What’s wrong?” She asked. I must have been too quiet.
I was deep in thought, contemplating how I could outrun the devil while eating Fruit Loops.
We had just gotten back from visiting my grandparents, and a family that lived next to them had a girl who was a little older than I was. Every time we were there, she and I spent time together. It was a very small town, so I was probably a great distraction from boredom, especially in the summer.
While we were at the park nearby, she said casually,
“Satan worshippers come here at night all dressed in black with hoods. They light a fire and kill animals.”
This was shocking for my young mind because I could always visualize what people said, and I hadn’t learned how to turn it off. So everything she stated was being absorbed and creating a troubling feeling. I could hear and see the entire scene she described.
Over the next few days, the conversation would pop up in my thoughts, but I would push it away, trying to forget it. Nightmares had highly plagued me for a while, so these images by day only added to the terror I experienced when sleeping.
Every single night I was hunted down by a dark force that wanted to do me harm. I would try to get away, but my efforts weren’t fast enough. Right as I knew I was going to die, I would wake up feeling like I couldn’t breathe.
I had learned to hide my fear because when I would say I saw dark shadows or sensed something scary, my mom’s response would always be,
“There’s no such thing as ghosts.”
I had learned to try and calm myself down, but if the panic was too overwhelming, I would call out for her and ask for water. Mechanically, she brought me some, and we never really talked about it. She was always sleepwalking and had to be up by 5 am.
There was only one time when she tripped while coming into my room which sent the glass flying. It hit a windup carousel toy I had, and it started playing the song, “Cruising Down the River.”
She flipped my light on, and both of us squinted against the brightness. When she got down on the floor to mop up the mess with a towel, and the tune kept playing, she started laughing uncontrollably. Fatigued by way too many kids and interrupted sleep had set that off.
“I can’t stop laughing,” she said weakly.
She kept trying to stifle herself not to wake up the entire house, but that just caused it to come on more. She ended up sitting with her eyes closed, trying to pull herself together. That made me laugh, which then created more.
“Chris, shh,” she tried to say, but even she couldn’t take herself seriously.
She dragged herself back to bed, and my fear had dissolved.
So she knew on some level that I was struggling with trying to understand ominous.
When I didn’t answer her, she asked me again,
“What are you thinking about? I can see that you are worried.”
If I told her, she probably wouldn’t believe me, just like all the other times. I had conditioned myself to live with what haunted me, but the pressure was more than I could handle this time. I decided to spill the truth whether she acknowledged my feelings or not.
She put down her dishrag and pulled out the chair next to me. This was serious if she was halting dishwashing.
“You don’t need to be afraid of the devil, Chris. If you don’t go near him, he can’t come near you.”
She knew my ability to see what was spoken, so she added,
“Think of it like a small dog tied up, and you are walking by. All that dog can do is bark at you. He can look frightening, but he can’t get at you if you keep your distance. God has the power, not that little dog.”
That made me feel better.
I decided to take this small opportunity to ask a question that I had a million times.
“Can we get a dog?”
Seeing that my problem was solved, she went back to the sink.
A few weeks later, my mom was standing by the fence visiting with the neighbor lady. I overheard this,
“You need to get her a dog.”
Finally! Someone was on my side.
“No. That’s too much responsibility, and we don’t really want one.”
It was as if she hit play on a recorded message every time this subject came up.
“Jean, I see her out here playing with worms.”
This sent a shockwave through my mother’s soul.
“She does not.” I could tell by her mouth that she was trying to regain her sense of control.
Technically, I didn’t. I found caterpillars and put them on leaves so they had a chance against the forces of nature. I had listened in second-grade science for once.
“Yes. I have seen her; she does this all the time, and a dog would make her happy.”
Who knew we had a sage living next door? I was unaware of the tension that existed between these two women. They spoke with one another, but there had been feuds before I was on the scene. My mom had high standards to keep in the community and their outlook on the family, and her small-town upbringing had solidified this in her DNA.
She couldn’t have people whispering in the shadows about how her youngest was playing with dirty things from the ground, and this neighbor would be the one to get the talk started. That sounded too earthy for a person who prided herself on germ-free living.
This ushered in the arrival of a dog that she could bathe.
I wasn’t given the luxury of choosing the canine that became a part of the household; she was part cocker spaniel and poodle. I came home from school, and she was running around the backyard.
Our initial meeting did not give me one indication of a lifelong hatred that was waiting in the wings. Not on my part, but deep jealousy that she had toward me. If I sat next to my mom, this would bring on an attack. If I tried to pet her when she didn’t want me to, I got snapped at. I became afraid of her, and I loved all dogs.
One night, she did bite me and drew blood because I walked into the room. My dad got out a work boot and slammed it repeatedly next to where she was hiding. He didn’t strike her, but he was trying to instill some sort of authority into her memory.
“She knows you are afraid of her, and you can’t let her think that.”
None of that changed anything. Her behavior continued, and I was the only one she loathed. My mom’s brilliant idea of having her sleep with me was miserable. If I moved one foot, she would growl and bite me. I would rather have demons chasing me in my dreams, not one in my bed in real life.
It got to the point where she and I existed, but I ignored her. I never gave her any of my attention, and I have very few memories of her except the bad ones. But, I didn’t get targeted anymore, so my mom’s theory of not going near something evil had worked.
I was having all these thoughts go through my mind as I stood in line waiting to go into a seminar where there were going to be tarot card readers, psychics, intuitives, numerology, crystals, potions, lotions, oils, and every other thing that I had been told was something to run from. I knew I was supposed to go, and I had my youngest daughter with me.
The minute I got into the hallway, I felt dizzy. I have had this happen many times in church and where there is a lot of spiritual charge in the air. I had to put my hand on the wall a couple of times to be sure I stayed upright. If I went down, it would have just looked like I skipped breakfast, which I had, and that my highly caffeinated coffee was not working its magic.
The main room was packed with vendors of all sorts hoping to make sales. I slowly began walking. I am not immune to sales tactics, even ones that try to reel me in.
“Wow, I love your hair!” said one lady.
“Thank you.” They had a sign with the word ‘groovy’ in it. “I am old enough to know what that means,” I said. It was not one of my favorites as a total slaughter of the English language.
“Really? You look so young!” I moved on and heard her say to the next person,
“You have the most beautiful hair.”
If she had pointed out my smile, then maybe.
I stopped to talk to a young psychic, who seemed to be covering up insecurity. She was dressed the part, but I could tell below the surface, she was not happy. I sensed a depression within the smile, and sitting at a table trying to collect money for her services was not something she wanted to do anymore. Before speaking to her further, she had a paying customer she fully turned her attention toward. It was like I never existed.
As I moved on to another table, this very nice man said,
“Do you want to sign up for a card reading?”
“I am just walking around for now,” I said.
“Well, she uses cards that came way before the tarot.”
I looked behind him to see a lady engaged in a serious conversation with another person, which was happening all over the room. As I glanced around, I started to wonder what all the fear was about. I took her business card and moved on.
I had seen the sneers and heard the conversations of many who think they have cornered the market on God.
I felt total peace as I walked from table to table, just observing. The one thing I did feel was what I had felt a million other places..they all were hoping for a sale to pay their bills.
And, everyone was smiling.
Later, I went into a private meeting that I had paid extra for. Usually, I sit as far to the back in anything I attend, and I never want attention turned on me. When I walked in, I saw two chairs right in the center of the front row.
“I think we are going right to the front,” I said to her.
We sat down, and two people, a young guy and an older woman introduced themselves. They said they would travel around the room and answer questions that the audience had for them. I felt, again, I was supposed to watch.
As the man stood in front of me, he spoke to a woman seated way in the back. She started to talk about a relationship that had ended in tragedy; she had been in love with someone who had died. During this, I looked at the floor and heard,
“Please tell her I love her because I never told her. She is so sad that she cannot hear.” I saw a huge bouquet in a man’s hand; I didn’t see him clearly, as if a camera was zoomed up close to red roses. My entire body was vibrating with electricity, as I had never felt before.
I said quietly to the man who was trying to give her some sort of message,
“He wants her to know he loves her. Can you tell her that?”
“Why don’t you tell her?” What? When did I become the headliner?
These people had paid and come here to have one of these two say something, not me.
“I don’t know where she is.” I was trying hard to get out of it. The person next to me said,
“You have to tell her!”
I turned around, and she stood up.
“He is handing you the biggest bouquet of roses ever, and he wants you to know he loves you, but he couldn’t say it. Keep a watch out for red rose symbols. Get a rose pin and put it on your jacket. He isn’t gone.”
For a reason beyond me, I pointed at her, and I said,
“You are looking for a sign; this is your sign.”
When I did that, I watched a wave of something hit the entire row she was in and all around her. Everyone started crying.
She put her hand over her heart, and I said,
“Does this make sense? Red roses? The color red?”
“I wear red all the time,” she said between tears.
“That’s him. He isn’t gone, and he’s right by you. It will become stronger now as you go.”
I sat down and faced forward. The guy next to me said,
“Do you do this for a living?”
“No.” The man leading it said,
He then went on to a lady right behind me. She asked about her dad, and it was determined that he had passed away, leaving a cabin.
“I think he talks to me, but I am not sure.”
I saw him standing behind her.
“He is behind you. He is protecting you all the time.”
“I see that too,” said the man. While he moved on, I got a tap on the shoulder.
“Is it really my dad?”
I turned around. I was trying so hard to stay quiet, and I couldn’t.
“Yes. You need to write down what he says.”
“How do I know I won’t be speaking to spirits that aren’t of God?”
“The Holy Spirit covers me. That is my covering, and I write down everything I hear.”
“I love the Holy Spirit!” I saw her whole face light up with relief.
“Just write down what you hear. A year later, you can go back and read things and see how they came to pass. People who are in heaven know things that they want to tell us.”
As I spoke, I saw people start to cry around her. The lady next to her showed me a ring that had belonged to a relative.
“I just want to know so bad if my grandma is with me.”
The guy next to me said,
“What do you have to say to her?”
I laughed. He had more confidence in me than I did.
He said to all of those looking at us,
“I can see this woman’s spirit! She has a huge gift from God!”
I showed the lady my ring with all the stones representing five generations of women, including my mom and grandma.
“I had this designed, and it has made my connection stronger.”
Her eyes seemed to clear a little. The sorrow started to fade.
“She wants you happy. Try to think of all the good times you had with her. That is the frequency of heaven.”
She smiled at me while the rest all started to sniffle again.
The lady next to my daughter started asking questions, and I heard,
“Tell her to go buy something with amethyst in it.”
I forgot, but later we ran into her. My daughter had told me she was seeing the color purple while I was hearing that particular stone.
“I am supposed to tell you that you are to go get something with amethyst in it.”
Out of her purse, she pulled two small amethyst bracelets that she had just bought for her granddaughters.
I found out she was an RN who had left the profession after feeling drawn into homeopathy.
“You are like a medicine woman.”
“That’s funny you say that because my family heritage is the Crow Tribe.”
She is at the start of a substantial online business specializing in natural medicine.
“It’s going to do very well.”
Sitting in the parking lot later, I said to my daughter,
“I have no idea what just happened, but that felt like I belonged there. For those who sit from a distance and judge, they are missing it.”
Had I let my fear of ‘evil’ keep me away, I would not have had the chance for God to show me how the divine is at work in my life. There were needs in a room, and He used my voice to help. I wasn’t there to “save” people but to encourage them. That’s it. I had no plan or agenda. I didn’t show up to preach or convert. I was just there as a representative of the One who knows everything. In 1 John 4:18, it says,
There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear because fear has to do with punishment. (NIV)
It’s up to heaven what happens, not me, and how it is done. The hand of God will go anywhere to bring peace, comfort and remove hindrances that keep humanity leashed.