I grew up in a “Christian” home. On Sundays, I would go to church and most of the time see it as an obligation. I tried my best to go with the flow even though deep inside I was ashamed of raising or clapping my hands to God during praise and worship. I was looking around, hoping that no one would raise their hands so I wouldn’t have to be pressured to raise mine. It was hard on my part to worship God because I was preoccupied with other things like my brokenness, personal struggles, and to-do lists. Occasionally, I thought it was better for me to pursue other things rather than waste my time going to church. After years and years of going to church, nothing about my life had changed. I would go to church in hopes that God would heal every aspect of my life. That maybe, I would finally come across a great preacher whose sermon would convince me that God was able to heal my brokenness. In hopes that I’d miraculously come out of church as a healed and new creation, that I would finally experience His joy and peace regardless of my situation.
Problem was, every time I left church I was still the same broken, hurting person. I was becoming more and more frustrated on what I should do for God to notice me and turn my life around. I spent a lot of time reading spiritual books, watching testimonies, hearing personal accounts, reading and journaling the Bible. My heart was moved and I cried my eyes out but still nothing about me had changed. I only had “head knowledge” of the Bible. I never truly understood what I read. I was hoping that God would transform my life just like He did with the lives of others who shared their testimonies. I struggled because at the time I did not experience the life-changing love, grace, and mercy of God. Little did I know, I still hadn’t accepted Jesus as my personal Lord and Savior. I was stuck in a broken religious system and so my view of God and His Word was distorted.
I came to the point of thinking I had to prove myself worthy to God in order for Him to notice me and rescue me from my own brokenness. I thought I had to work hard in order to experience God’s goodness and mercy. I thought for example that reading the Bible more, completing my church attendance, giving to the poor and singing heart-felt worship songs would convince God that I was a true believer. Of course, there’s nothing wrong about doing these things to honor God. It’s just that I didn’t understand what it meant to be saved by grace through faith. I even helped a beggar several times in order to show my good works to the people surrounding us. I also shared my faith at that time and it helped nobody. I was able to utter empty words only as I did not experience the true God personally in my life.
It was hard on my part because I grew up without an earthly father. My father’s abandonment created a huge void in my heart. When I was around four years old, he was fetching I and my brother to spend quality time. One day, he never came back and so we lost communication. Growing up, that affected my self-esteem. I thought I was not enough and would never amount to anything. I failed to see my own worth and convinced myself that I was unworthy because even my own father did not see my value. That we were not enough so he chose another family over us. That was the very reason why I thought I was not enough, that I had to perform and do something for God to love me back. Even after I accepted Jesus as Lord and savior I still struggled. I thought I had to please God every time and that the moment I sinned or failed Him He would leave me just like my earthly father did.
I also experienced having a stepfather but I realized over time that he did not love me as his own. I realized that when I and my brother got stranded in a supermarket . It was raining hard and a flood was building up, he didn’t bother to come after us. My mother had to send someone to get us while my stepfather stayed cozy at the place from which he was waiting for us to come back. When my stepsister was born, my stepfather poured all of his love, affection, and attention to my baby sister and forgot about me and my brother. I realized he never treated us the same way. He was only getting along with us and he didn’t really care. When I was six years old, he died and my mother mourned for a period of time. Nobody explained to me or comforted me about what had just happened. For the second time, I lost another father figure but over time I got over that.
I remember envying most father-daughter relationships I’d seen at church and in other places. Every Father’s Day celebration, every family school program reminded me that I didn’t have a dad. I was angry at God and gave up on pursuing Him. I was tired of searching for a fatherly figure. I was tired of going after an invisible, distant God while at the same time having an absent earthly father. I thought I was never going to have a relationship with God the same way I didn’t have a relationship with my father.
Over time as a child, I learned that a few days before I was born my older sister died of cancer. This affected me my whole life because every time I was about to celebrate my birthday, I would see that my mother was trying to hide her grief and act to be fine. It was devastating to learn that because I almost had an older female sibling. Someone that could have taken care of me and that I could relate to. As a child, I searched for that kind of relationship. I became attached to every house helper or babysitter who stayed with us. Over time, a problem would manifest and they would have to leave our home. As a child, in my mind, it was as if I was being abandoned again and again. I had that firm belief that no person was meant to stay in my life.
I also had a repressed memory which happened when I was around three years old. A person made up a story that I was molested and she was suspecting that two other persons were involved. To settle the issue, we went to court. The judge dismissed the case because there was no evidence found. When I was asked by the judge, I couldn’t pinpoint who molested me. In fact, no one really did; it was all made up by someone. Even a medical examination failed to prove I was molested. I was too young to process what had just happened. For many other reasons, family chaos worsened and so we had to leave my grandparents and find another home. As a child, I witnessed a lot of disagreements. We hid in a rest-house because some authority wanted to get me and my brother and have us returned to our grandparents. They did not succeed. They quarreled a lot so I was not able to see my grandparents and relatives for years.
Due to all of these incidents, I had lots of repressed negative thoughts and emotions. After my stepfather died, my mom had to raise the four of us all by herself. She had to work harder and be away so our quality time with her lessened. I was alone to cope with all I was feeling as a kid. I had to cope with the pain and confusion because I thought no one was there for me. I did not feel like telling anybody because I also did not understand what I was feeling. I’m not blaming my mother for any shortcomings. It’s just that the circumstances were not so good at the time. I felt lonely and afraid all the time so I started distancing myself from others. I was on survival mode because despite what I was going through as a kid I knew I had to go to school. I was introverted and was able to have some friends. I did not want to bond with my family, to invest in friendships or any relationship for that matter because I knew that people were supposed to come and go out of my life. I was unapproachable and there was a sense of heaviness and gloom about my presence. I felt disconnected to others so I naturally pushed them away. I couldn’t relate with my younger siblings because they were too rowdy for me and my older brother appeared to mind his own business.
I was bossed around at home and was constantly annoyed . During high school, I decided to study far from home for an escape. Around 13 years old, I started having hormonal imbalance. I suffered from painful acne and excessive oiliness on my face and other parts of my body. My face was bloated. I had bouts of anxiety and depression for years. I strived to go to school despite my condition. I had headaches, body pain, muscle tension and irregular eating and sleeping patterns. My mental health and my relationship with family and friends declined. I was bullied at times and was super self-conscious because of acne. For years, I was stressed about finding a solution. I became obsessed on finding the right skincare and medication out of desperation. I went to a holistic center and I endured painful derma visits but I was not healed. That went on for six years.
No one knew that I was going through a hard time because I remained too passive on the outside. I remained neutral to others, disregarded lots of people and acted as if I didn’t care about them. I secretly hated people and cursed them in my mind all the while having a neutral expression.
Then I would get aggressive to those closest to me, my family. I would quarrel with them, pinpoint what was wrong with them and criticize their every move because I did not know what exactly was wrong with me. I was bitter all the time, projecting my negative emotions to them.
I did not invest in or value any relationship. I took for granted family and friends. I occasionally experienced physical assaults and humiliating words. I was coping for a long time to the point of becoming numb. Deep bitterness, resentment, unforgiveness, and pain remained. I was stuck in solitude because I knew people were not to be trusted and depended on.
I prayed to God over and over again to be healed physically, emotionally, mentally, socially, and spiritually. Still, nothing happened. I was mad but I continued praying for God to heal my hormonal imbalance and bouts of anxiety and depression. I asked Him to give me a long break for me to process all I was going through. For someone to arrive and love me unconditionally. Still, nothing happened.
I became agnostic for a long time despite going to church. I would indulge in full-blown sexual fantasies. I watched porn a couple of times. I would watch movies and read books heavy with gore and sexual content. Others would comment on how innocent I appear and present myself. I looked decent and gave a quiet impression. Little did they know there was so much hate and filth in my mind, heart, and soul. I was trapped in a counterfeit faith. I was into new-age beliefs and tarot cards. I secretly mastered the meaning behind every card. I would perform a sort of ritual to get to know myself—past, present and future. I was hooked because the cards accurately described what was going on in me and around me. I was given a false sense of hope as I believed in “The Law of Attraction.” Proponents of this “law” claim that simply changing one’s thoughts and feelings can attract desirable outcomes such as health, wealth, and happiness. I was brainwashed from all the new-age books and videos I learned about. I’ve learned that the devil mimics the light—Jesus Christ—and everything I was into was demonic.
And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light.2 Corinthians 11:14
There shall not be found among you anyone who burns his son or his daughter as an offering, anyone who practices divination or tells fortunes or interprets omens, or a sorcerer or a charmer or a medium or a necromancer or one who inquires of the dead, for whoever does these things is an abomination to the LORD. And because of these abominations the LORD your God is driving them out before you.Deuteronomy 18: 10-12
It haunts me today that I was unaware of having invited evil spirits. As a child, I’ve always been fascinated by things mystical like witchcraft, the occult, and spirits. I loved watching horror movies and reading ghost stories. I used to listen to secular music all day long. I was fascinated with astrology, horoscopes and feng shui.
One time, when I was 7 years old I saw a spirit in an outline of a man. It walked across me in broad daylight and disappeared into the dark kitchen. At eight years old, I had my palm read by a fortune-teller. Another family member had her future read. I accompanied a family member twice to an occult. I can’t explain it in detail but there were strange objects and strange interpretations of whatever they were doing. At one time, the lady asked me to go in front. She said that I’ve hidden my sister’s toy. I was ashamed of getting exposed and amazed as well because I did not tell anyone about that secret. A family member also consulted a medium. That person claimed to be in contact with the spirit of my stepfather who passed away.
In a book called Unmasking the Devil, I learned from an ex-Satanist turned Christian that the demon familiar with my stepfather’s ways only mimicked him. After all, dead people can’t come back. Satan roams the earth seeking to steal, kill, and destroy believers and non-believers alike.
Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.1 Peter 5:8
For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.Ephesians 6:12
I’ve learned that experimenting with mediums, psychics, fortunetellers, tarot card readings, séances, horoscopes, paranormal phenomena, talking to the dead, seeking after ghosts, playing with Ouija boards, watching horror movies or television shows, listening to music with lyrics of profanity, murder, suicide, etc. and pornography prop the door wide open to the enemy’s activity.
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.John 10:10
I was always waiting for the right situation to happen or the right people to come in my life to be happy. That never happened so I was always miserable. I thought I was unhappy because of my circumstances but my misery was actually because of what was going on inside me—my heart.
For out of the heart come evil thoughts—murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander.Matthew 15:19
I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.Ezekiel 36:26
The greatest lie of Satan is to make us believe that he does not exist. He is the father of lies. He distorts our view of God and His words, he blinds the eyes of unbelievers and accuses believers.
You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. 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.John 8:44
Then I heard a loud voice in heaven say: “Now have come the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God, and the authority of his Messiah. For the accuser of our brothers and sisters, who accuses them before our God day and night, has been hurled down.Revelation 12:10
I learned that God has an original plan and purpose for my life yet at the same time Satan seeks to kill, steal, and destroy my life and identity in Christ. The enemy wanted to keep me away from the cross, redemption, and salvation at all costs.
Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.Jeremiah 1:5
I realized how much I rebelled from God . I got rid of my new age books and tarot cards. The next day, I repented of all known or unknown sins. I’ve cast out evil spirits working inside me and around me in Jesus’ name. After some time, when I was praying again, tears were gushing from my eyes. I felt how much Jesus loves me. I felt so light as if something heavy was released from me. For the first time in my life, I felt unexplainable love, joy, and peace.
He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.Psalm 147:3
Later on, the dogs in the neighborhood started barking persistently, all at the same time. My mother who was beside me started snoring in a horrifying sound. I started shaking. I called on the name of Jesus and it all stopped afterwards . The night became peaceful again. From then on, I accepted Jesus as my personal Lord and Savior.
God finally answered my prayers. The right medication healed my hormonal imbalance, this quarantine gave me lots of time to reflect and restore my relationship with family. Anxiety and depression went away. He opened my eyes and for the first time I could understand the bible. The one I was praying to, to come into my life and love me unconditionally is none other than Jesus, my Lord and savior .
No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,[a] neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.Romans 8:37-39