This is a true story. It is my personal testimony of coming to know Jesus. I have changed some names to protect privacy.
I grew up in suburban Detroit, in a quiet neighborhood, with two story colonial houses and large oak trees lining the street. My parents had a large family. All throughout my childhood they told us that they had wanted to have us all. My Mom believed that God had communicated to her that He wanted her to have as many children as she did. Together they had 14 children!
My siblings and I shared very special relationships with one another and I especially enjoyed my role as the oldest sister. I tried my best to look after my younger brothers and sisters and loved being someone that they looked up to. Our home was run in some ways like a military ship with my Mom on deck as the officer in charge. She kept order with strict discipline, and often wielded an item called, “The Board of Education,” which unfortunately for me, found its way to my backside more often than I would like to admit.
Due to my parents being very strict, my Mom was only able to give what she had within her and since she had many different areas where she was pouring out, her attempts to nurture me did not have the consistency that she may have desired. Due to the lack of an intimate, tender, relationship with my mom, I was afraid to approach her after I was sexually assaulted at the age of 8.
I felt so terribly alone and the guys who done this to me threatened to kill me if I ever told anyone. They told me that I was a prostitute and a whore and that it was my fault that they had done these things to me. These sexual assaults completely shattered my childhood world and my tender flowering femininity was severely wounded and damaged, leaving me with a perverted view of men and sex.
I began to despise myself for being a female, I figured that if I’d not been a female, then this would never have happened to me.
One day while in 5th grade, I attended an after school program called Bible Club. Even though I’d heard about Jesus from my parents and at church, this was the first time that I realized that I needed to respond to Him by opening up the door of my heart.
The teacher read to us from the passage in Revelation where Jesus says,
“Behold, I stand at the door, and knock:
if any man hear My Voice,
and open the door,
I will come in to him,
and will eat with him,
and he with Me.”
My young heart finally understood that Jesus wanted to live on the inside of me. The teacher had us close our eyes and pray. I bowed my head and prayed from my heart,
“Jesus please forgive me of my sins,
will You come into my heart?”
As I imagined opening up the door of my heart to Him, I literally felt Him tangibly entering into me. It was the first time in my life that I felt His Presence and it felt so good! After doing this, I was so excited that I ran home and told my Mom all about it. She was absolutely thrilled. This was the beginning of my prayer life and would continue my talks with God each night while lying in bed. I felt so very close to Him and my heart was so full of love for Him. Each night before going to sleep, I would squeeze my pillow as hard as I could, telling Him how much I loved Him.
One night, I found the courage to talk to Him about the sexual assaults. So I asked Him if He would stop them from happening to me again. Sadly, they continued. This marked a significant break between the Lord and me. My relationship with Him completely changed and I couldn’t understand why He did not answer my cry for help. Was He mad at me? Were the guys right? Was I really a prostitute and a whore? Was this my fault after all? I didn’t have anyone that I could confide in because I was too afraid of what they had threatened, so I carried it all deep inside of me. I was alone in carrying my shameful secret and learned how to just survive my life.
Our family continued to attend church, but for me, it felt like I was just going through the motions of knowing God. I had felt so close to Him at one time in my life but now He seemed to me to be just a Rule Maker that I didn’t understand and I knew within myself that I couldn’t follow His Rules.
As I matured into a young woman, I continued to hide my secret from others. The truth was, deep down I felt so terribly ugly and dirty.
I admired other girls because they seemed to have something that I didn’t have. They seemed to be comfortable with their femininity, while I couldn’t understand why I felt so awkward about mine. I hated my female figure and worked hard at hiding it from males by wearing baggy guys clothes.
In high school, I started smoking marijuana and drinking alcohol and taking Mescaline. I was able to hide my double life from my parents and sometimes carried on conversations with my Mom while high on drugs. She had no idea what signs to look for since I was the first child in the family to experiment with drugs.
Even though I passed my classes in high school, I didn’t really grasp what I was supposed to be learning. I found it hard to concentrate on the subjects and started coming to class high on drugs. Other classmates would allow me to copy their homework assignments and as far as taking tests, I did my best to ad lib.
In my senior year, I started skipping classes with more frequency to go and do drugs and hang out with my steady boyfriend. My heart had grown hard and more rebellious towards God and my parents.
In 1988, after barely graduating from high school due to all of the classes that I had skipped, I moved to Royal Oak, (MI) where I shared an apartment with a friend from high school. She introduced me to the night club scene and we began to frequent the clubs that played Alternative music which was “new” then. These clubs attracted all different types of people, some of which were bi-sexuals and homosexuals. Due to my sheltered upbringing, I had never met anyone gay, until then.
In 1991, I moved to a city inside of Detroit called Hamtramck, with my new boyfriend that I had met while working as a Nursing Assistant in the hospital. He was much older than I was and was a total alcoholic. One day, he brought our next door neighbors upstairs to our flat for a drink. They were a punk couple around my age. The girl’s name was Candi and the guy’s name was Max. Candi had a super short haircut and no eyebrows. She told me she had shaved them off for a fashion show photo shoot. Max had a purple mohawk and was talking to my boyfriend about cutting up human cadavers! They were the strangest, yet most fascinating, people I had ever met in my life. Candi had a small build and I was shocked to hear her stories of beating up “bimbos” in the punk club where she worked as a female bouncer. As she described the bloody details, I observed a toughness in her that struck a chord within me. She seemed to have no shame in releasing her violent anger upon unsuspecting club goers. She looked for opportunities to get into fights so that she could sharpen her fighting skills. Initially, I was not physically attracted to her, in fact she scared me, yet I was attracted to her toughness. I felt very privileged when she invited to the punk club, especially since it was a club that was not advertised anywhere. The only way to hear about it was by word of mouth and I was hearing about it from someone who worked there!
One night after getting off work around 11:00 pm, I decided to go and check out “City Club.” I followed the directions that Candi had given me which led me to a high rise hotel in a very dangerous part of Detroit. The entrance to the club was in the back of the building. There was no one around as I opened the heavy black iron door, and climbed the stairs.
I could hear the pounding of punk music as I came to the second iron door. As I pulled it open, I was surprised and terrified to see a large man dressed in all black, wearing gothic makeup. Seated next to him on a stool was Candi! She looked much different than when we first met, because she also was wearing gothic makeup and club attire.
Candi introduced me to the large man, his name was Jett. Immediately I felt fear when I met him and it was causing me to visibly tremble. I was embarrassed to be trembling in his presence and I did my best to hide it.
He was a very loud, expressive man who immediately started bragging about being a homosexual. He was fiercely proud of his lust for men and was describing the sexual acts that he does with his boyfriend. This was the first time in my life that I had ever met someone who was so vocal about liking the same sex. He also spoke of his violent tendencies that he enjoyed taking out on club goers that caused trouble. His stories disturbed me and I wanted to get away from him because he really scared me. However, I noticed that Candi was completely mesmerized by him. Jett was a drag queen, and up-and-coming fashion designer who was also considered to be a “club god” with a cult following in Detroit.
After Candi frisked me, I sheepishly entered the club, trying to act as casual as possible even though I was scared. I had the feeling like I was entering into a haunted house. I had been to night clubs before but had never been to an underground punk club. As I made my way over to the bar and ordered a drink, I turned around and noticed a large mural painted in white on the black wall. It was of Jesus and His disciples at the Last Supper. I pondered the implications of what this could mean, not realizing at the time that I had just stumbled into a haven for witches and warlocks. At this point, I didn’t know that Jett was a warlock and was mentoring Candi in the ways of wicca.
While growing up, my mom had taught us that people who practiced witchcraft got their power from satan. She also taught us about the demonic realm and that demons had to flee at the Powerful Name of Jesus. I didn’t think that witchcraft could hurt me since I wasn’t doing it and considered myself to be a Christian. Looking back, I should’ve run out of this place and as far away from these people as fast I could, but instead, I stayed.
Be not deceived,
corrupts good morals.
1 Corinthians 15:33
The anger and rage that I had inwardly felt for years finally manifested as I continued going to this punk club on a weekly basis. My anger was welcome in this club and even celebrated. My looks changed, as I shaved my head completely bald, pierced my nose with a safety pin and started getting tattoos.
Candi had gotten me a job in the club working alongside of her as a female bouncer. It was during this time in my life that I began to experience the thrill of violence and power. Candi took me under her wing, teaching me how to fight and introducing me to everyone, including the owner and manager of the club. Fights broke out on a weekly basis and were very much a part of the club culture. Even though Candi was small, she was a fierce fighter and both men and women feared her.
Eventually over time, due to some unpopular choices on Jett’s part, his reign as the Detroit underworld “club god” came to an end and the baton was passed to Candi, his understudy. She had learned enough in the ways of wicca to take his place and she did it with the greatest of ease. She had already risen to prominence in the club scene and had an even larger following than when she shared the spotlight with Jett.
I found myself becoming entranced with Candi. We saw each other everyday and talked for hours on end. I was becoming attracted to her and she seemed to feel it towards me too.
Due to Candi’s position in the club scene, a local photographer approached her about me posing for a photo that would be put up on two billboards in Detroit. He wanted someone with a completely shaved head to pose for the shoot. He was a student at CCS doing a project for school for the new radio station 89X. He wrote with black, erasable marker, 89X, on the side of my head
Once the billboards went up in Detroit, both Candi and I experienced more people noticing us. This was new for me and I found it at times to be overwhelming. I enjoyed being alone and it was on the dance floor that I found solace. Even in the midst of the loud music and crowd of dancing people, I entered my own little world and expressed myself through dance. It was on the dance floor that I began to think about God again. Since I couldn’t deny that He was real, I decided that I would continue to believe in Him but this time, it was going to be on my terms.
Candi worked at the front door of the club and there were times when I sensed a notable presence about her and wondered to myself if it was satanic. It was a tangible magnetism which seemed to give her the ability to draw people to her. She had flocks of people surrounding her in the club and they all seemed to be “in love” with her. Once, I watched a woman get on her knees in front of her while a crowd of people looked on. Candi took this opportunity to show off her power to the crowd by taking off her leather belt and whipping her. I was alarmed that she had demonstrated such cruelty to the woman on her knees but the woman didn’t seem to mind being treated like this. The crowd of onlookers loved it and Candi was loved and feared more than ever.
Candi’s influence in my life was significant. She invited me to join her in going to New Age bookstores. I knew in my heart that these kinds of places were satanic but quickly dismissed the thoughts. As soon as I stepped into the bookstore, I sensed another realm. It was a scary yet exciting feeling and I could sense it all around me. However, the sweet smell of the burning incense dulled my fear of being there which allowed me to be more accepting of it. I reasoned within myself that since I still believed in Jesus, and knew that He was the Son of God, that I was safe from the harm of these influences. I also felt that since I personally did not have an interest in this realm, what harm could it be to me if I was there?
Can two walk together,
unless they are agreed?
Slowly over time, by trading the things that I knew to be true, for lies, my conscience dulled and stopped convicting me of what was wrong. And since I was no longer listening to my conscience, the Truth of the Scriptures that I had learned as a child, were now replaced with what Candi and I considered to be right or wrong. I professed to be a Christian but didn’t realize that was no longer believing real Christianity.
…who exchanged the Truth of God
for the lie,
and worshiped and served
rather than The Creator,
Who is Blessed Forever.
My employment changed from being a Nursing Assistant at the hospital, to an exotic dancer. Candi and I danced for money for two years in Detroit. It was during this time that we left our boyfriends for one another and fully embraced the gay lifestyle.
Do you not know that
the unrighteous will not inherit
The Kingdom of God?
Do not be deceived.
The kingdom of God.
1 Corinthians 6:9-10
During our first months together, Candi emotionally abused me, by flirting with other women in front of me to try and make me jealous. This hurt me so deeply because I had really believed that she loved me. Now she seemed only interested in dominating me so that she had the freedom to play around with women that she felt could help further her pursuit of power. She would always give me some sort of crazy explanation as to why she was dancing so closely with other women. Sadly, I believed her lies because now, they were all I had.
I joined Candi in the use of the Ouija board, tarot cards and in talking to “spirit guides.” She felt that they were indicating to us that we were going to become rich and famous. Due to my love for her, I believed that becoming rich and famous, like the “spirit guides” had predicted, was possible, so I joined her in pursuing the dream.
In 1994, we packed up our things, sold our belongings and moved to Hollywood, California. We brought along our two other friends, one was a fellow lesbian named Drake, whom Candi had commissioned to be our body guard and the other was a guy named Joe, who funded everything. Candi had met Joe in the strip club and he was also “in love” with her.
The four of us arrived in Hollywood on a one way plane ticket. The shuttle from the airport dropped us off on Hollywood Blvd. and Labrea Ave.
We had no place to live, no car, no job and no prospects of anything. So with our 12 suitcases we camped out in a motel for a month.
One night, while still living in the motel, Candi wanted me to join her in investigating West Hollywood to see what the gay scene was like. Her one objective was to find out “who was who” in the gay scene.
We left our two friends in the motel room and set out for West Hollywood. Since we didn’t have a car yet, we had to walk a few blocks to catch a bus.
What I didn’t realize was that Hollywood is a very dangerous city run by Hispanic street gangs.
It was around 11 pm and little chilly, so, we both wore our biker leathers. We were dressed in all black; both of us wearing baseball hats and combat boots. (We looked like two guys.)
As we headed towards Santa Monica Blvd., we noticed two Hispanic guys at a pay phone. As soon as we passed them, the guy holding the phone immediately slammed the receiver down and both them started to walk right up on us with intent in their steps. Candi and I both sensed the danger and stopped our conversation as we waited to see what would happen. We both were acting as if nothing was wrong, I had a sick feeling that they were going to hurt us. Not knowing what to do, I grasped the chain that was in my pocket and thought about turning around and slamming one of them in the face with it, but I was way too scared.
Fear gripped every fiber of my being as they continued to pursue us. The hair on the back of my neck was standing straight up as my mind went blank. Then all of a sudden, I remembered something that my Mom had taught me as a child. She said that if you are ever in a dangerous situation call on the Name of Jesus and He will help you.
“Whosoever calls upon
The Name of the Lord
shall be saved.”
Immediately in my heart, I prayed these words, “Lord, please help!” As soon as the words left me, a blast of heat came in between us and the two guys!!! The surge of heat went down the back of my legs and immediately the two guys turned from following us and veered off into a parking lot. As we continued to walk, I was stunned, not knowing what to say. Then Candi broke the silence and asked, “Did you feel that heat???!!”
I exclaimed “YESSSSS!!!!!!” I told her that I had prayed. She and I both acknowledged that God had answered my prayer. We both walked down the street thanking God for saving us out of that dangerous situation.
This was the first time since asking Jesus into my heart as a child, and feeling Him come in, that I had ever experienced the Lord answering my prayer! My heart was so touched that He had answered my prayer in such a dramatic way. I felt His love for me in a new way which caused me to believe that He was placing His stamp of approval upon my relationship with Candi. What I didn’t understand at the time was that God was drawing me to Himself.
The Lord has appeared of old to me, saying:
“Yes, I have Loved you
with An Everlasting Love;
therefore with Loving Kindness
I have drawn you.
Several weeks after this, we moved from our motel into an apartment off of Hollywood Blvd.
As the months passed, we continued to pursue “who was who” in the gay nightclub scene. We went to gay bars and clubs almost every night of the week meeting people from all walks of life, from executives, to actresses, producers and musicians, even some movie stars. We were in over our heads with “who was who.”
The night life in Hollywood was so much different than Detroit. It was like a movie, nobody was real if they hated you, you never knew it because they acted like they loved you. Acting wasn’t just for the movie screen! In Detroit, if they hated you they cursed you out and you fought about it. Candi and I brought “the Detroit way” to Hollywood and fist fights began happening in the lesbian clubs in West Hollywood.
For employment, we worked at a call center since our crazy looks kept us from getting normal jobs. We soon joined a talent agency and worked as extras in movies and on TV.
One movie that Drake and I were selected for was called, Virtuosity with Russel Crowe and Denzel Washington.
When the director of the movie saw us come on the set, he decided to create a new scene asking us to walk behind Russel Crowe and make fun of him. We were delighted to oblige him!
Below is the Trailer for Virtuosity
where you can see my
10 seconds of fame!
Hollywood had so many “important” people but I soon realized how shallow and empty the pursuit of riches and fame was. I longed for real conversations with people but found that they cared more for their “image” than they did in being real. Acting was not only for behind the cameras, it was the way of life. I’ve never been good at small talk, so I turned to Jack Daniels and dancing to escape.
The Lord continued the process of drawing my heart unto Himself.
“For no one
can come to Me
unless the Father
Who sent Me
draws them to Me,
and at the last day
I will raise them up.”
One night, after returning home from a lesbian club, Candi, myself and Drake walked into the apartment lobby from the parking garage. As we waited for the elevator, a guy and his girlfriend were also waiting. This couple lived on the same floor as ours. She was a crack addict who had knocked on our door a few times asking us about what it was like to be a lesbian.
All of a sudden, without any warning, the guy turned in rage and grabbed Drake, and threw her into the open elevator. He was repeatedly pounded her face with his fist while screaming,
“You $@#% DYKE!!!!! $%$% DYKE!!!!
His girlfriend was screaming for him to stop.
Candi immediately jumped into the elevator to try and help Drake while I was left outside, stunned. Everything had happened so quickly that I didn’t know what to do. As I watched the blood streaming down my friend Drake’s face, I decided that I needed to help too, so I dropped my belongings and jumped into the chaos of this gay bashing.
The five of us were being thrown back and forth in all of the fury inside of the elevator and I was shoved up against the wall with my elbow hitting the button for the basement. The elevator doors closed and we descended to the basement as this crazy man punched me twice in the face. It hurt!!!
The elevator stopped, the doors opened as we all piled out into a little room, with nobody around. The crazy man was the last one out of the elevator. As he stepped towards us, he reached into his back pocket, looking us each square in the eye and said,
“I’m going to kill you.”
My life flashed before my eyes. There was no one around to help us.
All I knew at this point was that I was going to die in this basement with no one around. Then I remembered that I could ask God for help, so in my heart I prayed,
“Lord, please help!”
As soon as the words left my heart, the man extended his hand to me and said, “I’d like you to accept my apology.”
Once we had gotten back into our apartment, I told them that I had prayed. We all agreed that there was no way something like that would have happened naturally, we all knew that God had answered my prayer!!!
Once again, the Lord was revealing Himself to me as a God Who hears the cry of my heart and is able to save me out of any situation.
He was drawing me to Himself.
Call to Me,
and I will answer you,
and show you great and mighty things,
which you do not know.”
In the spring of 1995, I received a letter in the mail from my younger sister Rachel. She was a very special sister to me and had always admired me while growing up. After turning 18, she moved to Twin Peaks, CA to attend Calvary Chapel Bible College, which was about two hours from Hollywood.
A few months before moving, Rachel seriously committed her life to the Lord and offered her life in obedience to
Him. During her study of the Scriptures, she saw that being a Christian was much more than just saying you were one. So she decided to write all of her siblings a letter telling us of her findings in Scripture. Basically she told us that just because we had grown up in a Christian family didn’t mean that we were actually Christians!
I couldn’t believe her nerve in writing this letter and telling me that I wasn’t a Christian. Hadn’t God answered my prayers immediately and on two different occasions when my life was in danger? If I wasn’t a Christian why was God answering my prayers?
It angered me so much that I decided to take my three friends and go to the Bible College to give her a piece of my mind. Upon arriving on the campus, Candi began saying, “This is a cult, they don’t have TV’s up here and they are out in the middle of nowhere getting brainwashed.”
While looking at the buildings, and the trees and mountains around them, I was seeing everything through the eyes of what Candi was saying. I started to believe that my sister was indeed in a cult and decided that after I yelled at her about the letter she sent me, that I would try and help her get out of this cult.
As we walked toward a bunch of students who were sprawled out on the lawn reading, they all seemed to notice us at the same time. It may have been due to the fact that the contrast of our black clothing up against our pale skin and dark makeup that we looked like we didn’t belong on a Bible College campus but in a punk club!
I asked one of the students if they knew my sister Rachel and they quickly ran and got her. She was so surprised and excited that I had come to visit her that she came running toward us with her guitar in tow. She gave each of us a hug not in the least phased by our crazy looks. She proceeded to joyfully introduce us to her classmates who were not too sure what to think of us.
We all agreed to go and have lunch by a lake nearby. While eating, Candi began telling her that she was in a cult. Rachel soon realized our reason for coming was not friendly but that I had come to give her a piece of my mind about the letter she had written. She was surrounded by the four of us as we interrogated her on her new found faith. I could tell that she was very uncomfortable and didn’t quite seem to know what to do next so she asked if we might like to hear some new songs that she had written. We gladly agreed but hadn’t anticipated them all being about Jesus!
For some strange reason, as she sang about Jesus I found myself getting really irritated!!! It was almost unbearable, it felt like I could’ve jumped out of my skin. I wanted so badly for her to stop singing about Jesus. I couldn’t figure out why her singing about Him was causing me so much distress. After all, I knew I believed in Him and my main reason for coming to the campus was to tell her how much I didn’t appreciate her telling me that I was not a Christian. The fact was that I now believed that I was a gay Christian!
Finally, I had just about enough of her singing and began to blast her with questions, “Why can’t you just be normal? Why does everything have to be about Jesus? Remember when you and I were younger, you didn’t mention Jesus every other word, so why can’t you just talk like you used to?” She didn’t know what to say.
By this time I had to use the bathroom so we all walked over to an empty conference center. In the bathroom, I seized on the moment and got to the point for my reason for coming to visit her. I looked her directly in the eye and asked,
“Do you accept me for who I am?”
She was now faced with the question of where she stood with my lifestyle and when she spoke, I didn’t recognize her as the sister I had known. A quiet courage filled her as she spoke these words to me,
“Brooke, I believe what the Bible says about homosexuality and it says that homosexuals do not inherit the Kingdom of God. And I believe the Bible!”
Hatred and rage boiled up from deep within me as I pointed my finger right in her face and screamed,
“I HATE YOU!!!!!!!!!!
You are on my black list, I hate you!!!”
I couldn’t think clearly as the pain of her words seeped down into my soul and the hatred that I felt towards her consumed me like wildfire. I couldn’t believe that she would use a Bible verse to tell me that I was not going to Heaven!!! Basically, she was telling me I was going to hell. After she got back to the Bible College campus and rejoined her friends and classmates, she was sobbing and made the decision to pray for me instead of hating me in return. She asked her entire school to pray for me. They did.
My heart ached after this encounter with Rachel, I didn’t know how to deal with it so I completely pushed away the thoughts about it and continued with life as usual in Hollywood. Even though I had been cut off from my entire family it no longer bothered me, in fact I was enjoying my life without them. In my mind they were narrow minded, Bible thumpers who didn’t understand the love of God, like I did. I believed that because God was Love and that He had no problem with me loving Candi the way that I did. After all, He was answering my prayers all the time and now I praying on a daily basis.
Several months after visiting my sister Rachel, a friend of ours introduced us to Crystal Meth. We were friends with a group of women in Hollywood that were considered important in the entertainment industry and while hanging around them, Crystal Meth was the drug of choice. If you were not using it, they actually became suspicious of you. Crystal Meth made me feel like I was on top of the world and that I could talk to anyone without any reservations, however it gave me an extreme case of dry mouth so my use of it only lasted a few months. Sadly, Candi, craved it more and more and began doing it without me.
Our two friends that had come to Hollywood with us, Joe and Drake, both decided to move back to Detroit. Thankfully Joe continued to financially support us in our pursuit of riches and fame, however he wasn’t aware that some of the money was being used for drugs.
One Friday night after leaving the lesbian club, Candi, myself and the drug dealer that we used walked from the night club to a 7-11 to buy cigarettes. Upon arriving, we noticed a homeless man sitting on the ground outside the entrance to the store. He had long blonde, filthy hair.
Candi and I stopped when we noticed that he was crying, so we asked him what was wrong. Our drug dealer saw him too but wanted no part of talking to him, so she left.
This man was holding a handwritten card that seemed to be the reason that he was crying. After asking him about it, he handed it to us so that we could read it. I don’t remember what it said but I got the feeling that a Christian had given it to him. It also had a tiny little gold angel pin stuck to the card.
Instead of leaving him and wishing him well, like we normally would’ve done, we both stayed and continued talking with him. He didn’t act like a typical street person, he hadn’t asked us for anything and didn’t seem to be drunk either. Candi had noticed his bottle of vodka was nearly empty so she offered to buy him a new one, something of which I had never seen her do for anyone.
She went into the store leaving me alone with this stranger. As soon as our eyes met, I was struck by how beautiful they were. They were filled to the brim with tears. The tears overflowed down his cheeks leaving a clean streak down his dirty face. His eyes were so gentle yet filled with sadness. There was also a deep compassion in his eyes so much so that it penetrated the walls of my anger and hurt towards men. All I felt was Love coming through his eyes and it seemed to be intentionally directed at me. Almost as if he had been there waiting for me. The Presence that I felt was familiar, I had known this Presence before. This was the same Presence that I had felt as a child when I first received Jesus. Jesus had come for me. He had heard my cry for help and the tears in this man’s eyes seemed conveyed the sorrow that he had felt that I had gone so far away from Him. Now His Presence was all around me. It had surrounded me with such a Tenderness that I dared not move because I never wanted it to end. At that moment I heard the Name of Jesus 3 times.
It was in this moment that I made a decision while looking into this man’s eyes. I didn’t care that he was a man. I didn’t care that he was homeless. I just knew in my heart that I never wanted to leave his side. I didn’t know what to do next except stand there and stare. Then I decided to pray a silent prayer within my heart directly to the Lord. I said,
“Lord, I will go where ever You want me to go.”
Just then, Candi came out of the store bringing him his new bottle of Vodka. She also seemed to be very interested in this man. (which was really strange since she never talked to homeless people or bought them anything.) She asked him if he wanted to move to a different spot so that we could all sit on the sidewalk and talk. He agreed since it seemed he had nowhere to go.
As we sat down, he told us his name was Thomas and that he had come to Hollywood to become famous but ended up on the streets. He asked us what our real names were. This was something we never told anyone and so we lied to him by saying that Jack and Ryder were our real names. He seemed to know that we had lied to him, so he pressed us for the truth and surprisingly we told him what our real names were!
Another topic of the conversation was discussed about my eyebrows. I had shaved off part of them off and filled them in with black pencil, so that they would look higher than they actually were.
Thomas looked at me and said,
“You are going to grow your eyebrows back.”
I said, “No I’m not.”
He said, “Yes you are.”
I said, “No, I can tell you for a fact that I’m not!”
He said, “Yes you are.”
It was such a funny thing to go back and forth about but he had said it with such certainty that I was intrigued. Then, as we continued the conversation he looked directly at me and said,
“You are going to leave her!”
This time I didn’t argue with him.
Candi was sitting next to me and I could feel her eyes burning a hole in the side of my head as she angrily glared at me wondering why I didn’t argue with him about leaving her. I was surprised at myself for not arguing with him about that too because I hadn’t planned on leaving her. But now I wondered at his words.
There was now a break in my relationship with Candi from this point on due to this but we continued on as if that conversation had never taken place.
In April of 1996, Candi and I were sitting in our apartment on a Saturday night making our plans as to which club we should go to. Life at the clubs had gotten quite political as competing clubs were trying to get us to come to their clubs since they noticed that our look seemed to draw a crowd.
Candi was sitting across from me at the kitchen table looking at one of the latest brochures from a competing club.
“Let’s check out this new club tonight,” she said.
I happened to notice that it was the same brochure that I had gotten a few nights earlier and when it was handed to me the weirdest feeling of danger came over me. So I answered,
“No, when I got that brochure, I get the worst feeling.”
She insisted by saying, “Well, we owe it to ourselves to check it out, to at least see who is there.”
I repeated my plea, “No, listen! Every time I’ve gotten one of those brochures I get the worst feeling!!”
She said, “Well, then, let’s just sit on the fence about it.”
Those words triggered something in me, I had never heard Candi use the phrase “sit on the fence” before during all the years of knowing her. In fact, the only time I had ever heard the term “sit on the fence” was in church!!!
They would say, “Don’t sit on the fence, you are either in the Kingdom of God or in the kingdom of darkness.”
Just then, I sensed a presence enter the room, it was a cold, bone chilling feeling that seemed to take over the atmosphere of the room. My heart began to pounding as I looked to see if someone had actually come into our kitchen. I knew that no one could’ve come into our kitchen since we lived on the 3rd floor and the only thing behind me was a window but the sense of something entering the room was so strong that I looked towards Candi to see if she sensed it too, “Do you feel that?” I asked her. “Feel what?” She said with irritation in her voice.
Now I was really freaked out knowing that I was totally alone in feeling this cold presence. Terror gripped every fiber of my being. I turned in the direction of where I was sensing the presence and held out my hand as if to stop it from coming toward me. My breathing was getting faster as I pleaded with Candi again asking if she felt the presence.
“Oh yeah,” she said mockingly, “I do feel it, it’s warm.”
It was at this moment that I realized that she didn’t feel it at all because it was a cold, chilling feeling. The fact that she was mocking me in my time of need hurt deeply and my eyes were finally opened to the fact that she really didn’t love me at all. At this point, I felt something within me break and I knew I would never trust her again.
A revelation of clear thinking came over me as I realized that I was trapped in the camp of the enemy of my soul. In fear of losing my soul to this evil presence, I knew that I had to put all of my cards on the table even if it meant showing Candi that I was choosing Jesus over her. So I held out my left hand toward the direction of the evil presence and with everything I had within me I shouted,
“In the Name of Jesus!!! In the Name of Jesus!!! In the Name of Jesus!!!”
Immediately, Candi jumped up from the table!!! It was as if the Name of Jesus was moving her away from me. She grabbed her leather jacket with a huff and said, “I’m outta here!!!” She left the apartment and strangely, the evil presence left too.
Standing to my feet and raising my hands toward Heaven, I prayed out loud,
“Lord, I don’t know what You want, but I’m asking You to help me!”
As soon as I prayed, it felt like another presence came into the apartment, however, this one felt like a sense of urgency as if an invisible friend was urging me to hurry up and leave the apartment. I ran to the closet to grab my leather jacket and my baseball hat, since my head was shaved and I didn’t want people on the street to think I was a skin head. However, the pressing urgency of this presence was so strong upon me it was as if I could hear it yelling, “Let’s go!!! Let’s go!!! I almost wanted to yell back at it by saying, “Okay, I just need to get my hat, would you hold on a second?”
I hurried down the 3 flights of stairs out into the night having no clue what I was doing or where I was going. It was a Saturday night in Hollywood and the town was jumping. One block up the street was Hollywood Blvd., full of cars out cruising bumper to bumper looking for some fun. Not knowing what to do or where to go, I stood in front of my apartment building and decided to pray again. “Okay Lord, which way do You want me to go?”
Immediately after praying, I felt a gentle impression leading me toward the right, so, I walked up the hill to the corner and continued praying the same prayer. Each time I prayed, I felt an impression to go in a certain direction. I realized I was literally being led by the Lord. As I walked in the direction that I felt led to go, I was not afraid, even though the area that I was walking through was a very dangerous part of Hollywood.
I ended up at the on ramp to the 101 Freeway, as I stood at the entrance of the Freeway and prayed the same prayer that I had been praying,
“Which way do You want me to go?”
This time I didn’t feel impressed to do anything so I turned and looked behind me and noticed a slope that went down into a dark ravine which was filled with ivy, bushes and small trees. I turned around from it and thought to myself,
“I don’t want to go down there, there is probably someone sleeping down there.”
As I continued to stand there for a minute, I started doubting all that had just taken place and began thinking I was going crazy. Then I heard a gentle Voice within my heart say,
“Brooke, Fear not, for I Am the Lord your God,”
I felt impressed to turn and face the ravine that sloped down into the darkness. Then I heard,
“Though you may walk through the valley of the shadow of death, you shall fear no evil for My rod and My staff will comfort you.”
As I slowly inched my way down the slope, I looked around and realized that I wasn’t scared at all. In fact, the Peace that I felt down in this ravine was indescribable.
It was as if I had entered another world, out of sight of any other human being, completely surrounded ivy.
I didn’t move an inch as I felt a gentle breeze blow by. I sensed The Lord.
Then these Words entered my heart.
“Love is the Most Powerful Source in the universe.”
I knew that these Words were not coming from me or my way of thinking.
My eyes had focused on a tiny little tree about 15 feet away and again I heard the same Words,
“Love is the Most Powerful Source in the universe.”
A deep yearning came over me to go and get under the little tree that my eyes were fixed on. Once under it, again, the same Words filled my heart and mind,
“Love is the Most Powerful Source in the universe.”
My eyes focused on a leaf on the little tree that I was under. As I reached out to touch it , I noticed that it was shaped like a heart!!! In fact, every leaf on the tree was shaped like a heart!!!
Tears began to flow down my face at the revelation of God really having drawn me under this tiny tree with heart shaped leaves. So I said to the Lord,
“Okay, Love is the most powerful Source in the universe, what about Candi?”
I heard one word and it was loud
At that moment, I was convicted of my sin of being in a lesbian relationship with Candi and I realized that I just asked God Almighty about my lesbian lover!
Instantly, I began to sense the evil presence again, as if somebody had come down into the ravine and was standing right behind me. The feeling that someone was standing behind me was so strong that I became paralyzed with fear! I decided if someone was going to kill me that I would at least feel them since I was too paralyzed with fear to turn around. So I reached behind me while still facing forward, to see if someone was actually standing there. No one was there. I had such an incredible compulsion to run out of there and get away from all of this but I just stood there paralyzed with fear. I HAD to make a decision. It was literally like sitting on top of a fence and having to decide which side I was get down on. I had to decide between Jesus or Candi.
I now understood that I could not have them both.
So with ALL of my heart, I chose Jesus and I began to say out loud,
“Love is the most powerful Source in the universe.”
The evil presence behind me left.
Something inside of me had just changed!!! I had just given God my heart. I felt different and I knew now that I must leave Candi.
After my experience at the tree, I didn’t know what to do next, so I went back to my apartment and saw that Candi standing at our altar which was lined with many occult artifacts. She was burning incense
and wearing my necklace! (it was a leather choke collar) I had never seen her do this before nor had she ever worn my necklace before. I got the impression that she was using my necklace to try and make contact with the “spirit guides” to find out where I was.
The incense poured out into the hallway as she began to interigate me as to where I had been. I didn’t know what to do next so I sat on the stairs right outside of our apartment door. Candi tried to coax me into coming into the apartment. All I could think to do was to try and hear the Lord again but I didn’t sense Him saying anything. When I saw her, I was amazed at the change that had happened in my heart, I no longer wanted her. I now sensed evil coming from her. I now understood that she was given over to satan and that he was working through her. I also knew that I was not safe. I knew I needed to leave but I didn’t know how I was going to do this since I was completely cut off from everyone in my family.
I sat down on the steps outside of our apartment as she persistently asked me where I’d been. I refused to answer her or to come in, but eventually since I didn’t know what to do next, and had nowhere else to go, I went into the apartment and slept on the couch. I kept dozing off to sleep and waking up with a startle as Candi sat next to me furiously writing me a note that would hopefully get me to change my mind about things. She tried pleading with me but I only ignored her and for some reason she confessed to me that she had read the satan bible.
How had I been so blinded to her being a witch and following the wicca religion? How had I not realized that the witchcraft would also affect me? Why didn’t it dawn on me that if she had studied under a warlock than she also knew about deep darkness?
We were now in different Kingdoms. I had said yes to Jesus and had entered into the Kingdom of God. It was now evident to me that things would never be the same again.
My heart was being pulled in two different directions. I knew that if I continued to live with her I would lose my soul for Eternity and yet my love for her kept drawing me back.
A few days later, she convinced me to go for a drive with her to Malibu. She was really pursuing me, and I was so weak that I was losing my ability to resist her. On our way, we stopped at a convenience store to buy some cigarettes.
Candi went into the store, as I waited, an older black homeless man pushing a shopping cart, walked up to our car and started spraying the windshield with water and smeared it dry with a newspaper.
He was making a mess and I was furious that he was doing this because he hadn’t even asked me. After his smudge job on the windshield, he came back to my side of the car to receive his payment! I wasn’t pleased but didn’t want any trouble, so I cracked the window a bit and handed him a few coins. Just then, Candi opened the passenger door and got in. With my window still open, the man looked directly at me and pointed his finger right at me and said with a stern voice,
“You KNOW what you need to be doing!!!!”
His words pierced my heart like a knife and I knew the Lord was speaking to me through him.
Immediately Candi snarled,
“DON’T listen to him!!!”
If I ever needed to be convinced that there was such a thing as spiritual warfare, I no longer did!!!
On one side of me was a total stranger who had spoken a few words to me. For him to know EXACTLY what I needed to hear was ONLY God. And then Candi’s response to this perfect strangers words was such a clear picture that satan was speaking through her and he didn’t want me to listen to God!!!
The homeless man was right, “I KNEW what I needed to be doing!!!”
I needed to leave Candi.
For the Word of God is alive and active.
Sharper than any double-edged sword,
it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit,
joints and marrow;
it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.
I sat in front of the phone, I was so nervous and was wringing my hands. What was I going to say?? My parents had taken a stand against the way I lived and we didn’t have much of a relationship yet, somehow I knew I could call them in my time of need and they would help me.
So when Candi was out of the apartment, I picked up the phone and called home. My mom answered the phone. “Mom?” Can I come home?” I asked not giving any details as to my sudden question. “Sure,” she replied, “How long do you want to stay?”
This time I clarified, “No, Mom, I mean can I come home? I think my life is in danger.” Immediately my mom understood that I was telling her that I wanted to leave Candi. A few years earlier, my mom’s friend had a “Word” from the Lord about me, she had told my mom, “If Brooke ever tells you she wants out, you need to respond immediately!!!”
My Mom remembered this “Word” and went into battle mode immediately by calling all of her praying friends.
The Body of Christ began to pray for me. My Dad called my brother Tim who lived on the same mountain as Calvary Chapel Bible college, where my sister Rachel was attending school. He explained that I was in danger and my brother willingly accepted the challenge to drive into Hollywood. He also brought with him his friend Dan, who was carrying a gun.
My parents called the Bible college and got my sister Rachel out of class to tell her what was happening. She and her fiance Tim joined the rescue team. After making sure that everyone could do their part in helping me, my Mom called me back and told me that my brother Tim and sister Rachel and two others (Tim and Dan) would be at my apartment in a few hours.
I frantically packed as much as I could into a few suitcases, taking notice of the illegal, loaded, assault rifle laying next to the bed. Max had given it to us for protection, but today I was painfully aware of it especially since earlier that morning, for the first time in our relationship, Candi had angrily knocked me down because she didn’t like something I said.
With all of my suitcases packed and lined up in the living room, Candi came back home and demanded to know where I was going. She informed me that I couldn’t take the car and that she wouldn’t give me any money. I had determined not to say a word to her. I knew I needed to remain calm and quiet and continue to pray for God to help me.
When the phone rang, I quickly ran to it and answered it. My brother Tim was on our street and he and my sister Rachel remained in the Bronco since Candi would’ve recognize them. So I buzzed them in through the front door. Then a knock on our apartment door and standing there were two men whom I’d never met, risking their lives for me.
Candi was taken completely off guard.
I quickly handed them my suitcases and grabbed my remaining things as she demanded to know who these people were. Everything had happened so quickly that she didn’t have time to do anything. She hadn’t counted on my family helping me.
When I got into the Bronco, Candi came out of the apartment building carrying something and walking with intent towards us. I yelled for my brother to Go!!!! He quickly stepped on the gas as she angrily threw the Angel with baby Jesus at the car and said,
“Don’t forget to take this!!!!
It should have smashed the window where I was sitting but instead, it gently glided right through the half open window right into my lap.
That was the last time I ever saw Candi.
As we all rode together in the Bronco, I began to realize how much I didn’t know my sister Rachel and brother Tim. So much time had passed between us. I felt so ashamed of my behavior towards Rachel, of about a year earlier when I had screamed that I hated her. Now there was only a look of joy in her eyes that I had come home. She was so happy to see me but was concerned at how pale and thin I looked. I was overwhelmed with gratitude that they had risked their lives to come and save me.
Even though I’d left Candi to follow Jesus, I was heartbroken and needed to recover.
On May 26 1996, I flew from Los Angeles, CA to Greenville, SC to begin my new life with my family. I’d been gone for so many years and had missed out on so much of my younger brothers and sisters lives. It was hard to take it in all at once.
As I walked into my parents home, my Mom was standing there waiting for me. So many emotions came over me as I looked at her. We hugged each other but didn’t say too much.
My Dad was so excited about giving me the tour of their new home.
I felt welcome.
I was home.
I was going to be okay now.
“Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them.
Doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it?
And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home.
Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says,
‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.’
I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in Heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.”
God only made One Door in order to get into His Kingdom.
There is no other Way to get to Him except through Jesus. If we try to enter in any other way will not be able to enter. It is His Kingdom, His Gift of Admission and His Decision of what happens to those who do not obey His Rules of entry.
Jesus is The Door. He is The Only Door. He is The Only Way into The Kingdom of God.
I desperately needed to know if I had entered His Kingdom, so I began my journey of studying the Scriptures to find out what they said about it. I had so many questions. I’d believed so many lies for years and now I was going to have to exchange those lies for the Truth of God’s Word.
Moving from Hollywood to SC was one of the biggest culture shocks I’ve ever experienced! Not only was it due to the slow pace of the people compared to Los Angeles, but I also had a hard time understanding the sweet southern accent that the people had. They would speak and I marveled that they spoke English but was not able to understand them due to the way they pronounced certain words. Not to mention, I was in a state of shock as well and was hanging onto life by a thread. I was having a very difficult time adjusting to my new life due to the incredible pain in my heart, it was broken.
The pain of leaving Candi began to sink in. She’d been my entire world for six years. My shattered heart ached continually and my fragile mind was not used to functioning without a drink of alcohol or drugs. I’d been drinking Jack Daniels daily for years and had just recently stopped using Crystal Meth. On top of all that my family relationships were broken due to my lifestyle choices.
Things were particularly hard to navigate in regards to my Mother since she was more in tune to me than anyone else and she’d been the one that I’d hurt the most. When I was younger, I had determined that I didn’t want to have “her Jesus,” because I thought that she was too religious and too severe about good and evil. But now that I’d experienced first hand what evil was like and that it was “her Jesus” that had rescued me from being killed, I was now able to embrace her Jesus and make Him “my Jesus.”
God had much work to do inside of me and there was a tremendous amount of pride that His Gentle Love (through my Mother) was chipping away. He was also making my heart softer. I was learning the beauty of humility.
I was 26 years old and I had nothing to show for all of my years of living. I had no job, no car, no money, no friends.
All I had was Jesus.
My heart ached. Even though I knew I’d done the right thing in leaving Candi I still missed her so much. Everything about my life hurt. I didn’t want to live another day on the earth. I knew that I had made peace with God but now I begged for Him to let me come Home. But the Lord seemed to have other plans for me, now the heart work would begin. Now I had to face the pain of my life and deal with the sorrow that was buried deep within me. It was in the midst of this facing this pain that I found these precious verses in Matthew 11:28-30.
“Come to Me, all who are tired from carrying heavy loads,
and I will give you rest.
Place my yoke over your shoulders, and learn from Me,
because I am Gentle and Humble.
Then you will find rest for yourselves
because My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”
Rest in my soul. YES!!! That was exactly what I needed. I was so comforted to think of Jesus as “Gentle in Heart.” Just the thought of that soothed something within me. To think that the God Who made everything, the One Who knew everything, the One Who could do anything, Who owned everything and was the MOST POWERFUL BEING in all of existence was HUMBLE and GENTLE in Heart. This new revelation changed my view of Him forever and I began to really grab hold of this Truth.
If God was Humble and Gentle in Heart then He could help me out of this pain that I was in. (Even though the pain that I was in was due to my own sins against Him!) This Truth of Him being Gentle and Humble in Heart defeated a lie that I had believed about Him, which was that He was angry and distant and mean. I found that in exercising my believing muscles, I was beginning to experience change within myself. Hope filled my heart and I was comforted by the Lord.
Crying had now become a part of my daily life. It felt so good to cry out the pain of missing Candi. A real exchange was happening as I traded my pain of missing Candi for Gentle Jesus. Somehow, now that Jesus was with me I felt safe to cry again. I needed so much grace to face all of the pain that I had been holding deep inside as well as the bad things that I had done to hurt others along the way. Then I came across this verse in 1 John 1:9:
If we confess our sins,
He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins
and to cleanse us
from all unrighteousness.
I laid on my bed in my room and confessed to God all of the things I could think of that I had done wrong. I felt like a huge weight fell off of me and I felt so clean on the inside. Now I knew that there was NOTHING that I had ever done or would ever do that I couldn’t tell Jesus about. I felt so close to Him, like the feeling you have when you make things right with an estranged friend that you haven’t talked to in years. I had to give up “my rights” to hate people who had hurt me and give them forgiveness for the sins they had committed against me.
When you pray, go into a room alone and close the door.
Pray to your Father in private.
He knows what is done in private, and He will reward you.
If you forgive others for the wrongs they do to you,
your Father in heaven will forgive you.
But if you don’t forgive others,
your Father will not forgive your sins.
Matthew 6:6, 14-15
As I continued to read the Bible, I discovered the most valuable substance in all of the world. The Blood of Jesus. This Substance was able to cleanse me of all of my sins that I had committed against God and all of the sins that I had committed against others. Forgiveness was bringing healing to my heart.