breaking into the boat. Suddenly there is a bright star or a planet. We lock in on our bearing. We get the boat straight, trust your equipment. Bob wants me to do something, can't take my eyes off the screen, suddenly we are spinning around again, don't know where the rocks are. There is the star, keep it on the right, starboard.
We are back out to open sea. The waves stop breaking. We get in the shelter of some islands. Wow, we are still going. The mission is still on!!!!
Tuesday, August 25 – Making Repairs
After 6000 miles and over 50,000 times slamming a 350 pound fuel tank on the deck we had some damage. We spent most of the day scrounging up some resin and glass. The repairs are basically completed.
Wednesday, August 26 – Casting off for the Shetland Islands
5:46 PM: We will be heading out momentarily and driving all night. We want to be in the Shetlands early in the morning and off to Orkney Islands later. There is a low pressure over Ireland now that will be moving over across Scotland then out to sea. We want to get to the coast of Scotland before the storm.
Bob and I decided not to wait for perfect weather and jump from Island to Island down to London and get there hopefully on or before September 2.
Friday, August 28 – Caught By the Storm, 15’ Seas!
After we left Scalloway, Shetland Islands, the weather started getting rough right away. Soon after we left the Islands it became apparent that the weather report we saw was not going to give us the eight hours we expected to make the crossing to the Orkney Islands. The winds picked up to about 40 mph and the waves picked up to about 10 -12 ft with an occasional 15 ft wave. They were coming out of the North West and we were heading South West. They were on our beam, coming at our side. (The most dangerous direction they could come from to our tiny little boat.) But the Intruder did well. A flats boat in breaking 15 foot seas! I have always said 12 foot was my max, before I threw out the sea anchor.
Out there the boat seemed to handle it well. Yes, there were about three close calls, Bob says about six. I only remember three where we could have flipped extremely easily if I did not turn the boat just right. One time we launched way up in the air and the wind caught the boat it came down on its tail and twisted sideways, well that was an eye opener. I wasn't going that fast; we just hit that wave just right. God was smiling on us. Let’s face it he has been smiling on us this whole trip.
Our T-top has just about had it and all the pipes are cracking. I don't understand it, the T-top is a super expensive one made with extra and larger aluminum pipes. The guy that built it and installed it says it is the best one made by anyone and he charges a lot for it. I am not sure what the problem is. It may have something to do with the 50,000 times we have slammed the boat down. By the way that number 50,000 times is not an exaggeration, it is probably low.
Trying to get the boat air shipped back on U.S. military transport
[In the next couple of weeks Bob and Ralph Brown made it down the east coast of Scotland, England, stopping in at London, the across the English Channel to Holland and Germany, arriving at their final destination on September 10th.
Emily's, dark past included many failed relationships, an abortion, addiction, welfare, and single motherhood.
She became so hopeless, that she came up with a suicide plan. However, a chance meeting with a stranger, changed her life forever!
"Neither is their salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven whereby we must be saved." (Acts 4:12)
This is the story of how God intervened in my broken life and turned my past into purpose.....
In 2012, I was a single mom on welfare, unemployed, and addicted to drugs and alcohol. I was hopeless and in despair with a suicide plan, when a chance meeting with a stranger changed my life forever. I met a woman who invited me to an addictions program called Reformers Unanimous at her local church. It was there, that I was faced with the most important decision of my life.
I grew up in a very religious home with a large family. My mom was loving and attentive, but unfortunately both of my parents came from abusive childhoods, and so that cycle continued. My dad drank alcohol every night, and was violent and unpredictable. His unfaithfulness toward my mom affected our family greatly. There was no moral compass or guidance for my siblings and me. My childhood (and eventually adulthood) was marked by fear and mistrust of everyone. I was taken out of the family home several times as a child, living in various institutions.
I spent adulthood trying to escape the pain of my childhood. Failed relationships, abortion, drugs, alcohol, regret, guilt, shame, 10 years of counseling, multiple 12 step groups, false religions, self-help books, and the list goes on. I needed an identity, but couldn’t find one. What was missing? Why did I feel so empty inside? These questions haunted me every day.
By 37, life had come undone. I couldn’t handle one more failure, and the only way out that I could see...was death. I made the decision, that I was going to kill my daughter and then myself. It was no coincidence that shortly after this, I saw a news story about a woman in Florida who had the same idea, however...her son died and she survived. For that reason, I delayed my actions for several weeks and that is when God intervened by putting the Christian woman in my path. She showed me a kindness and acceptance that I had never known. She didn’t judge me, and wasn’t afraid to jump into the mess I had made of my life. If that wasn't enough...she held my hand through the darkness. For the first time, I saw the love of Christ through another person! Curiosity got the best of me, and one night I attended the program. There was a preacher there named Mitch Zajac, who shared his incredible story of redemption. He was as hopeless as I was before he too, was faced with a decision to make. He explained why Jesus came to the earth over 2,000 years ago. He came to seek and to save the lost! I knew I was lost! And, I knew I was broken! He asked me this question with urgency: "If I were to die in a car accident that night, would I go to Heaven?" I thought I would go to Heaven, but according to the Bible I was wrong. I realized I was a sinner in desperate need of a Savior. I had been wrong about many things, but I knew I couldn’t be wrong about that. My whole life hinged on whether I would accept Christ or reject Him! I chose to accept Christ's payment on the cross for my sins, and in that moment...a burden was lifted from me that words can’t describe. Shame and guilt vanished and although, I still had the same problems, I now faced them with a new hope.
Within a year, God blessed me with my best friend, Andrew, and we have been married 5 years! Our marriage is happy and healthy because God is the best matchmaker! I have been completely clean and sober for 6 years as of 2018! Through Biblical counseling, the Reformers Unanimous program, weekly Bible class, and church services at Valley Forge Baptist Temple, in Collegeville, PA,...I have experienced complete victory over addiction! Most importantly, God gave me a clear conscience after forgiving my sins. The one who made me is the only one who could fix me. God was the missing piece!!
***Mitch Zajac, had the opportunity to share his testimony on CBN's The 700 Club this past year. Today, Mitch is a traveling evangelist, spreading the good news of Jesus Christ. Feel free to contact Mitch for prayer and questions about Jesus and salvation***
Through years of physical and emotional abuse, Surya Nycole, has allowed God to use all that she has gone through for His glory. Today, she has a recovery ministry helping others overcome their life trauma's. Surya is also a worship leader, speaker, and author.
Please take some time to listen to Surya's videos. They will encourage you and those you love and care for.
(Mark 8:34-38) "Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me and for the gospel will save it. What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul? If anyone is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of them when he comes in his Father’s glory with the holy angels.”
God uses us! Even in the midst of our sin, our pain, and especially in our sorrow. He uses ALL things for good, not only for those that are hurting, but also for those doing the hurting. Today, I am going to encourage you with one of my many testimonies of how God carried me through, healed me, and helped me grow in my relationship with Him!
It’s no secret that I am a single mother—I never married my son’s father however—my pregnancy was a medical miracle. In the past, I had many woman issues that left my ovaries scarred, and even experienced cancer scares that brought on several surgeries which took half of my cervix. My odds of pregnancy became 50/50—50% chance I would get pregnant, and 50% chance that I would get pregnant, but with extremely high odds of not carrying full-term or miscarrying. I left that appointment filled with sorrow—grieving my dreams of becoming a mother. I knew God, but as any immature Christian, I believed I didn’t deserve to be healed and/or blessed, and that I was the one in control. I began to gather paperwork to start the adoption process for a special needs child and MY plan was to mail it out on my 30th birthday. But even in the midst of my sin, God had a different plan!
Unmarried and in an unstable relationship, I became pregnant in December 2009. Needless to say—I had a high risk pregnancy. I was excited to become a mother, but I feared losing my baby, especially knowing that I did not become pregnant in a way that pleased God. The father of my child was in and out of my life, coming back with temporary positive gestures that sometimes lasted only a few hours. Often he would leave after horrible actions of cheating and verbal abuse. I was about 4 months pregnant, when I prayed about getting back together with my son’s father. God showed me two roads that I could chose to take—The first road would lead to a dark and heavy-hearted path with a terrifying forest—The second road would be breathtaking, beautifully bright, and like open and clean fresh air. While God showed me the 2 choices that I could take—I chose the dark path. I wanted my child to have a family—I’m sure you are thinking—Why didn’t you choose the sunny road!?!? But, I had already had years of false Biblical teaching at this point and in my mind, I was going to do whatever it took for us to be a family even though, his father was abusive, struggling with substance abuse, and would cheat—I thought I could fix it all!
At the time, I became pregnant, I was a worship leader. Yes, even those in ministry struggle with their flesh. I was in serious emotional pain and confusion, but I led worship every Sunday and I praised God! This is truly where I deeply learned how to praise Him during the storm, and let me tell you—I praised Him! I never missed a Sunday—I kept moving forward and put on a smile that I call “Gods smile”, because without Him, it would not exist!
About a month after I had my son, his father became physically violent on top of all the verbal abuse. He didn’t want to be home, sober or faithful. Every weekend, I obtained a new bruise to replace the one that faded from the time before. His face would literally change and I saw Satan in his eyes. In the midst of Satan trying to break me down, I got right back up. Literally, he would throw me across the room, and I would just stand right back up. I didn’t hit back, I just kept getting back up to face him. Maybe it was a mistake, because it angered him even more, and made the situation worse. But, I had been in abusive relationships in the past where others often blamed me for not standing up for myself. I didn’t know what to do, but I knew I wasn’t going to just lay there anymore.
Well, yep—even 6 months later—I still wanted my family to work, but the abuse continued to get worse, and as it did— I did my best to hide what was truly going on in my life. It did help that he wasn’t home much though. Months after the birth of my son, I started going to therapy because he started making me believe that I was crazy and needed help. I sure did need help, but not the kind of help he expected. I didn’t admit to the physical abuse because I knew my therapist would have to report it, and—I was beginning to believe, that I provoked it, therefore—in some way, felt I deserved the way I was being treated. My therapist was a Christian woman, and she helped me see that I shouldn't blame myself because it wasn’t my fault. It took me about 2 more months to kick him out for good—not because of therapy, but because my son got hurt. Most of the time I got hit, my son was in his bedroom, or—I wasn’t holding him at the time when his father became violent. However, this time—he pushed me hard while, I was holding him and his 6th month old little head, flew into the door, leaving a bump that swelled. My thinking at this point was, “It’s one thing for me to be abused—I can take—but for my son to get hurt, it is not OK!” It was extremely difficult because no matter how much you don’t like being abused, you’re so messed up mentally you don’t know up from down. But, I kicked him out and got an order of protection. It has been almost 8 years since that day.
Unfortunately, we still have to deal with him, but thankfully—it’s from a distance. He still continues to struggle with his flesh, and we continue to pray for him. He’s not very involved father which, is a blessing because he’s not healthy enough even to be a part-time father. I forgave his father years ago, while I was still healing, because it’s not about how I feel—that’s the key to growing spiritually. I want my son to know God is the reason for the path that we are on in life. With all my heart, I want him to know God the way I have come to know Him, so he doesn’t waste his life floating through the world encountering or causing pain because of his own pain or confusion.
God has taught me that forgiveness is not only for me, but also for my abusers. He showed me how they were at one-time victims too. I have learned such a depth of forgiveness with understanding that I never knew before. God has given me strength to realize why I got into abusive relationships. He has healed me, and now uses me to help others! All of the evil that I have encountered, and participated in—He now uses for the good of strengthening me spiritually and others! Today, I not only minister to my son, but also to those in recovery from all kinds of traumas. He uses me as a mind, body, and soul coach to all. He has given me the ability to relate in ways that many cannot. This trial was painful on many levels, but it brought me closer to God, has become part of my purpose, and is one of my favorite testimonies!
A story of hope and inspiration---Marcus Stanley, was touring with a major recording artist when they decided to stay at a hotel on the west side of Baltimore, Maryland for the evening. Marcus, left the hotel to get some food and a drink at the nearest gas station however---it was on this walk into the night that Marcus's life changed forever.
Marcus's amazing videos of his testimony on YouTube and CBN's The 700 Club can be found after his written story--- as well as links where you can purchase his worship music.
Your life is a gift. Everyone that is still alive has a testimony. The purpose of this message is simply to share hope. Hope that no matter what you are facing in life--you will survive.
I was in Baltimore, MD touring with a major recording artist when all of this happened. We were supposed to stay at the Hyatt Hotel downtown by the harbor, but all the rooms were taken because of a sporting event that was happening the same night. So, we had to stay in west Baltimore in a rough area of town. It really didn't make a difference to me because, I've been in hotels all across the country good and bad. When I check into a hotel, I kind of have a pattern of doing things no matter where I am. I drop off my luggage---I joke around with the band for a little bit and---I go to the nearest gas station to get some junk food (Gatorade, Waffle House, IHOP)---Whatever is open and then, I come back and relax. This day was no different.
I walked outside and headed towards the gas station which was about three blocks away. As I walked through the second block, I could see six guys standing on the corner talking to each other looking in my direction. I really didn't even pay them any mind, I just kept walking towards the store. Just then, I realized that I left my wallet in my room and turned around to head back to the hotel to get it. My best friend Lydell, who was a drummer in my band at the time, told me to stop going places by myself. I told him that I was good---like I normally do and went back to the store. I went past the same group of guys and they were watching me again. I continued to the store and got my usual Gatorade, candy, junk food, and headed back to the hotel. I came past the same block, and the same guys, immediately came towards me. Strangely, the whole street was clear and no one was on it like I saw just a few minutes before. By the time, I figured out that they were a gang, the leader came towards me and said, "What you doing out here homie"? I just turned to him and said, "I'm chillin' bro" and kept on walking. They circled around me and asked, "What's up with that phone"? At this point, I knew it had nothing to do with the phone or nothing that I said or did, had anything to do with what he was asking me. I figured they were going to rob me, so I didn't even respond---I just told them it was off and put it back into my pocket. Really, it was off though---Sprint had cut me off for being over my account spending limit.
He walked closer to me and...right to my face said, "Well, you got to roll out homie". At that point, he pulled out a .45 caliber gun from his jacket, and pointed it directly at me point-blank range. I didn't even have time to react. I heard the first shot---ONE---and saw a bright light from the gun that blinded me, and I fell immediately to the ground. Then, he stood over top of me and said, "Peace out homie"! He fired seven more shots into my body---TWO---THREE---FOUR---FIVE---SIX---SEVEN. Instantly, I saw an angel appeared in front of me. The angel looked transparent, and it was kneeling down with his arms crossed in front of me as if, every bullet was going through the angel. I knew it couldn't have been a figment of my imagination because, I had no time to even think about this. I had no time to think about anything other than the pain that I was feeling from every single bullet that was going in my body. When he finished shooting me, his other boys picked up the shell casings that had fallen to the ground around me and they laughed and joked with each other about how they just "smoked" me. Right then, I heard God speak to me..."Do not move"! It was really strange because, I wanted to yell---I wanted to scream---I wanted to breathe---I wanted to know if I was alive, but I couldn't do it. They were still looking at me, so I just laid there & didn't breathe. My eyes were still opened, but they were fixed---even though, I felt pain all across my body. For the first time in my life, I felt no pain from even not breathing which, was the strangest feeling I've ever felt. That's how I knew, God was right there with me. As I continued to hold my breathe waiting for them to leave, I felt the blood all around me. When they finally ran to the car, they drove off at full speed---it was then, that I was able to take my first breath. I remember softly yelling--"OH, GOD...GOD". I looked around me and saw the pool of blood and holes in my shirt. I tried to stand up, but couldn't. I couldn't feel my legs, so I dragged myself off of the street and onto the sidewalk---literally crawling. I tried to flag down cars to stop and help me, but nobody would stop. People slowed down and kept going. It was literally only me and GOD!
I had a moment where I had my life flash before my eyes. I thought about everyone that loved me---I thought about my own funeral---I thought about the things that I should've said to my family and the friends that I didn't tell---Just then, I remembered that I had my cell phone still with me. My hand was completely covered in blood, but I still managed to dial 911. When the operator came online, I told her that I had been shot and she asked me where I was. Thankfully, I was lying right next to a street sign, so I could give her an idea of where I was. She tried to keep me talking, but I really couldn't because I was losing my breath every minute that went past. Eventually, about five officers showed up. One walked toward me and asked me my name and how old I was. After that, they drew lines around me and put up police and crime scene tape setting up a perimeter. This is where my faith really had to step in though. Even though, all around me it looked like death--I had to SPEAK LIFE. I began praying for there was nothing I could do, but that. The ambulance got there about seven minutes later, and loaded me in. Immediately, they began cutting off my clothes and hooking me up to all kinds of machines. This was actually the first time that I saw the gun shot wounds. At that moment, tears started to flow from my eyes---my body just looked dead---like I shouldn't be alive, but I was. I heard the EMT say to her partner, "I don't think he's going to make it". It hurt me to hear those words, but I tried to hold onto life. By the time I got to the hospital, they rushed me down the hall into surgery. When I arrived in the room, it was the strangest scene that I've ever seen. The room was lined with nurses, doctors, police officers, and other hospital employees looking at me in disbelief---almost as if, all that they heard on the radio about my condition---they were stunned that I was still alive. The lead doctor whispered in my ear..."I'm about to give you some anesthesia to put you asleep for the surgery. Can you sign this paper for me"? Oddly enough, I was able to sign it---and did pretty good---I did so good, that the doctor joked and said, "For someone who's got shot all these times you sure do have a good signature". Right at that moment, I looked in front of me and saw people standing at the door, people surrounding all around me, and then I saw the same angel that I saw on the street---He was standing in front of me with his arms folded looking at me nodding his head as if to say---"Everything is going to be alright". Right then, I felt a peace upon me---I relaxed my breathing and fell asleep. When I opened my eyes, I saw tubes all around me, I heard beeping, and sound from all the machines. I saw bandages across my chest. I thought to myself---I'M ALIVE! The first thing that I thought was---HOW IN THE WORLD WAS I ALIVE? There was a nurse standing to my left and she looked at me right in the eye & said, "YOU MADE IT---YOU MADE IT MARCUS"!
A doctor came in the room, and told me that I was lucky to be alive. I knew "luck" had nothing to do with it. He proceeded to tell me that he performed an eight hour surgery on me and removed half of my stomach, my whole spleen, half of my small intestine, reattached my colon, removed half of my pancreas---I just looked at him in disbelief, but I believed him. I found out later that my doctor FOUND GOD THROUGH MY SURGERY---HE ACKNOWLEDGED THAT IT WAS NOT POSSIBLE THAT HE DID THE SURGERY BY HIMSELF.
TODAY, I CAN WALK---I HAD TO LEARN THAT OVER AGAIN.
TODAY, I CAN PLAY THE PIANO---EVEN THOUGH, I LOST THE FEELING IN MY RIGHT HAND.
TODAY, I CAN WALK IN PEACE BECAUSE GOD GAVE ME PEACE DURING THE MOST CHAOTIC TIME IN MY LIFE.
TODAY, I KNOW THAT GOD IS A HEALER!
Psalms 30:2 "O Lord my God, I cried out to You, And You healed me".
And, Mark 9:25 says, "Jesus said to him, “If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.”
"And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony," (Revelation 12:11)
Do you believe? I know that I do! I encourage everyone that reads my testimony to DO GOD NOW--NOT LATER! A common misconception is that you need to clean yourself up before you come to God, but the truth is, you just have to come to God and He will change you.
God bless you all. God keep you and remember that GOD IS SOVEREIGN. GOD IS BIGGER THAN EVERY PROBLEM AND EVERY SITUATION!
Laura Thompson, learned from a young age that words can shatter one's self-image. For 40 years, she held onto a secret that tried to destroy her, but with God's help the lies were uncovered so she could heal.
Today, Laura, is the author of two popular children's books called "In the Butterfly Kingdom There Is Love" & "In the Butterfly Kingdom There is Kindness". It is Laura's passion that children learn from a young age that not only does God love them, but they can make a great difference in the world with God's fruit of the spirit called love & kindness.
Laura Thompson “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us." (Ephesians 3:20)
This is my story of how God took a shattered little girl and transformed her into a Mighty Woman of God. It is my desire to bring encouragement and healing to a hurting world one person at a time through the transforming power of His Love.
When we think of the 11th hour—we often conjure up images in our minds of what the 11th hour represents. The 11th hour depicts a variety of feelings such as desperation that you are being backed into the corner or that you are running out of time and hope. This is my story of how God took my 11th hour and transformed it into what I now call my brightest hour.
When I was 11 years old,
there were words spoken about me by a trusted family member while I was there.
This moment, shattered my world! These words had such a negative impact that they greatly
affected my self-image and thought-life. This in turn, determined my
actions for most of my life.I learned
at a very early age, the power of the tongue and how it can either build someone
up or tear them way down.From the outside, it
appeared that I was fine and everything in my life was great, but on the inside
I suffered greatly. For 40 years, I kept this a secret even though it should
have never remained so hidden and covered. It was all a lie from Satan who
thought he could destroy me. At 50 years old, God helped me uncover the lie
that was spoken over me. It was then, that God began a “new work” in me to heal
my mind—heal my soul—and begin a transformational journey of healing.
I have learned, that secrets are crippling and can lead to a slow and painful death of oneself.
I also learned that God loves us too much to leave us where we are—Hewants
His best for each of us. God will transform our thoughts and actions for His
purpose and will for our lives.I
have come to realize, that our past does not determine our future. What the
enemy means for harm—God always, turns around for good.Our value is not in whom man says we are, but
in whom God says we are according to scripture verse Proverbs 139:13-18.
I am thankful for God’s grace and mercy in
transforming my life! It is because of this, that I can now help others through
the gift of encouragement. God has taken the deeply hidden gifts and talents in
me—the ones that were so deeply covered—and revealed them so I can help
others. I have always had a passion for helping people and a tender heart toward
children. I have recently become an author of an inspirational children’s book
titled, “In the Butterfly Kingdom There Is Love. “ This is a story about a
royal family of butterflies who live in a garden. God has given them special
fruit to eat from the Blessing Tree so that, they may be wise in God’s ways, to
help others, and to be an example to others who live in the garden. The theme
is about the fruit of the spirit love, and I have paired it with the story line
of adoption. I want children to know that God loves them, that each and every
child is special, and that each child may know that they are never too young to
realize that they can make a difference in the world.
I believe if we plant seeds of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control we will always produce good fruit. The other wonderful part of my book is that God has provided a platform in which, I use as a ministry tool—to help children not only as they read my book, but in return—give a portion of the sales to a variety of Christian children’s ministries to help children in need.
My prayer for everyone who reads my testimony is that they may know God loves them and He has a plan and a purpose for their life. Don’t give in, don’t give up, keep pursuing Him and in due season—He will turn your sorrow into joy—your tragedy into triumph to glorify Him and bless others. God wants to bless you so you can bless others. Do not let the pain of yesterday hold you back from the promises God has for your future. The best is yet to come!
View “In the Butterfly Kingdom There Is Love" and Laura's new book "In the Butterfly Kingdom There is Kindness" on YouTube. Both books can be purchased at traditional bookstores or online at Amazon.com, Apple iTunes Store, Barnes and Noble, or Kobo
Felicia Dopico's daughter, Abigail, shared her testimony last week called..."God's Chosen Warrior Princess". This is Felicia's "God-story" told from a mom's perspective of that terrifying night Abby was airlifted to the local trauma center.
"Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill his promises to her!” (Luke 1:45)
The night of the tragedy was an ordinary night for
my husband and me—we just finished dinner; made a fire in the family room, and
sat on the couch to watch TV. In the distance we heard a helicopter, but didn’t
think anything of it at the time. All of a sudden, I got a very strange message
on Facebook asking me to call the local police department. The rest is a bit
blurry, for as soon as emergency personnel said, “Is this Abigail Dopico’s
mother?”—the room began to spin. They proceeded to tell me, that she was being
airlifted to a local trauma center with a severe head injury and we needed to
get there as soon as possible.
The ride to the hospital was eerily quiet for my
husband and I were stunned and speechless. I remember praying the entire time
for God to restore Abby’s health completely. I also reached out to my prayer
warrior friends who stood in agreement with my prayers. I had a sense of calm in
the car as I prayed and somehow knew this would all be for the greater good.
Upon arrival, the ER doctor had tears in his eyes when he told us, that he
wasn’t sure if Abigail would make it, and if she did—he didn’t know she would
be the same child that we knew. Although, this news was devastating, I trusted
in the peace the Lord filled me with in the car as He consistently told me, “Trust
me Felicia, I will restore her—just put one foot in front of the other”. Abigail
survived the surgery and went into an induced coma for three days. The doctors continued
to convey to us that they still didn’t know if Abigail would come out of this. At
this time though, I was just grateful that she was alive and knew God would
continue to provide for us and her. As the three days progressed, and we got
closer to the time that the doctors were going to wake her up, they warned us
again of all the terrible things that can happen—Abigail may never walk, never
talk, she might not be able to swallow, breathe on her own, etc.—Fear gripped
me again, but then, I was overcome by the words placed in my heart, “It won’t
happen, trust me.” None of those terrible things happened—praise God! Abby,
woke up asking us what happened? She told me soon after waking, “I was fine the
whole time. I went to the penthouse with the man, the very large man.” I asked
her, “What did you do there?” and she responded, “He made me all better.” With
tears in my eyes, I knew it was all going to be OK and that she spent time with
her heavenly Father. As the days went on, we realized her left side was very
weak, to the point of having no movement. Again, I just knew this would be
resolved in God’s time and slowly movement returned. By the time she got to the
rehab facility, most movement had returned except in her left ankle and toes.
The therapists told me that she had a dropped ankle. It may return or it may not.
They made a brace for Abby that she might need to wear for the rest of her
life. Again, I thanked God she was alive and knew this was all in His hands. Lying
in her bed one day, Abby said to me, “Mom—look at my toes” as she moved them.
As of today, all movement in her ankle and toes has been restored and the brace
is in a closet.
Throughout this journey and the subsequent surgery,
I had many moments where fear tried to steal my faith. It wasn’t easy. I will
tell you that every single time fear said, “This might happen…” it never did.
God remained steadfast in His promises to me and continues to do so to this
day. Abigail is a miracle, God’s miracle! There is simply no other explanation
for her survival and recovery.
What has this done for me? My faith has been exponentially increased, and I was a believer in Jesus already. I always prayed and thanked Jesus daily for favor in my life, but this was a whole new level of my walk with Christ! I believe God chose us for this reason. Abby’s healing has amazed all the doctors and seeds of what Jesus can do have been planted.
A couple of months ago, Abby Dopio, had a severe car accident---It was on this day, that her perspective on life changed forever.
"I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt to be your God. I am the LORD your God." (Numbers 15:41)
On December 28th, of 2017, my life changed forever. Before then, I was so happy—so excited to go back to college. I have met some of the best friends I have ever had at college. So let’s just say my life was pretty awesome. Today, I know that I shouldn’t be alive. On that horrible day, I had angels surrounding and protecting me. The odds were not in my favor. The impact of the car accident caused a massive blood clot on the right side of my brain which, caused it to shift from the center a great deal. The days following the accident, I was in a coma and my parents had no clue how I would wake up. I could have lost the ability to form sentences—I could have lost my eyesight—I could have had no recollection of my family—I could have not been able to sit here and compose my testimony right now. The list goes on and on. I cannot even imagine how terrifying this was for my family. When I awoke, I was confused for a few days and had no memory of what had happened. Eventually, I was told that I had a car accident and was airlifted to the local trauma center. When I heard this, I knew that my life just got a little more difficult.
These have been the worst two months of my life. I was depressed and cried everyday because I couldn’t fathom all that had happened. Most of all, I didn’t understand why God would pick me to survive this. I thought there are so many people out in the world much more special than me. But somehow, despite my sadness—I had the strength to move forward and go to physical therapy everyday even when, I would have rather just sat on my butt and cried. I continued to move forward and found strength and motivation even though, I felt as though I had none.
Fast forward to today. I still get sad sometimes. But I am so thankful to be here and get a second chance at life. People always say “live life to the fullest” and that statement never truly hit home until now. Now, I understand how important it is to live life to the fullest and be happy in the present. Life can truly change in an instant! One day you’re alive and thriving and the next day you could be clinging to life. Life is so precious to me now. And, my new found relationship with God is something that I hold true inside my heart. I have never felt stronger in my life—I have never truly felt more beautiful inside and out, even with a bald head! I found strength in myself, my family, and all of those that prayed for me since the very beginning. I know that I wouldn’t be here without all the prayers and love! I have been given the gift of a second chance of life. I want to encourage you not to waste your first chance—live everyday like it might be your last. Be spontaneous and happy in the present. Yes, life is short and the world is tough sometimes, but with God and prayer we always become tougher!
***Abby's story behind her favorite scripture of Numbers 15:41***
"When I was airlifted to the hospital, the trauma doctors gave me the nickname, "Egypt" until they knew my name because, I did not have an ID with me at the scene of the accident. It is now my favorite scripture!"
"I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt to be your God. I am the LORD your God." (Numbers 15:41)