From Wicca to Freedom in Christ

Jaclyn Oldham

I grew up in a family that was not religious. We did not talk about God. I always knew that my mother believed in God, but it was never a part of my life. When I was 12, my Grandparents, who are very strong Christians, tried to convince me to believe in God. I completely rejected Christ and decided that the Bible was the biggest hoax ever created.

It was at this time that I started looking into Wicca, a religion that involves the practice of witchcraft. I studied it and started secretly doing rituals in my room. It quickly got out of control.

One of the most painful memories I have is of a time during the summer before high school. I sat on the pier with my best friend, who was soon to be confirmed at her church. I told her that I practiced witchcraft. I asked her to attend a ritual with me, and she did. She became swept up in the occult, and ended up rejecting Christ. My heart grieves for her.

Witchcraft made me feel powerful, and my ego was fuelled at every ritual. At one ritual when I was thirteen I was singled out and told how blessed and special I was, because I had gifts. I wish I could have seen back then just how tightly Satan had hold of me.

I hated Christianity and everything that went with it

When I got a bit older, my Wiccan friends and I started our own coven. We had a booth at the Pagan Pride Parade, and convinced many people to try out our religion.

The people at my high school didn't know. To them I was a bright, bubbly young woman who was always smiling and laughing. I didn't drink, I volunteered at a nursing home, and I had the highest average at my high school for all four years that I attended. No one had any idea that I was actually a practicing Witch.

At first it was thrilling to practice witchcraft in secret. But by grade eleven my dark secret started to have a terrible effect on my happiness. Witchcraft had become a huge part of my life and by grade twelve I started to have anxiety. I was having panic attacks daily, even during class.

I thought about killing myself. I remember lying in bed, drawing all over my body with a ballpoint pen. With every slash of the pen I pretended that I was cutting myself. My mom walked in during this and threatened to take me to a psychiatric hospital that night.

I ended up going for counselling, which helped me deal with my anxiety, but I knew that I needed to leave for University with a new outlook on life. I was going to leave witchcraft behind me, and start over fresh.

I had an amazing first semester of University. I did well in all my classes, and made many new friends. But I felt that I was missing something spiritual in my life. My neighbour in residence, Leah, began asking if I wanted to go to church with her. I didn't go with her, even though she was quickly becoming one of my best friends. The truth is I hated Christianity and everything that went with it.

It was during second semester that I started to have horrifying nightmares. I remember waking up one night in a cold sweat, because I had dreamed that the world had ended. I had heard of the rapture from the internet, and I thought it was all a bit funny. But the dreams I had were very real and terrifying. There was death and destruction, the world was moaning with agony because Jesus had returned and left the unsaved behind. In my dreams, I was one of the people that had chosen to reject Jesus, and I was left to face the horror that remained in a world without any Christians.

When I awoke from these dreams, I would cry out Jesus, Jesus. I was completely torn, because during the day I would profess my hatred for Christianity, but during the night I would cry out to Christ. In Revelations 3:20, Jesus says, Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me. When I was having these dreams, I believe that Christ was pounding at my door. But when I cried out to him, I wasn't letting him in. I wanted His love and protection without repentance or actually making God part of my life.

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The spiritual battle continued as the school year ended and my summer began. I couldn't find a job. As a result, I had a lot of time to think about my life. I quarreled with myself about becoming a Christian, but Satan wasn't going to let go of me easily.

On June 28th, 2006, I sent an email to a pastor whose address I had found on the internet, asking him to help me with my dilemma. Pastor Jim responded within an hour, and we spent the day emailing back and fourth. This man, a stranger from hundreds of miles away, took the time that day to lead me to Christ, and I will be forever grateful.

I was sitting on my couch, with the laptop on my lap, as I read the sinner's prayer off a website. In that moment something inside me shifted, and I felt completely transformed. I felt like a huge burden had been lifted off my shoulders as I stopped resisting Christ and let Him into my life. I remember getting up from the couch, trying to figure out what had just happened. I had become something that I had spent my entire life hating. I was a Christian.

At first my growth as a Christian was slow because I didn't know how to live as a Christian, and I was so used to hating everything to do with Christianity. I found a good church, but I didn't really understand the point of worship, and I didn't know how to pray. I was too embarrassed to ask for help. I spent the first semester of my second year of University trying to figure out how to be a Christian, but I was easily frustrated.

My friend Leah, my neighbour from residence who was now my housemate, suggested that we take an Alpha course. Her sister had taken the course the year before and there was another Alpha course, especially for Queen's students, about to start up in the same home. At first I was a bit hesitant, but after a pretty horrible semester at school, I figured I had nothing to lose.

I was nervous that everyone would know so much more about Christianity than I did, and that I would feel left out. But after just one meeting I knew that the Alpha course was exactly where I needed to be. There were other students with lots of questions too and it was O.K. to ask absolutely anything at all. Nicky Gumbel explained the basics of Christianity in his videos in a way that was both easy to understand and very entertaining. It was in the Alpha course that I learned how to pray, how to read the Bible, and why we worship. Alpha helped me realize just how absolutely amazing Jesus Christ is.

My Alpha group was filled with so many wonderful people who encouraged me to grow as a Christian. These people are so much more to me than just friends; I now know that they are my brothers and sisters in Christ.

The Holy Spirit weekend was the most spiritually fulfilling weekend I have ever had. Since that weekend I feel the Holy Spirit at work in every aspect of my life. The relationships that were forged during that weekend were unlike any that I had experienced before. I have learned that a true friend wants only the best for you, will pray for you, cry with you, and never give up on you. I realized that it was my responsibility to love others unconditionally, because my Lord Jesus loved me first.

I was baptised on April 15th of this year in front of my family, my friends from Alpha, and my friends from my Church. It's hard to believe that this time last year I wasn't even a Christian! Jesus is my oxygen. He is the single most important thing in my life. It makes me so sad that I lived 19 years of my life without Him.

It is my vow to spend the rest of my life in His debt, because He didn't give up knocking on my door. I scoffed at Him, spat at Him, sinned against Him. But when I finally opened the door, He didn't reject me. He cloaked me in love and forgiveness, and gave me life. My Lord is truly greater than all things, and I will love and serve Him for eternity!

February 28/2008