Tuesday, 2 June
Hello again and I trust you are all well. Must make the best of this fantastic weather, as it's apparently due to break tomorrow! Kev and I have downloaded a walking app called Alltrails, which is invaluable to us, as we are discovering loads of beautiful places within a 20-minute drive from our home, that we never knew existed. Kev is a born-and-bred Warrington lad and he's certainly been surprised a number of times by the huge variety of places available on our home ground. One of them, Moore Nature Reserve, which we visited on Sunday, is pictured above this post. Unfortunately, the trail was closed to the public, due to the Coronavirus thing, but it was possible to skirt around and see some of it. We look forward to seeing the whole thing when normality returns.
I've just been listening to one of my favourite Christian songs - "Breathe" by Sheila Walsh. It's absolutely beautiful. There is so much excellent Christian music around nowadays - times have moved on from the rather staid, dusty hymns that were the only options at one time.
As I remember, I was telling you about my shift away from God at the age of 14. I had decided to go my own sweet way along the path of life and did exactly that for many years. I must have still been searching for some meaning to life, though, because I became fascinated with the occult. Somehow, my siblings and I got hold of a plastic ouija board. Scarily, these were being manufactured as toys back in those days. We would sit around it, pushing the pointer, playing at connecting with the dead. I remember Mum throwing the game out at some stage, concerned about the implications of us using this tool. It was just a game to us; we knew no different. Eventually, this graduated to us pushing a glass around a table, with the letters of the alphabet, and 'yes' and 'no' written on pieces of paper. I once visited a spiritualist church but no messages came through to me from the other side, so I lost interest!
Over the following years, I began to devour horror stories and watch scary films. I went to see "The Exorcist" with my boyfriend, and wished I hadn't bothered, as the film gave me nightmares for ages. It didn't stop my appetite for more, though. I became obsessed with the Devil, demons, ghosts, witches .... I read all Dennis Wheatley's books, along with the warnings at the front of the stories about the dangers of witchcraft and black magic. I was very eager to know my future and visited many so-called psychics and fortune tellers. I had my cards read, had my palm read, even placed my hand over a glass of water, all with the aim of learning my future. And some of the people did indeed get it right, some of the time. Most of them didn't but I just regarded that as a bit of fun.
I now know, as a Christian, that this was definitely not what God wants for us. He asks us not to dabble in the occult, as it can be very dangerous. I have read an amazing book written by a Christian lady who used to be a chief witch in a Satanist circle. She writes about her life from childhood, and how she came to be sucked into this dark world. Her story is very compelling, giving details of how she actually saw the devil, and the effects on her life of indulging in this evil lifestyle. There is, of course, a happy ending, as she turned away from Satanism and became a Christian. She then used the rest of her life to testify about how Jesus rescued her from a life of the most horrific and degrading evil. Her name is Doreen Irvine and the title of the book is "From Witchcraft to Christ". I have read it twice and have no doubt will be reading it many times more, as it's one of the most exciting stories I have had the privilege of reading.
I love reading books which are the testimonies of people who were definitely on the wrong path, but chose to change direction and walk towards God. My story is nowhere near as dramatic and thrilling as the likes of Doreen Irvine and Barry Woodward, but it is a good story, nevertheless. I can sometimes hardly believe how my life has turned around since I accepted Jesus into my life, and put my trust in Him. I will tell you more next time, if you are interested.
In the meantime, as always, stay well and safe and remember - who loves you? Jesus, of course!
❤ Ann x