I was a very different child. I lived in a different world. I had a massive imagination, could quickly shift moods and often spent hours alone observing the world or just chatting to myself. I was also incredibly sensitive and emotional. I struggled to understand why I didn’t really fit in. Now as an adult I have a lot of love and empathy for the little girl that I was. What a complicated world she grew up in and how clever and odd were her coping mechanism.
I was a Pastors daughter in a big family. My Dad, an indigenous New Zealander, had (and still does) a love for the indigenous people or anyone struggling with addiction, mental health or poverty etc. Both of my parents believed that this was their Kingdom call and, as according to the doctrine prevalent in the church at the time, they believed that the children were called to that as well. It was very strongly taught in the church that if you pursue the Kingdom, God will take care of your family. It wasn’t that my parents didn’t love us, it was just that the Kingdom call came first. This meant that I grew up seeing things that most of society choose not to see. I have no regrets for their heart, however, there was very little protection in place for us young children. As a result I grew up in hiding and someone else (an alternate personality (alter)) often would take my place to protect me. It was later discovered that the first alter appeared when I was about 10 months old. Her role was to protect me from the religious church. By the time I was a teenager I had many, in fact three of those were just for high-school. Every alter had different protective roles. With those roles came different coping mechanisms and rules. Many of those rules were unspoken, designed for protection and not necessarily helpful. Believe it or not I never actually knew that I had these alters. I had voices in my head, but that was normal, they were always there. There were many unexplainable events and moments that I guess I chose to deny and pretend that everything was fine. All of these coping mechanisms and systems started to fail the older I became. The silent stress I was under was huge. It was not uncommon for me to have demons visit me at night and torture me. As a teen I struggled silently with depression and suicidal thoughts. By age 30 I completely stopped functioning. Desperate for help, I sought counselling.
One day, while sitting in counseling seeking Jesus and telling him my pain, he revealed in my minds-eye what he could see. To my alarm God revealed my first alter: a little girl in a pretty dress with poke-dots on it. Attached to her was the first of many horrible demons sitting in her pain, feeding her lies and hurting her more. I had no personal reference to explain what I saw, so I discussed this with my counselor. She was very calm and didn’t think I had landed in the strange box. It was at this point my whole life took a sharp turn for ‘interesting’ and in the long run so much better. She explained that she thought that little girl was me and that I had split off for protection and that I also was seeing a demon, however, she was strong on keeping my focus on Jesus. That when I saw a demon, that Jesus would also be there, and she encouraged me to always look for him. She taught me how to use my spiritual senses (such as hearing, touch, sight etc) to find Jesus. She encouraged me to challenge what I heard and saw, to ensure it matched the heart and character of God. In the beginning, with so much hidden hurt and a distorted perspective of God, this was hard. But as I dealt with the pain and lies, I discovered more of God’s beautiful character and discernment became easier.
I was brought up with the thinking that if you were a Christian, a child of God, doing the will of God, standing in the authority of Jesus, that the enemy couldn’t harm you. That I shouldn’t focus on the enemy, but seek first the Kingdom of God. Some of this thinking I still believe in today. However, I lived by religious rules in order to access God. I had no concept of how to have relationship with God without the rules. I knew the teaching of God’s love, compassion, mercy and grace, but never had personally experienced it. I knew about God and loved him, but was bound to religion and enemy strongholds.
My parents teaching regarding the enemy I believe was in response to the Spiritual Warfare teaching that was prevalent at the time and still is in some Pentecostal churches today. The Spiritual Warfare that involved having categories or names for certain types of enemy spirits. Under each category is a list of symptoms or behaviours that demonstrate the existence of those enemy spirits in yourself, others and/or the atmosphere. In this doctrine there is a huge focus on the enemy, looking at the symptoms, naming the spirit and then going through a process to deal with the spirit. This warfare method came from teachings of prominent ministers within the church and was formed from studying enemy character/behaviour in the bible. I think in some ways they had a measure of success, hence why it was so heavily taught. However, after my journey with having to deal with the demonic in my life through God relationship/revelation and listening to the pain of others harmed by this type of Spiritual Warfare teaching, I am wary of this teaching.
In my life I have seen more demons then I care to admit. In some sessions I would sit there terrified of the demon that had come to make itself known to me. God would reveal to me the pain or the lies that had opened the door. Then he would reveal his healing love and give me the ability to arise. I never went looking for demons, however unfortunately in my pursuit of healing and as someone who could see very clearly in the spiritual realm, they just came with the territory. Demons hide in darkness. Darkness like pain, lies (about God, ourselves and others), binding rules, secrets, fear, shame, no protection, abandonment, unforgiveness, generational stuff etc. I don’t remember a moment I invited them in, the enemy is just opportunist and will use anything to bring harm to us. I have no good thing to say about him. To face a big adversary like the enemy that really has no love in him is enlightening. Truly without Jesus, there is no way I could have faced this adversary alone. I would watch huge scary demons in the presence of Jesus become whimpering fools. I would hear Jesus tell me exactly what to do or say and it would have a powerful impact on the enemy. I watched how binding the enemy prevented the enemy having affect and made way for God’s healing love to penetrate. Many of these demons that had tormented me my whole life were terrified in the presence of Jesus and they had no choice but to respond in obedience to his words.
Sometimes I ponder what it was that was so special about those three years of my life? I mean they were tremendously painful, but also deeply healing. Was it the method or a system? Was it my counselors education? With all respect to my counselor I truly don’t believe that it was her method or system that set me free. While yes her skills, education and experience did contribute, I believe strongly that it was her ‘God-birthed’ heart and wisdom that had the most impact. There were some sessions where my counselor simply welcomed me then God took over while she sat praying and patiently listening with compassion. Counseling itself taught me how to find, discern, walk with and partner with God in life matters. I discovered the importance of vulnerability with trusted people and God. However, I strongly believe that what set me free was the revelation of God. When we are in the tangible presence of God, or at the sound of his spoken or written living word, it is impossible to stay the same.
Those three years were years of deep introspection. I had no choice, but to stop. It was quite overwhelming, facing just over 30 years of hidden pain, lies and faulty systems. On top of that I had to discover how God fights the enemy and learn that as a child of God I could partner with him in that fight. These days I live by the thinking of Ps 139:23-24 “Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting!”. I believe in being accountable to God and trusted people. I do not want to keep my heart away from God and be faced with the same predicament as before. My goal is to not let anything block my ability to discern and see what God sees? To not let my thinking, the thinking of others, or even the spiritual atmosphere be my ultimate guide. God sees everything; even darkness is light to God (Ps 139:12). I want to be effective in my pursuit of all that God has for me. If I want to see and know what he sees and knows, then I need to partner with him and make sure that nothing gets in the way of our relationship.
Related Posts of interest: