Light in the Darkness
(Please listen to Alexis’ story by clicking the white play button at the top of this post. You can read the transcript of the story below.)
Why does it get weird when a microphone is in your face anyways? But, um, yeah, I grew up in church; we went every Sunday. I would go Wednesday nights, I would, I would go to every every, like church retreat that was offered to me, in my youth and stuff. But I was not going for Jesus. I was going to be social. I was a really social person. And a lot of my friends went to church. Like, I was never taught to have a relationship with God. It was, it was just, it was just, you go to church, and you’ll get saved. And that’s kind of what I thought, like, I got my free ticket into heaven. But no, I never, I never knew that I had full accessibility to Jesus. I had no idea–I was never taught about spiritual warfare. I was never taught that Jesus’ name is all powerful. I was just never taught that stuff. When I was a freshman in high school, I started dating an 18 year old, which is bad news right off the bat. And it was, it was a really abusive relationship. And he forced me into doing things that I had never done before. And things that I knew weren’t right, because of what I learned growing up in church. So after that happened, I just thought, “Oh well, I’m worthless. Like, I’m a bad person, I can’t believe that I did those things now.” And so I started heavily, I started heavily drinking and using drugs and self-harming at 15, because I didn’t know how to deal with it. I didn’t really tell anybody. And then, throughout the four years of high school, I was raped by five different guys. So with with each one that happened, my drug and alcohol use got way worse. And it was just how I coped with it. That’s just how I dealt with it. I didn’t really want to talk about it to anyone. So I just kept suppressing the emotions, and kept just using drugs and alcohol and self-harming. After the last one happened, I was a senior in high school, I was 18. And it happened on a Friday. And then on the following Monday, I went to school, and I had a teacher who I didn’t know she was a Christian. And she could read people like a book. And I walked into her class, and she just looked at me and she’s like, “Alexis, what’s wrong? And I just lost it. And I started just crying. And with her encouragement, I ended up going to the authorities. And it wasn’t until a year later that I actually went to court. So I had been continually suppressing this this whole time. And then I went to court and I had to face one of the men who raped me. And that was, that was a really hard day. But I’m really glad I did it.
He went, he went to jail. But it was like, as soon as I left the courtroom, I could not ignore all this stuff that I had been pushing down for so long. And I didn’t, I didn’t really know it was going on. I didn’t really know about PTSD or anything like that. So I thought, “Man, I don’t want to go to sleep anymore. Because every time I go to sleep, I have to relive what happened.” So I thought, “Oh, I’ll just keep myself up. That sounds like a great idea. I’ll keep myself up. And then I don’t have to experience this.” So I kept myself up for several weeks. And I went absolutely insane, obviously. And I started going into my kitchen and I started like gathering knives. And I like had a stash of knives in my room and I started writing suicide notes. I was going to stab myself. It sounded like a really good idea at the time. And my mom came in and she found the stash of knives and she was like, “You need help.”
So in 2014, I was 19, and I went into my first psych ward. From 2014 to 2018, I was in over 20 psych wards. And they diagnosed me with like schizophrenia, bipolar one, borderline personality disorder, generalized anxiety, PTSD, OCD, intrusive thoughts. I mean, there is the list, the list just goes on and on. That four years of my life was just hell, it was awful. And I really just thought I was crazy, because that’s what I was told. They put me on social security disability, because they told me I would never work again or be able to function. I was really lost and really hopeless. The doctors had me on at least 10 psych meds at a time throughout this whole like four years. And they would try so many different combinations. But it was like nothing worked. I was in partial hospitalization programs, which is kind of like school. You go to the hospital, like six hours a day you come home, you go back, and you do that for months. And then in inpatient. And then throughout that time, I was in rehabs, and it was just, I was living in institutions. During this time, I had more fear than than I ever knew was possible. Um, I, I would see demons all the time. I would hear demonic voices talking to me from the time I woke up to the time I went to sleep. And they were telling me to do awful things. They’d tell me you know, to kill myself, or to hurt myself, they’d tell me to kill others, to hurt others. It it would just, it was like it was like a record on replay constantly. I started having what the medical field calls dissociative episodes, which it really only started happening the last two years. And what it is, is you you black out for long periods of time, like it can be days. And you like, I would have no recollection of what I what I was doing. But I look like I’m a functioning human being–like as my family’s watching or people, it looks normal. But to me, I would I wouldn’t even know what I was doing in those moments. And every time I would go into one of those, I’d try to kill myself. It was, it was something taking over and trying to kill me. One of the worst things that happened was, I was blacked out and one of these episodes. And I don’t know, I was always mad and I got really enraged like that day. And it was like I just completely blacked out. And I went to my room and I grabbed a razor blade. I always had them stashed. And I just started cutting my arm. Like within seconds, I think I made like 40 cuts. And I came to and I was in a pool of blood. And I was like, I was like, “Help Help!” And that is so like, that’s so weird for me, because I would always cut, but it was very secretive. And i just started screaming because I didn’t know what happened. And my sister who’s five years younger than me opens the door. And she finds me and she just like she just starts crying out like, “Alexis, why would you do this?” Why would you do this?” She was like, “NO!” And then she like, she went and she threw up. She couldn’t even stand look at it. And then my dad and my mom came in. And I mean just freaking out like horrified. And I remember my mom, because they didn’t understand what was going on, my mom’s like, “Are you just doing this for attention?” And they couldn’t understand. Like, I had no idea what I was doing.
Like I had no idea.
And so I just like, I remember I’d be in all these places, and the doctors and the therapists, they talk about self-control. And I’d be like, “What is that? What is self-control?” I was like, “I don’t have that. I used to have it. I have no idea what that is like, please, somebody help me like, because when I get mad, I do things. I have no idea what I’m doing. Like, I blacked out. I’m like, I don’t I don’t know what that is. What is self-control? Like, I want it, but I don’t have it.”
My life and my family’s life was just complete hell, like there were just so many things that occurred during that time. So many weird events that took place. And I never even thought for one moment that it was the devil, that it was Satan. Because the medical field, like just kept telling me I was crazy. I remember like always trying to explain to the therapist and the doctors what we’re going, what was going on. But it was like I couldn’t get someone to understand. I couldn’t get them to understand how bad it was. And I just felt so hopeless and so helpless. And just, I was so tired. And I am just at one of my lowest points. And my parents are begging me to go out with friends because I had always been this really social person, like I was the most talkative and like class clown in high school. So they’re like, “Please call your friends, like you need to go out you need to go out, you need to do something.” So I went out with friends. And it’s just a bunch of people hanging out. And I’m sitting alone in a chair in the corner, just like cowering over. And I couldn’t say one word. And I was like, “Oh my gosh, I am a shell of the person I once was. I’m a stranger to myself, I have no idea who I am.” And I went home. And I went right down into my basement and just start crying. And my mom follows me down. And she’s like, what’s going on? And I said, “Mom, I am so tired.” I was like, “I am at war with myself every single day.” I was like, “You don’t understand, I’m so tired.” I was like, “I can’t do this anymore.” I said, “Mom, I love you. But I’m so sorry, I’m preparing you right now that I’m going to kill myself. And it’s going to be very soon. I’m so sorry. But it’s happening.”
And my mom said the peace of God fell on her in that moment. And it was like He told her, “She’s not going to kill herself.” But my mom couldn’t show me that emotion in that moment because of how bad I was. So she just held me.
Like a week after that, it was September 14, 2018. My mom comes into my room in the morning when I’m getting ready to go to the hospital for my program. And she’s like, she’s like, “Hey, Alexis, you’re going to go to a church conference with me tonight.” And just bolts out. Because she knows I would have argued that and been like, “Oh, heck no, I’m not going there.” So she just like left, and I had no choice because I had such bad anxiety, I couldn’t even drive a car, like I hadn’t been driving for months. So my dad was taking me to the hospital. So I had really no way out. So my dad dropped me off at the hospital that day. And I’m sitting in group therapy like always, and I’m just going off. “My mom wants me to go to this stupid church conference tonight. She thinks I’m going to get like healed or something. Why can’t they just accept that I’m mentally ill?” Like, and I’m just, I mean, I’m mocking God, I’m mocking my mom. I’m like, “This is crap. Well, I don’t really have a choice. You know, my dad’s gonna drop me off there.” And I’m like, “I’m just gonna go to make my mom happy, whatever.” And I see my psychiatrist that day, who I’ve seen for years. And I go into his office, and I sit down with him, like always, and he’s like, “How are you doing?” I’m like, “I’m doing terrible.” And he just looks at me. And he says, “I can’t help you anymore.” I was like, “What do you mean, you can’t help me? That’s your job.” And he’s like, “I can’t help you. We’ve tried everything with you. We’ve tried, like every combination. You’ve been in so many, so many hospitals, so many programs.” He’s like, “I don’t know how to help you. You are more miserable than the last time, every time I see you.”
And so I’m like, my my hope in doctors and medicine is completely squished at that moment. And I’m like, I don’t know what I’m going to do. So my dad picks me up then and drops me off at this church. He drops me off. And I walked into the church to meet my mom. And as soon as I stepped foot into a church, I feel so sick. And I was like, “Mom, I need to get the heck out of here. Like I don’t want to be here. I feel so sick, get me out.” And she was like, “Oh, no, you’re not leaving.” I am so miserable. I’m so depressed. I don’t like people at this point. I’m like, I don’t want to be here. This is the last place for me to be. So I’m standing by a trash can. With my arms crossed in the lobby. And I’m just thinking to myself, you know, these meds aren’t working. These doctors don’t want to help me, they can’t help me. And I said, “God, if you’re real, you need to show up. And you need to show up in a big way. And if you don’t, I’m killing myself when I get home tonight.”
And the conference had already been going on, like every seat was taken, we were going to have to go to the overflow room. And all of a sudden, these two women stand up and they’re like, “Hey, do you guys want our seats?” So we take these seats, and my mom’s just talking to me and she’s she’s annoying me. I’m like, Oh my gosh, I don’t want to be around her. So I said, “Mom, I’m going to go up for worship.” I wasn’t intending on worshiping, but I was like, I need to get away from her. And my mom goes, “Alexis, please, ask someone for prayer, please just go get prayer.” And I was like, “Yeah, whatever. Like if you’re lucky.” So I go up to worship. And you know, it’s like, packed bunch of people and everyone’s got their hands raised, you know, “Jesus. Yeah.” And I’m like, in the midst of this crowd with my arms crossed, my head hung low, and I’m just crying, and I’m, I’m planning my suicide for when I get home. I’m like, this is it. This is the end. I’m done. And then I realized, I’m like, “Man worship’s gonna end in like, 15 minutes. If I don’t ask someone for prayer, my mom’s gonna bring me up here herself and cause a huge scene, like, I was like, nobody wants that. At least if I asked someone, I can tell her so she’ll leave me alone.” And the front rows like roped off and there’s security guards. I have no idea how I got in there. But I did. They looked important. And I was like, Oh, I’ll ask them for prayer. Like, yeah, that’s a good idea. I didn’t give a rip who they were. I didn’t care who they were. So I like go into, I go into this row, and I tap, I tap the head pastor of the church on the shoulder. He’s like, at the very end, and I was like,” Hey,” I said, “You don’t know me. My name is Alexis. My mom wants me to get prayer.” And he goes down three chairs where Todd is sitting. And he’s like, I didn’t know this at the time. But he looks at him. And he goes, “Dude, Todd, you gotta pray for this girl.” So it’s like dark, worship’s going on. There’s–we’re in this small aisle, and they just wave me down. And so I go down in front of Todd, and he grabs my hands, and I’m really close to him. And my head’s still down, you know, I’m crying. I’m a mess. And he just goes, “I need you to look at me right in my eyes.” So I lift my head up and make eye contact with him. And then all of a sudden, I felt something like, in me, almost start shaking. It was like an earthquake started happening. And then he just says two words very gently. And he just says, “Get out.”
I will never be able to fully comprehend what happened that night. But what I can tell you is that I have never felt so much love, and so much grace, like I did in that moment.
And my neck just snaps to the left like a 90 degree angle. I can still feel it to this day. It just snapped. I will never forget that. And then I lost. I mean, in that moment, I lost complete control of my body and what I was doing, so my neck snaps, my head goes back, and I start screaming. It was like horror just coming out of my mouth. Like, I could not make those sounds if I wanted to. It was horrific. Screams–it–there was like growling, hissing, it was just, it was just awful. And I tried to attack Todd, I’ve never, that thing. Those things inside of me. They were so mad at the Jesus in him. Like I had never felt that much rage in my life. It was like, it overtook me. And I had four grown men holding me back. And I couldn’t, I couldn’t hear anything outside of myself. It was like I was convulsing, and you know, screaming or whatever. And I could see Todd was pointing and talking to these demons, like casting them out, but I couldn’t really hear it. And I remember having conscious thoughts while this was happening, like thinking, “Oh my gosh, I’m so loud. Oh my goodness. Everybody’s looking at me, like this is embarrassing. What’s going on?”
And it’s just like, you know, I I had no control though. So this is happening. And then I’m I’m on the ground, eventually just convulsing, and all of a sudden, I feel stuff come out of me. Like, I literally feel things leave me. And then everything stopped. Like I just I laid there motionless, motionless on the ground. And I remember in that moment, I was like, “Oh my gosh, I can hear myself think for the first time in years.” And I had peace. And I had joy. Like, I was laying there with a huge smile on my face, like, wondering, like, “How did this get here? Like what happened?”
And I was like, “I gotta, I gotta get up and tell my mom like, I gotta go tell my mom.” And they’re like, “No, you won’t be able to move.” And I couldn’t, I couldn’t feel my legs. Like I could not move. And I physically, I felt like a train hit me, like it felt physically draining. And it was like every bone in my body hurt, but mentally, spiritually, emotionally. I felt like a million bucks. Like, I was like, I don’t care how bad my body hurts. I am–I am free. So I, I eventually got up and went back to my mom and I took her out into the lobby. And I told her what happened and she just cried. She cried. And she instantly could see that there was a different person standing in front of her. And then I called my brother who I hadn’t talked to in months, because I was so mad at him. And I called him and I just cried. And I told him and he was like, “Oh my gosh, I saw that stuff happen on mission trips, but I never thought of it happened to my sister.” And then later that night, we went home after the conference and my my dad and my sister were at home and I went in and I just, I mean just full of life. And I just told him what happened and like…like my dad did not believe in that stuff whatsoever. I mean, I don’t think any of my family did, like I know I didn’t. And it’s it’s been a total 180 since that night, just a total 180. I cold turkeyed off of 10 psych meds that night because I thought, “Well, Jesus just freed me. I don’t need these anymore.” And I should have died medically from going off of all those. But I was like, no way. He’s gonna keep me alive. And I went through terrible withdrawal for only a week, which is a miracle. But that’s what really, I think sold my family on it because I’m going through withdrawal. And I’m throwing up, I’m like, you know, throwing up, going to the bathroom all the time, couldn’t keep anything down. And I’ve got the joy of the Lord all over me. And I am so excited about life, but so physically like not okay. And they’re like, “Oh my gosh, this is real, like she is really happy, but really sick but really happy.”
And it has just, it has just been me so in love with Jesus ever since. And I’ve just been on this journey with just seeking Him and getting to know Him. And I just like I will never be able to fully comprehend what happened that night. But what I can tell you is that I have never felt so much love and so much grace like I did in that moment. I was the most undeserving person, and He just came down and just wiped out years of torment within seconds. And it amazes me that all Todd said was two words. But Jesus is so powerful. That that’s all it took. It didn’t take some like crazy prayer. It just was like, “Get out.” And that’s it. It was done. And I don’t even really remember like Todd, I don’t really remember him. I just I know that like it was Jesus who was holding my hands. And it was Jesus who was looking me in my eyes. And He just came down and He touched me. And it has just been a game changer. Like once that happens, you can’t go back. I’m every day I’m at this place of like, man, I’d be dead if it wasn’t for you. So every day I wake up and lay my life down so that I can serve you the best way possible. Because I wouldn’t I wouldn’t be here and I believe I’d be in Hell. Yeah, I’m in love with Jesus Christ. That’s where I’m at. And my whole family’s been affected greatly. My dad who wouldn’t set foot in a charismatic church because he thought they were quote unquote Fruit Loops now is there every weekend so yeah, God is, does not belong in a box, is beyond what you can think. And just to further what God has done. I was on three medications for endometriosis. I had had multiple surgeries. And I had not had a period in five years because they had me on meds to stop my reproductive system from working so that the endometriosis would slow down. I am off all that medication. I have not had any symptoms at all from endometriosis. I am completely healed of endometriosis. I had thyroid issues, I had hypothyroidism, they found two masses on my thyroid, was talking about it being cancer, told me I was gonna have to probably have it removed. And I said, “What does that mean?” Oh, it means you’ll be on meds for the rest of your life. I said, “Oh, no, God did not take me off meds to put me back on them.” And now my thyroid is completely healed, I am off, I am off all medication. I am on no meds. Like it is everything has been completely restored. Like he always goes above and beyond what we even imagine. And I believe the only thing, the the only thing that led me to getting set free that night was because I was at the end of my rope. And all the hope I had in anything else was completely gone. And I was able to finally surrender and say, “You know what? You need to show up. Because if you don’t, I’m I’m done. Like I can’t do this.” But it wasn’t until I was able to surrender that He was able to come in and do what He had to do.
The greatest thing that God has put on my heart for my testimony is that whenever people hear that you’ve been possessed, I think they are under the assumption that you are involved with witchcraft, like that you like mess around with Ouiji boards or tarot cards or anything. I didn’t do anything like that. And I want people to know that like, No, I did drugs. I drank. I listened to bad music. I watched bad movies, TV shows, I watched pornography. I was I was involved with sexual immorality. It’s like, no, no, no….you don’t have to do that stuff to have the devil come in, and screw with you and mess your whole life up. You don’t. And like every time I was doing something, I was opening up a door saying, “Come on in.” I was in the devil’s playground. And that’s what people don’t understand. They think they’re safe if they’re not doing certain things, but it’s like, no, you’re opening up a door. So my life now is being intentional with everything I do. Because if I can prevent giving the devil a foothold, I will do everything in my power not to. Like it’s just it’s not worth it.
Oh, and I want to say something a lot of people don’t know. So my hair is cut because Jesus told me to cut it. And I know that sounds really wack. But just hear me out. So I cut my hair. And I didn’t know why for really like for a long time. I was like, why did I do this? I clearly look better with long hair. And a lot of people think I am lesbian or bisexual because of my haircut, which is funny. It’s just the world we live in. And what started happening was God started speaking to me, and he was like, I want you to take the time you used to spend on your hair in the mornings, and I want you to spend it on me. So I was like, Oh, wow. So I started doing that. And then he was just speaking into my identity. And he was like, “Alexis, the length of your hair does not define your worth.” Because I was very much–I covered things up for years. So I used like my hair and makeup and like stuff to make myself look like I was doing great. Oh yeah, just cover up the outside. But internally, I’m dying, like, so it was just him. It was Him taking me out of that place. And like He even had me fast makeup for a very long time. And I rarely wear it now. And it’s it’s, I’m not saying every woman needs to cut their hair, like not wear makeup. But what it did for me is it really taught me who I was and that I don’t need these things to make me confident. I don’t need these things to make me who I am. I am simply just a daughter of God. And like all that stuff is pointless. Just to me now, it just really is. It’s it’s just, it’s not even worth it anymore. And it’s so it’s so freeing to be able to have your hair cut short, to not wear makeup. And to still feel so confident in who you are. Like you just feel so confident. And honestly, I just think about–I would challenge so many women like, like, cut your hair off and stuff and see how you feel it is it’s hard. Like for me personally, and I think many people I’ve met, I think I think it’s a it’s an identity crisis. And that’s what I was having for 23 years of my life. And I think our society as a whole is having an identity crisis. And what it is is like, you don’t know who you are, you don’t know whose you are. So you’re acting out of that. And it’s like, everything that I did, I was trying to find identity. Like the only reason I started drinking is because I was with friends when I drank for the first time. And they they were like, oh, you’re a tank. You’re a tank like you don’t even need a chaser. You’re like you’re just going fo it. And I was like I’m a tank. That’s what I am. I’m good at this. And I kept drinking. And I remember the first time I went to a psych ward, and they told me, “Oh, you have bipolar one.” It was something I held on to it. Oh, that’s me. And I stuck the label on myself. And it was like every little label that they put on me, made me who I was, it was my identity. When I got when I got delivered. I remember looking in the mirror for the first time and liking what I saw. And it’s because God said, “All of these labels that you’ve taken on are from the world. The only label you have from me is that you’re a daughter of the Most High King. You are my daughter. That’s it. That’s the only label you will from now on ever take on.” And I was able to look in the mirror and like, I saw Jesus, like I saw someone who was worthy, who was loved, who was in intelligent, who was beautiful. It was like, it was a whole new world–that’s what it was. Okay. It was crazy.