It’s with great thankfulness and love that I write what many times before has been attempted regarding the work salvation and deliverance God has wrought in my life. I understand the burden of truth. I know among the body there are wolves. Those who seek to destroy His body and seek to blemish the testimony of Jesus Christ. It is not my intent to bring accusation against Him, or me, or anyone but to declare as I understand it now His good works demonstrated to me and my older brother. This is the first part of my story…
Come and see the works of God; He is awesome in His doing toward the sons of men. [ Psalm 66:5 ]
For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. [ Hebrews 4:12 ]
A Little History
I was born November 1, 1973 in the Tri-Cities of East Tennessee into a Southern Baptist family. My family, although most of my life I’ve viewed as different, in reality considered normal in today’s society. It was during this time, I recall my first encounter with the supernatural.
Sometime during second grade my father had just received custody of me and my brothers from the court and I was returned to my father’s house where I began attending small rural elementary second grade. It was in the fall, and I remember missing my friends from my other school deeply.
There was a fall festival with lots of games for parents and kids. During this fall festival there was a room for a mystic fortune teller. I entered the room now a darkened chamber. She invited me to sit in a chair in front of her. I was a bit scared and intrigued at the same time, and the lady began telling me things about my life. She told me that I liked a girl named Michelle who had blond hair.
I’d recently given her a token of my love and it was something that she coveted. I remember being astonished and stunned, and my heart raced as she began to flip over these large cards and say speak things to me that were to come. I was so amazed that she knew all of that stuff about me. I left the room excited and fearful, but soon forgot about it amongst all the other games that evening.
It wasn’t long until I found a book with a picture very similar to what I had seen in the fortune teller’s room. It was entitled, “Zork” and to my astonishment was a kind of book that you could choose your own outcomes and paths through the story as you read it. These books were made available to purchase through the book clubs and weekly readers the elementary school handed out to all the students. I began to read these books and I really liked the feeling of being able to choose my own path.
I can’t really tell you when or how long but some time between second grade and age twelve I began re-attending our small Baptist community church with my grandmother. I can still remember the feel of her hand on my back as I would lie my head upon her lap and listen to Reverend Tydings speak. He was speaking about God and reading from the Bible. It seemed like grown up stuff to me and I couldn’t really understand what he was saying, but I knew what he was saying had to be important because everyone was quiet and listening.
One day, near the end of his speaking, his words seemed to reach out and grab me on the inside. I didn’t know what he was talking about. I just knew what he was talking about, I needed it. He beckoned, pleaded for people to come forward and repent. Not many did. I was looking around and didn’t see anyone else. I noticed him looking over the congregation as if trying to find something he had lost. His eyes passed over me, stopped, and began to move again. I was pierced, shaking, and terrified. I didn’t go forward.
Several Sundays passed much like this one where the words of Reverend Tydings gripped my heart as hard as the grip I had on the pew I was sitting in. I walked out one Sunday, knowing I was supposed to go up front.
That evening to my surprise there was commotion in my house about something my sister had just done. Everyone seemed to be glad and cheerful. When I asked what happened she told me she was “saved.” I remember asking what that means, and she told me. I knew then that was what Reverend Tydings had been asking people to do at church. My vulnerability was revealed to me, and my emptiness yearned for this Jesus.
The details are so distant now that I can only remember my dad handing me the telephone after calling up the Reverend Tydings. I answered,
and I heard the all to familiar voice on the other end. This time there was joy in his voice. He asked me few questions and I remember agreeing with each. Then I repeated a prayer with him over the telephone, all the while tears flowed. I hung up the phone and my sister came and gave me a hug. I felt like a huge weight had been lifted off my skinny frame. A feeling I had never felt before on the inside. I was happy.
Years passed by and although I attended church often, participated in the youth group, and even evangelized with the church’s muppet and music group. I never read my bible for more than was required or asked during church, I never prayed. That feeling I had when I was twelve had long since dulled and the old vulnerable, empty, and hurt was again part of my life. The only thing I did consistently was to read the fantasy books I had developed a habit of reading. I’d often pass through book stores looking for the Tarzan books my brother David had often read. One day while doing so I came across a big white covered book with the title “Dragonlance.” The cover looked much like my brother’s books so I thought I’d give it a try and buy it.
I began reading this book as soon as I got home. I couldn’t put it down. I was drawn into this fantasy world and became acquainted with and identified with its characters, their unique strengths and weaknesses, their magic.
By my freshman year of high school, I had read volumes of the books. I consumed them almost every chance I got. It was during this time that I began failing in school, most likely due to all of my time reading these books rather than studying.
My father began putting pressure on me to bring my grades up and do well in school. Often arguments would erupt from letters from teachers or a grade report. I would go back to my books to escape the anger that would rise up inside me when this happened.
One night, something happened. I had a dream of the book I had been reading. I was reading it in my sleep. I remember waking the next day to begin reading that same book only to find in my amazement where I had bookmarked the day before; I had already read within my dream.
I skipped ahead and began reading again. One of the characters was a mage and I didn’t think much of it until now but I considered, “What if dragons and magic were real?” I remember thinking that it could be real and have vanished like the stories I had read about in the bible. It just wasn’t around today. Honestly, I had never really considered the stories of the bible as being ‘fact’ nor did at this age did it dawn on me that they were.
In the book store I would always pass by a section that had books on magical practices and spirituality, so I stopped and found a few and bought them. They seemed very different and I thought it was foolish that anyone would believe them. Yet, I thought to myself€¦ what if. It wasn’t long after reading through them that I found spells much like the ones I had read in my Dragonlance books.
Dreams continued to come to me, some were repetitive like the book ones, others full of lust, and then there were the dark ones. I had a re-occurring dream of me standing in my bedroom, over my body that was lying on the carpet in a massive pool of blood. I had slit my wrist and while I stood looking at my body, my family members would walk into my room as if viewing a body at a funeral. I could hear them say, I’m glad he’s gone”, I hated him”. I never told anyone about these dreams though they stuck with me while I was awake.
Then it happened, I had just received my mid-term grade report and it was littered with F’s and D’s. My dad was furious, and I was feeling hopeless. One Wednesday night, my brother David came into my room to find me reading one of my books.
“Want come to church with me tonight?”
I looked up to let him know that I couldn’t, even if I wanted to, I had to make myself study. He turned to go and out of desperation, I said,
“…Could you ask them to pray for me? Dad and I aren’t getting along.”
Then, unlike my brother, he stopped, turned and said,
“Well why don’t I pray with you now?”
I can’t describe the feeling that rose up in me, but it was a sickening feeling and I responded in disagreement. He asked why, and I told him how unworthy I felt to pray with him. He then left the room and returned a few moments later with his bible. He opened it and began reading from Luke 11:11.
All I can tell you next is what I can recall. When my brother spoke the scripture to me, I became almost dumbfounded. Like a sudden lethargy came upon me. Everything was in a haze like state. My brother’s voice became muffled, and I remember him looking at me and asking if I’m alright. I responded with, no.
Then he reached for me and all of the sudden my ears were filled with what sounded like a thousand voices screaming in my ears with pitches low to a shrieking high. I was flung backward on my bed and shaken violently by an unseen force. On my throat I could feel what seemed like a hand with sharp claws squeezing my throat. I found myself not in control of my body and what seemed like spasms went through my body. My brother had disappeared out of my vision.
I was crying and writhing on my bed and my brother appeared from my left, as he had been knocked to the ground. He came and draped himself over my body trying to hold me still. I could hear him saying, “Jesus” but I couldn’t respond. I remember my arms easily lifting him as to push him off of me and hear him say,
“In Jesus name.”
What seemed like hours and was probably more like a few minutes passed and I came back into control of my body, and I was fear stricken and crying. My brother was in the same state. What had just happened to me was unexplainable to both of us at this point. I lost track of the time but that feeling came over me again and the violent shaking started. This happened throughout that night.
My brother became my protector that night. As I lay upon my bed in my room, in the darkness beings began to materialize in front of me and spit and curse at me. The voices seemed all too familiar to me as they were the same voices I heard when I would dream. They were speaking hate and death to me.
I have to say there are exact details that are cloudy but because of this event, my brother intent on seeing this stop called an elder of a church he had visited recently. Ed Townshend explained briefly that it sounded like he was dealing with demons. A few days later my brother had arranged for me to meet with Ed Townshend at his home.
When I arrived, he and his wife welcomed us into their home. The seemed to glow with kindness and peace. After introductions and speaking about the past few days events, they explained to me out of the bible, what had happened to me, they explained salvation, showed me numerous examples of demonic attack, the Baptism in the Holy Spirit and how it empowers a believer to be ministers of the Gospel and how to combat the power of the Satan.
I wanted to be free from this. I began praying with them and while they were praying, that feeling came upon me again, out of my mouth came words that weren’t my own in hissing and spitting sounds and they began speaking verses from the bible.
Then the shaking began again, it was all suddenly, and my words now are not enough to explain it properly. When the shaking subsided and I was back in control, they asked me to pray after them a prayer of repentance and denouncement of the things I had been involved in. I did pray with them; they then laid their hands on me, and a flood of peace invaded me. I was filled with the Holy Spirit; I began to speak in a language which I couldn’t understand.