My Encounter with Jesus Christ
I never thought I would talk about Jesus Christ or become an actual believer in God. My name is Jesse, and this is how I met God.
I went the wrong way and wandered into great darkness before finding the light of the world. I went headlong into oncoming traffic. I put myself in a self-destructive pit with a mix of the occult, heavy drug abuse, and suicide attempts — Two that were miraculous.
I felt out of touch with the world, quite misplaced. I am like a square going through a round hole with no systems in place that I fit into. For three years I spiraled down into depressing darkness. From sixteen years old through nineteen, I had life-changing experiences that started when I asked: "Who am I? Why am I alive?". In the series of events below I never thought I could get so lost. I truly became a fool.
Gods Presence and Prophecy
Alone, I was often thinking about suicide. I'll explain why later. I went on the internet asking what happens if you commit suicide to a chatroom of Christians. The technology I was using in 2001 was called IRC, "Internet Relay Chat".
A man I didn't know messaged me. The first thing he said was: "What man would go to the depths of darkness to find the light? But a man without knowledge?". I thought that was deep. The next thing he said was from the LORD and he said, "You are going to go through a deep walk with Jesus, possibly with drugs." I never heard a prophecy for myself before, I thought I didn't matter much.
After I read those words I knew it was true because a presence of glory from another world filled the atmosphere of my room. I have zero doubts that this presence came from Heaven. Nothing in my entire life has ever compared, not even nearly two decades later. This glorious presence felt exactly like a river of life filled with love, peace, joy with infinite possibilities. This was before I knew anything about the Holy Spirit spoken of as living waters. This lasted for about forty-five minutes and I am not exaggerating when I say it felt like a real river. This presence surpassed every natural sensation, feeling, emotion, and every pleasure I had ever encountered in the future. I could comprehend nor explain what this was like.
Even though I was always a good kid and never went near drugs, nor thought I never would. Although I was told about drugs and the future, with a heavenly presence beyond me I still could not believe that in myself that I would ever turn to such things.
A Snapshot of my Background
I grew up with Christian parents. My mother was the best example in life I'd learn later on. I believed in God because it was easy to believe when my parents told me so. After an amount of time, I forgot such a glorious experience as the issues of life stand in the way. And like many teenagers, I became an all-knowing, self-sufficient, proud-hearted sixteen-year-old I decided that the Bible was not real and this God did not exist.
My downfall began when I started getting anxiety attacks at school from being around crowds of people. These anxious feelings made it difficult to focus and fit in at school. My palms would sweat with a rapid heartbeat. I would get unexplainable rushes of fear and I felt the need to run. This knotted my guts so much I had to use the bathroom every day to escape class. Many times I brought with me things like Pepto Bismuth, Cola Syrup, and a stomach pill. I tried to remedy this issue but they didn't bring me back to normal.
I had a big problem feeling normal in school. I felt like the isolated weirdo that couldn't do what everyone else could. I began skipping classes every day because I could not handle the anxiety and fearful feelings. Sometimes I slept in a cornfield to pass the day before I could go home to avoid getting in trouble. What made this worse and more frustrating was when I needed assistance, the counselors and school system thought I was making it up. Even the vice-principal accused me of skipping school to go smoke dope. At this point, I had still never used any drugs in my life.
I eventually transferred to another school after I failed the 10th grade. I had hopes that a change would fix my problem. Unfortunately, my problems persisted worse at the new school. I was on the verge of panic attacks daily. I did not know what a panic attack was back then, so little made sense. I had thought something was seriously wrong with me. My desperate move was to enroll in a "Home Bound Program" from my new school to complete studies at home with a teacher.
Homebound was out doable for a while. I felt so foreign to the teenage experience. Passing me by were the once-in-a-lifetime memories made through high school. I slowly dipped into an isolated depression. I didn't have any close friends anymore because I had little relatable. I rarely did anything social teenagers do. I boxed myself in my room with music. Nobody could relate to what I was dealing with because nobody I knew had this issue. I was the only dropout out of everyone I knew. It's such a big deal to a decent young man trying to do right as a teenager.
My parents didn't know what to do. I was not a rebel that needed punishment. I was doing all I knew to do. At this time, my Dad put me to work at his business to keep me from being idle. It was a pleasant job. I didn't find my life earning money, but it was far better than being unproductive.
My Exposed Soul
On the job, I found an aerosol can of compressed air. Some refer to this as "duster". For reasons I don't know, I started aggressively inhaling it through my nose. I inhaled the can until I blacked out on the office floor. That moment I had a vision of something strange. This moment was where my deep walk with Jesus began. Once I awoke, an employee asked me what I was doing. I told them I was sleeping. They always thought I was a weird fellow, I kind of am, so it didn't matter.
The vision I saw was in a pitch-black place. I saw black rocks and deep valleys. Stretching over a valley was a long wooden bridge that didn't look very secure. I saw a person with a silver head in the middle of the bridge. I referred to it as the boy with a bullet helmet. I knew that I was the boy, and I was looking down at this scene. On the side of this bridge was a frightening red and black dragon looking down at me. It had evil-looking eyes and, it looked like it wanted to kill me. The dragon was about fifty times larger than I was and, I appeared miniature.
The vision did not scare me, I just found it very strange. All these strange things in the natural and supernatural were new to me. I had little clue what anything meant at the time.
I began a habit of bringing these cans of duster home. I would then sit in my room and inhale them while feeling cool listening to music. This music evolved into an ever-increasingly dark, blasphemous, and demonic style. A particular band I was drawn to was Tool. I don't know why. I listened to this while I was inhaling duster, passing out, waking up, and repeating. My nose would bleed a lot.
Later I'd learn that the band Tool is very anti-Christ. Music influences people and can encourage people to hate God or simply be led astray. To no longer believe in God is one thing, but it's quite absurd to aggressively hate something I didn't think existed! This type of music had a bad effect on my young impressionable mind. I believe the isolation, depression, drugs, and music led in that exact order was where some sort of spiritual doors opened in me.
Practicing the Occult
For some time, I drifted far away. I had no faith in God and did not read the Word (the Bible). I now know that we cannot stop our minds from being filled with something. My mind was filled with something very wicked. I became open-minded to anything. I was attracted to various occult practices I could find. I first began dabbling with some weird occult beliefs so that I could tap into the supernatural realm. You know, just to "see" what's out there. With my eyes blinded and my behavior clear to others, my personality drastically changed.
I've arrived at a point where I hated my life. Greater thoughts would manifest in my mind that I have no reason to live and I should kill myself. These were much darker than my original questions in the beginning, "What happens if you kill yourself?" I became fully convinced that I must commit suicide. Then I will be free from all things.
During the early stages of my occult practices, I lingered beyond natural lust into some very bizarre pornography and fetishes. I had started listening to hypnotism recordings. I believe this content influenced me to become a perverted slave to Satan or the "Angel of Death". The occult will severely alter anyone's mental capacity.
Something in my selfish pride found all these occult mystic secrets alluring and fascinating. I was never fully mentally debased, yet, I was far from mentally present. On some occasions, the hypnotist recordings of sexual-like mind control would scare me because there was some form of darkness that I could feel. There were some things I got deep into that frightened me enough to stop doing it.
Though I stopped listening to this, I was still practicing the occult. I began praying to an Angel of death, which I believed at that time to be Satan. I regularly spoke to this fallen angel as if it were my friend. I was deceived! The reality is that Satan is very real, and he is ruthless and has nothing good for anyone. Yet, I chose to believe a lie. The only way the devil can have power is by convincing us to believe a lie. Nobody would serve the devil if he showed himself as he is! He can not freely take your free will without knowingly allowing him or giving in to many sins, which gives him a foothold. I regularly asked this angel of death to possess me for power to commit suicide.
At various times I experienced what felt like an evil entity (demon) inside my body which manifested and even "controlling" movements as I walked in public. This entity did not control me to the point where I could do nothing but, there was a stronghold over me I could feel heavily from time to time. I had submitted to these foreign, dark powers I knew nothing about. There is no light in the darkness. Many times I didn't feel like I was controlling my body. It felt like I was watching my body from my mind while going out to harm myself. It also made the time roll fast with blurred memories. Perhaps because I wasn't really "here" nor "there", though I was physically present.
Strange things would happen. Many times in my room, there were evil spirits around me, seen and unseen. The presence was unmistakable. I have seen them as well. In one instance, there was one hanging over my bed watching me and wouldn't let me sleep. I used to experience sleep paralysis regularly, and that can be quite terrifying.
On this spiral into the darkness, I became fascinated with violence, blood, and death. I began drawing on my face with a permanent marker. I'd regularly make an upside-down crucifix between my eyes. Sometimes I'd make an X between my eyes.
I was so blind I never thought of myself as a rebel against God by blaspheming the work of the Son of God. I did it because the thought just came to me. During these times and after, my Mom said she felt like she didn't know who I was. Neither did I! I came to a point where I hated everyone and everything. I can't say I had a great reason besides the fact that I had never asked for this life, so I was going to end it. I had all the opposite fruits of the Holy Spirit.
I figured the easiest way to kill myself is with the cans of compressed air. The warning on the side stated: "Harmful or Fatal if Inhaled." I would inhale the duster like always until I'd pass out. Instead of catching my breath I would wake up and repeat until the can was empty. I would come back conscious with a bleeding nose very often. If I had nothing to inhale, I'd find a chemical around the house. The high from inhaling chemicals are not the ideal feeling an average drug addict would enjoy. Overall, I consumed about thirty cans of duster.
Note: Inhalants are dangerous. Any one hit can be your last. The one-hit death is known as Sudden Sniffing Death Syndrome (SSD). It's a little like playing Russian roulette. It also permanently damages brain cells. I was fully aware of this.
I was still alive but I was on a mission of self-destruction. I began midnight driving while getting high on inhalants in preparation to crash my car. There was always secret fear that lived within me concerned about what will happen to me when I die. On many occasions when I was about to crank the steering wheel into a tree or concrete wall I would get a loving tingling feeling inside my heart that felt like it was God. It was very small but extremely powerful in that small area in my heart. The God I didn't believe in, who I hated was bugging me. Yet I hardened my heart more as I said, "I know that is you, God, let me die".
For the next three months, I drove on the highway with inhalants, relying on some evil power to give me the strength to kill myself. I do not remember every event because I was full of darkness, memories were blurred, I was hollow inside from primarily the occult and some from the drugs. Several times I woke up in strange places with no recollection. To think of this even today is very bizarre to me. Once I woke up in a parking lot at a grocery store before it was opened at least an hour away from home. It is scary for me to recall some of these things because I do not know what happened. Another time I only remember waking up on the grass on the side of the highway. I had tried this many times, and I was still alive. It was as if I was invisible running red lights, swerving on the highway, and passing out on the side of the road. For three months, nearly every single night and not once did anyone notice me. I remember speeding my police as I drove recklessly, but they never stopped me. I thought that a police chase would fuel the adrenaline I needed to push myself over that last hump to kill myself.
I kept seeking out the easiest way to die. Imagine your life purpose is nothing more than this. I drank a box of wine, as much alcohol as I could until I vomited everywhere. I wasn't dying off inhalants, demon power or car crashes so I other various things that failed me, and I went further still.
Invincible Drug Addiction
I started snorting crushed pills and taking large quantities orally. I got into hallucinogens and stacking them with smoking marijuana. I did this every single day. I was seventeen at this time; I was fearless in my youth and thought I was invincible. I wanted to die, so I didn't care about overdosing. I mixed many different drugs from illegal, prescription, or over-the-counter. I would have very bizarre drug trips. Some of them were out-of-body experiences, some interesting, and a few extremely scary.
I started shoplifting. I ended up with between one and two thousand dollars of stolen merchandise. That's not including over-the-counter drugs from the store. Every night, I'd trip on drugs and steal things. It became an addiction. That was all that I did. Two times, maybe a few more I had been brought home by the police. On some occasions, I was completely lost wandering far away while I was tripping on drugs. I don't know why the police during those times and the wild driving never suspected a thing because it's sure different if you get a ticket when you aren't doing anything as sinister.
One vivid moment was a time I had walked out of my drug friend's buddy's trailer because the presence of that man freaked me out, I could feel some sort of evil I didn't like. I started walking down the road having massive hallucinations and it was raining. I had very long hair at this time and a trench coat. I saw trees were bending, black witches, flying in the air and laughing with a distant echo through the thick sky. I felt like this was a Halloween nightmare movie and I was in it. I hated these trips but it wasn't enough to make me quit. On this same trip, I had gotten lost once again but ended up at some random twenty-year-old people's home. They were having a party. After a short while, I had to leave. I walked out in the dark rain and I slept under a church. I went to a random house and asked the man inside to call the police for me because I needed a ride home. I was 30 minutes away from home and I was lost.
I cannot believe I did all this as I write this. I'm only sharing a few stories to provide an example of how I lived, it's not to glorify all the details of darkness. There is no glory in it.
I had two unforgettable suicide attempts. The first was one evening I woke up around 9:00 pm. I wrote a letter to God and it said; "If you are real, please help me." I then prayed to the devil to give me the power to kill myself.
I went to the cabinet upstairs, took all of the pills I could find, and swallowed about sixty pills. I know many included: Xanax, Adderall, Paxil, Zoloft, Valium, and Tylenol. Uppers, Downers, and Anti-Depressants. I then laid in my bed and wrote a song with my guitar called "My Funeral". I turned off my bedroom lights and went back to sleep.
I woke up 8 hours later. I should have been dead with the combination of pills in me for that length of time. I went to the bathroom, and I would estimate about 90% of the pills didn't dissolve by what came out of me. I am not trying to sound disgusting, but I could feel the pills extracting and the appearance was obvious they didn't all dissolve.
The effect of these pills was that they kept me up for a day and a half, I think it was the Adderall. While I was awake I had vivid hallucinations and heard voices from memories in my mind. It was so strange. I saw the strangest things, it was not the same as any of the drugs and hallucinogens I had done before. One example was I saw my little sister as a child and she looked what appeared like a translucent but colorful, but not earth colorful, almost tear-drop spirit-like kind of figure. It was detailed and right in front of me and she was moving around as if it was real and she was right there but could not see me. I have no idea what that was.
Suicide, Deaths Door
The second major suicidal attempt was the worst. I was so stubborn I chose to try again several weeks after my 60 pill scare. The event starts with me being upset and I took twenty sleeping pills. Something in the pill screwed me up in an unusual way I was not used to. After a short while, I was hallucinating and stumbling. I called a friend and told him what I took. I decided to make a bad decision and drive to his house 20 miles away. I was struggling to control the car while hallucinating on the way. When I arrived at his house and collapsed in the front yard because I couldn't draw strength. I felt as if gravity multiplied its force and this was not a feeling of a high or trip, this was my body losing its ability.
I made it indoors. Sitting and shaking, it had been about an hour since the pills dissolved. His younger sister appeared scared for me and gave me some water. I was becoming increasingly scared. I suddenly, instantly did not want to die. It was because of the things I was starting to hear, feel, and see. Some of these things were the scariest thing I've ever experienced.
What I will say does not sound believable and anyone can choose to not believe it but it happened to me. I still remember this like yesterday even two decades later. I know something real was happening, I mean far more real than the human experience. I don't know how to explain this correctly but it was as if my spirit was like a light switch a child plays with and flicks it off and on. I was flickering in and out of another place, the place I was at had absolutely no time and it was known instantly. Back and forth, It kept going. I cannot possibly explain this, but I always try.
If you were to lie the immediate thing you know is that you are in an eternal place. Many things are constant revelations and there are no questions. Yes, I saw a place where time is no more and you understood. When I'd come back, to the natural world I remember seeing I saw a faceless, opaque, and tall dark demonic spirit. It was perhaps seven feet tall and never spoke to me. This spirit paced back and forth slowly as if not to alarm me. I was not a stranger to seeing these things after my occult life. At points, I came back to the natural realm and I heard terrifying voices of tormented screaming from behind me. The screaming was demonic and had left this impression in my mind that is so strange I won't even write it.
I was acting very odd and I asked if my friend's sister was talking because I heard people talking. She heard nothing and given what was happening I was filled with fear. Did I just pass the point of no return? I had never seen or heard anything that was happening. This type of experience cannot be manufactured by any drug and I used to do hundreds. I did not see hell, I did not see heaven, I did not see God, a tunnel nor any angels. I don't know what this timeless place was. I only saw and heard terrifying things when I was back in my body.
-- This is something I cannot wrap my head around. Even when I read it and write it again It still shocks me. I saw time reversing when I came back. I can picture everything but can you imagine from your head you, and only you, are the only person experiencing things few have? Inside your head, everything you know and think is shallow and so far removed from an eternal reality and spiritual realm.
My friend called poison control anonymously but I promised to puke if he didn't call an ambulance, it was very serious. In retrospect, I should have gone to the hospital. I put my finger in my throat but nothing came out, it was dry. I did this for thirty minutes. The pills had already dissolved. In his bathroom, I heard many other things, but I never understood all of them.
The first overdose I did with sixty pills seemed to have blocked whatever I was experiencing now. This overdose was revealing to me things beyond the land of living I believe. I felt closer to death than ever before. This immediately put the fear of God and judgment in me. It was like a light switch. The God I didn't believe exist, I hated him too, immediately I was terrified and believed in God.
I survived this and I don't know-how. My heartbeat was very slow. I slept for a few hours and left and was seeing things the rest of the day.
Repenting and Changing my Ways
At this point, I had no choice but to believe in God after seeing and hearing what I did. Instead of praying only, I wrote letters to God pleading for his help. I needed someone to save me from the mess I got in. I even entered into an out-patient rehab patient for drug abuse. I was going through withdrawal from drugs again. A few years of non-stop drug abuse on my body felt horrible to come down from during withdrawals. While I was sobering up I wished I never did any drug in my entire life.
The shoplifting finally caught up with me and I went to jail for two weeks. I thought to myself, "How in the world did I get to this place? Almost three years passed and had I dropped out of school, started inhaling substances, practice occult magic, prayed to satan regularly, hated God, terribly abused drugs, attempted suicide in a variety of ways, and finally, I almost died numerous times, and here I am in jail." I was ashamed of myself, that is an understatement.
At this time the prophecy from years ago lit up before me and that unique day was now revealed to me. All of this was my deep walk with Jesus, and I have been walking through it.
I tried quitting drugs and I wanted to stop attempting suicide. I was thanking God for sparing me from many things. I tried to break my habits but I kept falling backward over small things. It took me too long to realize I can't change myself. I learned that only God can change me. I continued writing letters to God.
Things would go good and then really bad. The worst things in things I've gone through in life were not physical thing but the things I allowed to after me within a man.
In the winter I got into a car accident and totaled my car. On the highway, I spun out facing oncoming traffic at 70mph and the car halfway hung on the concrete median of the highway. I jumped out of the car and ran across the highway and moments later another car hit the Camaro head-on.
I don't think this would have been fatal for me but it would have for my friend with me at the time. He was in the passenger side and delayed getting out of the car to get his music CD's. By the time the other car hit mine he was only on the middle highway barrier. I saw my car jump higher on the barrier and almost hit him into the highway traffic on the other side. He didn't have a scratch and he was spared.
Interestingly, this fellow friend was in another car accident a few years later with my brother and two other friends. Four teenagers in total. They were coming home from a card game tournament and didn't want to stop to sleep. They all fell asleep and the drivers foot fell asleep on the gas pedal. They rolled the car three times at 100mph and stopped against a tree in the middle of the night. The police expected to find dead bodies, the ambulance had an organ donor bag ready. They came out with scratches and bruises and not a broken bone in any of them. They were in a soft top Chrystler Sebring convertible.
As I was standing outside I felt like I was going to leave my body from shock, it was the beginning of the panic attacks. (I did not know what panic attacks were until later.)
Full of Fear
A second revelation came from someone that e-mailed me, they told me; "I am on my knees praying and shaking and trembling for you. I don't know why. The Lord wants me to pray for you, I don't know why. I am almost in tears. God wants you to stay strong. Trust Him no matter what and do not lose faith." When I read this I didn't know what to think, it freaked me out a little bit. Two weeks later I began getting panic attacks non-stop, all day, constantly. My body felt like a numb dream. Doom and fear all around me. You will not understand how bad panic attacks feel unless you get them. I went to a therapist, trying to get help. I thought I was permanently damaged from the drugs I had done.
I had to sleep in the living room with my sister by my side for a month until I could sleep on my own at nineteen years old. Even worse was that I couldn't fall asleep at night. Every waking moment of the day, I was freaking out. I had lost my mind. Panic attacks and disassociation at all hours of the day was the worst time of my life, I would not wish it on my worst enemy. I had to be around my mom or sister all day, all night, they were the only people that cared. I cried everywhere I went.
The Hand of God
Nobody would go with me to church so I went out of impulse alone. This was a very big deal for me to do at that time. I sat in the back and as they were playing music a man walked up on the stage and had a Word from God that stated my situation in ink. It's not out of coincidence I heard that at the right time, I know that message was meant for me. Out of the many times, I'd gone to church the one time in desperate need I get a message applying to me. It was the Holy Spirit speaking through him, not the man's own words.
I went home with some hope, I kept trying to trust God to help me, but still every day my heart and mind were freaking out. My mom was so supportive, she made a chart on how I was feeling and she helped me keep some sanity. A week passed and again I went to church, God was all I had to rely on. No person could save me, nor any man-made remedy cures me. I was bound up, reaping what I had sown from all my sin.
I sat in the back again shaking as they played music. The Pastor got on the stage interrupting the music and said that there are people in the room who need healing and deliverance from past addictions, the Holy Spirit was speaking through him. I would never walk in front of a big church, but as he said that I felt the Holy Spirit grab my heart and pull me forward, it was something I could have resisted, but I wanted God, I wanted to see his power in more than words. As I was standing there with a lot of other people, he spoke in tongues then laid hands on us. I felt the Lord's power, I could not stand, I fell on the floor and cried until they told me to go back to my seat. Remember how I used to go to church as a young one and nothing applied to me? It was the same church, it applied when I needed it. Desperately. God was moving. The church by the way was Resurrection Life in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
Psalm 86:15 But you, O LORD, are a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness.
I went home and told my mom what happened. The Lord answered prayers. I never realized I desperately need The Lord, I must have God, without him I am empty and dead. Besides God sparing me through my recklessness, once He touched me my entire life changed. Jesus Saved my Life. The panic attacks were something I dealt with for a few years longer, God healed me of panic attacks at another church as I fearfully stepped forward for healing. I still battle extreme anxiety, but a barrier was put up and I've never gone past anxiety into panic since that day.
20 Years Later
Anyone that knows the Lord knows full well our testimony when we first met Jesus Christ. After twenty years I am still a believer in Jesus. I am not a religious man, I am a Bible believing praying man. I've fallen down many times and messed up. I sometimes make terrible life choices. I have done had many things, even after this, I wish I didn't choose to do. Yet, God has always seen me through and never abandoned me.
When God answers prayers sometimes you will feel him, sometimes you won't, it doesn't matter because feelings are flaky and if my feelings were an indicator of how God felt then he would be someone I couldn't trust. My feelings don't dictate reality or truth. But, I do love it when I feel his presence.
My experience would not be so impactful if it were learned through a week. Only certain passions are learned through pain. My words only lightly outline the experiences I went through, the colors in-between the lines were great pain and torment that I wish upon no one, but awesome Glory I hope everyone will seek. The blood of Jesus covers me and He saved me. I am only alive because of who the Lord is and his goodness.
If I were to mention my sisters and other friends I've known, writing this would be very difficult to conclude.