Growing up, my home was a very toxic place to live. My parents were abusive toward each other and also toward me and my brothers and sisters. I remember going to church a lot—it seemed like we went every day for hours at a time. But yet I remember going home after church and being whipped with an extension cord and the metal part of belts and hangers and feeling unloved, feeling unimportant, and thinking that I didn’t want anything to do with church if this is how people treated the ones they’re supposed to love when they returned home.

My parents were constantly splitting up and getting back together. My dad stumbled back into a drug addiction and would beat up my mom so terribly that her face would be unrecognizable to us. Life was hard as a child growing up with so many siblings and so much turmoil. We were a poor family, and when my dad would leave we had even less income. I remember many nights going without dinner and being so hungry that we would climb over the neighbor’s fence to pick their oranges just to have something to eat.

My father was out of the house most of that time, so my mother was struggling as a single mom with seven children and having to do everything on her own—many times without money or a car. My mind started going into very dark places thinking about ending it all. Around the age of 13, one day after being bullied all day at school, I came home to find my mom very angry and she whipped me for something as silly as not cleaning the kitchen right. So after the beating, I went to my room, closed the door, found a pair of scissors and stared at the scissors for quite a long time. I heard in my spirit, “Cut your wrists. End it all. It’s better for everyone if you just go away.” And then without hesitation I sliced at my wrist with the scissors until blood began to drip out and in some twisted way I felt at the time that what I did made living better.

Dark Addictions

That day, that act began my addiction of cutting my wrist. When cutting myself, I felt compelled, almost lured, into a darker heaviness that was always over me. And the pain that I would feel was nothing compared to what I was going through emotionally. I began to cut all the time and at one point I had 56 slices on my arm from where I had used razors and scissors to cut myself. My arm was raw and I would have to wear long-sleeved shirts every day—even in the middle of summer in Florida. Every time I would encounter some form of emotional stress, I immediately wanted to relieve it by cutting—and so I did.

There came a point when I realized I needed to stop, but the demonic influence had now such a tight grip on my heart I couldn’t stop. I was trapped in a body that I couldn’t control anymore. That demonic realm that I opened went deeper when I was introduced to a movie titled The Craft, which was about four teenage girls who were witches and had incredible power and control to change things around them. Me and my three friends watched the movie quite often and we wanted to imitate what we saw, so I was introduced to witchcraft as a young girl and that opened doors that nobody should ever open. For me at the time, the draw to both cutting and witchcraft was so I could control at least a few areas of my life—because in so many other areas, my family, my home life, at school—I felt out of control and helpless to do anything for myself, my siblings, my mother and father.

In high school I began skipping school and experimenting with pot, marijuana. Music was very influential at that time in my life. I listened a lot to music that talked about drugs and getting high and committing suicide. I listened to Kurt Cobain, Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, and Marilyn Manson. The music began to have such a heavy influence on me that I had a deep desire to use drugs and to get high and to cut continuously—trying to find love any way I could. In my senior year, I reached out to another student who showed me attention; she was openly gay and seemed confident in who she was. I wanted to be like that. I wanted to be confident and secure in myself.

I began to have feelings for this friend and convinced myself over time that I was just like her. I eventually “came out” as gay and didn’t want anything to do with men at all. After all the abuse I had seen and how badly I was made fun of by the boys in school, I thought this would be a better life for me. I would just find a woman who would love me for who I was.

I found that this friend was easy to talk to that she would listen to me. She would compliment me and tell me that I was pretty. I had not heard that from anyone in my family or anybody I knew up to that point. I hid this relationship with her because I knew that if my family found out, they would consider me to be an embarrassment—it would be a very shameful thing in their minds.

Destructive Lifestyles

The group of friends I was hanging out with accepted the gay lifestyle. Still during my senior year, I began sneaking out of my house at night and stealing my mom’s car to go to college parties and adult parties where they were taking the drug ecstasy, drinking alcohol, and smoking pot. I would dress up in revealing clothes and go to the parties. I’d accept drugs and participate in all kinds of activities that I knew deep down that shouldn’t have been doing—just to be accepted. My life seemed to be speeding around on a race track trying to be accepted, trying to win approval.

I was trying to deal with heavy rejection and abandonment issues. I had no self-worth, no identity, no idea of the purpose and plan of God for my life at this point, so I didn’t care if I was to live or if I was to die at one of those parties. I just wanted to forget everything at home, to forget everything that I wasn’t. To forget that it wasn’t pretty enough or smart enough according to other people. I wanted all of that to go away. So, I began to drown those thoughts and emotions and feelings in alcohol, ecstasy, and marijuana. I changed my appearance too. I cut my hair so short, like a boy, and I dressed differently. My mom noticed the changes in me and would come into my room and yell at me, telling the demons to come out of me—and then she punished me.

My grades were slipping, but I didn’t care anymore if I was to graduate or not. All I cared about was getting high and hanging out with my friends. I remember getting into an argument with my mom over something that I said, and she hit me in the face and my lip began to bleed. I had enough.

I had dropped out of high school and had no place to go. I asked all the friends I was partying with if I could stay with them, and I asked the girl who was at this point my girlfriend, and none would let me stay with them. So I found myself alone, hopeless, and homeless with only a back pack of clothes and the guitar that my father had bought for me years before. I walked the streets until I got so tired I would sleep on the streets at 17 years of age.

I would slip under the fence at the local opera house in our downtown area and sleep between two big pillars to try and keep myself safe from other people who lived on the streets and hidden from cops finding me and taking me to a shelter or a teen home.

Torment

Then I began to use people to get what I wanted—and at the same time I began to study wicca. I read as many books as I could on wicca and witchcraft. I went to stores that sold stones and spell books and charms and I became a practicing witch.

I later started dating a young man and I had a female roommate who was a witch. Her whole family line of women were witches, and she began to introduce me to another realm of it. We used acid (LSD) and various hallucinogenic drugs to open ourselves more to the spirit world. I would see things move in the house that we lived in and saw images of dark spirits moving around the house, hiding behind doors and such. I lived in fear so much that we believed the house was actually haunted. So, we would perform rituals and incantations and even planted specific flowers to rid the house of the evil that we both knew was there.

Evil Spirits

One evening in the hallway, my roommate and I were discussing about seeing a spirit in the house. All of a sudden, the ceiling light above us burst apart with a loud sound and the house went black. Glass shattered all over us and we dropped to the floor trembling and crying in terror. We could literally feel a dark presence all around us.

Other times I would hear a very clear knocking on my bedroom walls when trying to sleep. Fear tormented me severely. Then I began to remember my childhood and the encounters I had with the Lord, and I knew that if I didn’t stop practicing witchcraft, I would most likely never come out of it. So I made a decision to not do any more spells out of fear.

Nevertheless, darkness began to cover and control me, and it seemed my life was completely worthless. During this time, I was introduced to heroin and it had one of the strongest grips on my life I’d ever known. I was addicted immediately the first time I tried it. I became so physically addicted to it that I had to have it by my bedside to even be able to get out of the bed to go to the bathroom or to eat or do anything. I once jumped out of a two-story window just to go get high. A boyfriend, who was trying to ween me off of heroin, had locked me in the room, and I risked getting hurt rather than kicking the habit. That part of my life was very dark.

Without the drug I would go through severe withdrawals to the point of my body going into shock and almost dying. The withdrawal effects would last for days with no relief from the physical pain and torment my body was going through, as well as the mental and emotional trauma. After years of being addicted to heroin, I finally decided to get help. I went to a methadone clinic and signed up for treatment so I could be weaned off bit-by-bit—so I could deal with the withdrawal process and still function in my daily life.

After a few months of being on methadone, I finally got off of heroin. I actually started attending church and trying to serve God, but it was short-lived. I soon found myself being lured back into the world. Shame, condemnation, and guilt flooded my mind. I saw myself as a failure constantly. I felt as if I was an embarrassment to my family. I was an adult who had no future, no career, nothing going for me. I was just a drug addict, a loser, and I definitely felt that God was disappointed in me—so much that He had turned away from me.

Stephen

This was the time when I was introduced to Stephen, my husband, he was one of the biggest meth dealers in Plant City, about an hour and a half southwest of Orlando, Florida. He was known for taking whatever he wanted and doing whatever he wanted, which included breaking into houses and stealing drugs, taking people’s cars, and using violence to come against anyone trying to physically stop him. I remember people being very scared of him; and when they found out he and I were dating, they were scared to even hang out with me for fear of what he might do to them if he found out.

Our relationship was very unstable, toxic, and unhealthy in every way. Most of the time our minds were completely controlled by the drugs, so we were mean to each other and had no regard for the other person at all. But somehow we stayed together. We would talk often about wanting to get off drugs and have a better life. We would share our dreams with each other, and I would tell him about one day getting clean and wanting to lead worship at the church.

Deep down inside me, I knew I was called to sing for the Lord but at this point, that truth was buried under a load of guilt, shame, and chains. I didn’t know how to get free. Stephen would share his dreams about wanting to have a nice home and nice family one day. So, we would make plans. Our deal was that one of us had to get off drugs first so that we could help the other one get clean and stay clean. Well, that just so happened to be me.

After two years of being with Stephen and living a fast life as a meth junkie, I got pregnant and had our daughter, Cameron. When I first found out I was going to have a child, I did my best to not use drugs; but that didn’t last long. All logic, common sense, and every desire to do good and take care of this new baby went out the window because the addiction was so strong. Getting high completely took over my life and I found myself using even while pregnant—and crying afterward, feeling so guilty. The guilt would make me use drugs even more so that I couldn’t feel anything. I would be completely numb to the reality of being pregnant and being a meth addict with no place to go.

Surrender

Some time in March 2009, I remember very clearly that I had been awake for four or five days in a row and I had not eaten any food. I was on a “meth binge” and I didn’t even drink much water. Even through the stupor of the drug, I was getting extremely concerned about my pregnancy, as I was now a few months along.

After a heated argument with Stephen, I ran outside in the middle of the night. It was raining and I fell to my knees, looked up to the sky, and screamed these three words with the loudest most piercing scream I could muster up, “GOD, HELP ME!” I didn’t see a lightning flash or get goosebumps, but as the tears streamed down my face I knew that God was listening to my surrender to Him. I knew He could see straight through to my heart—and I felt peace at that moment. A peace came over me and I took a deep breath. I just knew something was going to change and God was going to rescue me.

The Road to Recovery

A few days later, I was rescued out of that situation and put in a safe place in a jail recovery program where I was weaned off of meth, given prenatal vitamins, something to eat, a place to rest, and I began treatment toward the road to recovery.

It wasn’t an easy road to travel. Although I wasn’t using drugs anymore, I had so many harmful strongholds and unhealthy mindsets to deal with in my life. The process to true deliverance did not happen overnight, but the Lord immediately began to show me His hand over my life, His love for me. He taught me who He was and who I was in Him. Revelation after revelation after revelation would hit my spirit and I would be in tears trembling as He wiped away the past day after day after day.

When I felt my baby kick and move, I was filled with joy knowing that for the remainder of my pregnancy she would be free from drugs. I began to sing over her and talk to her every day. I told her that she was going to be beautiful, smart, a Christian—and that she was going to be healthy. My baby would respond when I spoke to her by moving around inside me and I would laugh, filled with joy and excitement about the new journey we were on together.

During that time I was in a drug treatment facility in a jail. I was a bit nervous because my baby’s due date was before my release date—and that scared me. I knew the state would take her from me because I was incarcerated, and I didn’t know if I would be able to get her back.

A New Beginning

Thankfully, I met some loving Christian women who would come each day and pray over my belly, that the hand of the Lord would hold Cameron until I was able to be released from jail. I remember the day I was to be released from the program. When my name was called, I was so excited! And at that very moment, I went into labor. I praised God that I was able to have Cameron a few hours after being released on June 30, 2009. She was born completely healthy; and to my surprise, she had the most beautiful bright red hair and green eyes. As I write, she is a very vibrant, loving nine-year-old with beautiful blonde curly locks. She loves to sing prophetically and moves in dreams and words of knowledge.

God is so amazing! Through the birth of Cameron my whole life was changed. I call her our miracle baby. Her birth was joyous and I fell in love with her immediately. I was a loving, caring mother, and I vowed to always tell her encouraging things and how to steward her gifts and desires and dreams in life. I’m thankful that the Lord has allowed me to do just that.

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