I was born in Leeds, West Yorkshire on the 3rd March 1952 having two brothers and a half sister, all much older than myself. My Mother was a spiritualist insomuch as she believed in being able to contact the spirits of the dead and frequently visited spiritualists and clairvoyants or had them come round to our home. I was brought up to believe in an after life and that the departed were constantly looking for people through whom they could communicate with the living. As a child I was always very spiritually aware and this included a strong awareness of God. My Mother’s religious inclinations were a pick and mix of what ever she felt comfortable with as she viewed it through the paradigm of spiritualists, clairvoyants and fortunetellers.
I was told that everyone had a spirit guide and mine was my grandmother. I never felt very comfortable with this in fact I always had a sense that there was something unsettling and not quite right about it all. I was told that to be able to contact the spirit world or look into the future was a gift from God and that I should develop any ‘gift’ that I had been given. The other passion in my Mothers life was dance and the theatre. she loved ballroom dancing, taking me along with her every week and then sending me to have lessons in contemporary dance and ballet. I became enthralled with dancing myself and decided that this was what I wanted to do as a career.
One night at the age of around twelve/thirteen I had an extremely frightening experience, which severely disrupted my life, especially my nighttime routine. I had just got into bed when some kind of fearful presence manifested in my bedroom [I would like to add here that I had not been previously spooked or upset before going to bed, it was just a normal night] This experience left me too frightened to sleep without a light on, radio on and reading myself to sleep, so traumatic was the experience. This sleep deprivation caused me to sleepwalk causing distress to myself and my parents. After visits to the doctor, a child psychiatrist, and much sleep medication they could not find anything particularly amiss with me. I didn’t feel able to articulate the incredible presence of evil I had felt that night and I didn’t think that the doctor would understand anyway. I knew no one could help me. And so I learnt to live with the fear always keeping the light on and I got on with my life.
When I left school it was to follow my chosen career in the theatre as a professional dancer. The theatre was my life and I was set on a course that was proving to be successful. During this time, along with my Mother I continued to visit clairvoyants who told me all that would happen regarding my career, and it did. They also told me that I too would become a clairvoyant if I just submitted to it. I believed this to be true, as I had always felt that I had been resisting some power since that night as a child. But I didn’t want it even though they said clairvoyance was a gift from God, which I found very confusing not realising at the time that this was a lie.
One day I came into contact with a Christian lady and in conversation I told her about my fear at night and my involvement with fortune telling. All she said was that in the bible God condemned all such activities – these words were as the sword of the sprit entering my soul, I knew she was speaking the truth and everything seemed to make sense. It wasn’t God after all, how could it be if He doesn’t allow it. She then encouraged me to pray and ask God to protect me so I could turn the light off when I went to bed that night. I decided to do this and for the first time in years I got into bed and turned out the light. As soon as I did the evil presence I had become familiar with came into the room only this time I cried out to God to help me and protect me from it. Immediately I felt another presence all around me, it felt just like a bubble encasing me and although the other presence was still there I knew it couldn’t get to me.
Eventually I fell asleep and awoke the next morning with the sheer joy of having slept with the light off. This lady had not shared the gospel with me but had faithfully told the truth of Gods word and that seed began to take root in my heart. Consequently the following day I had such a conviction that I had been offending God by visiting fortunetellers etc. I can remember very vividly being in the bathroom and thinking to myself whatever can I do? I had offended God by having my future foretold and placing my trust in their word and I could not see how it could be changed. Then these words came into my mind – it wasn’t an audible voice but I knew it was coming from outside my own thoughts, I had a sense it was God speaking to me. The words were; yes that would be the life and future you would have if you continue along the path you are on but you can have a new future and a new life if you turn away from it and turn to me. This I decided to do and I remember feeling such a great sense of hope, I needed to find God and have a new life. Thus began a period of about six weeks seeking after how I could make things right.
I had already signed a contract for a summer season in Blackpool so left to begin rehearsals for that. The Christian lady I had come into contact with had given me a New Testament and I began to read first of all the book of Revelation. As I read through this last book of the bible I understood that Jesus was coming back to the earth again and how I needed to make sure I wasn’t going to suffer the fate of all who rejected Him. To cut a long story short I decided that for me, because my career was so tied up with my involvement in my predicted future, I had to turn my back on it. and give up the most precious thing in my life. It seemed pale in comparison to what I knew I needed to have. I was invited to a Whitsun Gospel Service at a Pentecostal church in Birmingham where I heard the gospel message that Jesus had secured my new future and through His death on the cross all my offences and sin could be forgiven and I could have a new life. This was such Good News to me, it was the answer to my time of seeking that night I received the free gift of salvation and new life with God by acknowledging The Lord Jesus Christ as my saviour and became a disciple and follower of Him. I was cleansed from the past and set free from any hold or right that any spirit had over me.
I began my new life and new future as a Christian, and there began another chapter in my life.
I would like to add a little more to this testimony in response to a couple of questions that have been asked.
Apart from giving up my career which was so intertwined with the forces that had been predicting my future, and completely renouncing and repenting of my involvement in the occult, I don’t remember actually having much in the way of books. Whatever I had I disposed of, I didn’t burn anything but it was thrown away. I also got rid of some of my grandmother’s personal items which had been given me by my mother, having felt the need to remove any point of contact the familiar spirit masquerading as my grandmother may have used.
I do believe that to renounce and repent of a former sinful lifestyle or behaviour, especially where there has been occult involvement, means a total turning away from and keeping apart from it. In my opinion that would include TV programmes and Films of an occult genre [and there are many of them]. Not getting involved in Halloween celebrations, being careful not to get involved in any spiritual activity which is not scriptural as New Age experiences and practices seem to be creeping even into some churches. We really need to pray for spiritual discernment.
With regard to my Mother, she was extremely upset when I abandoned my career, in fact she believed that I had become involved in some strange and wacky cult for the first couple of years. We used to have frequent discussions about my faith, spiritualism and what the Bible had to say about it. She always held fast to her own experiences and ideas about God and as our discussions quite often became heated, we had to agree to disagree. I would pray for her on a regular basis – I say would because she died just last August in Spain where she had lived for the last thirty years. On one visit over to this country in 1985 she agreed to accompany me to a church meeting where to my great joy she responded to an invitation to receive Christ as her Saviour and had a powerful experience when being prayed for.
However, my joy was short lived when after two days she decided that it had all been an emotional experience brought on by being hypnotised! I continued to pray for her speaking a ‘word in season’ as the Holy Spirit gave me opportunity and I know she came to respect my faith, frequently asking me to pray for her.
When my step father died twelve years ago my mother began to attend an English Anglican church in Spain [my step father had been an atheist, although having respect for anyone who could believe]. She became confirmed and attended the church on a regular basis. I don’t know for sure my mothers eternal destination, only God knows and I have to leave her in His hands. I would like to add that I do know where my father is as I had the privilege of leading him to the Lord six months before his death twenty years ago.