“How did you come to Christ?”
I think part of the reason my testimony feels so difficult to write is because I feel like I’m talking to two completely different audiences. Since joining a church, I often get asked, “How did you come to Christ?” especially when people learn I came out of the New Age and dove head first into a Bible-based church. On the flip side, though, I also get New Agers who scrutinize and downplay my very profound experience I’ve had with Jesus.
Jesus has been pursuing me for years without me ever knowing it. Granted, I’m sure he’s been pursuing me my entire life, but there are very pivotal moments along my journey where I know he was right there without me ever knowing it.
Given that this is in the process of becoming my first three-book series, I will do my best to share it as concisely as possible so you understand how deeply beautiful this journey to Christ has been.
I grew up in the church as a preacher’s kid. Preacher’s kids typically go one of two ways— either all in on Jesus or running for the hills. I was the latter. I not only resisted Jesus, I blatantly rejected him. I used to sit in the pews listening to my dad preach, thinking to myself, “This is BS.” During junior high and high school, I was listening to satanic music on a regular basis and smoking cigarettes by the creek before church. I was never a trouble maker, but I definitely wanted to do my own thing. No matter how much I would have loved nothing more than to never go to church again, it had been such an integral part of my life, I showed up every other weekend (my parents were divorced) mostly on time and paid my dues in the pews.
Once I was out of the house and living on my own, the only time I went to church was when I went home for Christmas and summer. Although I had some sort of belief in something greater than myself, I had no interest in learning anything about what it could potentially be. God could do His thing and I would do mine. We never needed to actually get to know one another.
Although I considered myself to be more agnostic, I dated mostly atheists and ended up marrying one from 2013-2015. In 2013 I lost my teaching career due to school closures and in 2014, I received the opportunity and nudge to follow a network marketing opportunity. While in the beginning stages of being an entrepreneur, I was deep in the world of personal development. The lines of personal development and spiritual development very quickly became blurred while members of my upline team were reading You Are a Badass by Jen Sincero, which referenced “the Universe”. I’m not sure I had ever paid much attention to anything regarding the Universe before then. In 2015, when I decided I wanted out of my emotionally and verbally abusive marriage, I decided to seek guidance from a friend of mine who did tarot readings and was a psychic intuitive. I already knew I wanted to leave my marriage, but I wondered if there was anything in the cards that could give me additional information.
The cards confirmed what I knew— I needed out of my marriage. They also promised better days ahead once I was on the other side. Once I was out, things did seem to get better. Two months after my divorce was final, I met a man who ended up being one of my most profound relationships. Little did I know when we met, he was a Christian. I was not pleased with this information. Apparently my response to him was, “F*** God.” I have no clue where the response came from or why I was so angry with God. It’s a miracle he still chose to date me.
One month into our relationship, I was introduced through my network marketing business to a money manifestation coach who was doing significantly well and was selling her course. She grew up as a Christian, knew the Bible well, was ordained and also a life coach, and I thought, “Well, if it worked well enough for her to teach others, it must work!” I didn’t know anything about manifestation, but I knew extra money couldn’t hurt and it was done in fun ways, like creating vision boards, reciting affirmations, and changing your thoughts about money.
I purchased the course and was ready to learn about energetic ways to make money in addition to how hard I was working to build my business. A couple months later, I started to dive into the world of affirmation-based oracle cards, as well as the teachings of Marianne Williamson and Gabby Bernstein (based on A Course in Miracles), as well as Wayne Dyer. At the same time, I was trying to heal the trauma of a sexual abuse incident that had happened 16 years prior, while my partner was learning he would be going to Kenya for two months that summer. My world was beginning to flip upside down and I had no sustainable tools to help me cope or process my emotions.
I was working with a coach who was telling me, “You need to love yourself,” and I had no clue what he was talking about. Intellectually, I understood the importance, but I couldn’t figure out how to possibly do that while I was becoming more and more difficult for my partner to be around as I became extremely agitated and picked fights on a regular basis. While he was in Kenya, life became pretty unbearable. I was drinking a bottle of wine a night to try and numb the pain, sending drunken angry texts, and sobbing. The day after those nights, I woke up feeling awful from the emotional hangover and sitting on my bed, sobbing and screaming into pillows, feeling like I was exorcising demons from my body (demons that I didn’t believe existed).
A few months after he returned from Kenya, our relationship ended. I had one too many moments of feeling like something would take over my body, saying things to him I didn’t mean. It was the most devastating ending of a relationship I had ever experienced and I spent all my time trying to bargain with God, “Please let me keep this one. I promise I’ll change.” Before he moved out, he said to me, “If the reason I was in your life was for you to meet God, then I couldn’t be happier.” I couldn’t have been angrier with God. “Is this some sort of sick game? You took the one person I loved more than anything just so I could know you?”
Two months later, I surrendered my life. This is where the lines got really blurred for me. Not all New Agers cultivate a relationship with God and therefore it’s just all “Universe”. I wanted to know God and I wanted to understand Jesus, but I had no desire to go to the Bible. While at a gong bath at my local yoga studio, I surrendered my life to God. It was an out-of-body, blissed out experience, feeling like I was levitating off my yoga mat, but I very clearly remember my thoughts, “God, use me.” Shortly after that, I followed the call to sell nearly everything I owned in my two-bedroom apartment and became a nomad (which I was calling “homeless by choice” at that point). Again before I left, I had chakra balancing from a woman who channeled my “spirit guides” (aka demons) who told her they were so happy that I was going on this journey. All signs were pointing to California and when I asked her about it, she said, “Yes, they’re confirming California— Northern California.”
For three years, I traveled around solely based on my intuition, a pendulum, and an atlas, staying mostly in different Airbnbs with my two cats. My finances were up and down, my credit was shot from multiple periods of time when I couldn’t pay any bills beyond a roof over my head and food. There were more times than I could count when there was no logical way things should have worked out and yet they did. When I tried to manifest things or hired coaches to help me make money in my business, my finances would plummet. When I was stuck between a rock and a hard place, God showed up to protect me. I received exactly what I needed when I had $9 in my bank account and didn’t know where I would sleep that night. He protected me when I took my car for an oil change before leaving Oregon and learned my fuel tank had a leak and at any moment my car could have caught on fire. He provided for me when it was impossible for me to provide for myself.
No matter how faithful He was to me, I remained unfaithful. I continued to go back to cards, crystals, intuitive hits, and channeling. While on the road, I believed I was not only going to meet my future partner, but I was being guided around, tapping into the energy of him (my future partner). When I met someone who aligned with that energy I felt, I would know it was him. In October 2019 after being ghosted by a man I cared deeply for, I crawled into bed, sobbing, and felt engulfed in the energy of what I thought was my future partner. I heard the whisper of, “I’m glad every man left you because it drove you straight to me.” Over the next year, every time I experienced heartache and rejection, I went straight back into those invisible arms because it’s where I felt most comforted and loved.
In spring of 2020 once Covid hit, I started to feel the desire to learn more about Jesus through reading the Bible (I was already reading the channeled text, A Course of Love, which claimed to be Jesus and his teachings channeled). Every time I would start to look through the Bible, though, I felt overwhelmed and went back to my channeled texts, which felt better to read.
At the end of June 2020, I left Phoenix to go to Utah for a month. I figured after Utah I would continue my nomadic travels from there. While there, my mom sent me a text out of the blue, “Do you own a Bible?” My mom and I did not have the kind of relationship to receive a text like that. I responded, “No.” Her follow up question came through, “Would you like a Bible?” I sat there, not really sure where this was coming from or how to respond. I had a fascination with Jesus though, and not only was I reading books that claimed to be channeling him, but I was also writing in my journal to him daily. “Sure,” I responded. I figured if I wanted to know Jesus so well, I should probably read the most well-known book out there about him, right?
That must’ve been the moment when Jesus realized, “I’ve got her. She’s willing to let me in and now I can really speak to her.” I still had other plans. I received the Bible and a Bible study book to do weekly with my mom and every time I sat down to read the Bible, I thought, “Let me read this through the metaphysical lens that people like Neville Goddard teach about.” I had been in the metaphysical world for long enough that I was sure I would be able to understand the Bible through a metaphysical lens with ease. That didn’t happen either, but I did do what happens in most heretical teachings— I interjected myself into the Bible. I began to turn it around so the Bible was for me. I read through the first few books and simply could not see God.
By this point, I had returned to Phoenix where I decided to make a home for myself. God used men in my life to draw me back here, but they were never here to stay. They were in and out, but had me longing to live here.
In December 2020, my interest in the Bible began to pick up speed. As I was reading Deuteronomy, things started to click in a new way for me:
And when you look up into the sky and see the sun, moon, and stars— all the forces of heaven— don’t be seduced into worshipping them. Deuteronomy 4:19
For example, never sacrifice your son or daughter as a burnt offering. And do not let your people practice fortune-telling, or use sorcery, or interpret omens, or engage in witchcraft, or cast spells, or function as mediums or psychics, or call forth the spirits of the dead. Deuteronomy 18:10
I had heard of these things from Christians I knew, but I never considered myself a Christian. However, while sitting on my floor one morning while reading those verses, something within me changed. My conscience all of a sudden kicked in. There was something within me that thought, “I don’t think I’m supposed to be doing these things anymore.” At the same time, I was having financial drama stirring up in my business right around the holidays. I knew I was being called to focus less on coaching and more on writing, but I couldn’t seem to find the faith I needed to trust I would be financially supported if I gave up on my coaching business.
Right before the New Year, I was in dire straits financially and I got the intuitive hit, “Offer year-at-a-glance tarot readings. You know you’re always spot on with your readings and you can coach for what’s to come in the year ahead.” So I did. I put it out on social media that I was offering donation-based year-at-a-glance readings and immediately money started to come in once again. I was confused because I knew the God of the Bible would not be guiding me to do readings but why was money coming in so easily? Didn’t that mean I was on the right track?
Around that same time, I listened to an episode of Bill Cooper’s Mystery Babylon (episode 7 – Maitreya) where my eyes were opened to the roots of Satanism in New Age spirituality and the war on Christianity. All of a sudden, all the research I had been doing for the previous year on the cabal started to line up with what I was hearing in that episode.
Days later, I went to YouTube to see what others were saying about Satanism and New Age, which is where I found Doreen Virtue’s newer videos (I remember when she renounced her New Age teachings in 2017) and from there I came across New Age to Jesus testimonies. It wasn’t until I came across a woman talking about demons and a “cloud of dust” that exited her dog, that my ears really perked up. I thought back to the years of my cats chasing “spirits” around our home (and all the Airbnbs we stayed in over the years) and thought, “What if those weren’t my spirit guides? What if those were demons? Have I been inviting demons into my life all these years?”
That night, I sat down to write to Jesus:
I don’t know what to do or where to turn. I’m not ready to share my story yet because it still doesn’t feel real yet. Please show yourself to me so that I can feel confident in sharing my testimony and story. I remember seeing the license plate — Follow JC. I know it was a sign. I don’t know what my purpose is.
I finished writing, closed my journal, and went to bed. In the middle of the night, I woke up and as I started to fall back asleep, I felt a presence grab my ankles and start to tug at my legs, feeling like something was trying to pull me out of my bed. Terrified, I started to call out for Jesus (something I had never done before). Then, “Jesus is God! Jesus is Lord! Jesus is Lord!” The tugging stopped. Although I was still scared, a calmness came over me quickly enough to fall back asleep. The next morning, my apartment was the most quiet and peaceful it had ever been. For years, one of my cats (Smitty), would wake me up before my alarm either by running around the apartment like crazy, chasing something I couldn’t see, or by walking straight up to me and meowing in my face. That morning, though, when I opened my eyes, Smitty was curled up at my feet, asleep.
I got out of bed and knew what I needed to do. I gathered up all my tarot and oracle cards, most of my crystals, and some of my New Age books, put them in a garbage bag and threw them in the trash out in the alley. It wasn’t easy, as I reflected on all the money I had spent over the years on all my spiritual paraphernalia. Doubt crept in, wondering if I would be making a mistake by getting rid of it all. Although I didn’t get rid of everything at once, I put all other crystals, Buddha jewelry, mala necklaces, and books I still felt some sort of attachment to in my outdoor storage closet. I decided to put them outside of my living space, knowing I could always get rid of them at a later point in time. I wanted them out of my house not only for energetic purposes, but to also strip my home of old habits and routines. What would my home look like as a Christian? What kind of things would I bring in to support my walk with Christ?
I felt an immediate peace as soon as everything was out. I realized I was so used to relying on incense and sage. It felt weird to no longer have anything. If I felt “negative energy” could I really just call on Jesus? I decided to try it. If I was going to commit, I was going to fully commit. My biggest fear was what others would think. Aside from the encounter the night before, I didn’t have any personal experience to share with others as to why I was giving up my previous way of life. Questions came in that I didn’t have answers to and the overwhelm began.
“What about astrology? Crystals? Can you use sage? Aren’t you idolizing Jesus? Do you believe everything in the spiritual world is demonic? Are you sure you’re not just a mystic? Jesus was a mystic.”
My answer was oftentimes, “I don’t know. I don’t have the words to express that yet.” I had never not had the words to express something. If I didn’t have the words, I would just channel them. I was so dependent on the spiritual world to provide information for me, I was afraid I would spend the rest of my life depending on myself. Had I just given up my entire way of being to end up alone, relying on myself?
I reached out to the woman whose YouTube testimonial I had watched, wondering if we could hop on a video call to chat. Luckily, she was just as excited to chat with a new potential friend as I was. After talking for over an hour, she shared that she had an online Bible study she was part of and I asked if I could join. She reached out to the facilitator who first said I needed to find an in person Bible study in the Phoenix area, but then shortly after that, offered to facilitate a weekend online support group since she (the facilitator) was a former New Ager who was ordained in 2007. She understood demonic possession and was more than happy to offer support at the beginning of my journey.
During our first online meeting, she reiterated, “Anne, you need to find a church.” I shared with her I had started watching a church online that I was enjoying and she responded with, “That’s great! You need to go in person. You need to be in a community. Christianity is not meant to be done alone.” I watched a few more times online and then at the beginning of March, I went to a Christian church in-person for the first time in longer than I can remember. The morning I decided to go in person, I battled myself the whole morning.
“I’m going to go! No, I’m not going to go. I can go next week. No, go today!” Against any fear or anxiety I had bubbling up, I drove to church. I was a few minutes late (pretty typical from my younger years of going to church), but five minutes after sitting down, I felt it. “I’m at home.” I then began to tear up. I felt an immediate pull to get involved and to start getting to know the community I had been guided to.
That same day when I returned home from church, I reached out to the pastor who preached that morning to share with him how his sermon (and a previous sermon) had impacted my faith journey. I asked if I could schedule a time to meet with him and three days later, I was in his office, wondering if it was pointless to sit there and share my story with him. As we neared the end of our conversation, though, he shared an analogy that really spoke to me, regarding our responsibility once we’ve been saved.
“It’s like getting saved from a burning building, but once we’re out safely on the other side, we have to go back in to help bring others out of that same building. The thing, though, is that there are people in that building who will only ever be able to hear things in the specific way you say them. There are people who will only ever resonate with your voice.”
I dreaded that part. The concept of being “saved” was not one I grew up with and to be honest, it made me feel a little weird. When I thought of people who talked about Jesus saving them, I thought of cultish Jesus freaks. Wasn’t it a little pretentious of me to assume others even wanted to be saved? I knew I didn’t want to be the woman who entered into conversations asking, “Do you know our Lord and savior, Jesus Christ? Have you accepted Jesus into your heart?” That style of conversation never would have worked with me and I didn’t want to be that for others. I didn’t know how I would talk about my faith journey and deep down I feared I would never have a story to tell again.
What if Jesus didn’t do for me what He did for others? What if I never loved Jesus the way I saw others loving him? What if Jesus was just one more path I went down that didn’t work for me? What if I spent the rest of my life thinking, “It works for others, but not for me”? I was terrified of that being the case for me, but I decided to continue committing to my walk with Jesus anyway.
Within the next week, I met with the women’s ministry pastor, feeling the call to continue sharing my story with others in the church. There was a part of me that felt the need to be seen, not from an egotistical space, but because I feared if the church didn’t know I existed then it would be way too easy to continue living the life of never asking for help and trying to do things on my own.
The morning I showed up to meet with the women’s pastor, I had so many question marks in my life. I shared my story with her, just as I so often shared my story with others, “Grew up in the church, rejected God, hit rock bottom in 2016, entered into the New Age and built a business for four years on New Age beliefs while traveling the country as an intuitive nomad. Came to Christ in January 2021 and everything in my life came tumbling down. I lost my entire business and livelihood.” I sat there across the table from her, feeling such a loss of purpose. I had so many gifts and skills that I knew could serve the church, but who was I to even attempt to offer them as a new Christian? Didn’t I have to wait my turn and earn the privilege to use my gifts within that community?
She looked at me and asked, “What are you doing for money? How do you make a living?” I responded, “I don’t know. I have a couple family members who have hired me to help them out with some things, but aside from that I don’t know. Somehow God is still providing for me to be able to pay most of my bills. I’m going to try for some part time nannying or something so I can focus on what I know God is calling me to do, which is to write.”
Throughout our conversation, she was able to see my gifts and talents in a way most others usually don’t. I truly felt like she was able to see me through God’s eyes and all she saw in me were ways my service could help the church (and in ways that lit me up). She asked me to be involved in some curriculum projects and future workshops based off of my teaching skills (and my story of coming out of the New Age), which I eagerly agreed to, and we committed to keeping in touch.
From then, which as I’m writing this has only been about one and a half months, God has graced me with a part time nannying and tutoring position to give me enough financial security to focus on my Bible studies, work on a writing project with the church, and focus on my own writing of blogs, articles, and books. Beyond all that, though, I have been given peace. When I first walked away from the occult, the spiritual warfare and demonic attacks were intense. They weren’t consistent, but there were many times the only strength I had was to lie down and allow the demons to swirl around me until they finally left me alone. In those moments I sometimes had the strength to cry and call on Jesus, while other times I had to simply wait it out. I still have moments where I notice the demonic attacks on my mind, but I no longer give them the power and attention I used to before I knew what they were.
For years, I woke up with an underlying anxiety and depression I couldn’t shake. I would wake up each morning, feeling like the other shoe was about to drop, regardless of what was going on in my life. I simply never felt like I could outrun my fear. Those thoughts honestly never cross my mind anymore. I wake up with a sense of peace and calmness and one of my first thoughts each morning is, “Thank you, Jesus.”
As far as saving others from the “burning building”, God has used my gift of storytelling. I often get asked, “What do you write about?” As egotistical as it feels sometimes, my response is usually, “Myself.” But the beauty of telling stories about my life is that it has created a nonjudgmental connection for others to come forward and say, “Tell me more. Jesus has been calling me lately, too, but I’m scared.” God continues to provide resources to show up and serve others on their journey and the Holy Spirit continues to bless me with the words, wisdom, and knowledge I otherwise wouldn’t have. Of all the things I’d ever think to study, the Bible would have been the last thing on my list. My two largest weaknesses my entire life have been reading comprehension and history, and yet the Holy Spirit is helping me to digest and understand scripture in ways I never could have imagined.
I have many moments now where I can’t help but break down into tears out of sheer gratitude. I can now boldly state, “Jesus saved me. He brought me back to life.” There is so much more to this 4-year journey, which will be in the full 3-book series I’m in the process of writing, but I had to get my testimony out before then because the transformation is real and I want others to know it exists.