@brianlalor private messaged me asking me to share my testimony so I am doing so here. Buckle up for a wild ride, because my testimony may be a bit more extreme than you are used to.
I was raised in a Christian home. I actually remember praying with my mother for salvation when I was 6 years old. My prayer was earnest. Notable, is that as I get more into my 30’s, I start to remember more and more of my childhood. This memory of praying with my mother was one such thing. My mother has alway told me I was an incredibly deep person. I am very very introverted.
All throughout grade school, I never fit in. So I would say extreme things to my friends to try and get accepted because that is what I thought would get me accepted. I went to a very strict Baptist school even though my parents have probably always considered themselves non-denominational. It was this lack of feeling like I fit in that lead to a whole slew of problems later in my life. When I was in 5th grade I told my parents I wanted to switch schools and this was mainly based in my friend who was kinda the leader of our group basically hating our school because it was so strict. So I borrowed the idea.
Due to my introversion and not feeling accepted, I never fit in in my next school and hung out with the most mest up minds in the class. One of these people I believe became a trans woman or was gay or something, not sure, didn’t follow up with him.
When I was 12 years old I got baptized even though I had these personal problems. I then went on a missions trip to Mexico with my mother. It was a life changing event and it softened my heart towards people who are struggling and poor.
Now, I had extreme ADHD so I couldn’t learn or pay attention like other kids. When I was in 5th grade, I remember that my father yelled at me as I was studying with my parents for spelling because I was a terrible speller and frequently got really bad grades on spelling tests and my father yelled at me because he thought I was spelling the words wrong on purpose, which I never figured out why.
Now that I am speaking about my father I might as well mention that there was a traumatic event I had with him. I recall it was morning and I wanted to show him something that I thought was really cool. I went upstairs to his room and told him and wanted to show him. He said, “why are you lying to me?” I said, “I’m not lying.” He insisted I was lying when I was not even thought I urged him, because I was afraid of punishment at this point to show him I wasn’t lying. He didn’t fact check me and I got a very bad spanking and I was crying very badly. He told me he was punishing me because he loved me. So then he found out I was telling the truth and he tried to apologize, but he has never been a very sensitive person to people’s feeling so it didn’t take for me. He tried to hug me, which I recall seemed very forced and I rejected the hug in defiance because I felt betrayed. Well, he didn’t like that so I ended up getting another even worse spanking. I recall him saying as he was spanking me that he would spank me until I stopped crying. Then I recall I just went blank. Then I remember my mother saying something like, “Dan, Dan!” my fathers name, “Stop!” That’s the end of that memory.
So because I had ADHD and the school I was at didn’t want to offer extra help to me, as I had spent 6th grade at that school, my parents moved me out of that school to a public school a quarter way through 7th grade. I recall I was very very fearful of what other thought of me. Combine this with my introversion and I barely said a word when in school. The school psychologist was very concerned about me and met with me twice because I wasn’t making friends with the other kids. I was afraid and was prideful so didn’t want any help because I have a strong sense of independence so I faked it like I was fine. And the worse part of it is that it worked. Oh, how I wonder how my life could have been different if I got the help when I needed it.
I was very very quiet in both middle school and high school, mostly due to being afraid and anxious about what people thought of me.
I had had a few experiences with weed when I was younger with my cousin. But when I graduated from high school and started going to a community college, I had both a sexual craving and a desire to smoke more weed. I recall I had AIM at the time. I didn’t know who one of the people was so I sent a message saying, “who are you?” that got the conversation started with a girl who was a freshmen when I was a senior in high school and I asked her if we could smoke weed some time. BIG mistake. I feel such remorse for what I did after that. I ended up having a relationship with this girl and we had sex. The worst part was I knew what I was doing was wrong so I would frequently break up with her. Then on June 6th, 2006, I told here we got back together on 666.
I had thought I had committed the unforgivable sin by doing that. After a summer with this girl, and being caught with here in my bedroom, which here parents came to my house and asked if she was there, which my parents didn’t know, my mental health became something of a nightmare.
Due to the immense guilt of what I had done with this girl and thinking I had committed the unforgivable sin, I developed psychosis. I was out of my mind and in 2007 I walked to that girls house and asked if she was there. Her parents, rather than calling the police, called for me to be checked in to the hospital for mental health reasons. I was clearly out of it. I recall being the most afraid and paranoid I had been up until that point. I was hospitalized for about a week or so.
I don’t know what happened in between, but I was hospitalized again in June of 2007. I was diagnosed with Schizoaffective Disorder, which is basically a mix between schizophrenia and bipolar. While I was in the hospital the second time, I was catatonic. When I was brought to the hospital, I thought I was in hell, literally. I recall seeing the buildings outside and thinking to myself that I was in the 7th layer of hell.
When I was released from the hospital, I did a lot of weird things including writing with a permanent black marker on some metal things because I thought anything that was reflective that demons could see me through.
Through this time, I read most of the book, ‘No Compromise’ by Melody Green talking about the life and ministry of Keith Green, a musician and I would argue a prophet during the Jesus movement of the 70’s and 80’s. It was this at the time and the only way I had any glimmer of hope in my life. Reading the book, as lost as I was, I knew I was saved.
In 2008, my parents hired a lawyer to help me get on SSI. Because of my strong steak of independence, even in the condition my mind was in, I didn’t want to feel like I was dependent on anything, including the Government.
The years from then till 2012 are a blur. I don’t have any memories of that time at all. I had a court hearing and and was granted SSI (Social Security Income). I got some back pay, which is basically a check, and I decided I wanted to buy a computer with my money. I got my first PC. Also in 2012, I went to a Christian music festival with my friend. I recall taking a Myers Briggs test. I think I got INTJ. Later with my PC, I joined some personality forums. Naturally, due to my mental health problems, getting to know myself was a priority for me.
I believe another mental health issue I have struggled with is persecutory identity disorder, which basically means, my natural state of mind is to think I will be persecuted for my faith. This lead to me running away from God and hiding from Him because I figured if I didn’t consider myself a Christian, I wouldn’t get persecuted. So I called myself an atheist.
In December of 2016, I met with my psychologist and due to how severely depressed I was, he recommended I go to a partial hospitalization program for mental health. This was the start of my life starting to get just a bit brighter. I graduated from that partial hospitalization program and started going to a DBT group. I began to get healthier mentally. As such, I started to get an insatiable thirst for knowledge and the discovery of the big question, “What is true?” This lead to me structuring my time in an almost ridged like fashion where I devoted probably 3 hours a day doing nothing but learning. I read Jung, I read Sartre, I watch math documentaries, I studied electronics, I learned about the brain, I took so many personality tests online it would make your head spin. This is when I would say I started to go on my Quest for Truth. It was at this point that I had to surrender some of myself and ask the question, “what is true?” I wanted the truth and I was willing to sacrifice to get it. After devoting myself to private study of all these things for months, I realized there must be a God. You could say this is where the pinnacle of my testimony comes into fruition.
My testimony is based almost completely on Matthew 7:7, 8
Matt. 7:7 (ESVS) ¶ “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.
Matt. 7:8 (ESVS) For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened.
Then, after becoming a pantheist from atheism, given I couldn’t deny the evidence of a creator, even in the secular knowledge that I was studying, something amazing happened.
I could talk about this for about as long as what I have written so far, but suffice it to say, I may have met Jesus. I couldn’t say no to this man. He had an anointing on him like no one I have ever met. He talked as though he knew me, personal things about me that no one else knew. He ministered to me for hours. It came to a point where he asked me something like, “If you are a Christian, you could be persecuted for your faith. Is it worth it?” Just talking to this man, all the fears I had melted away. I knew at that point, whatever it was that he was giving me was better than anything else imaginable. I said, “Yes it’s worth it.” I met this man August 24, 2018. It is possible I was conceived in birth on the 24th of August as I was born May 21, but I was born 3 weeks late. If you do the math, that is the date.
My life has, and never will be the same again. Glory to God in the highest. May your peace reign throughout all the earth and may love abound in all of creation.