memory of her faith in the Lord would be instrumental
I got my hat in the mail the other day and I love it. I will wear it with pride and I hope it will make someone smile. I want so badly to share my story on your website and be a beacon of hope to someone else who battles with mental illness, just as your story has been an inspiration to me and helped me to realize that there are others out there who are at war in their mind with spiritual forces of darkness. Thanks be to God that "greater is he that is in you than he that is in the world". Thank you Peter, for the privilege of sharing my testimony on your website and may Our Lord Jesus Christ be glorified by my words.
I grew up in Westminster, Maryland about forty five minutes from Baltimore.
My parents were both teenagers when I was born and my Dad I know was pretty wild before I came along, but when my sixteen year old mother got pregnant he straightened up and they got married in 1972. My two brothers didn’t come along until almost ten years later. My parents are still together and we are all still very close. I don’t blame my parents for the rough road I’ve traveled. I was always cared for and loved; however I do wish that Jesus had played a bigger role in my home growing up. Nevertheless, to my mothers credit, my
The heart of Joshua is captured in this painting
one of his favorites
|Joshua prefers to be that unknown and unheralded foot soldier in God’s End-Time army. He only wants his Commander-in-Chief to be remembered.|
His name is Jesus – King of kings and Lord of lords.
Click on the picture if you want to learn about the kitty-cat
in my salvation in the years to come.
I was a really happy child. I played a lot of sports and had a lot of friends, but when I was in the seventh grade my parents moved and when they did I remember feeling sad and depressed for the first time. I also remember thinking around that time that I really didn’t believe in a God and I wouldn’t for a long time. I continued to play sports and I still made friends but I was socially awkward and I struggled academically because I was undisciplined and my mind wandered in class. In the tenth grade I tried alcohol and marijuana. I found new friends and acceptance in a crowd of drop outs and druggies. I was so into drugs by my senior year that I didn’t graduate and I didn’t get my G.E.D. for another three years. I spent those years pretty much hanging out in my hometown, going from one construction job to another and getting high every day. I wanted to find a serious girlfriend but I pretty much just bounced from one to another. There was one that broke my heart though and I think there may have been one or two whose heart I broke. That’s what happens when young people are promiscuous and sometimes ungodly soul ties are created in the spiritual realm that can harm a person for many years to come.
At 21, I left my hometown for Baltimore city. I went to community college and I supported myself by working in restaurants and selling bootleg T shirts at concerts and big events like the Kentucky Derby and Indianapolis 500. There was less drug use and more drinking mostly on weekends but I was still the same lost soul. I discovered I had a passion for taking pictures and attempted to make a career out of it. I did weddings and assisted some commercial photographers in Baltimore. There was another girl I got serious with for a while but ended up broken hearted again. Eventually, I got over it, but was never quite the same and I had less confidence moving forward in life and in relationships. But life goes on despite the loneliness and the failure to excel in my career.
Peter, I just wanted to give you a brief description of my life before the onset of schizophrenia. Now I want to tell you what happened in 1999. The year before I became severely ill. It began in January of '99 when I went to work as a bartender in Old Ellicott city just outside of Baltimore. I could write a book about the town and the characters I met in the bar but in order to keep it brief I just want to relay the key points. I was lost when I started, emotionally and spiritually. In order to handle the stress of working two jobs, I was working during the day as a freelance photo assistant and at the bar about 4 nights a week, I began drinking heavily to cope. My judgment was impaired and I’m not proud to say that I was involved with several women before I met the one that sent me over the edge.
Peter, My wife knows all about my past and she doesn’t feel threatened when I talk about it but I only want to say what’s necessary to tell my story. There was a girl I got involved with in the spring of '99. I fell for her, but I was blind to the fact that there were other men in her life. She lied to me and when it was over and as my mental health began to decline I began to suspect or imagine that there was something much more sinister about this girl. I have no real evidence that she was into the occult or that she was actually involved in ritualistic witchcraft; however, I know that this was the point in my life when very real demons began to manifest and take possession of my very weak and wounded mind, body, and soul. To this day, 12 years later, I believe there was a curse placed on me in that bar. Brother Peter, I have to take responsibility though for my own ungodly behavior and the sin that destroyed me. It was the sin that ultimately made me sick and my unbelief that gave the demons there legal right to invade my body. In October of '99, feeling extremely depressed and defeated I moved to California with the hope of starting over.
My brother accompanied me on my move across the country. It took us about two weeks and I enjoyed our time together. This is really when my sickness began to manifest. I was becoming paranoid and very depressed but I had not yet started hallucinating or having delusions. My brother flew back home from San Diego and from that point on I was pretty much alone except for the one person I knew in California, my good friend Nick.
He had a place in San Clemente and he let me stay at his place while I looked for a place of my own. It took a few weeks but I found some work with an architectural photographer and an apartment in Long Beach which was about an hour drive from Nick so once I moved I was pretty much on my own and not feeling very social. I started becoming more paranoid and I was becoming really suspicious and delusional about what had happened at the bar, I spent a lot of my free time sitting in Barnes and Noble reading books on the occult and witchcraft. I was amazed and perplexed about what had happened and having never believed in anything spiritual, I was left scratching my head about what to do as my conditioned worsened. At this point there were dreams, hallucinations, paranoid thoughts and delusions. Physically I had lost a lot of weight and I could feel sickness in my body. I would frequently get chill bumps and would wake up in cold sweats. I could feel an indescribable unpleasant presence in my skin that felt warm and made me see red. It’s hard to explain how I felt or what was going on in my mind but I was steadily descending into madness.
One morning in December I woke up extremely paranoid and I ran to the bathroom mirror. I saw the demon that was inside me, looking back I see that I was possessed but at the time I didn’t understand what I saw. The hallucination was very powerful and real. I saw the horns on my forehead and beheld the menacing face of the demonic presence. The strength and pure wickedness of the thing was overwhelming. It completely overpowered and dominated. In a frightened panic I drove to the bookstore as I instinctitively knew that the only one who could help was God almighty. I knew somewhere inside that The Holy Bible was the answer. I threw my cigarettes in the trash and I bought a seven dollar King James Bible and I knew the moment I put my hand on it that it was the most important book in this world. I immediately went home and went directly to the New Testament and The Gospel of Matthew and read only the red letters of Christ. I knew that these were the spoken words of Christ and the Word came to life and I felt as though it was speaking to me. “ Suffer it to be so now, for thus it becometh us to fulfill all righteousness “, and “ Son, be of good cheer; thy sins be forgiven thee. Wherefore think ye evil in your hearts?” “ For whether is easier to say, thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Arise and Walk? Then again, “ Take up thy bed and walk.” Then, ‘Take nothing for your journey.”
“See thou tell no man; but go thy way, show thyself to the priest…” So I went looking for a priest. I went to a catholic church and went into confession and pleaded with the Priest, “ I need to be forgiven, I need to be saved. “ He gave me a card with a prayer to St. Francis. I know the priest meant well and that St. Francis was a real man of God, but I left in despair because I needed God not St. Francis.
Within a few days on a Sunday morning I started walking the streets in my neighborhood with my Bible in hand. I don’t remember if I was looking for a church or not. I met some homeless men. I started talking to them about the Bible. I was delusional and I had no idea what I was talking about. I thought it was the end of the world. I kept walking and I passed by an all black Gospel church with my bible in hand and I just looked up the steps at the doors and stood there contemplating. I was scared and I began to leave when an old woman asked me “ are you gonna pass it up?” That was all I needed so I went in and sat down in the very back.
My heart was beating so fast, I could feel the spiritual tension within me and I was scared but something very powerful that can only be described as a desperate need for God kept me transfixed even though I knew there was something that wanted to prevent me from finding what I was looking for. It was a huge church in an old theatre. There were probably 500 people in there and the choir was shouting and praising God, it was very powerful. The preacher came out and at some point I had to get closer. Closer to the pulpit, the preacher, closer to God.
I got up and moved towards the front of the church. A woman directed me to a seat in one of the front rows. The preacher spoke boldly and with authority and he reminded me of Martin Luther King Jr., a man I greatly admire. The message was powerful and the words pierced my soul and inside his message I heard another spoken directly to me. It was like my mind was tuned into a certain frequency and I felt as though God was using the preacher to speak directly to me. My heart was racing and I still remember well how intense it all was for me. I received the words that spoke to me and the last thing he said was “just say, Jesus Christ is my Lord and savior and it will all be over”. Then he invited us to the altar to receive Christ and salvation.
I rushed to the front of the church. The preacher was up on the stage praying, there were quite a few of us who came to the altar to receive Christ. He came over and put his hand on my shoulder and then looked away and as he did I saw a light shining from his face out of the corner of my eye. This was my moment, my God encounter. I have not forgotten it and I have not experienced anything quite like it since.
Peter, let me pause for a moment in telling this story and humble myself before God, before you Brother Peter, and any other child of God who may be reading this story. The Bible says that “ We ought not think too highly of ourselves.” And “if we’re going to boast, let us boast in the Lord.” I know that not everyone has had such an encounter with God and I know that not everyone is going to believe that I am anything other than a madman. So be it, this is true in part, but this is my story and I long to tell it so that I may be understood and that perhaps I can help someone else understand what an Awesome, Wonderful God He is and how great is His Love and Mercy for all of us. To Him alone belongs all the Glory and endless praise. Without Him we are nothing and there. is no hope but because of Him there is endless hope and redemption.
Peter let me humbly share with you my painful journey and lengthy ordeal. I went on a walk with God unlike anything I could have imagined and I never would have done it had I known what it was going to be like and I couldn’t do it again even if I wanted to. This encounter was the most important event in my life and in three weeks on January 15, 2000. I started walking.