When I was a little kid my mother started getting together with a friend of hers to play with a Ouija Board and Tarot cards while all the kids played in the basement. It was harmless fun, they thought. After all, Ouija Boards were tucked between Twister and Monopoly at the toy store. I have no idea where they got Tarot cards. My best recollection is that they got together a few times over the course of a number of months, and then something happened and they were no longer friends. We moved across the country and my mother brought with her the game of curiosity in the spirit world.
It was never anything serious, or so it seemed. We grew up with it and it seemed normal to be surrounded by conversations about my mother seeing the spirits of dead babies sitting on the foot of her bed, or the belief that objects had been moved around the house by spirits long gone...or something. It was a regular occurrence for me to wake up in the night filled with fear in the belief that an entity from beyond the grave overshadowed the threshold of my bedroom door.
As we got older the fear and darkness overshadowed our entire home. My mother’s sense of logic became completely unsound and a lie to her was as good as the truth. Her words toward all of us became vile and emotionally and mentally abusive. She became a master deceiver and manipulator. My dad couldn’t see it because he was busy drowning in alcoholism.
One night, after I had moved out of the house at age 17, my dad’s alcoholism reached a breaking point and my mother decided he needed help. She always thought it was someone else who needed help. So she called for some type of minister or counselor to go to the house some time later. During that meeting, a type of prayer of sorts took place, and while “praying” my mother feigned the voice of Christ to coerce my dad into changing his life. He began to see the depths to which she had descended. It had happened gradually, but the dark deeds of evil had taken hold.
Sober, my dad was a quiet, sensitive, loving, although depressed, man. He had been shocked by his own behavior that was brought on by his alcoholism and he quit drinking cold turkey, at least for awhile. But the darkness in our home had taken hold of him and everything that had happened would weigh heavily on his heart for the rest of his life.
Meanwhile, my mother continued to spiral downward into her own little world of mental illness. After their divorce, she continued her tirades toward my dad and me. Even her body began to be ravaged. She became so ill that she had to be made a ward of the state and she was taken to live in a nursing home where she lives to this day. She regularly spewed vulgar rants to anyone who came near, including every one of her caretakers, whom she lost one by one because they couldn’t take her abuse. It was heartbreaking to watch and to be a part of.
The last time I saw her I barely recognized her. She lay motionless in her bed and looked at least 20 years older than her true age. I tried talking to her via email. She didn’t really remember me at first, and once she did, the attempts at abusive manipulation started all over again.
For many years before my dad’s death, I tried talking to him about the Lord and about salvation. He would always say he was trying but somehow I could never get through. He became ill in the last couple of years of his life and I prayed more than ever that God would open his eyes to faith in Christ. Many precious saints prayed for him as he lay on his death bed in the hospital. On what would be only days before his death, the hospital called one morning to tell me that he had had some sort of seizure and that I should come quickly.
As I was getting ready to go, my pastor’s wife called saying that she had been outside when the Holy Spirit put on her heart to call me. I told her what had happened with my dad and she offered to call the man who was our assistant pastor at the time to see if he could go to the hospital to see my dad.
By the time I got to the hospital, my dad seemed to be over whatever had happened to his body earlier in the day and no one knew exactly the reason for his seizure. He had never had one before or since.
A few hours later, the assistant pastor and his wife came. She talked to me in the hallway while he went in to visit with my dad. A short time later the pastor met us in the hallway and said that he had talked to my dad about his salvation and my dad had said yes, he wanted to receive Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior. They prayed together right there in his hospital room. Needless to say, I was overjoyed. After all those years of not only my prayers, but come to find out, the prayers of many saints throughout his life, my dad finally opened his heart to Christ for salvation and I knew I’d see him in heaven someday.
I will always wonder if the evil forces that were brought into our house as a game so many years before had slowly but surely permeated our home and had somehow taken hold of my dad to such an extent that it took a miracle of the Holy Spirit to unleash it from his body, and if that was really the cause of the seizure the same day he prayed to receive Christ.
I’m sure that never in their wildest imaginations did my parents ever believe that their lives would turn out as they did. One looked for a way to pass the time by satisfying her curiosity about contacting the spirit world. The other seemed to dismiss it as if it were nothing. I believe the enemy gleefully used both perspectives.
What may be a game to us is no game to the enemy; it is an open invitation into our lives. And when we overlook the seemingly innocuous ways the enemy worms his way into our lives, he grabs the chance and runs with it. He is always looking for a way to deceive and to lie and he’ll use whatever methods work, even wrapping them in pretty packages and entertainment, and he counts on us seeing the deceit as only an apple.
I don’t for one second believe that the enemy ran scurrying from me when I received Christ as my Savior. Oh, he has no hold on my soul anymore; Christ is my Savior and always will be. But I see the enemy using the same, old tricks to try to get me focused on him instead of the Lord.
As believers, we have a choice every day about who and what to allow in our lives--the Light of Christ or the fruitless deeds of darkness. Whoever and whatever we give place to in our lives each day--that is where we’ll receive power and direction.
“For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) and find out what pleases the Lord. Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them.” (Ephesians 5:8-11)