Out of The Dark And Into The Light
By Sheila M. Herron
It was a beautiful Tuesday morning as Michelle sat under the hood of her dryer, reading the Word and communing with the Lord. Michelle heard a voice from the Lord instructing her to start an in home prayer gathering. He had given her the specific names of those to invite. As she heard this, her spirit rose, for Michelle longed for the fellowship of sisters in prayer, since her old prayer group members had moved away.
Upon finishing up the drying of her hair, Michelle immediately went to her computer and started to make the flyers that would welcome the group of women that the Lord had told her to invite.
The following Tuesday arrived, and only one woman responded to the invitation, the Lord whispered, “Despise not the small beginnings!” The two women committed to praying, studying, and believing for more women to come and for the ones on the list to be obedient to the call of God.
Eventually, the prayers were answered and more women joined in, sharing their desires, studying the word and fellowshipping over coffee and desserts. It was times of refreshing, many were blessed, prayers were being answered, and there was unity among the women, kindred spirits.
It was also during this time that Michelle had met John, a minister and musician in her church. Michelle had longed for her husband to become the Godly man that John portrayed and she craved the attention that John gave to her dreams and goals. Michelle’s husband was busy working long hours and hanging out with friends that Michelle knew was of no earthly good. This troubled Michelle deeply for many years and the devil knew this. John would give Michelle compliments on her attire and her hair, he would give her a gentle hug that made her feel secure, reassuring her that all would be well. But, the compliments soon became more flirtatious ones, directing attention to her physical attributes. Michelle knew in her spirit that this was leading to danger, but her flesh craved the attention that she was receiving, she prayed and asked God to help her, but her mind would continue to battle the thoughts, rehearsing the compliments and conversations. Eventually Michelle and John exchanged phone numbers and began talking to each other over the phone.
Michelle was consumed with getting through with her housework, so that she could be available when John would call. She had every call timed and if she were away, she would hurry back home so that she would not miss the call. Michelle had gotten in too deep and she knew that she needed help, her heart was crying out, but she did not know what to do. John was a smooth talker, tall dark and handsome and he dressed accordingly. It got spooky for Michelle, because there were times when she would wear a certain color combination to church and he would wear the same thing. At other times, he would appear at places that she went. He was like a snake, quiet and cunning and he knew how to manipulate. Michelle started to see his tactics and how he not only went after her, but also other women in the church. His main prey was women who were single or whose husbands were not at church that often. He especially went after the ones who had little children, as this was his way of helping them get the kids into the car as he made his move by making flirtatious conversation. She confided in a couple of friends, but they could not offer any spiritual help.
One day, Michelle met Barbara John’s wife, she felt that she should be Barbara’s friend and not John’s because this was dangerous ground and she did not want to compromise any longer. Therefore she broke it off with John, but he still came around because their families had become close.
Barbara appeared pleasant and very spiritual, she was a little older and someone who Michelle felt could mentor her and the other ladies. Michelle invited Barbara to the prayer gathering, knowing that she would be blessed.
On the day that Barbara was to come, Michelle had been shopping in her local Christian bookstore. She spotted a book on the shelf entitled, “Pigs in The Parlor”. She glanced at the book and proceeded down the isle. Something told her to go back and read the back of the book and she did. Michelle had heard of the book before from another friend, but she had not remembered what the book was about. It is about being delivered from demonic possession. Michelle skimmed through the book, placed it back on the shelf, and left for home.
It was Tuesday evening, the women were coming in and Barbara showed up also. Michelle introduced Barbara to the other women and they started their praise and worship, with prayer and intercession following. Later that evening, during their time of studying the word, Michelle asked the women if they had heard of the book that she had seen at the bookstore. All but one said no. Barbara spoke up saying, “I have heard of it Michelle, you should get it”. The other ladies asked what the book was about and Michelle started to explain what she could remember. Barbara went more into detail about the book and as she explained, the women grew quiet. Michelle was intensely listening as Barbara shared some of her experiences in the ministry of deliverance. When she had finished, the women started to sway away from the subject, stating that one must be called to that particular type of ministry. Barbara asked the women, “Why do you think that I am here?” They could not answer.
The next day, Michelle got a call from Barbara, thanking her for inviting her and stressing that Michelle must get that book. Michelle went and purchased the book that same day, and could not put it down. This is where the tables turned!
It was prayer night and Michelle was all excited about what she had learned from the book. She was ready to share it with the others. As they began their study, she shared what she had learned with them and it began to peak their interest. Barbara sat back in contentment as the women agreed that they needed to purchase the book, some blessing others with it who could not afford it at the time. This book became the topic of their meetings during study time. Slowly Barbara incorporated her plans and motives into the prayer meetings. The meetings became more structured and less relaxed. The coffee and dessert times were cut out and so were the birthday celebrations. Eventually, the women started to drop off, making excuses of having other commitments with their children’s activities or family matters to attend to. When Michelle started to see this, she figured that these women had issues and did not want to confront them; therefore she stopped having prayer meetings at her home and joined with Barbara’s prayer team in her home.
The women at Barbara’s prayer meeting were in their senior years, next to Barbara, Michelle was the youngest. Barbara’s meetings were more structured, a lot like the military. The women were loving yet stern in their praying, calling out spirits and facing them head on. Michelle found this intriguing and she was learning a lot about the other side of the spirit realm. She felt that she was maturing spiritually at a rapid pace and that she was able to see things in people that others could not. She started to distance herself from her friends because she thought that they had demons and that she could not hang around them or else they would pull her into their sins, this is what was being taught in the meetings. As time went on, through shut-ins, fasting and seeing people having demons cast out of them by spitting up in a plastic bag, Michelle started to isolate herself more from her family and friends and became more confident in her little circle of prayer warriors.
One day she bumped into one of the ladies, Andrea, who she had initially started praying with from the original prayer group, and she shared how she had been blessed by Barbara’s prayer meetings. Andrea was at a low point in her marriage and decided that she needed to go.
As time went on, Michelle invited others from her church and many were being healed from oppression of demonic strongholds. But, things got deeper and John, Barbara’s husband still continued to pursue Michelle even though she had became close to his wife.
There were times when Barbara would talk about dressing in military fatigues, pouring salt around the house, and other times where the ladies started to judge their Pastor and other members of the church, saying that they had demon spirits in them. The ladies would claim to see spirits in their prayer time that were in certain areas of the church and each one of them were assigned a post to pray at during church services. They were to be on guard and not to socialize with the other congregants. Because this was an order that Barbara had received from the Lord. They were not known in their meetings by their name, they went by numerical code and one of the members in the group claimed that she could hear demons in other people conversing.
There was much prophesying (prophe-lying) going on in these prayer meetings, “Thus says the Lord….”, they saw demon spirits everywhere, in plants, ceiling fans….etc.
Michelle had really gotten in deep with them and decided to share her innermost secrets with them, when she did this, the enemy rose up.
Michelle had been harboring the big secret about the affair with John on the inside and the enemy had filled her with fear and condemnation about it.
Although the affair was not a physical one, Michelle still felt bad about the phone conversations that were made behind their spouses, Keith and Barbara’s back. The affair had been broken the prior year before Michelle met Barbara, and Michelle decided to share her guilt and hurt with the other women including Barbara. She could not continue to befriend Barbara and the other ladies and deceive them at the same time knowing that she held this big secret.
It was at a prayer meeting where she decided to share this big secret and when she did, Barbara said that she already knew, by the Holy Spirit. She appeared to be the bigger person and embraced Michelle in front of the others. They saw this as an awesome act of the Holy Spirit in these two women, to be able to share a secret like this and then embrace each other.
Michelle thought that everything was over and out in the clear, she could move on with her life and ministry. Things were good in her marriage and family and she still enjoyed being around the group of women. But, one morning as she entered Barbara’s home for prayer, one of the ladies who had not been at the prior meeting yelled out to her; “Silly woman! How could you sit up under the word and still do what you did?” Michelle was taken back; she gasped and looked at the women with tears in her eyes. The spirit of condemnation began to surface again. The room of women grew still and Barbara said, “Let’s get started, Michelle has had to deal with this enough”. They continued on with their meeting and had future meetings, but Michelle never felt the same. There were times when she felt as though the ladies were separating from her and there were other times when they were very judgmental, telling her that they could see demonic spirits in her, her children, and her husband. They would tell her that she was not totally delivered because she had not thrown up in the bag. At other times, they would accuse her of harboring un-forgiveness towards her family for things that she knew did not even happen. They judged the way that she dressed, the color of clothes that she wore, the way that she talked, and even had her to throw away some expensive art because they said that it had demons in it. Michelle’s life was no longer her own. She became very structured and felt that if she got off track she would be judged. Her time was filled with 21 day fasts, daily prayer hours, studying, and how much she heard from the Lord. If she didn’t hear anything, they would accuse her of not spending enough time with him, telling her that she was rebelling. Everything that they did was a secret to the outside world. It was as if they were in a cult, these women did nothing with anyone outside of their circle and if Michelle did it, she was reprimanded for it. She found that she could not have conversation with people without looking deep into them to see if they had spirits. Her world was filled with demon searching, everything was a spirit.
Michelle started to notice that the women were acting different and they all seemed to be afraid to go against Barbara, even her own mother. She noticed that nobody would test Barbara’s revelations from the Lord to see if they were true. The women started to walk around as if they were superior; they all sat in a group at church and looked as if they were in a trance.
Slowly they started to separate from Michelle and would go and sit with Barbara, leaving Michelle by herself.
They had Michelle thinking that she had done the unpardonable sin and that God did not love her anymore. Whenever Michelle would share something that the Lord had given her with them, they would look at her as if she was strange and Barbara would tell her that she was off and that what she had shared was not from the Lord.
It was not until Michelle and her family briefly relocated for six months, that the Lord started to reveal the web of deception that she had gotten tangled up in. Michelle would reflect on some of the experiences in the meetings and God would immediately take her to scripture and show her where it was wrong how they were going about doing deliverance ministry. The ministry of deliverance is about healing and restoration, not harshness, judging, or alienating and it does not happen over night. It is a process of healing that must come forth, a process of restoring the fragments that were stolen from that person. God spoke to Michelle and told her that His yoke is easy and His burden is light, that it does not take all of what they were doing. He showed her that they were like the Pharisees, condemning everyone but, themselves. He showed her that He loved her and that He forgave her when she first confessed her sin and that He does not keep reminding her of her sin. He likened her to the Samaritan woman who was shunned by many because of her sin, but when she had a taste of the living water, she was atoned with Him and how He used her to minister to the very ones who judged her.
It was not until Michelle was snatched out of darkness that she saw the light.
Through it all, she has grown closer to the Lord and has become more confident in Him and not people. She looks to Him for approval and not others, if she does not pray for five hours or hear from the Lord, she doesn’t feel condemned. God knows our schedules and that it takes a real woman to balance home and ministry.
Today, Michelle has returned to her home church, she had to face her demons head on, it took her a while to go back to the things that God had called her to do, but through it all she has learned to walk in a spirit of love. It has allowed her to be discerning of where conversations with the opposite gender are leading to. It has brought her and her husband closer, spirit, soul, and body. Most important, God is using her to intercede and warn women who may fall prey to cults and adultery, He has shown her how to minister the ministry of reconciliation. He has made her a watchman on the wall.
From darkness Michelle has emerged into His light.
This is a true story; the names of the characters have been changed.
Copyright 2004 Sheila M. Herron
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I've been in similiar situations... not fun. But when we are willing to humble ourselves before the Lord, He will restore us and teach us. "Let not many of you become teachers for there is but one teacher... the Holy Spirit." We must all pray for discernment. But that discernment must not come from our hearts, for our hearts tend toward self-fulfilling things. We must pray for discernment straight from the Throne of Grace... even if it means taking an honest look at ourselves from a Gods-eye view. Thank you for sharing this story. It's a lot more common than most want to believe.