Golden QuillFiery Furnace Stoked

I was fine for a couple weeks after getting out of the hospital. I went home, after spending a few days with my friends Debbie and Wayne. I felt calm when I got home, though I missed my children, but I probably needed a bit of rest from looking after them, so that I could gather some strength. My son was six–years–old at this time, and my daughter was four and a half.

The woman who rounded up her friends to pray for me, when I was in the hospital, came to my house for a visit. She said that God told her to be my friend. I thought that was interesting. She seemed a bit odd, but nice. Then she went away, and I didn't see her again for three months.

I had another visitor, Westy (name changed), an ex–boyfriend, who had led me to the Lord. He had visited me before my breakdown and we'd had a pleasant chat over coffee. Everything had been just fine, until he was leaving. He stopped at the door and said spookily, "You've been calling me." I looked at him in puzzlement and thought, "What are you talking about? I haven't called you." I denied it, and he said to call him, if I ever needed his help. I thought, "Yeah, like that's ever going to happen!"

I hadn't called him, but here he was on my doorstep again, like a wolf at the door of a solitary cabin in the wilderness. My husband, Scott (name changed), was not around to protect me. It was a moment that Westy had been waiting for.

Westy did not consciously plot to destroy me, but he had some issues that he had not dealt with. He likely was not even aware that he had these issues. He was not an introspective type of person. He was an ambitious man, and his thoughts were geared towards planning for success in business, which he managed to accomplish at a very young age. When he visited me before, he spoke of retiring when he turned forty, and heading for warmer climes.

He also fancied himself to be an evangelist and a prophet. He was a very flamboyant person and loved the spotlight. I think that he was influenced by the glamour that Brian Ruud, a handsome young evangelist, who was in ministry when I was in my teens, had built up around his ministry; Westy wanted that kind of adulation for himself. He wanted power and influence over people. He had a confident, charismatic personality, and easily attracted the admiration of young people who enjoyed his boldness, as well as his sense of humour.

After he was no longer in my life, I heard that Westy publicly rebuked the pastor and elders of his church for not removing another elder from his position, though the elder had committed adultery. This type of action fit in with Westy's view of himself as a fiery and courageous prophet. Ironically, some time after this stand for holiness, Westy went to prison on a charge of sexual assault.

There was some truth to the allegation that the leadership in that church tended to turn a blind eye to certain matters that should have been dealt with more firmly, but who was Westy to deliver a rebuke about adultery? He had a lust problem. At least, the elder was repentant. He had already confessed his sin, and when I saw him around in the following years, he always seemed to be a very humble man.

At his second visit to my home, Westy was poised to dump a load of garbage onto me. He was beside himself, thinking that I needed his intervention, in order to prevent a horrible catastrophe. He said that I was demon–possessed, and he was the only one who knew how to help me. I doubted everything he said, until he told me about visions he'd had of me in the hospital, describing the room where I had been locked up, telling me that he had seen me curled up in a ball on the floor. Indeed, that had happened.

Westy recited his past successes in being able to predict the future. He said that, when he was watching the launching of the Columbia with his wife, he told her that it was going to blow up. And it did. A person could say any number of things in this vein, but should we take their word for it that they are telling the truth? And even if they are, does that prove that the Spirit of God showed it to them? Westy continued his list of confirmations that he could see into the spiritual realm and know in advance about future events.

He went on to tell me something that he knew about a close friend of mine whom he had never met. At first, when he asked, "Do you know someone who beat up her husband?" I thought, "That's ridiculous! Whoever heard of a woman who could beat up her husband?" He asked me again, and I still denied it, until he asked, "Do you know a woman who beat up her husband with a baseball bat?"

Suddenly, I remembered a friend telling me that her husband used to beat her. After the beatings, he never could fathom that he had seriously hurt her, either emotionally or physically. One day when he was beating her, she finally snapped and went after him with a baseball bat. He found out what it felt like, and it brought him up short.

My friend came to her senses quickly, and called one of her husband's friends, telling him to come and get him to take him to the hospital. She thought she had broken his arm, but she hadn't. It was jolly decent of her to get medical aid for him, though it exposed her guilt. She said that all their friends hated her after that. Her husband was so likeable around other people, always the life of the party, that they couldn't believe he had done to her the things that she said he did. My friend went to anger management classes, after that incident, and learned to go for a walk to cool off when she felt her arguments with her husband starting to get out of control.

I was shocked when I realized that Westy was right about me knowing a woman who had beat up her husband. He said that God told him that I would lose my mind and murder my children when this woman was my friend. I was horrified! He said that having a blackout in the hospital was proof that I could do this, without knowing what I was doing, and that he was the only person who knew how to get me delivered from the demons that would otherwise compel me to it. He wanted me to surrender myself to his care.

It was diabolical how Westy used my love for my children to gain control of me, but I don't think that he sat down and plotted this out. From what I can tell, he was suffering from hallucinations, but, in his arrogance, he believed that all his "visions" were from God, and satan was able to convince Westy that he needed to "save" me, because Westy harboured bitterness in his heart.

Westy had issues about women because important women in his life had let him down. His way of getting revenge for the rejection he felt was to set women up to fall in love with him, and then to break their hearts, even though they had nothing to do with how he was hurt before. I had been one of his victims, when I was in my teens, but I had managed to escape his snare. He didn't like that.

He had hooked onto me by talking about marriage within just a few days of meeting him. This was quite a stunning idea. I didn't think that anyone would want to marry me, never mind a tall, reasonably good–looking man, who was really cool and very popular with a lot of young people. Once that idea took root in my head, it was hard to shake. I wasn't trying to shake it, but I had a good friend who thought it was a bad idea, and I knew that the Lord didn't want me to marry him. I would cry and beg Him to change His mind, but the answer always came back as no.

I assumed that the reason why God kept saying no was because Westy had been married. My mother's church did not believe that it is legitimate to marry a divorced person whose former spouse is still alive. I didn't attend her church anymore, but I had been raised to believe this. Westy was still legally married, though his wife lived with another man. He hadn't gotten around to divorcing her, yet.

At one point, I came really close to giving Westy up, because God kept saying no to me. I was so dramatic about it in my mind. Westy took me out one evening and parked the car. This was the moment for me to tell him that I wasn't going to date him anymore. It was my Gethsemane, my bitter cup, and I took it to my lips. I told him. He cried.

Satan knew just how to get to me. My experience with men had convinced me that they had no hearts. I could not fathom a man feeling the pain that I felt in my experiences with them, when they rejected me. They seemed like a rather hardy lot, who could go from one woman to the next, without caring about the ones they had dumped. But here was this guy crying. Up until that time in my life, Westy was the only man whom I had ever seen cry.

I started compromising right away, saying, "Well, we'll see each other at church sometimes." Nope, that wasn't enough for him. He told me about personal problems that he'd had with his wife, due to her messed up family background. He spoke about her betrayal of him, and of outrageous things she said about him. I should have paid closer attention to that part. This was all to get me to feel sorry for him.

I supposed it ended up with some nonsense about how much he cared for me, without actually saying that he loved me. No doubt, it included some hints about marriage again. My resolve crumbled. I had no experience saying no to a man who I didn't want to say no to.

Though he supposedly cared for me, Westy and I had a tumultuous relationship. He saw me as clay that he could mold however he wished. He even said that to me, one time, when he was frustrated that I wasn't cooperating the way he wanted me to. I can't remember what the issue was, but we were sitting in a restaurant, and he was nearly in tears of annoyance as he said, "I can't believe it. I have this young girl, whom I can mold any way I wish, and you're not cooperating!" Whoa! I was caught between wondering where he got the right to mold me, and guilt over being stubborn.

Perhaps the guilt came from my perspective, as a Christian, that being stubborn is a sin, but it may also have been due to a sense of obligation. When I met Westy, I had hardly any clothes in my wardrobe; I mostly wore jeans. Westy didn't want to be embarrassed to be seen with me, so he bought me nice outfits to wear. I felt guilty about it; it made me feel like I was a "kept" woman. I am sure that he would have respected me more, if I had refused to let him buy me clothes, and that he would have dated me anyway.

I was rather awkward, having forgotten the good manners that my parents taught me. Westy reminded me of my manners, when he complained, "I'm from the country and you're from the city, but I feel like I'm from the city and you're from the country." Being compared to a farm girl embarrassed me enough to practice some etiquette.

When it became apparent to Westy that I was hooked on him, the time was ripe for him to ramp up on behaving like a jerk. He tested to see how much abuse I would take, by telling me things that should have brought forth some protest.

One time he pointed out a tall, beautiful blonde in the restaurant where I worked, and said how sorry he felt for her, because she was a drug addict. He wanted to witness to her. He seemed to think that his particular calling, as an evangelist, was to beautiful girls. I sat there in stunned silence. I felt jealous, but what right did I have to feel that way? After all, didn't this girl need to hear about Jesus?

I confided my feelings to my friend, Bonnie. She protested, "No, Lanny. The Bible doesn't say that men are supposed to minister to women. It says that the older men are supposed to minister to the younger men, and the older women are supposed to minister to the younger women. How do you think my husband would feel, if I were to minister to a young man?" I saw that she had a good point.

Another time, while we were sitting in church, Westy growled under his breath when a pretty girl with deep dimples and curly, black hair walked by, and made a comment about how he'd like to date her. By this time, he was feeling confident that he could grind my face in the mud, and I would take it. I made no reply. I hated that girl because he found her attractive. She had nothing to do with it, though. If I was going to hate someone, then it should have been him, for his disrespectful treatment. But, no, I just pined for him all the more. That girl became one of my good friends later on.

Westy liked to boast about girls who were hung up on him. One was a rather plump girl, who looked very unhappy when she saw me with him. He used to date her. I was puzzled about his taste in women. I was no raving beauty, but I was considered cute, when I wore make–up. It seemed that he had a wide range of tastes when it came to women. I couldn't flatter myself that it was because I was exceptionally cute that he had started to date me, and it probably wouldn't have mattered if I could have turned myself into the most beautiful woman in the world. It would not have been a chain to hold him to me. He was a tumbleweed, when it came to relationships.

When we were in a restaurant where young people used to congregate after church, Westy pointed out a husky, blond man, who was sitting with his girlfriend. He said, "You see that guy?" I nodded. He then smugly informed me, "He hates me because his girlfriend has a crush on me." I took note of the pleasant–looking blonde girl sitting next to the guy whom Westy pointed out and decided that I hated her. That was Bonnie, before she married the man who had his arm draped around her shoulders.

Bonnie didn't hate me, even if she had a crush on Westy. She was friendly, and tried to make friends even with me, though I never gave her any encouragement. One time, when she came over to our table to sit down and chat with us, she remarked on my black and red outfit, and said, "I tried that same outfit on, in green, and I looked like a pig in it." She said it looked great on me. I smiled at her and thought, "I still don't like you."

In church, a few weeks later, she came up to me and exclaimed that she loved me, as she threw her arms around me. My walls came tumbling down. I needed a friend and she became a good friend. I cried on her shoulder about Westy a lot. She had been infatuated with Westy, but for a very short time, because she could see what a player he was.

Westy's ruthless disregard for my feelings increased. Nonetheless, I stuck to him like flypaper, while he told me over and over, in various ways, to get lost. He wasn't consistent about it, though. On the one hand, he kept pushing me away, but on the other hand, he kept coming around from time to time, to take advantage of my lust for him.

There was another girl who went through that same scenario with him, at the very same time, only it was worse for her. She told me that he also forced her to take drugs, and the things he did to her were even more degrading than what he did to me.

Westy didn't tell me about that, but he seemed to have unending stories about other women whom he was messing around with. Perhaps he saw me as his confessor? No, he just wanted to torment me that he was taking other women to bed. One of them asked him to be her pimp. I don't think that he took her up on that, though, even if he looked the part because of the way he dressed.

At one point, he and a friend lived with a beautiful, young girl named Lisa, who he said was a witch. He showed me a photo of her. These guys were supposed to be Christians! Why were they living with a witch?

Lisa was jealous of me. I knew that much. I guess he was feeding Lisa a line that I was somehow important to him. She called me up shortly before Westy's birthday, asking me to pass a message on to him. She had made arrangements to take him to the Bayshore Inn for his birthday. It was a very ritzy place on the marina. I was annoyed, as she wanted me to be, but she didn't get her triumph. His birthday was the day before mine, and on his birthday, he took me out to dinner to celebrate our birthdays together. My sense of satisfaction was small. I didn't want him to have any other girlfriends in his life. Also, I think that the only reason he took me out that day was to tick Lisa off.

For a year, Westy played me like a yoyo, pushing me away, and then drawing me back by talking about marriage. At one point, get this, I actually pulled at my hair, when we were alone in the foyer at church, and, with tears streaming down my face, asked him in anguish, "Why are you doing this to me? Why are you stomping all over my heart?" He stared at me and laughed, finding it quite remarkable to see a girl pull at her hair, and told me that I was crazy. Yes, I was. He was driving me crazy.

Westy confided to me about a girl who went to my high school, whom he said he loved and wanted to date, but she wouldn't go out with him. He showed me a photo of her. Again, I was surprised, as this girl wasn't particularly attractive–looking, but he was so in love with her and her rejection was breaking his heart. Boo hoo!

I didn't go to school much, but my friend Janet was consistent about it. She filled me in. Westy took that girl out for one date, and on that very first date, he talked to her about marriage. She thought he was creepy, so she wouldn't go out with him anymore. Hint, hint. I didn't take the hint, though.

Instead, I was humiliated that he hinted about marriage to this homely girl with the big nose on the first date. He didn't start that with me until the second date. Instead of giving enough thought to this penchant of Westy's to pseudo–propose to strangers, I wondered what this girl had, in spite of her looks, that made Westy hint marriage to her sooner than he had to me, and could cause him to lament about his broken heart. Though teens think that they are grown up, a lot of them are still gullible, little children, and I certainly was no exception. I felt like a failure, because Westy didn't long for me like he longed for her, which is how Westy wanted me to feel.

The guys in my high school never approached me to ask for a date. Before I met Westy, I had been hanging around with bikers. The boys at school figured that they would get beat up, if they went on a date with me. And now there was this tall guy, older than them, who dressed like a pimp and drove fancy cars. The first one was a flashy, yellow Oldsmobile convertible, and then he got himself a silver grey Cadillac. They thought that he sold drugs, but he was able to live well on what he made as a construction worker. If he was actually a pimp or a drug dealer, I think that I would have stayed away from him.

I was a Christian, after all, though one who had a problem with lust. I finally recognized that I needed to get help for that. I spoke to a lady in my church; a white–haired lady. As I sat on her couch, telling her about what I had been up to, I thought, "I can't believe this! I'm telling this personal stuff to a woman who is old enough to be my grandmother!" It felt comforting to talk to her, though. I could see by her face that she wasn't judging me, and I knew that she had success in praying for people to get them set free from demons. There were also other women in the church who backed her up in prayer when she ministered to people, and one of them happened to be my future mother–in–law.

I told her about Westy, and she said, "He's not for you." Bonnie had been telling me that for the good part of a year, and I had protested every time, but when Mrs. Essler said it, I agreed. I was ready to agree. I'd had enough of being stomped on, by then.

Westy asked me out a couple of times after that. He sensed that he had lost his hold on me, so he started to behave respectable. Instead of just showing up unannounced and spiriting me off to some place where he could use me, he phoned and actually invited me to attend some Christian events. Each time, I stuck my nose in the air and replied prissily, "No. Mrs. Essler says that you're not for me." I was only eighteen, and not a very mature for my age, but, at least, I had the right idea.

He got married soon after that. He finally made good on his hints. A friend showed me his wedding pictures. His brown hair was dyed black for the occasion, and he wore some trippy turquoise jacket with a psychaedelic pattern on it. I thought, "I sure am glad that I didn't marry him!" He had to outshine the bride. That black hair looked horrid on him, and it would have been too much even for me. I've never felt comfortable about men dyeing their hair.

It wasn't a happy marriage. He gave his bride a black eye on their anniversary. She told one of my friends about how she got the black eye. The wife was very upset because she had expected romance, and got this, instead. Westy had hit me a couple times, but he never got deep into being physically abusive. Just the fact that he smacked me on the head was an indication that he would do more to a person whom he married. I didn't think about that when I dated him, not even after Westy told me that his father used to beat his mother. After hearing about Lily's (name changed) black eye, I was doubly glad that I hadn't married him.

I heard about him from time to time. He started a successful business, his wife helped him with the clerical work, they had property, three children were born, and one of them was handicapped. People were very impressed with how nurturing and tender he was towards the child. I wondered if his affection for her was real, or if he was just using the situation as an opportunity to showcase his Christianity.

His wife approached me in church one day, shortly before Westy came to see me the first time. She was an attractive woman, but she stood there telling me how, for a long time, she wished we could be friends, but she felt intimidated because I was much prettier than her, and Westy had told her so much about me. He sure must have been feeding her a line. I was only one of many girlfriends that he had at the time. And the comparison between our looks, and her feeling that I put her in the shade, was all in her own mind. I wore gobs of make–up to get myself looking attractive; she didn't wear hardly any, but still looked pretty, and she had fabulous, thick, wavy hair.

When Westy visited me the first time after Scott left, he talked about his handicapped daughter. He said that it was amazing how she could laugh and get enjoyment out of life, though she was in pain. She was blind and deaf, I think, and had never been able to walk. He said that he was heartbroken that she could not run and play like other children. His wife was believing for the child's healing, but he didn't have faith for that. He wanted God to take his daughter Home to Heaven, so that she would be able to see and hear and run and play, and not be in any pain.

He also talked about other spiritual things and seemed very humble. I was impressed, and it put me off guard when he came to visit me again. I thought that he had really changed. He certainly had changed his appearance. He wore jeans and a denim jacket, and no cowboy hat, though he still drove a flashy car. He looked like a normal person.

During his subsequent visits, to "help" me, Westy said he realized, after I had refused to go out with him, that he wanted to marry me. (That same old line!) He said that he phoned Bonnie, and tried to get my phone number from her, but Bonnie wouldn't give it to him. (Thank you, Bonnie!) He felt too embarrassed to press her for it (good!), because he knew that I had told her about how he treated me. Actually, I hadn't told her everything, but what she knew was bad enough.

My vanity was flattered that Westy said that he truly had wanted to marry me, and my husband's rejection made me vulnerable to Westy's attention. I wanted a man to care about me. Westy seemed to, though he was now married. His interest in me was, apparently, only spiritual, so I thought it was okay.

It wasn't okay. A thought brushed up against my mind on that first visit. The Bible says to avoid all appearance of evil. What would the neighbours think of a man visiting me? I was still married. Scott and I were supposed to get back together, at some point. That is what we had agreed, when he left me. We were just giving ourselves some distance from each other, to take a break. Even if our marriage was over, this man was married. What would the neighbours think about that, if they knew of it?

I brushed those thoughts away. I could look at Westy and feel no attraction for him. I wondered why I had thought he was cute all those years ago. Sure, he was tall, well over six feet, but his face wasn't all that attractive. He looked shrunken, as he sat across from me at the kitchen table. Without the flashy clothes, he no longer looked larger than life. Besides that, I had long since developed an aversion towards men dressing like peacocks.

I think that it was part of satan's strategy to bring Westy to my house without the fancy clothes. Westy hadn't given them up all together. He just didn't dress like that during the work day. As he talked to me, he seemed so ordinary and harmless. I decided that there was no danger of anything happening between us. We were just sitting at the table, drinking coffee, and talking about spiritual things. The Holy Spirit talks in only a whisper sometimes, and if we ignore that whisper, we can end up in a lot of trouble that can take decades to fix.

There is only so much a person can do about avoiding all appearance of evil. Sometimes it's okay for a woman to let a man visit her, if he is a close relative, for instance, or someone who has come to do repairs. We can do only so much to protect our reputations. If a person wants to think that you and your brother are up to naughty stuff, and you haven't given them any solid indication that you feel that way about your brother, there's nothing you can do about a diseased mind like that.

Just imagine, though, being me and talking to my neighbour, who says, "Ooo, who was that guy in the flashy Corvette who came to see you?" If I were to answer, "My brother Johnny," there would be no story in that, except my neighbour might want to know what he did for a living to afford such a cool car.

But how about if I were to say, "Oh, that was the guy who led me to the Lord when I was seventeen." My neighbour would reply, "Really! Are you dating him?" Friends love to know about that kind of thing. "Uh, no." "Why not?" "Well, he's married." Now the whole neighbourhood has something to talk about. But even if my neighbour didn't tell anyone else, what kind of a Christian example or witness is that to them?

It was not until several visits later that Westy spoke about wanting to marry me when I was eighteen. He was still lying, but he believed it in his own mind. It did not suit his view of himself as a Christian to deliberately scheme to destroy someone, so he did some mental flips to justify coming back into my life. He thought that I needed him and that he was the only person who could help me.

A spirit of divination gave him the information about my friend who beat up her husband with a baseball bat, and a spirit of delusion put horrible images in his mind to convince him that I was demon–possessed and needed his expertise (that was a spirit of pride) to deliver me. They could do those things to him, because his bitterness had given them a foothold in his heart.

I think that a spirit of pride does much to complicate deliverance. From what I see in the Bible, casting out evil spirits is supposed to be simple. People have developed a doctrine that you have identify every spirit before you can cast it out, because ONE TIME Yehoshua asked the spirits that were vexing the Gadarene demoniac to identify themselves. They replied that they were Legion, which means that there were anywhere from 1000 to 6000 evil spirits inhabiting that man. Some people have missed the fact that Jesus did not tell each demon to identify themselves. He cast them out all at once. His point was, it doesn't have to take long to minister deliverance from demons. Born–again Christians should be able to cast out up to 6000 demons in just a few seconds. Jesus said that He has given us the authority and power to do this. We need to get rid of unbelief; it hinders our faith.

Some will contend that, "But we're not Jesus." Jesus said in John 14:12 that, if we believe in Him, we're capable of doing all the same things that He did, and even greater things. If we make excuses for ourselves not being as effective as Jesus, that's unbelief, which the Bible says is evil, and camping on that excuse is spiritual laziness. We're supposed to press in and get our minds renewed in the Word of God, so that we can be effective witnesses in the Earth, not just through having Christlike character, but also through operating in His power.

People who have a materialistic mind–set tend to think that it is ridiculous to believe that there are such things as demons. They don't believe in anything that they can't experience with their five senses. To them, that's the kind of thing that uneducated, superstitious people in Africa believe in. Indeed they do, and their witch doctors can change their shape and fly through the air, and do all sorts of weird stuff that defies natural laws. It really happens, and it happens in North America among the natives; their shamans can do the same things.

There are also quite a number of highly–educated, financially and socially successful people in North America who believe in demons, and make sacrifices to them, and invite them to enter into them, to lend them their powers, so that they can become even more financially and socially successful. The belief in demons is not the sole prerogative of the uneducated and the weak–minded.

I believe in their existence because Yehoshua clearly showed that they exist. He did not use those terms to cater to the culture of the times, because the people around Him believed in the existence of demons. He described their activity in Matthew 12:43 – 45, relating what happens when a demon is cast out of a person. He said that it wanders around after that, looking for rest, but it doesn't find it, of course. It then returns to the person that it was cast out of, and if the person has not filled up the void in themself with holy activity and presence, but is still in a state that invites habitation by demons, it goes and gets seven other spirits, worse than itself, and then returns with them and they all take up residence in the person, putting them in a far worse condition than before.

If a person is so blessed as to have their demons cast out of them, they better not take it for granted. If they have not received Yehoshua as their Savioiur, yet, then they need to repent of their sins and do that with all speed. They also need to read the Bible and meditate on it; the more, the better. If a Christian has been set free of their addictions and other bondages, they need to get more of the Word of God into them, as well, and not let the enemy back in when he comes knocking on the door and tapping at the windows. Other helpful activities are singing spiritual songs, receiving the baptism of the Holy Spirit, praying in tongues, entering into thanksgiving to God, and praise and worship, as well as developing more intimacy with Him in through their prayer life.

Logic also tells me that there is a spiritual world that overlaps the material, physical realm, and that evil spirits inhabit it. I read in the news of a pregnant woman who was jailed in South America for political reasons, and when she was in labour, the guards beat her with clubs. There is no way that human beings would ever treat another human being that way, unless they were possessed by devils. The ability of psychiatrists to track a person's descent into insanity and ascribe reasons for such behaviour, and put labels on it more suitable to a materialist belief system, does not negate the activity of demons.

As evil as we are at heart, outside of Christ, it would take millions of years, possibly even billions, of mankind steadily deteriorating to the point where they would practice such levels of depravity and other extreme cruelties, without demonic interference, and it would have to be in a society where absolutely everybody was demented. For this reason, the Bible tells us to not take offenses personally and hold unforgiveness in our hearts, but to realize that our warfare is against "principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places." [Ephesians 6:12]

Human beings were designed to want to be loved. Who is going to love someone who tortures people? That is the sort of person whom it is prudent to stay away from. Who is going to love someone who steals from them? The only reason why we can love someone who hurts us, even if it is in only small ways, is because of the grace of God. It isn't in us, as human beings, to do that on our own. Logic, if it is not interfered with by demonic spirits, would tell us that everybody should treat others as we would like to be treated. We would all cooperate with that golden rule for the sake of having a peaceful, productive life and being loved by others.

Apart from God, we would be completely self–centred. We would have no moral values about living lives of integrity, regardless of the evil activities of others. Whether for good or for evil, there are forces in the spiritual realm that work on human beings, and spirits of deception are among them. One of their functions is to make people believe that nothing exists that they cannot see with their five senses. It is a clever strategy to delude people that they will not continue to exist after they die, in order to keep them from receiving salvation for their soul. The Bible says that satan and his angels will be tormented forever in the Lake of Fire, and they want to take as many souls there with them as they can, but Jesus offers us SALVATION.

There are some people who like to make a big deal out of casting out demons. They want to know all about them, what their names are, and to talk to them. Jesus never let them talk, except for that one time when He told the legion to identify itself. Otherwise, He told them to shut up and come out. If people let demons talk to them, they will become confused. Our human intellect is no match for demonic intelligence. They have all sorts of wiles, and it is their strategy to make people think that casting out demons is a complicated process, and that it usually takes a long time, after hours of hours of toiling in prayer beforehand.

Though I have prayed for people to be delivered of spirits of this, that, and the other, personally, I haven't had any experience in exorcising demons where they came screaming out of someone, and seeing instant change, except to be on the receiving end of that kind of prayer focus, and it was gruelling! This was because the people who ministered to me believed that it is necessarily a long process. They were fairly sensible people, though, compared to others who have shared about their experiences.

I have come to the conclusion that people who are intrigued by intricacies in deliverance feel that their lives would be rather dull, unless they had these big battles with demons. They seem puffed up with pride over having outsmarted the demons, finding all the ones that were hiding, and casting them out. They leave the battle exhausted, but happy over their victories, feeling like great warriors. We can certainly give them credit for persistance, but a truly great warrior is one who has pure, simple faith that gets rid of demons quickly, without putting the poor person who is being ministered to through the mill. It would also be helpful if Christians did not let demons swallow up so much time with these long, drawn–out chases "round and round the mulberry bush."

Westy had some very, very weird ideas about how to cast out demons, as it turned out. But that first evening when he visited, after I got out of the hospital, he left me with just the caution to listen to him, because he was the only one who knew how to help me.

I headed for the bathroom as soon as he left. He literally scared the you–know–what out of me. Listening to all that, only a week after having recovered from a nervous breakdown, was like getting a cast taken off of a broken leg that was newly healed, and then being tied to the back of a car and forced to run at ninety miles an hour. I paid for ignoring the second warning about avoiding all appearance of evil, in regards to allowing that man into my house.

No responsible, sensible person would visit a person who has just been released from the hospital, after suffering a nervous breakdown, and tell them that they'd had horrible visions of them murdering their children. A self–centred person would do something like that, though, to bring them under their control.

I was shaking with terror when I emerged from the bathroom half an hour later. I felt chilled, so I wrapped a comforter around myself and phoned Scott. I told him everything that Westy said to me. We both concluded that he was crazy and needed deliverance. Scott asked me if I wanted to go stay with my sister Pat. I most certainly did not want to be around her. She had no faith in God, and God was who I needed to help me deal with this. I told him that I would be fine; I was going to read the Bible, and that would help.

It did. Reading in Psalms helped me calm down. I copied out several verses that stood out to me, filed the papers away, then went to bed and, miracle of miracles, I actually slept.

The next day, though, anxiety returned in full force. There was still that business of how Westy knew about my friend with the baseball bat. If I'd had more discernment, it would have been obvious that a spirit of divination was operating through him. There were some things in my own soul, though, that I did not discern, such as what Westy had said before about me calling to him. This, along with my confusion about the blackout I had suffered in the hospital, clouded my judgment.

I did not literally call Westy on the phone, but my soul had been sending signals to his. I had been delivered of a demon of lust, but I still had to deal with lust as an issue of my flesh. I could control myself and not be unfaithful to my husband in a physical way, but my mind had often wandered to memories of sexual activity with Westy.

Satan could not get me back into bed with Westy through a direct attack, especially now that I had returned to the Lord after two years of backsliding. Even when I was backsliding, I still remembered that business about seven worse demons coming into a person after they are delivered, if they return to their sin. No, I didn't play around with that, though I came close to it one time after Scott left me.

Scott thought my looks were no longer up to his standards, but other men saw me as very attractive. I had met a tall, fairly good–looking guy at a cabaret, and he made a date with me. For years, I had said to the Lord, "I would rather die than fornicate again, because I don't want to end up worse than before. Lord, please let me die before I would do that." I really meant it (and still do!). But when I had that date with Robert coming up, I bowed my head for shame, and said, "Lord, will You please forget about what I asked you before?"

Instantly, I felt His fury. I think that I was in danger of dropping dead on the spot and would have gone to Hell, except that Jesus stepped in to intercede for me, according to Luke 13:6 – 9, "He spoke also this parable: A certain man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard; and he came and sought fruit thereon, and found none. Then said he unto the dresser of his vineyard, Behold, these three years I come seeking fruit on this fig tree, and find none: cut it down; why cumbers it the ground? And he answering said unto him, Lord, let it alone this year also, till I shall dig about it, and dung it: And if it bear fruit, well: and if not, then after that you shall cut it down."

I quickly backtracked on my prayer about being permitted to commit adultery, but that was how Westy was able to respond to me "calling" to him through my unclean thoughts. Having him turned loose on me was a tough experience, but it wasn't as bad as dying and going to Hell. Yehoshua let me go through some trouble, to see if it would bring me closer to God, or if I would let it turn me against Him. Also, He knew that I had to be cured once and for all of my fantasies about Westy.

My desire to be in contact with Westy, veiled by my need to think of myself as a good Christian, caused me to do some mental flips of my own. Maybe I actually did need deliverance. How else did Westy know about the baseball bat beating? But there had to be a better way than submitting myself to Westy's ideas. Scott's mother and some of her friends had prayed for me many years before to release me from oppression in my mind. What a relief that had been! I called Scott to ask him to speak to his mother about praying for me again. He replied loftily, "No, Lanny, I don't feel that my mother and I can help you." What he meant was that they were unwilling to help me. Satan knew that this was how Scott would respond.

I called Ruby Beasley, a very good friend who was like a mother. I asked her to pray. Ruby didn't think that I needed to be delivered from demons. She just thought that I needed to make God my confidence, and she was right about that. I had been relying for years on other people to pray for me when I had a problem. It was time that I learned to take my problems to God directly and trust Him. I was in a panic, though, and it was going to take a while for me to calm down, after getting more deeply into the Word of God. It had been a long time since I had studied my Bible consistently. I had only recently come back to the Lord and started reading it again.

Scott's cold refusal to help me made me more vulnerable to Westy's manipulation. It became my excuse to let him visit me again. After all, he seemed to care about me, and my children, and willing to help prevent a horrible tragedy. Permitting his visits were also fuelled by a long–held hurt in my heart over how Westy had rejected me over and over when I was a teen. Now he seemed to care about me as a person, at least, if not as a girlfriend.

For the next three months, Westy hovered around me with his flaky ideas about what he thought I needed to do in order to get rid of my demons. He told me that he was my pastor. I was not to have contact with other people, so that I would not contaminate them with my spiritual uncleanness (that's not in the Bible, but I was now very confused), and I was not to read the Bible, or even to think about God.

This was to cause my demons to come out in the open to where they could be cast out. Godly exercise apparently made them burrow down deeper into my psyche, to go into a kind of sleep mode, because they couldn't stand to get too near to holy stuff. Does that make sense? Of course not; LIGHT displaces darkness, but I was so terrified by that man's counterfeit words of knowledge that I accepted what he told me, except for that part about not thinking about God.

Some of this man's directions probably were just hallucinations and did not actually come from him, but I know for sure that he didn't want me to have contact with anyone else. I tried to stay home as much as possible, but sometimes I had to go out for groceries and other errands. I didn't call anyone, but if anyone came to see me, I was glad of the company.

I didn't read the Bible, except for when my advisor gave me permission, but I cheated like crazy by calling to mind as many verses as I could remember, and meditating on them. I was glad that, in previous years, before Scott persuaded me to go to bars with him, I had read the Bible quite a lot. I needed to meditate on the Word of God to hold on to what sanity I had left.

I absolutely refused to obey the instruction that I not think about God. I think that when Westy told me this, it actually was a hallucination. The phantom backed down when it saw that I refused to comply. How could I not think about God. He was my only hope. Would my deliverance not be through His power? Even Westy didn't pretend to have the power to deliver me; just the wisdom to know how to do it, having persuaded me that normal pastors had no understanding about my particular problems, and because he could operate at a higher level of power than them, in regards to delivering people from demons. That was the impression I got from him.

I did not tell my "pastor" that I was listening to Christian programs on the radio because I figured that he would tell me not to. That radio was a lifeline. Some things in the Bible are meant to be taken literally, but not everything. I took various things in the Bible out of context, but sometimes it worked out good for me. I had read a verse about sitting still, so that is what I did. Sitting on my couch hour after hour, listening to that radio, kept me out of trouble. When songs were played, I closed my eyes and imagined myself dancing before the Lord in Heaven. Oh yeah. I was back to believing that soon I was going to die; I was longing to go Home.

My so–called pastor did not deliberately set out to hoax me. He was deceived about his motives for interfering in my life. He actually thought that he wanted to help me. I trusted him because he was the man who had led me to the Lord. I did not think that he would do anything to imperil my immortal soul, but that is just the sort of scenario that satan likes to set up.

It was a spiritual attack that was launched, and it had been working for a long time to put all the pieces into place. Scott had been taken out of the way, so that Westy could get at me. My friend who had been with me in the hospital had also dated this man when she was in her teens, and there were the three of us all having nervous breakdowns at the same time, though we normally didn't have much contact with each other. It was really weird, but the right events all took place to bring it about. My friend went through a big move from another city, and it proved to be too much for her fragile nerves. Even Scott had had a nervous breakdown, though his lasted for only a day, but it was the day that ended our marriage.

There were multiple reasons why Westy wanted to destroy my mind. One of them pertained to the other woman. She was the girl he had also been abusing at the same time that he sexually abused me when I was a teen. In later years, she asked him to come visit her at her parents' home, and when he was there, she sat on her father's lap and told him all about what Westy had done to her. She was a lot stronger of a person than what Westy gave her credit for.

Westy was mortified. He tried to tell me that Miranda (name changed) was schizophrenic and had imagined the whole thing. Who was he trying to kid? He might be able to convince other people that it didn't happen, but I knew better. He not only did those same things to me, but I also heard corroborating stories from other people who were aware of his activities with Miranda.

When I later considered the things he had said about Miranda to discredit her, I realized that he wanted to destroy my sanity, so that he could discredit me, as well. He wanted me to think that I had only imagined that he had sexually abused me, in case I took it into my head to confront him in front of others with similar confessions. If he was going to cover his tracks, he would have to mess with the minds of a lot of women, because he fornicated with a lot of them. I was aghast when I realized the extent of Westy's selfishness, that he would go so far as to try to drive someone crazy, in order to protect his reputation.

Oddly, though he bragged about his affair with me to the man who stood for him as his best man at his wedding, his friend seemed to think that I was the seductress in the situation. That was probably Westy seemed to think so. If he felt lust for someone, then he thought it was because they had a seducing spirit, although he recognized that he was oversexed, and said that he took after his father in that respect.

Did his close friend not know what a dog Westy was about women? How could he have hidden it from him? When Scott and I were engaged, that friend took it upon himself to try to warn Scott against marrying me, because he knew for a fact that I wasn't a virgin. It was pathetic, especially because that man hypocritically had lustful thoughts about me himself.

During our engagement, that guy and another young man came across Scott and I when we were sunbathing. I was wearing my bikini, and those two guys stood there for quite some time, making conversation with me. I didn't want to talk to them. I wanted them to go away. I was so dense that it wondered why they were talking to me for so long, and it wasn't until after they left that I realized why. Scott just laid there next to me on the blanket, his eyes closed behind his sunglasses, smiling smugly, without saying a word. Finally, those guys moved on, and one of them tripped as they were leaving, which made Scott chuckle with satisfaction, as he remarked, "Tripped on a blade of grass."

I never kept it a secret from Scott that I'd had a past. After he left me, he prissily told people that he had been "shocked" when he learned that I used to hang out with bikers. Well, maybe he was, but he had gotten over his shock long ago. I was the one who told him that I used to have biker boyfriends, and it didn't stop him from asking me to marry him. He told me about his former lovers, too. We were both sinners, saved by grace.

Even in the seventies, there were plenty of Christian young people, both male and female, who had behaved foolishly before they received Jesus as their Saviour, and even afterwards when they gave in to the lusts of the flesh, until they gained some spiritual maturity and learned how to control themselves. When I went to high school, there were a lot of girls who lost their virginity at around fourteen years of age. Nowadays, our society has become so sexualized that they are losing it at around ten to twelve years old.

Westy asked me what Scott was like in regards to sex. I didn't go into any detail, but I told him that he wanted to have sex three times a day. Westy said that was because I had a seducing spirit. How did that explain Scott running after women? Just think of it, ladies. The reason why men lust after women is because women have a seducing spirit; it's got nothing to do with men having a demon of lust, or any of us being attractive–looking and desire being a normal response to that.

I certainly didn't look like a siren when Westy visited to "help" me get rid of my demons. I didn't wear make–up, because I had a notion that it was ungodly, due to my childhood upbringing, and I shaved my head, because I thought I was going to get boils. That last one is a bit of a reach, eh? Heaven help me, when Westy experimented with letting me read the Bible from time to time, I got into the book of Leviticus. I read in the Laws of Moses how a leper who has been cleansed, or a person who has been healed of boils, is supposed to shave all their hair and make an offering to the priest for their cleansing.

I felt like a spiritual leper; Westy said that I had demons. I certainly felt rejected, with Scott leaving me. Satan put the idea in my mind, though I thought it was God warning me to prepare for the trial, that I was going to get boils. I decided, as an act of faith, that I would shave my hair in advance, as a sign that I believed God would heal me of the boils. Westy never believed that I was going to get boils. When he came around, it was to see me in dresses down to my knees, with no make–up, and I had a kerchief wrapped around my head.

My family was shocked when they saw that I had shaved my head. They were starting to realize that my problems were more serious than they had thought, at first. Pat was so kind and gentle. She said soothingly, "Oh, it's okay. Hair grows back." It was really something how nice to me she was when I was ill. I could even talk to her about God, without her flipping out about it. She listened, but she didn't take it seriously because she thought I was nuts. I was to some extent, but not completely.

She knew that Westy was hanging around, and she was furious with him. She figured that he had something to do with me shaving my head. God bless her, she phoned his house and wanted to talk to him. Lily asked who she was and why she wanted to talk to Westy. Pat told her that she was my sister, and she wanted Westy to stop messing with my head.

That got Lily on his case. He explained the situation to her, as he understood it, and I suppose he convinced her, to some extent, that I needed his counsel, but she kept a closer watch on him and it made him tread more carefully, slowing him down. It didn't hurt for him to know that Pat was aware that he was meddling with me. He took her pretty seriously; he knew she was a tough chick.

The day after I met Westy, he and his room–mate took Pat and me out for Chinese food. Pat sat in the backseat of his car with the room–mate, and the first couple times that Westy heard her use profanity, he playfully reached back and smacked her arm, telling her to mind her language. She slugged his arm back each time, hard, and sharply told him that she wasn't going to take orders from him. He knew when to quit.

I knew what Westy was getting at when he said that I had a seducing spirit. He did not want to take any blame for his evil desires and actions. He wanted to think of himself as a man of God, whom satan was targeting to take him down by throwing sirens in his path. When I met him on the beach, he talked to my sister and me before we talked to him. I was dressed in jeans and a chocolate brown turtle neck sweater. It was Pat who was wearing a bikini, and he controlled himself when he was told that she was married. He hit me with a Frisbee toss before I began to speak to him. I was under the impression that he and his cousin from out of town went to the beach that day to meet girls.

One day, when I was talking to Westy on the phone, he told me about a huge demon that he had seen outside his second story, bedroom window. He said that his wife had seen it, too, and asked him what was going on. Apparently, Lily realized that he was involved in a big, spiritual conflict. Was that real or a hallucinated conversation? I don't know, but it doesn't matter. It did not achieve its desired effect. I sat calmly in my kitchen listening to him brooding about it and told him to not worry. He protested, "But he's big!" I thought cheerfully in my mind, "But God is bigger!"

Another time when he was at my place, and going on and on in a panic about how awful my situation was, I calmly replied, "I thank God for this situation." His eyes bugged out and he cried, "How can you say that?" I said, "Because I have never before felt God so close to me."

It was amazing to actually feel the presence of God. His loving kindness truly is better than life. Those used to just be printed words on a page, but now I knew for myself that they are true. His Word says in James 4:8, "Come near to God and He will come near to you." Though confusing thoughts assaulted my mind and dreadful fears assailed my heart, it all pressed me closer to God, to seek His comfort, and His comfort was always there.

I had dreams that were so vivid that they seemed real, until I woke up and realized that I'd been asleep. I saw demons in those dreams, and one of them grinned and bit me, but God kept me calm. I had a hallucination that I was clawed and my back burned like fire, but Yehoshua held my hand and it didn't matter. It was like I was an orange and the rind was my body. It was something that was only happening to my body, the outer surface, but it couldn't affect the real me, which was the inside of the orange.

I lay sleeping one night when I felt a sharp jab in my side, like someone had poked me. I sensed the presence of a demon, and knew it was having a laugh at my expense. With my heart pounding, I jolted into a sitting position and desperately quoted over and over, "The Name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous runneth into it and are safe!" As I kept saying those words, peace came from deep inside me and spread throughout my soul until I was calm again. God is so faithful.

Another night, something seemed to lift me from my pillow into a sitting position and hold me in its grip. I was terrified. I felt like I was hanging over the pit of Hell. I heard a computerized–type of voice speaking blasphemies. I said to the Lord, "Lord, even though I hang over the pit of Hell, I trust You."

To drown out that electronic–sounding voice with its filth, I tried to think of Scripture, but it was hard to think, so I sang Jesus Loves Me. When I got to the last line of the first verse, whatever held me suddenly let go. When God lets us hang over the pit of Hell, it is so that, when He sloughs some junk off us, it can go directly into the garbage.

I found that I had actually been lying down in bed the whole time. I lay there and thought about that song and realized that it has great power in it, and it is a wonderful gift to a child, if they are taught it. It is a simple confession of faith and trust in Yehoshua. I had confessed that, on the basis of His Word, I knew He loved me. I confessed that I belong to Him, admitted that I was weak, and expressed trust in His strength. It is as the Apostle Paul said; God's power and glory rests on our weakness.

I had a vivid dream where I was going through a basement and I saw a horrible–looking demon with a bubbly, black face that reminded me of a burnt marshmallow. Then something happened and the face dropped off. It was only a mask, and what had been a frightening–looking demon was now just a big, fat, over–grown kid who was rolling around on the floor, blubbering and hugging himself. When I awoke, I asked the Lord, "What was that?" He replied, "It is a spirit of self–pity. Self–pity is immature."

Self–pity had been one of my biggest failings. I had been a marshmallow. I really needed to see that vision to drive home to me that it was time I grew up and stopped feeling sorry for myself about how I had been burnt (cheated out of what I felt entitled to). It helped me a lot in the years that followed because, in some ways, life got more difficult than ever before, yet it was easier to deal with because I was more emotionally mature.

In another dream, I saw myself looking down a long corridor. I felt like a zombie; I had no emotions. It was far worse to have no emotions than to feel grief. It was like being the living dead. There were many doors in the corridor, and out of each of them stepped doctors, nurses, and orderlies in white clothing. They all smiled, said hello, and waved at me. I knew that they were angels of mercy.

This dream showed me what I had been doing with my emotions when my husband gave me pain with his infidelity and drinking. I had been pushing my pain down inside of me, below my level of consciousness, because it hurt too much. This is what happens, if we do not deal assertively with other people's misbehaviour, or consciously acknowledge our unhappiness.

One time, when I was doing laundry, I saw the little, red velvet dress that my daughter had worn when Scott took her to meet his mistress. I had thought he wanted me to get Heather dressed up to go visit his drinking buddy. When I learned the truth later, I never put that dress on her again. It remained stashed behind a basket in the laundry room.

When I saw it there, after I pulled the laundry basket out that day, it seemed like my brain turned off and I had no thoughts in it. Seemingly of its own volition, my hand reached out and poked the dress a couple of times, and then I put the basket back to hide it from my view. I thought that I had forgiven my husband; he had confessed the affair to me, after he felt convicted about it by the Holy Spirit and had broken up with his mistress. My action in the laundry room showed me that I was still in a lot of pain over what he'd done. The angels in my dream, though, showed that God was going to heal me.

Westy took me to a revival meeting where an elderly couple named Walsh were ministering. He asked them to come to my house afterwards to cast my demons out. He suggested that they round up four strong men to hold me down when the demons started manifesting, but Mr. Walsh shook his head and said it would not be necessary.

I told the Walshes my story after they arrived, such as I understood it. Mr. Walsh did not seem to agree that I needed deliverance. He said, "I don't sense that you are demon–possessed." I wasn't possessed, but they sure were bugging me, trying to get in.

When we all sat down at the table for tea afterwards, Mr. Walsh said that, when he walked into my house, he sensed the presence of a lot of angels. I nodded my head and said, "Yes, I know that there are demons here, but twice as many of God's angels are here. God showed me in a dream that He has sent angels of mercy to help me." Mr. Walsh smiled approvingly.

The Walshes talked for a while and told edifying stories about God's miracles, signs, and wonders that they had personally experienced. They talked about how, when they were driving to a city where they were supposed to hold a meeting, a flock of doves flew alongside their car. It was wonderful to see, but when they got to the city, the doves turned aside and flew away. The Walshes decided that, if the Holy Spirit didn't want to go to that city, they didn't either, so they turned around and went somewhere else.

They also talked about the colours of the rainbow, and what they meant, and how our favourite colour identifies our destiny. They said that purple was the colour of royalty. I said that my favourite colour is lavender. Mrs. Walsh said enthusiastically, "Oh, that's the colour of royalty, with suffering." Ouch! That didn't sound very cheerful and promising, but it didn't make me stop liking lavender. It did confirm, however, my desire to die soon and get out of this messy world.

I solemnly told the Walshes how I was sure that I was going to die before the end of the year. They shook their heads and Mrs. Walsh said, "We don't sense that at all. We feel that God has a ministry for you." I thought, "Well, I sure hope that I can get it over with really soon because I want to go Home!"

The next day, as I was sitting on the couch, meditating on the Lord, something in the aquarium off to my right caught my eye. My children's bath toys, a little, pink porpoise and a blue sea lion, were floating in it. I felt terrified. I couldn't remember putting them in there. I must have had another blackout, like in the hospital. Westy had made much about my blackout, telling me it was proof that, unless I let him help me, I would do terrible things my children, without being aware of what I was doing. My heart felt like it was going to jump out of my chest at the evidence that I'd had another blackout.

God spoke to my mind and said, "It's okay, Lanny. I saw you do it. I'm in control. I know what's going on, and it's okay." He then spoke to me in puns, the meaning of which has convinced me that it was God who directed me to put those toys in the aquarium. He said, "It has a porpoise (purpose); see lion." I got the dictionary out and looked up lion. It gave for an example "beard the lion in its den", meaning to go straight to the heart of a matter.

When Westy permitted me to read the Bible during my illness, I came across three different accounts of when Jerusalem was besieged by Sennacherib during King Hezekiah's reign. I was greatly edified by this story. In it, God said to Sennacherib, through the prophet Isaiah in 2 Kings 19:27 & 28, "But I know your abode, and your going out, and your coming in, and your rage against me. Because your rage against me and your tumult is come up into my ears, therefore I will put my hook in your nose, and my bridle in your lips, and I will turn you back by the way by which you came." God reassured me, through those little toys in my aquarium, that He knew all about what was causing me so much trouble, and He was going to deal with it.

I told Westy about how God was blessing me so much through that story. He laughed and said that Sennacherib sounded like a name for barbeque sauce. I thought, "Yeah, but it's going to be the devil who gets barbequed; not me!" Satan was trying to make me think that I was going to renounce God and go to Hell.

Another part of the story that really grabbed me was in 2 Kings 19:21 & 22, "This is the word that the LORD has spoken concerning him; The virgin, the daughter of Zion has despised you, and laughed you to scorn; the daughter of Jerusalem has shaken her head at you. Whom have you reproached and blasphemed? and against whom have you exalted your voice, and lifted up your eyes on high? even against the Holy One of Israel." Satan's attack against me was against God because, by virtue of the Blood of Yehoshua, I am His child.

I had all sorts of weird notions about what was going to happen to me, and what I was supposed to do to get delivered from demons. Some of the latter came out of my own mind, and some were suggested, either by Westy, or by the phantom that emulated him. I was not in a hurry to do things contrary to the Word of God, so I asked the Lord to confirm, by various signs, if I really was supposed to go ahead with those bizarre directives. At one point, I thought the Lord was saying to me that one confirmation would be that He would cause the sun to go backward by ten degrees, as He had for Hezekiah.

I was absolutely boggled that God would do such a thing for me. It made my brain feel all floaty, like it was filled with helium. Some days went by, though, and the sign did not come to pass. Common sense pricked my ballooning ego as I thought with shame, "What an idiot! How could you have thought that God was going to stop the Earth and make it spin in another direction, just for you, a boring, little housewife who has never done anything of importance comparable to Hezekiah or Joshua? If He was going to do such a mighty sign and wonder again for one individual, it would have been prophesied in the Bible. Who are you to think that you warrant a sign and wonder of cosmic proportions?"

I could not believe that I could be so stupid, but pride makes people stupid. Much to my distress, figuring out that this had been a delusion offered no protection against other delusions. I still got ridiculous notions, and it was not until after they had tormented me for a while with anxiety, or blew me up with pride, that God shot them down. I felt like satan was toying with me and having some good laughs over my easy credulity.

When I brought up the delusion about the boils to Westy, after having spoken about it many times before, he rolled his eyes and said, "The boils!" After I recovered from my illness, I told a friend about this and we giggled. It felt good that I could laugh over something that happened to me at that trying time.

One day, as I lay on my bed in the room I had shared with Scott, still convinced that the boils were going to happen, it seemed that the devil said to my mind, "I am going to utterly destroy you!" I thought of the Scripture about the daughter of Zion laughing Sennacherib to scorn, and I laughed. I genuinely, heartily laughed, as I replied scornfully, "God and I know that isn't true!"

I fretted for weeks about that rotten delusion, until one day when I was reading in the Bible about counting the cost. I had never understood that Scripture before. I had gone along with the traditional teaching on it that, before embarking on serving the Lord in some way, we should do a sober assessment and consider the cost before we venture forth, and not do it, if we don't have what it takes.

The previous year, I had heard Nora Lam speak at the church I attended. She testified of how she had received Jesus as her Saviour when she attended a missionary school in China, but she wandered away from the Lord when the Communists took over. Her focus, as a young adult, was to obtain a law degree, and she was very proud of her high marks. She was chosen to teach about law to a classroom of soldiers.

Then came the day that the Communists took her aside and interrogated her about how she felt about her Christian training and previous profession of faith. She suddenly decided that she would not deny the Lord, and she was tortured because of that. She said, under torture, one no longer thinks of their comfort; her prayers were that God would just help her to endure.

Later, she was taken outside to be shot by a firing squad, but a bright light flashed around her when the soldiers fired, and none of the bullets hit her. Since they could not kill Nora, the Communists sent her to a labour camp where, though she was seven months pregnant, she was forced to carry, on her back, sacks of coal that weighed over a hundred pounds. She eventually was allowed to leave the country.

I was sitting on a bench in the foyer, after the service ended, when Nora came over and sat next to me. I felt awkward and did not know what to say, similar to how Peter and James and John felt when they saw Yehoshua with Moses and Elijah on the Mount of Transfiguration. I told her that I admired her very much and felt so ashamed because I had never suffered for the Lord like she had.

Nora was probably exhausted from preaching and really didn't want to talk to anyone, and she didn't seem to know what to say in reply to my foolish babbling, so she said nothing, and I felt more awkward. Why would anyone actually WANT to suffer? Being willing to suffer makes sense, if it cannot honourably be avoided, but actually wanting to suffer does not.

While pondering the verse about counting the cost, I thought about whether I could stay faithful to God, in spite of going through a lot of pain. I don't like pain. I never have. I have always been a big chicken where pain is concerned. I was sure that being covered from head to toe with boils was going to hurt far beyond anything that I could imagine. I finally just gave up and said, "No, Lord, I don't think that I can go through that and be faithful to You."

I no sooner finished thinking that when light suddenly burst into my mind, and I thought, "But God can!" I could not remain faithful to Him, in my strength, under those circumstances, but God could enable me. That is what those verses mean. We need to count the cost and realize that we can't face overwhelming odds ourselves, but God can! He can make us victorious. He can help us persevere in ministry that He has directed us to do, even if the work and opposition seems impossible!

After that, I was no longer worried about the boils, so satan backed off because there was no more point in badgering me about it.

I was going through Hell, but Heaven was superimposed over it like a poultice on a wound. I was being comforted and learning many spiritual truths that were setting me free. I felt that I was in a fiery furnace like Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, but, like them, the only things that were being burnt were my bondages.

It thrilled me when I received that revelation about how the ropes were burnt in the fiery furnace. I could hardly believe it that I was receiving so much insight into the Bible on my own, without ever having heard it preached by a pastor. Leading me deeper into His truth was one of the ways that the Comforter assured me that He was with me.

One day, I stopped and said to the Lord, "I don't know how anyone ever gets through things like this, if they don't have You in it with them." I was so glad that He helped me turn back to Him and get my heart right before I went through this trial.

It isn't something that I would want to ever go through again, but, in the midst of the fiery furnace, I learned many, many truths that I cherish. I will be placing some of those insights on my EARLANA MANNA page.

I also started to write poetry at that time, and it was a great comfort to meditate on the Lord in rhyme. It brought my meditating on the Word into an intense focus that discouraged distracting thoughts.

I began to draw again. I am not a great talent, but I draw better than average. For a long time, however, I was angry with the Lord that I wasn't more talented in that area. Leonardo da Vinci was the artist whose work I admired the most, and Rembrandt was a close second. All I could turn out were pretty, female faces. I couldn't get the bodies to look exactly right. I probably could, if I had more training. Back then, I just tossed my drawings in the garbage and, for seven years, refused to draw, except for little cartoons for my kids.

When I was ill, God spoke to my heart and said, "Your mother's family has artistic ability. None of you are Leonardo da Vincis, but a little talent is better than no talent at all. So use it." I stopped being such a baby about not being better at drawing and did a couple of paintings when I was ill. They weren't anything special in an artistic sense, but they turned out better than what I thought I could do.

I wondered about that woman who said that God told her to be my friend. My understanding of friendship is that, sometimes, friends get together with you. Where was she? It had been three months since she had come to my place for tea. I learned later that she was praying for me twice a day all that time, and that her brother was praying for me, too.

God was speaking her. He was telling her to go visit me, but it took three times until He was practically yelling it at her before she went. Someone tried to run her off the Port Mann Bridge on her way to my place. She knew that satan was trying to keep her away. It just made her more determined to go because it indicated that God intended to do something powerful in regards to me.

When she arrived, we sat down for tea again and talked. Charity (name changed) said that she had been through a couple of nervous breakdowns. One of them was when she was going through post–partum depression. There was almost no food in her cupboards and her husband gave her a measly $20.00 to buy groceries for their family of four. Charity had suffered for years from her husband's unreasonable expectations. When this event intersected with her health being at low ebb, it caused her mind to snap and she was ill for a year. She talked about some of the weird stuff that she experienced during that time.

It wasn't exactly the same weird stuff that was happening to me, but close enough. I thought, "She would understand what I am going through!" I didn't know that I was having a nervous breakdown. I thought of it as merely a spiritual attack. I talked to her about my experiences, and Charity said that she would bring a friend to visit me the next day. I agreed to this.

She also said that she was going to bring me some Vitamin B, which she did. Charity said it is needed for a healthy brain, and my system was probably depleted. It likely was. I didn't feel much like eating, nor did I have any healthy food in the house; it was all packaged stuff.

The friend was a psychiatric nurse, named Pat Lamont, who attended her church. The pastor, who I listened to on the radio, knew of my situation and sent Pat to see if I needed to be hospitalized. Pat was a short, white–haired, warm–hearted woman in her fifties. Before she was saved, she was a guard in a men's prison and she used to swear a lot. She said that she had a tongue that could have stripped wallpaper. God must have really changed her because I found her to be very gentle.

My friend Debbie also attended our get–together. Everything that those three women said to me made sense. Suddenly, I wasn't having any more problems with confusion. This was because the meeting had been prepared by prayer. I said that I wanted to die to be with Yehoshua. Debbie replied, "But, Lanny, you don't have to die to be with Jesus. Jesus is right here with you now." Then Pat said, "Time is very short compared to Eternity. If I were to live for ninety years, it would be nothing more than a blink of an eye, compared to the rest of Eternity." I got the point that I would still being going to Heaven soon, even if I lived for another fifty years.

Pat was still a bit earthy in her speech, even if she didn't use outright profanity. She talked to me about how I didn't have to receive the packages that the Devil delivered to my door and said, "If someone came into my house and threw sh*t all over my walls, I would tell them, 'You clean that up and get out of here!'" Then she laughed in embarrassment and said, "Don't tell the pastor that I used that word."

I thought that she made a very good point, regardless of how she worded it. It was a very apt description of what satan wanted to do to my life, and he had even plagued my mind with that very thing, trying to get me to do this in a literal way, but I had refused. I went the other way, keeping my house clean and always tidy because I abhorred the idea of such a thing. Pat's use of that phrase was actually a word of knowledge from the Lord that totally hit home. It goes to show how powerful counselling can be, when the counsellor has been prepared beforehand with prayer.

I asked Pat if a person is responsible for what they do, if they don't know what they are doing. While waving her hand to make her point, she replied sternly, "Oh, sure, Lanny. Take that attitude, until you go out there (somewhere outside of my house), and do something that is going to land you in a hospital, where you won't have your freedom."

I instantly accepted that schizophrenia is not an excuse for bad things that people do. One can understand that a person might have a temporary case of it, when they have been overstressed beyond endurance, but it is stupid to let it go on longer, when one has the means to snap out of it. The truth of God's Word and repentance were key for me. Psalms 107:20 says, "He sent his word, and healed them, and delivered them from their destructions."

When we talked privately later, Pat asked if I had committed adultery with the man who had been visiting me. I thought about how Westy had vigorously denied that he'd done anything of that nature, when I had tried to talk to him about a few of the bizarre experiences that I supposed we had together. I assumed that he couldn't remember because he had a split personality, and I had railed at him, "You're schitz, you're schitz, you're schitz!" I said to Pat, "He would say no, but I would say yes." She said, "Well, it doesn't matter if you actually have or not. You need to repent of it." I prayed with her and asked God's forgiveness.

A few days later, God showed Charity, during her prayer time, that I thought that I had committed adultery, but I hadn't. I hadn't said anything about it to anyone but Pat. I asked, "Do you mean to tell me that it wasn't real?" She nodded. I asked, "But how can that be? Can a person really smell and feel things that aren't real?" I had never had a hallucination before I was ill, except for when I closed my eyes and meditated when I did TM in my teens, but that involved only things I could see and it was all very blurry. When I had the hallucinations about Westy, it was as real as ordinary life, and the common aspects of the hallucinations, such as sitting at a table, drinking coffee, contributed to the realism. Charity confirmed that all of a person's five senses can operate when they hallucinate. I asked her if she had experienced the same thing when she was ill, and she said that she had. Now that I realized that I had been hallucinating, things finally made sense.

I had wondered about those weird experiences; they had been so unpleasant. While it was occurring, I asked the Lord, "Why are you letting this happen to me?" He replied, "Just trust me." Those experiences came out of my own mind, reruns, in a sense, of what Westy used to do to me. In one of the hallucinations, he said, "You're a bad girl." I had thought, "What a weirdo." He was talking like a pedophile.

It turned out that he was a pedophile, though I wasn't consciously aware of it then. Westy ended up going to jail for molesting one of his daughters.

During the hallucination, I thought, "Oh, here we go again. He's blaming me for his lust. He thinks that I deserve to be punished." It's true that he thought that, but I, also, thought I deserved to be punished, which was why I was attracted to dysfunctional men who brought misery into my life. I had been raised with the religious concept that God is stern and makes up rules to ensure that people don't have too much fun, and that He is eager to jump on us with His big club when we step out of line. I don't recall hearing anything in my childhood about how God is Love.

I had been sinning ever since I could remember, being angry at people, fighting with my brothers and sisters. I had some older cousins who laughed and called me "Tiger", because of how I scratched when we all got into a tussle at their house one time. My siblings and I were all tigers, except for our little sister Lorrie, but I excused them for being that way a lot easier than I excused myself. When I thought about the sin in our fights, I thought only about my sin, not theirs, and I was sure that I was going to end up in Hell.

When I left home, I indulged in activities that had been forbidden by my parents. When bad things happened to me, I felt angry at those who perpetrated the offenses, but I figured that God let those things happen because I deserved it, due to my rebellion against Him.

God is is a loving Father. Twice, in my teens, I was raped while hitchhiking. I was angry at God about that. I thought that He let it happen to me because I was a fornicator. No loving father would allow their son or daughter to be raped because they had been disobedient to him. Only a psychotic parent would behave like that. If a wholesome earthly father would not permit such a thing, when it is in their power to prevent it, God most certainly is not less loving.

Bad things happen, sometimes, simply because we live in a fallen world. The miracle is that, considering how satan and his thugs are running around on this planet and busily stirring things up, by God's grace, bad things don't happen ALL the time.

God didn't want me to experience those hallucinations, but He allowed them because I was so stubborn that it took being hit by a two by four, so to speak, to teach me, once and for all, that Westy was very dysfunctional, and that he was not a good man to be paired up with. I never got any sexual gratification from those fantasies; in fact, they were very frustrating. It was typical of how he was a tease, leading women on, then withdrawing, to make them want him all the more. He never gave his heart to anyone, not even to his own wife.

No man, who truly loves a woman, would ever molest her child. It is the ultimate betrayal. A woman would usually rather than die, than for her child to be harmed that way, especially by their own father. I suppose that molesting his daughter was Westy's way of assuring himself that he was free of any hold that Lily had on him, besides indulging his lust on a young girl.

I would have never guessed that Westy was like that, going by how he was with his little nieces when I dated him. They were so cute, and he seemed like a very fond uncle, laughing and teasing them in an affectionate way that didn't involve anything suspicious. He probably never meddled with them, but, in my subconscious, I knew that he was pedophile. I think that his tendency for it was a major reason why God kept telling me no, when I used to beg for Him to let me marry Westy. There had been some prayer shields around me. Scott didn't behave very much like a prince, but he never gave me any worries about our children in that regard. The hallucination didn't fully make sense, until I heard that Westy had been sent to jail for that crime.

When he visited me, he told me that he had been raped when he was a child. I think that he really did say that to me; that it wasn't a hallucination. This is because I could recall, from my teen years, that he told me that he hates sticky stuff. One time, I teased him that I was going to smear some jam on him, and he shoved himself backwards, with his eyes popping out in horror. His extreme reaction was probably due to stickiness reminding him of his rapist's semen.

That is not to say that every person who is raped is going to turn out to be a rapist or pedophile themselves, but it was true in his case. He hated the people whom he thought should have protected him from it happening. In his bitterness, he lashed out at many people, making them suffer for what happened to him, though they had nothing to do with it. He wanted to be reassured, over and over again, that he was the one who was in control.

The people who hurt us are always in control, until we forgive them. They might not be around anymore, but they are still controlling our emotions. When we forgive them, we get back that part of our soul that they stole from us.

Also, when we forgive them, we help them to repent of their sins. They might not always choose to do that, but forgiving people gives back the part of their soul that we take from them, when we hold grudges, and it makes it easier for them to repent, if they want to. Wanting them to be free is the best reason to forgive others, but if we hold on to part of their soul through unforgiveness, because we don't want them to be free, that illicit part of their soul will keep on seeping poison into ours and spiritually kill us, eventually. It will send us to Hell, whereas they might genuinely repent of their sins and get to go to Heaven. How about that? Wouldn't it be better for all of us to get to go to Heaven?

Some people might think that I'm not very forgiving, that it is unloving of me to talk about how Scott and Westy hurt me, but what I feel about these events now is not anything like what I used to feel. It is true that love covers a multitude of sins, but have we really understood what that means? There is no record of the saints' mistakes in Heaven, but God saw fit to give us a record of some of their mistakes in the Bible, so that others can learn from them while we are in our Earth life, and avoid those mistakes.

It took me a long time to figure out the dynamics of my relationships with Scott and Westy. I would have appreciated it, if there had been some other person's experiences and insights, at that time, without all the difficult psychological terms, to help me find my way through the maze. God didn't put any of those terms in the Bible, but His Word has helped many people, in centuries past, to find their way to freedom. My testimony about these things is how God helped me get free of the snares that were set for me, citing some of the verses that were key to unlocking the chains in my mind that held me in servitude to controllers.

I was a controller, as well, and I am not completely free of it, but I sure am better than what I used to be. That is how it is for all us. We can become progressively less controlling, as we become more liberated from the fear of man. Proverbs 29:25 says, "The fear of man brings a snare: but whoso puts his trust in the LORD shall be safe." One of the most common fears of man is the fear of not being accepted, hence the tendency to please others, even according to their unreasonable expectations, so that they will look on us with favour.

Scott and Westy told a lot of lies. How are they ever going to get on track with God, without admitting their wrongs? They probably don't remember most of what they did, because who wants to face up to being the kind of person who would do such things? The Bible says, though, that a humble and contrite spirit, God will not despise. A side benefit is that, when we are willing to admit to what we've done, and truly know that God forgives us, all the shame drains away.

I don't feel that I need to expose everything that they did wrong, but unless I tell enough of the story, who could make any sense of what happened to me? How would damaged people find enough markers in it to help them make sense of their own lives? This story isn't about putting labels on people that psychologists are familiar with. It's about getting to the bottom line. They sinned, and I sinned, too, and we needed to repent to God, and ask Him to forgive us, and to get help, so that we could break out of destructive patterns. My help mainly came from the Bible. The Bible gives us more powerful keys to change our lives than anything that can be obtained through a book on psychology.

When Pat, Debbie, Charity, and I were sitting around the kitchen table, Pat read to me from the Bible about how curses and blessings were set before the children of Israel, and they were told to choose between death and life, and exhorted to choose life. She said, "God says that you have a decision to make. I urge you to choose life."

I thought about the weird stuff that Westy (and/or hallucinations of him) had been telling me that I needed to do to be delivered from demons. I asked the Lord, in my heart, what He thought about it. He replied resoundingly, "It's a lie; it's a lie; it's a lie." I decided to believe that this was the voice of God. After all, it was in line with the Bible. Westy had been telling me things that were contrary to the Bible, but it was supposed to be okay, though I recall a time when it frazzled even him, and he said in frustration, "I don't even know what is right or wrong anymore!" I made my decision at that moment to stop listening to Westy.

God kept the word that He said to me when I saw the bath toys in the aquarium. He knew how the symptoms of illness had gotten into me, and He took it out by the same way it went in. He showed me that it got in through a lie. I believed the lie that I was ill; as a result, I acted like I had that illness. As soon as I stopped believing the lie, the symptoms of illness were gone. God hooked the lie by His Truth and dragged it out.

Charity said that she was delivered the same way. Psychologists wanted to put the blame for her nervous breakdown on her upbringing, and it was a dysfunctional upbringing. Her father had a brain injury that sometimes caused him to be violent, and her parents put too much responsibility on her at a young age, but, generally, both her parents had hearts of gold. Her father helped her when she was ill by sitting by her bed, night after night for a year, watching over her.

Finally, they went to a Christian counsellor, who didn't look for anyone to blame for her condition. He just looked Charity in the eye and said, "You're not ill." She received that word, and her symptoms instantly stopped. The difference between a person denying their illness and refusing to take their medication, and what happened to my friend, is that Charity received a genuine revelation from God. Pure, simple faith in the Lord Jesus Christ is much more effective than years of training in psychology, though God will use psychology to help people, if that is all that they have faith for. It takes a lot longer, though, to get healed that way.

Pat Lamont also ministered to Debbie and Charity. She received a word of knowledge about Charity, and prayed for her to be healed of wounds that were inflicted on her when she was a baby, when her mother said hurtful things to her when she was in her crib. Charity confronted her mother later, saying, "You said bad things to me when I was a baby in my crib." Her mother's face went white and she said, "Yes, I did. I was hurting because my family was being so mean to me, and I used to take it out on you because I thought you were too young for it to affect you. I used to lean on your crib and say, 'You're an ugly baby.'"

I thought of Scott the day he had a nervous breakdown and beat me. His parents, who are now deceased, had a troubled relationship when they were first married, and his mother did not have anyone to confide in, so she used to take her baby out in his stroller and pour out her troubles to him. She figured it would do him no harm because he was too young to understand, but he got all the negative vibes and his spirit picked up the poison that had flowed out of hers. That day that he was talking very strange, he told me horrible stories about his Dad. I thought, "How could he know about this stuff? He must have been a baby when it happened." If his father had ever been like that, he certainly wasn't anymore.

Scott's father hardly paid any attention to him when he was a youngster, and he was bitter about it. He liked Harry Chapin's song about a son whose father wanted to spend time with him, a father who hadn't had time for him when he was a child. He told his father that he was too busy, but he would get together with him some day, and they would have a good time then, repeating back the words that had been said to him when he was a child. My husband used to brood when he played that song, and say that he was going to get back at his father. Ironically, he became like that to his own children.

When he was sober, Scott did not speak in a hostile manner about his father. He seemed to get along with his father quite well, but his Dad was a simple soul, who had been raised in a poor, peasant family in Poland, and he had a learning disability. He had been able to go only up to Grade 3 in his country.

When Scott's parents married, his father could not speak English, but my mother–in–law saw that he was affable and behaved kind to people, so she thought that everything would work out all right. She did not realize that he was not anywhere near her intellectual level, and that he had very low self–esteem, which made problems for her because, after they became one flesh, she was lumped in with what he thought of himself.

People mistreat their mates because they think of themselves as losers, so they think that anyone who joins up with them must be stupid, and, therefore, losers, too. It may not be good for a man to be alone, but we usually can't help a person who has low self–esteem by marrying them. It's wiser to just be friends and try to help them from a safer emotional distance, if one is able to influence them for the better.

Also, it probably isn't a good idea to marry someone whom we barely know, and particularly if there is a language barrier that prevents us from being able to gauge their intelligence and level of sensitivity. My mother–in–law was at a low spiritual ebb when she married. She was backslidden and living her life as she pleased, instead of according to God's plan.

She also had a very controlling mother who always disapproved of her boyfriends, no matter how respectable they were. Like Moses when he lost his temper with the Israelites' complaining and failed to obey God's instructions to the letter, and it brought about a judgment upon him, my mother–in–law thought to show her mother that she would do as she pleased when her mother criticized a boyfriend again, after having to listen to her harangues so many times before. She bitterly regretted her mistake. She missed out on ever being deeply in love with the man she married, though she eventually became used to her husband and comfortable with having him around.

One time when his mother brought Scott's name forward for prayer in a prayer meeting, a woman there said that she saw him as a blue rose. I knew instantly what it meant when my mother–in–law told me what the woman had said. Scott is a hybrid, something rare and special, as the result of an unlikely union. It may not have always been apparent that he is rare and special, but God always sees what is deep in the heart, and the end of a thing from the beginning.

Ironically, my mother–in–law used to attend the same prayer meeting as a woman who became my employer thirty years later. Kathie even used to go and pick Jane up to bring her to the meeting. She laughed when she said that Jane frequently asked prayer for her daughter–law, who was quite a problem. Kathie said that she had found Jane somewhat annoying, because of how so many people always held her up so high, as if she could never do any wrong. Well, thank God, Jane prayed for me, in spite of her dislike, and asked for prayer on my behalf. It probably contributed towards me being able to become a secretary for the ministry that Kathie helped to start.

My father–in–law's wife and his son were just a part of the background in his life; he was not passionate about either of them. He mainly cared about puttering around in a garden or racing his pigeons. He was not someone whom my husband could ever confide in or ask for advice; he didn't have the intellect to grasp subtleties.

He was smart enough, though, to keep quiet in front of Scott and his mother, when they were bent on carrying out their vendetta against me, though he did not share their opinion that I deserved to be treated that way. When I visited my kids at my in–laws' home, my father–in–law took advantage of a moment when we were alone together in the dining room to look at me intently and say, "Lanny, I know that Scott gave you a hard time, and I'm sorry." I understood why he felt it was useless to say anything to his son or wife on my behalf; they would have scorned him and ignored him.

But though my father–in–law failed to take action or speak to others in my defense, I had some champions who stuck up for me. A missionary visited in that home and spoke to me on the phone later. He was a sweet, African man. He said he noted that the woman was too old to be the children's mother, so he confronted my husband privately and asked him where the mother was. He lectured him and got him to admit that he should reconcile with me. When I spoke with my mother–in–law later, and brought it up that Scott had admitted that he should get back together with me, she exclaimed angrily, "That was because Ambrose cornered him!" I thought, "So? Doesn't the truth come out when people are cornered?"

It was intensely frustrating to Scott and his mother that other people, whose reputations were as fine as her own, took my part. After I recovered from my break–down, I went to live with a couple who were pillars in her church. I had boarded with the Beasleys when I was nineteen. People didn't know whose stories to believe because there was this wonderful lady, who had helped a lot of people, speaking against me on the one hand, and other wonderful people sticking up for me on the other. I would say that the one who was the mother of the husband, was the mostly likely to be prejudiced. The people who defended me were not related to me.

My husband's mother loved him intensely and gave him a lot of attention as a child. She lost a son before him due to miscarriage, and he was her only child, until she adopted a little girl when he was seven–years–old. Scott and his mother were very close. He did heavy chores for her when he was a little boy because she had a bad heart, and he didn't want to lose his mother. As an adult, he did whatever repairs she needed done because she could not get his father to do them. Whatever her grievances were against his father, they became his, as well.

Scott's resentment towards his father flowed out of him like pus the day that we had the terrible fight where he beat me up and our marriage ended. Earlier in the day, he called his father on the phone and asked him to come over to hang out with him. He had a daft notion that he was going to take his father to the bar with him. His father didn't drink and he never went to bars.

After my father–in–law arrived, we all sat down to watch some videos but, as usual, Scott drank steadily and then went to the bedroom around 2 o'clock to sleep it off. His father heaved a sigh and said he didn't see any point in hanging around, if Scott was going to sleep. I thought, "You better go, considering what he has been saying about you today."

When we fought later, Scott kept demanding to know why I had let his father go home. I couldn't tell him, "For his safety because you're off your nut." That would have gotten me pulverized. I could not make any reply that would satisfy us both. If I said something appeasing, he would be gratified by my fear and continue to bully me, but, regardless, I said that I didn't know why I had let his father go home. I felt that telling a half–lie was preferable, rather than telling an outright lie by pretending that I had tried to stop his father from leaving, even if it would have gotten Scott off my back. I would have preferred to not tell any lies, but that was the best I could do, in the stress of the moment.

Scott ranted some horrifying stuff about what he wanted to do to his father. Then he looked at our little boy's pale face, as Andrew stood near us in the kitchen, and asked, "What would you do to your father, if he treated you like that, Andrew?" He did not realize that he had subjected our children that day to far worse than anything his father had ever done to him. Andrew looked beseechingly at him and meekly replied, "I would forgive him."

He calmed down somewhat at our son's gentle words, thus proving the proverb about how a soft answer breaks the bone. I gather that the proverb refers to a bone of contention, or a bone that has been broken and healed up wrong, and needs to be broken again, so that it can be set properly. A gentle approach helps a person to see the necessity for change, and consent to it, even if the process is painful.

God's dealings with us may not always seem gentle when they are happening, but when I look back at how He has dealt with me in my life, my soul heartily declares, "His gentleness has made me great!" He showed me mercy. He did not abandon me. When I needed great grace, He gave me great grace. Okay, so there are some people who don't think that I am great, but, I'm sure a lot better than what I used to be – thanks to God.

After Andrew replied to his father's question so wisely, I still got tussled about, but at least Scott stopped talking about committing bloody murder on his father and, though he threatened to hit me, he didn't hit me anymore.

That was a strange and crazy day, but we each should consider what is in our hearts towards God and towards others, and repent of all bitterness, because it can lead to this kind of crisis. It was the grace of God that the day did not end in murder, though it was filled with grief and led to the breakup of a marriage and a family.

Though it was not normal for Scott to behave like that, I certainly should have taken it into consideration, in regards to letting him retain custody of our children after I recovered from my nervous breakdown. I felt intimidated, however, by his skill to manipulate, and other people's willingness to believe him, without adequately investigating the truth of his claims. Events that followed proved my fears to not be unfounded that I would come up short in a contest with him. I should have gone head to head with him anyway. Even if I lost, my kids would have appreciated the effort.

I consoled myself that, since he lived so close to his parents, his mother would keep watch over the children. My confidence in her was misplaced. Where her son was concerned, she was blind. When she saw the opportunity to win points with him, right and wrong no longer had the importance it should have had to a godly person. She helped Scott sneak off with my children and did not advocate for them in Alberta, like she should have. Her behaviour was a lesson to me that, if such a fine person could mess up like that, then the rest of us had better be on our guard, so that we don't get to thinking that we could never fall.

God makes good come out of every situation. Seeing so dramatically how my mother–in–law's misguided confidences to my husband when he was a baby affected him, I reasoned that good words could have an equally beneficial effect on a child. It helped make me more sensitive about what I say to children. I try to keep things positive and, if I have to tell them something unpleasant about another person, I try to keep it down to only what they need to know.

After Pat Lamont finished ministering to my friends and me, we said good–bye at the door. In parting, she gave me a hug and said, "I love you, no matter what choice you make." I didn't tell her that I had already decided to stop listening to that meddling man, but I thought, "Yeah, well your love won't do me any good, if I make the wrong choice." Pat died some years later of malaria on a missions trip to Haiti. I still remember her dazzling smile, as she stood at my door with her arms around me.

Over the next few years, she was a wonderful encouragement, and I thought that it was neat that we shared the same birthday. She was about the same age as my mother, and she had the same kind of choleric temperament. It was healing to realize that my problems with my mother were not due to not being able to get along with people of her temperament. It was just a problem between my mother and me, because she refused to accept that I was not an extension of her. I learned to stand up to my mother, though, and our relationship improved after that. In the meantime, Pat Lamont was somewhat of a mother to me, when my mother wasn't able to assimilate my independence.

I had a lot of anger towards my mother, which I finally let out many years later in letter, when I finally felt that I had forgiven her enough to be rational, though I had not forgiven her completely. I ran the letter by Pat Lamont, to see if she thought that I should send the letter to my mother. After all, she was a psychiatric nurse; she had a lot of experience dealing with people who had gripes, and I figured she would know if it would be helpful.

Pat read the letter and said, "There is a lot of harshness in this letter, but there is a lot of love in it, too. If my daughter felt this way about me, I would want to know." On that basis, I sent the letter to my mother.

It was not well received. I got a letter back from my mother on the Fourth of July, and fireworks were shooting off the pages. It was okay, though. It made me feel better, at least, to get some of that stuff off my chest with my mother directly, instead of just griping about her to other people. Griping about her to other people hadn't prevented me from having a nervous breakdown. Not confronting her when the offenses happened, and getting them resolved right away, caused them to fester.

The night that Pat Lamont and my friends visited me, Pat prayed that God would cut me off from the man who had been hovering over me. Westy didn't come back to make any more trouble. My complaints about his weird advice must have stuck in his mind. The last time I saw him, he was still advising me to not have contact with anyone else. He didn't like it that Charity had come to see me.

I finally found some gumption that day to question him about keeping me in isolation, and he pleadingly said to me, "When you've got a disease, you stay away from other people, so that they don't catch it." I thought, "No, you don't. You go to a hospital, and you get help." I replied, "What are you doing? You nearly destroyed me fourteen years ago! Have you come back to finish the job?" He looked surprised and turned his back, saying in hurt tones, "Thanks a lot!" as he strode away.

I don't hold Westy's meddling against him, though it worked a lot of damage between Scott and me, causing him to be so bitter that he ran off with my children and wouldn't let me see them for five years. I was tempted to hate Westy for his meddling, but it just seems so wholly inappropriate, considering that he was the person who led me to the Lord in the first place. I contemplated what a terrible thing it would be for him to end up in Hell, after having helped me get into Heaven, so I pray for him.

I am sure that my life would have been less complicated, if I had listened to the girls in my high school who tried to witness to me, and let them lead me to the Lord. I probably would have met Westy at the local Christian coffee house and local churches, but I might not have become so involved with him, if he had not been so connected to such a vital turning point in my life.

God does make all things work together for good for those who love Him, but life wouldn't be so hard for us, if we didn't act like such blockheads. We can spare ourselves a lot of unnecessary pain, if we listen better when God talks to us (and He talks to everybody all the time), and quickly obey his directions.

I told Pat Lamont that, in spite of all the pain that my Scott caused me during our marriage and afterwards, I could not help but be thankful that it helped me get closer to the Lord. She said, "Well, whatever it takes." In fairness to Scott, though, I was an immature wife and not the helper to him that I should have been.

When I was reading a book called Instant Self Analysis by Doris Webster and Mary A. Hopkins, I came across a description that fit Scott perfectly. It said at the end, "It might be a good idea if you studied yourself, formulated a philosophy, and remembered it. You have the strength deliberately to remake yourself if you want to, and you are too fine to let yourself run to seed."

It has been a long process to forgive Scott, and I am still going through that process, but I got started on it early. I could not have imagined that I wanted to get back together with him, even after he took off with my children, if I had not been going through the process of forgiving him. It could be that this was the key reason why God told me to pray for the restoration of my marriage, to point me in the direction of forgiveness. It would have been horrible to spend the last three decades being adamantly bitter. Life would have had no joy for me. The Bible says that we are not to let the sun go down on our wrath. If one can forgive an offense the same day it occurs, then we should go for it.

Some wounds are so deep that they take time to heal. I believe that we can interpret the sun referred to in this verse as the Spirit of God, and we need to continually work towards forgiving others, rather than hardening our hearts and being so stubborn that the Holy Ghost no longer bears with us in His longsuffering. God is longsuffering, not everlastingly suffering. When He turns away from us and leaves us to our bitterness, there is no longer any grace available to help us forgive. And then we will be judged as we have judged others.1

We can enter the Kingdom of Heaven only through forgiveness. That is what the gates of pearl represent that open into the Holy City. We enter the Kingdom of Heaven through forgiveness. Yehoshua forgives us and we must extend the forgiveness we have received to others. Like an oyster that covers a grain of sand with layers of nacre, we need to cover offenses with forgiveness, continually choosing to forgive when we are reminded of what was done to us.

A few weeks after I recovered from my illness, I reviewed some Bible verses that I had written in a scribbler the night Westy visited the second time and scared me out of my wits with his demonic words of knowledge and predictions. For three months, I had believed that I was soon going to die, so I was astounded when I read a verse that had stood out to me that night, but I had forgotten about it as soon as I wrote it down. It was Psalm 118:17 that says, "I shall not die, but live, and declare the works of the LORD."

1ANDREW WOMMACK presents a better interpretation, pointing out that the next verse says to not give place to the devil. He says that we should not get angry at all at people, which is a misuse of anger, but rather get angry at satan, to be filled with righteous indignation against him and not let him steal from us our family, our health, our property, our peace of mind, or anything at all.

Andrew says that not letting the sun go down on our wrath refers to jumping on the devil immediately when he steps out of line, and not being dismayed when he resists us as we strive to implement the victory that Yehoshua won for us through His suffering, but rather persisting in beating him up with the weapons of our warfare until we shake loose of his hold.

When we get angry with people for something that they do to us directly (rather than on someone else's behalf), then we are giving place to the devil, and Andrew rightly points out that the only reason why anyone gets angry about things that are done to them personally is due to pride and selfishness.

Andrew, though, is not by any means a wimp. He turns the other cheek when he is persecuted for his stand for the Gospel, but he believes that we are not behaving in a loving manner when we allow people to act like jerks. It does not help them develop character, and he says that crime would not be so rampant, if people stood up to criminals when they are accosted by them, rather than making it easy for them to commit crimes. I agree. If this were not so, a Christian could never be a policeman, or a soldier, or a security guard, if it is wrong to resist crime.

My interpretation of the verse about not letting the sun go down on our wrath helped preserve my sanity, so that I was not swallowed up by condemnation, because I was not mature enough to not take offense (and I still have difficulties in that area), and could not forgive every offense instantly. For most people, instant compliance with this command is not a reasonable expectation, but not ever taking taking offense is a goal that all of us should aim for, and continually show progress in achieving it.

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Page modified by Lanny Townsend on April 19, 2014

Scripture references on this website are closely paraphrased from e–Sword's King James Bible.