Escaping Superstition 1

As a teenager, Andrea’s heart was filled with hate and she was blinded by anger. She slipped into the spidery web of occult-induced fear, superstition and darkness. Her story is an amazing one of discovering truth, grace, and forgiveness.

Pain, insecurity and abuse

The first twelve years of my life were filled with a lot of pain. My parents had an on-again, off-again relationship, sometimes spending months apart, and then getting back together. When they were together, my father was physically and emotionally abusive to my mother, my brother and myself. Mother was not very strong emotionally and suffered from a mental illness, and because of this, I felt she was never there for me. To add to the instability in my life, a son of some friends of the family sexually abused me. This started when I was eight years old and continued until I was about twelve. To add to my insecurities, I started at a high school where I didn’t know anyone. I was teased and picked on a lot by the other kids and this only made matters worse.

Blinded by anger and filled with hate

I started learning about the occult when I was 12 years old. I became very angry with my parents – the world – and especially God. I used to watch a lot of horror movies and read books about ghosts and spirits. It terrified me but fascinated me at the same time. The time came when I decided to look into witchcraft and Satanism. I believe my anger toward God was my motivation for doing so. I felt that it was His fault my life was so horrible, and by doing the opposite of what He stood for, I would be better off. I was so deceived, and so blinded by my anger and hate. I was probably fortunate the internet didn’t exist because the demonic information I had access to was limited to a few old books from the library. I think it is far more dangerous these days for a child to search out the occult because the internet has so much information I never had access to.

Opening a door that was difficult to shut

“Be self controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8). The books I read taught how to call on spirits by their name and offer yourself to them in exchange for power. (Because of my ignorance, I didn’t realize these spirits were demons.) I did as they said and, sure enough, it was not long before I started having weird, supernatural events occurring. These would happen at night time and would terrify me. I would feel the presence of entities in my bedroom, and they would torment me. Because of these experiences, I eventually decided not to play with the occult anymore. God gave me enough grace to realize I was delving into something I really did not understand, and it was better to turn back to God. What I didn’t realize was a door had been opened in my life to the demonic, spiritual realm — in my mind — and a willingness to close that door was not the same thing as running away from it.

Nightmares and suicidal thoughts

My coming back to God was blurred as well. I did not really understand the truths of sin and repentance. I was raised Catholic, and the necessary spiritual rebirth that Jesus speaks of in John chapter three (in the Bible) had never been taught me. Instead, I believed God was always taking care of me and life would go on as normal. I was no longer reading about witchcraft or practicing demonology so I thought everything was okay. Was I ever wrong! A few months after I had stopped practicing these things I started having suicidal thoughts. I also had recurring nightmares that made me terrified so much I couldn’t sleep.

Using lies, confusion and despair against me

My parents were too busy in their destructive relationship to notice what was going on with me. It came as a total shock to them one night when I overdosed on my mother’s sleeping pills. I was twelve years old. Since becoming a Christian I have learnt that the devil is set on trying to destroy humans, especially those who have any tenderness towards God. I believe he does this because he is jealous of the love God has for us. His main weapon or strategy is deception. He fills the world with lies in order to entrap us. He sets up cheap imitations of what God offers us in order to entice us into his world. As an angry and neglected twelve year old, I felt powerless about all the things that had happened to me, and so the devil was able to see my rebellion and vindictive attitude and deceive me into believing I could obtain power if I made alliances with his demons. The reality was that those powers entered my life and they started using their lies against me. Lies like, ‘I would be better off dead’ and ‘my parents didn’t love me’. They also used their weapons of confusion and despair.

A family history of superstition and fear

“For I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments” (Exodus 20:4-6). If I had turned to God instead of Satan when I was twelve, I would have had God’s power to protect me and offer me hope in my childhood. I would have been comforted by the love of God rather than destroyed by the hatred of the devil. Digressing some; the hold of the occult over my family began long before I was twelve. We come from Uruguay, South America — a country that officially has Catholicism as its religion but where the practice of black magic and belief in the spirit realm is common. It was not unusual in my family to believe in superstition alongside with God, or to seek healing from sources other than Jesus Christ.

My maternal grandmother in particular was constantly looking to psychics and spiritual healers instead of Jesus for reassurance. This may seem weird to westerners but is very common in many third world countries. Similar things occur in western countries where people put their faith in things other than Jesus. Such things as money, what their astrological stars tell them, ‘luck’, their good deeds, their membership of a church or what their freemasonry lodge tells them. People in these countries are very superstitious and fearful. I remember being told that if I read the Bible too much I would go crazy. This sort of thinking encourages further ignorance and takes people away from the potential they have in God through a relationship with Jesus Christ. Thus my grandmother, in her desperation to find hope, looked to the wrong sources. The consequence of those actions meant the seed of the occult had been planted in my family, ready for the devil to harvest. My grandmother has suffered for her actions. She has experienced severe mental illness throughout her life.

Being vulnerable

As I have already mentioned, the devil uses confusion and despair against us, and this is exactly what one suffers during mental illness. I believe that by opening herself up to forces outside of God she has suffered from demonic attack leading to mental illness and, although blinded to it, she has brought a curse not only upon herself, but also to her offspring. There are consequences for our actions. I saw this in my family with my mother suffering from mental illness as well. Because of her illness, there was a block in her relationship with me. My father was violent and had addiction issues that were passed onto me, and I had vulnerability to addictions and abusive relationships.

The link between mental illness and the occult

The word ‘occult’ refers to spiritual practices, which the bible forbids. These practices open us up to the demonic world. They include anything that involves contacting the dead, casting spells, practicing witchcraft or sorcery, contacting a medium (Deuteronomy 18:11, Galatians 5:20) or putting your faith in astrology (Isaiah 47:13). In my experience, involvement in these occultic practices can often result in mental illness.

Teenage years – a cold and angry heart

By the time I was fourteen I was experimenting with alcohol and other drugs, and sex. I continued to have recurring nightmares to the point that I tried to avoid sleeping. I also had started self-mutilation as a way of coping with all the negative emotions I felt inside. During that time, my parents had split up again. I started living with my mother and brother. My mother had a severe nervous breakdown and my brother and I ended up homeless. I went to live with my boyfriend’s family and my brother went to live with my father. Inside me was a very angry and cold heart. I felt no sympathy for my mother, just hatred. I felt abandoned by everyone. I didn’t have a grain of faith in me at this stage as far as I could remember. I stopped believing in God or anything good. I didn’t believe in the devil either but that didn’t stop him from still having a grip on my life.

Jim Morrison and the Doors

It’s only since I’ve become a Christian that God has shown me how much music impacted me when I was a teenager. I used to listen to a lot of sixties and seventies music. The band ‘The Doors’ with lead singer Jim Morrison was my favorite. Jim Morrison died young of a drug overdose. To this day people who knew me from High School call me ‘Jim Morrison’ even though I’m a girl! I would go to sleep listening to the ‘The Doors’ and let it play. I believe that the music of ‘the Doors’ fueled my fascination with drugs, the occult and my rebellion. It’s only now that I can see that Jim Morrison was a very destructive role model for me.

The danger of the Ouija board

At age sixteen my friends and I began playing with Ouija boards. We contacted the supposed spirits of the dead (again, demons – without our realizing). This seemed like a fun thing to do but it wasn’t long after this that I started waking up feeling like someone was choking me. There would be a female presence in my bedroom at these times. Whether this was a nightmare or for real I was never sure but for years I would wake up terrified … either because I was being choked, or because of the female entity hovering over me. Eventually I came to realize this had been brought on by my playing with the Ouija board, and so I stopped playing with it.

Chaos, depression, suicidal thoughts and often homeless

Over the next few years I was often homeless, sleeping on the lounge room floor at a friend’s home. I was full of despair inside. During that time I managed to push my way through my final year of high school. There was a lot of chaos in my life. Most days I had to search for a reason to live. Depression, anxiety, and suicidal thoughts were part of my everyday life. The nights were the worst. My mind would be full of tormenting, negative thoughts. I felt extreme loneliness, being totally on my own. My family had been torn apart, and my friends, though there for me in their own way, could never fully understand what was going on inside me.

People not comprehending the darkness within

Other people saw the outside of my life; that I was a good student and very intelligent and talented in different areas. Yet because of this, they could not comprehend the conflict inside me. They believed I had everything to succeed in life and as such had nothing to get depressed about. Yet when you are so full of despair, confusion, anger, self-pity and self-hatred, when you have a demon sitting on your shoulder telling you how worthless you are, and you’re thinking that the only way to escape your pain is through death … it doesn’t matter how talented you are. It is next to impossible to see beyond your inner turmoil.

Faith and its results

At age 19, I began attending a university. I was addicted to a variety of drugs and living a very promiscuous lifestyle. My behavior was erratic and eventually I had a nervous breakdown. I was diagnosed as having a bipolar disorder and spent nearly a month in the psychiatric ward. During my time of psychosis I had an experience with Jesus. He showed me that the things I had put my faith in; the drugs, the occult, the relationships with men, had only produced disastrous results. Jesus asked me: “Why put your faith in all these things when you can put your faith in Me?” This experience stayed with me and as soon as I was able to leave the psychiatric ward I started to read the Bible. The more I read, the more I was amazed. I had so much respect and admiration for Jesus. I could relate to all the things I was reading, but I was still not healed spiritually or emotionally.

Trying to keep my life on track

I was still very vulnerable and it was not long before the drugs, promiscuity and mental illness came back into my life full swing. I had certain rules I placed on myself in order to keep my addiction to drugs in line. These rules kept me within a certain limit. Things like making sure I never had direct access to a drug dealer which somewhat limited my access to drugs and never borrowing money to buy drugs.

My lowest point

One night, things got totally out of control. I had people I didn’t even know coming over to shoot up drugs in my home. I had been selling my possessions in order to get more drugs. Then I broke one of my rules. I rang my mother and lied to her about needing money for something, when really I wanted money to get another fix. That was my lowest point. I was so full of shame and self-hatred that I could no longer look at myself in the mirror. I counted out all my pills (medication for my bi-polar condition), and wrote a suicide note. I was ready to die when the phone rang. It was God! God was on the phone in the form of my friend, Matthew, who had recently become a Christian. He said he felt it heavy on his heart to call me even though it was quite late at night. He asked me if I was all right and when I explained to him what I was about to do, he praised God that he had called me.

God intervening

Just then there was a knock on my door. It was the guy I used drugs with plus an ex-boyfriend of mine who had been particularly abusive. They wanted to score some more drugs. I stood in my lounge room with a very keen awareness of what was going on. I sensed I had a vital choice to make right there and then and that there were two options for me:

Option 1: Destruction and death
1a. Immediate: In my bedroom there were the pills and suicide note.
1b. Slowly: At the door there was the devil and drug addiction, plus abusive relationships and chaos.

Option 2: Rescue and life
On the phone there was God, who loved me so much that even when I was about to kill myself He managed to send someone to stop me.

Which way was I going to go?  I chose God!

Go to part 2 of Andrea’s life story

Read Andrea’s article entitled “Free From Self Harm”

Christian Counterstrike Series by Andrea

Reincarnation, neo-paganism, understanding spiritual warfare, freedom from the occult, New Age teachings, drugs and mental illness

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