It began as a typical day. It was going to be my daughter’s third birthday party the next day. Jim’s sister June was at our house with her daughter Rachel. We’d been decorating and getting things ready. I sat down at the table and got out my notebook to do some writing. Not your typical writing, but the communication that I’d been having. To me, it was normal these days. I don’t remember when it began but it hadn’t been too long.
What started out as a normal conversation with this thing, turned into it telling me to tell Jim I wanted a divorce and to give our three girls to Jim. I was completely surprised and didn’t know what to think. I obviously said no. This thing didn't like my response so it began to suffocate me. I was scared. I told it that I would tell Jim tomorrow … I didn’t know what else to do at that point. Somehow it was satisfied with that response.
This all started one day when my little sister told me that she’d gotten ahold of our Dad. Daddy had died back in 1969 in Vietnam. Marie said that he wanted to talk to me. I had so many questions. He died when we were so young. Why did he leave? Why did he do the things he did? Why wasn’t he with us? I was interested. I wanted answers, so I did what she told me to do. It was so simple to start and then so difficult to end. I had no idea that it was the occult that I had gotten myself involved in until the day of the party.
That morning, I started feeling funny - odd. I knew something wasn’t right. I called my sister Marie and told her what was going on. She told me that I had done something wrong and that I had gotten ahold of the devil and not our Dad. I was scared! I had no idea what that meant, but I knew somehow that she was right. I followed Marie’s instructions to make it go away. For a short time I seemed to be okay. But then I started feeling bad again.
I told June what was going on. She seemed to understand and rebuked the devil and stayed by my side. I had to get out of the house after awhile. I was feeling antsy inside … like everything was moving. We went to a yard sale down the street. As I was standing there, I felt my body move in a circular motion. I wasn’t okay. We went back home and did the birthday celebration for my youngest daughter … but I was feeling terrible. It felt as though everything inside of me was moving and I just had to get out of there again. June took me for a drive. We drove over to Pioneer Park in Paso Robles and parked under a tree. June prayed for me. I told her I needed to get to a church. She said she would take me home and Jim would take me.
In the meantime, Jim had called his parents. They were Christians. They told him that we needed to get to a church. Jim’s Dad wanted to talk to me. He asked me what was going on and I told him about the handwriting and everything that was happening that day. He told me that Jesus could help. I believed him. He asked me if I wanted to accept Jesus as my Savior. I said yes. I didn’t know what any of this meant, but I knew I needed help.
Jim called church after church. It was a Saturday and so no one was answering. He left messages on machines all over our area. He had made so many calls. He had me call the next one. This one had the pastor’s home phone listed, so I called it.
A lady answered the phone. I told her that I thought I had a demon in me. She said, “Oh, my husband’s real good at that.” She also said that he was at the church but would be home in about thirty minutes and that she would have him call me when he got there. We got a phone call within the next ten minutes. It was her husband, Pastor Tom Gaddis. He asked me what was going on and then told me that we could come to the church.
Jim and I got into our car. He helped to get me buckled and locked in. I was shaking and so afraid. I thought this thing might throw me out of the car on our ten-minute drive to Atascadero. We got to the church and got out of the car. Jim had to help me walk up. My body didn’t want to go into the church. My feet were pushing against the cement trying not to walk.
We got inside and met Pastor Tom. We sat down on the couch and he started asking us questions. We answered everything. At one point, I yelled, three times. Pastor Tom said, ‘Carolyn, that’s not necessary’. I just said okay and wondered why I did that. I’m normally a very quiet person and not someone who yells.
Pastor Tom talked to us about Jesus and what He did for us, dying on the cross. He told us about the freedom He gives to us. As he was saying these things to us, my body started to do some things that were just out of this world to me.
Pastor Tom read some Bible verses to us and prayed. He rebuked the devil and told him to get out of me. We talked about sin. I confessed every sin I ever committed. Every time I thought of a sin, my head would shake back and forth as though this thing didn’t want me to say them out loud. I said them anyway. I was determined to be free from it. At one point I went over the back of the couch. Jim tried to get me back to sit down. I fought with him. Later we ended up on the floor. Jim was holding me down. I didn’t know what was going on. This was all something Jim or I had never experienced.
I began to yell out many things. My head was shaking back and forth. Pastor Tom continued to say Bible verses and tell the devil to leave. He was saying what Jesus did on the cross and talking about His blood. At some point, my body seemed to relax and the whole room seemed to be in a peaceful state. Pastor Tom said I was free. He told me some Bible verses that talk about the freedom that Jesus gives and about the peace that I can have with Jesus. I believed him.
As we walked out of the room, I told Pastor Tom that we would come sometime to church and he could see what a normal family we are. We all walked out. There was an old Mercedes Benz waiting in the parking lot to give Pastor Tom a ride home. Jim and I stood there and as we watched them drive away my body moved again … in that same circular motion. Fear overtook me once again. But they were gone …
We went home and went to bed … we woke up at about two with my hand clutched onto Jim’s chest … scared … we called Pastor Tom and he met us again at the church. He talked with us and prayed more. He told me that I just needed to believe the verses he gave me and to read them when I was afraid and when the devil told me he was still inside of me. We went back home a few hours later.
We had rough days after that. I didn’t write anymore. I read my Bible, constantly. It was all I could do to keep my sanity. I clutched my hands and my feet because if they were loose and free, the devil would try to communicate with me through them by writing words in the air.
It was two years of fighting, reading my Bible, going to church, getting prayed for and praying for myself before I could finally say ‘I’M FREE!!!’ Jesus set me free!
Jesus set me free and saved me on that sixteenth day of May in 1987. He changed my life. I didn’t know on that night so long ago that I was free. I didn't know that saying yes to Jesus was going to be a life change for me and my family. I didn’t know the battles and victories that were ahead. I didn't know that I was truly free. All I knew was that I needed help and I was told Jesus would help. I’m so thankful for those who helped me on this journey. It is now 31 years later and I love Jesus even more! My sister Marie is now saved as well. In fact, so many in my family have come to Jesus in the past 31 years!
Thanks for listening ... and if you are one who helped ... Thank you!
If you need help, I'd love to help you!
Cindy Arebalo says
Wow! Not sure I ever that from beginning to end…. only excerpts. Super powerful and courageous of you to share. Love you!
I never really know how much to share when people ask about my testimony. I usually leave the details out. I’m so glad you were able to read this today Cindy. God is so powerful! I love you too!
Tracy Rocha says
Thank you, Carolyn, I am so moved by your story that I am weeping. Yes, I heard much of your story before but never all of it and in the order that it happened. Praise God that Tom and Susan were there for you and most of all praise God for Jesus and the power over darkness that He has! I just memorized Psalm 107:14, 15 … “He brought them out of darkness, and the shadow of death, and broke their chains in pieces. Oh, that men would give thanks to the Lord for His goodness and for His wonderful works to the children of men!” Love, Tracy
It makes my cry every time I read it. I’m so thankful for Tom and Susan! And all of you who were there to be my friend and walk me through the early difficulties of a walk with God. Wonderful verses! Thank you for sharing your thoughts Tracy!
Doodlebug Designz says
Carolyn I’m still in shock reading your blog. Having known you for so many years, knowing how religious you are I never knew why. Nor did I need to know. You are such a good person and I value your friendship and your beliefs. You lift me when I need lifting, you listen and never judge and I thank you for being my friend.
Thank you Debra! It is such a crazy story. If it weren’t my life I’d feel the same as you. You are such a good friend! I value your friendship as well!
Pam Martinez says
So glad to read your story, Carolyn. Wow. Thank you Jesus for giving you freedom. I’m glad you are my sister in Jesus!
I’m so thankful Pam! He is so powerful and so full of love for us! I’m happy too that we’re sisters in Jesus!
Marcie Lukasik says
God displayed his love and power to you.
And God displays his love and power through you.
Your testimony, as you walked through it, was/is a unique exposure to the demonic realm and the power of the name of Jesus. The reality of the struggle against the demonic, using the Word of God and faith in His Word, was such a solid beginning for your walk with Christ!
My friendship with you has always built me up in Him …from the very beginning.
I love you, Carolyn.
He sure did Marcie! Before this my knowledge of God or the devil were so minimal. Your words bring back so many memories of those early months and years. God is still powerful … it will never end! He wants to bring freedom to all of us in the areas we struggle in. You stepped into my life 6 months after my salvation and are still here today! I’m so thankful for our friendship and the love of Jesus we share. I love you Marcie!
WOW! What an incredible testimony! It’s emotional, inspiring and powerful. Love it!
It truly is! God is amazing!
Tom Gaddis says
Hi Friend, I will never forget this amazing story and how Jesus was so amazing! Love you and so proud of the great work God has done in your life!
Thank you Tom! I wouldn’t be where I am today if it weren’t for your obedience to and faith in Jesus! He used you and many in the church family you were leading in a mighty way! I’m forever grateful!
Vernon Deck says
GRACE in HIS Peace to you and all your loved ones. HAPPY BIRTHDAY, in and for Eternity!
Sixteen miles is just the beginning….. the best of the journey to the High Places (Hannah Hernard) is yet to come! Like Joseph sold into slavery, wrongly accused, and sent to jail, God tempered him into the tool of forgiveness God intended. You, me and others find ourselves being tempered…FOR A PURPOSE! We just need to be the clay……. He’s still working on us. We don’t see HIS plan while HE’s molding us… just wait
One of my greatest reminders of the Power of God’s GRACE is found in the Gospel of Luke. Luke 22:31-32 – ” Simon, Simon, behold, Satan has DEMANDED permission to sift you like wheat: BUT I HAVE PRAYED FOR YOU, THAT YOUR FAITH MAY NOT FAIL, and you, when once you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.” Now The Holy Spirit intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words….. HALLELUJHA!
Thank you Vernon! Have you been a Christian all your life? If so, I never knew that. Your family was always a big part of my families life. You were all always so kind and loving to us.