Note – This post discusses prayer as part of my mental health story from 2018 to 2020 and may trigger unwanted thoughts or emotions in those that have suffered traumas. This post is part of a story told chronologically.
Though the nightmares started in October 2018, my stomach pains began in March 2018. These pains probably signaled early warning signs to deeper issues that hadn’t fully healed, but I was unaware. Two years after the onset of problems, I drove to a house, hoping for final deliverance from demons that tormented me for over two years.
A charismatic retreatant introduced me to a woman trained to lead Unbound Prayer. We spoke pleasantries for a few minutes in the kitchen, then walked into her living room. She asked me to sit on the chair as she and her friend opened their notebooks. She reviewed the steps of Unbound Prayer, then asked me to tell my story. For the next hour, I shared most details in chronological order while she asked questions and wrote notes.
When I finished, she said how overwhelming everything was. I agreed. We moved onto the second round where she reviewed her list of people that I needed to forgive, including myself. She mentioned a name and told me to verbally say, “In Jesus’ name, I forgive [that person] for [such and such].” When she completed her list, she asked if we were finished. I told her I thought so, that was everyone.
In the same fashion, she listed each dark spirit associated with my story. She asked me to rebuke each spirit in Jesus’ name. I repeated this for every lie I partially or wholly believed in. During the final round, she asked me to rebuke any openings of the occult from my past. Had I played the Ouija board? Had someone read tarot cards for me? In Jesus’ name I rebuked the few times I had played the Ouija board as a kid and the one time a person read tarot cards for me. We finished with a prayer and a hug, and I left feeling much lighter.
That night I had a nightmare. Drenched in sweat, I realized I had forgotten to forgive one person. I remember laughing, thinking God had a sense of humor and was trying to communicate to me. After going to my floor prayer position, I prayed to let go of the situation and forgive that person.
Over the following weeks, I invited women from the Charismatic group to my house for dinner. They blessed each room while praying the Rosary. I also invited a priest to the house and asked him to bless each room with holy water.
The terrible thoughts hadn’t disappeared, but they had diminished. Because of this, I believed my defenses were resilient enough to go to my friend’s house and pick up my gun. I called the local police station asking if I could drop off the gun. Initially, the cop sounded apprehensive as I told my brief story. He told me to complete the paperwork, and then listed the steps to deliver the gun safely. When I got approval, another idea came to mind.
I had bought a Rosary made of melted-down gun steel. Maybe I could melt my gun and turn it into something. Courtney suggested looking for a local blacksmith so I searched several companies online. Only one local guy could make a custom design at a reasonable price.
It was a Thursday, three days before my birthday, and it was clear and sunny. I asked a few friends if they could go with me, but they weren’t available. They offered additional days in the future, but I was ready to hand over the gun and be done with it.
Leaving the house to drive the twenty minutes to get the gun wasn’t nearly as terrible as I thought it would be. I prayed for a safe journey. Filled to the brim with anxiety, I walked to my friend’s garage and picked up the gun and knives locked safely in its case. My friend was sick or his daughter was sick so I didn’t see him, but I carried the case to my truck and placed it behind my driver’s seat.
I assumed I would be as panicked as the drive to Raleigh after leaving Robyn’s funeral, but the hour drive to the blacksmith’s shop was surprisingly pleasant. Though alone, I didn’t feel alone as I drove through beautiful country on a spring day. I met the guy, and we talked briefly. I learned he was an Army veteran and had suffered through PTSD. He offered his ear anytime I wanted to talk.
The feeling was peaceful like a tremendous weight had been lifted off my shoulders. The release wasn’t as freeing as other moments of letting go in my life, but the feeling was noticeable. I looked forward to seeing the gun and knives melted down and transformed into crosses.
When I conclude these posts next week, I’ll share the most intimate moment of my story.