Saved From The Occult and The Courage to Speak About it – Fearless Friday by Lisa Hall-Wilson
I have one of those testimonies that some people have a hard time hearing. I was just a kid, a teenager, when I gave my whole life to Jesus. I was a spiritual orphan. My story of being saved from a waking nightmare in the Occult challenged people to acknowledge things Christians at the time had convinced themselves didn’t happen – or didn’t happen here.
I was accused of lying, of making things up – exaggerating at the least. A few people told me that what happened didn’t really happen but was instead a product of my poor choices – namely reading too many novels.
Every naysayer sent me into a spiral of doubt. Was I making this up? Was I exaggerating? Maybe God didn’t save me and I really was crazy? Sharing my testimony strapped me into a seat on the crazy train and it would take weeks to clear my head of the doubt and self-revulsion.
There’s a kick to the teeth.
Because of this, I created a “church version” of my testimony instead of telling the whole story. I was tired of the shame and rejection. Those early experiences taught me that the church was more interested in a happy facade than the truth. I learned that people wanted their safe, neat, and ordered understanding of God and you burst that bubble at your own peril. I didn’t see how I fit or belonged in the Church.
God loved me, I had no doubt of that. I knew what I had been saved from, but my experience of God’s saving grace was different, and different was bad. That’s what I thought.
Then I discovered two authors who changed everything. Frank Peretti and later Ted Dekker were writing about the sorts of things people told me never happened. When people started reading about these things, when books like Piercing the Darkness: A Novel (This Present Darkness) became popular, it was no longer taboo to talk about these things. Ted Dekker opened up his reader’s minds to the possibility that there’s so much more to a Christian life than what’s on the surface. He challenges the idea of outward facades vs inward truth in nearly every book.
Fast forward a few years and I’m much more secure in my identity in Christ, and the opinion of others has less power over my thoughts. I went for professional counselling with a Christian counsellor who not only believed my story, but promised I was not the only one seeking help for these experiences.
Things have changed in Evangelical circles. I have been asked to share my testimony once or twice in the last five years, and I share my whole testimony. Now people line up to tell me about their experiences with the supernatural and Occult. They tell me they thought they were completely alone, that no one would believe them. Instead of being swamped by fear and shame and rejection, God began using my story to redeem others.
I decided it was time to take back my story.
I don’t believe our testimonies are ours to keep hidden. We have each been saved from a particular set of circumstances and are uniquely qualified to speak truth to those coming from those circumstances. It was through fiction that I finally came to understand that God had a place for me in His kingdom right alongside those who had grown up in the Church.We have each been saved from a particular set of circumstances and are uniquely qualified to… Click To Tweet
Share your story, God told me.
I pulled out a story I’d tucked away in a drawer at least ten years ago. I’d written it as a more cathartic journey of a girl who was thrown onto the front lines of a spiritual war and had to learn on-the-fly how to fight and survive. Her survival meant I could get through this too.
That’s how story works. We see characters face unimaginable challenges, face monsters, and win. We see they are changed, they are sometimes broken and battered, but that journey also redeems them. Because truth wins. Because the battle is already won, yes?
I’ve rewritten that story. It’s more story than testimony now, and that’s a good thing, and I hope it helps people as Peretti’s and Dekker’s books helped me.
What fears have you faced head on? Have you been cornered by a monster only to find out the beast has no teeth?
Lisa Hall-Wilson is a freelance writer and has won national awards for her journalism. She writes a monthly column where she interviews celebrities and high profile people who are Christians such as Ted Dekker, Paul Brandt, High Valley, Dr. Gary Chapman, Ann Voskamp, Sarah Bessey, and others. In September 2016 she launched her debut novel The Watched.
The Watched is Edric’s story. Think Lord of the Rings meets This Present Darkness.
Edric is the best at what he does, but he’s tired of the soldier’s life. All he wants is to settle down and start a family with Aralyn, but there’s a war coming. A war that will destroy his people’s entire way of life. Aralyn’s family has the gift of prophecy, which could help them win the war, but her family has been hunted to near extinction.
Edric’s brought a sword made of steel and iron to a spiritual battle. Can he protect Aralyn when the enemy closes in?