January.13.14 (testimony shared from Bethel website. Link is on our connection page on TGN website)
This is what redemption looks like. I grew up in a single-parent home in Rockford, IL. My mom was an alcoholic and drug user, so I grew up in a house where it was common for my mom to bring a different guy home every night, so I had a really sexually immersed childhood and knew things I shouldn't have at three or four. Since the time I was three, a demon followed me for most of my life.
I picked up my first deck of tarot cards at age eight and started experiencing panic attacks, depression, and suicidal thoughts. I started cutting myself to medicate the pain.
I started drinking when I was 11. I could spend most of my life in a medicated state. We were so poor, I stole clothes because I needed them. It was embarrassing to have jeans with holes in them.
I gave my life to Christ when I was 12 or 13, but I was still influenced by my past,
so much so that a lot of stuff didn't change. When I was about 14, God told me "Nelly, you are going to go into full-time ministry. You will go to the nations."
I didn't have the grounding to keep me there with Him. I've always been spiritually open and curious. I was always messing around with Ouija boards and being a spiritual medium. All the crazy things you read about, I was doing. When I started high school, I wasn't sold out to God anymore. I got pregnant at 16 with my first son. I was on my own with my mom. It was the hardest thing. Because of all the trauma I went through, I didn't know how to parent. I lost my son at age four. Through all this time, I was suicidal and depressed, following my mom in her lifestyle. My mom told me I was crazy just like my dad, and I believed the lies. I believed no one loved me, and I was ugly and stupid.
I thought if I could perform well as a witch I would be fine. I didn't think I deserved forgiveness. I spent 12 years learning about all areas of witchcraft. I was a really good recruiter for the devil. I convinced people witchcraft was not bad, and I thought there were many roads to God. Meanwhile, after losing my son, I started doing harder drugs. I didn't get too far into that. I got burned out of it. I was already out of my mind, not knowing who I was. Drugs made it worse, and I didn't want that.
At age 27, with that same man, I had another child that I placed for adoption when he was two. I was living in grief. I was addicted to pain pills. I had five to six panic attacks a day. I barely survived. I was still cutting, drinking and taking up to 6000 milligrams of pain medicine to not feel my pain. I was taking the highest dosages of anti-depressants and anti-anxiety meds. It didn't work. Pot was the only thing that relaxed me. I was trying to destroy my body.
I was at a pagan meet up one day at a bookstore, planning for a public ritual we were going to do. I had a stack of books and saw a person that I had known when I was 16. We recognized each other. I ended up not being a part of the meeting and telling her my entire story and everything I believed, which was a mess of crap.
She invited me to church. I told her I hated Christians and had been burned by the church, but I went with her. I said, "God, do something with me. I can't do this anymore."
A few weeks later, I went to church. I was just standing there. I felt love for the first time in years. I was the biggest mess. I was not taking care of myself. I was covered in black and wore my pentagram so I could torture the Christians. I started singing and had a Holy Spirit encounter. I sat down and Jesus was sitting across from me. He said, "Nelly, choose me, and I will give you life." I said yes.
I got free that day from my addictions and meds. I tried smoking pot after and it did nothing. It's Jesus. I walked away from a bad seven-year relationship. I literally walked out of hell. I graduated from two years of Bible school. I've been baptized in the Holy Spirit.
I came to Bethel in Sept. 2013. My processes were longer before, but now they are fast. When I look back, I can't even recognize the person I used to be. Since I got saved, I can't remember the memories of witchcraft. He erased the junk from my body and my heart. Where I used to have a migraine every day, I no longer have them.
I'm 30, and I will be "three" [in the Lord] on May 15. I've never been so happy to be a "toddler."
I had to give up everything to come to Bethel. God has done everything to take care of me to restore me to fullness and healing.
This verse is special to me:
The LORD has appeared of old to me, saying:
“Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love;
Therefore with lovingkindness I have drawn you.
Jeremiah 31:3 NKJV
—Nellie Jenkins, BSSM first-year student