‘I slept on the floor in case they threw a brick through the window’

Naomi’s story | The power of God to save

“I grew up in a beautiful Christian home, which was loving, generous and safe. The real bump in the road came in year 8. I’d been best friends with a girl since year 1, and we went to high school together. A larger group of friends formed around us, and it was all going really well. Then my friends got into witchcraft – Ouija boards and casting spells and séances.

We’d spoken about this as a family, and agreed we didn’t believe in this kind of thing. I’m sure my friend realised that. It was like a red flag to her. Without any warning, she and the whole friend group turned on me, in a day. They suddenly hated me. They sent me death threats. One day, there was a note in my bag, saying, ‘Now is the time. Now is the hour. We have the power, we have the reason.  We will get you.’ I thought they would kill me. My friend knew me better than anyone, so I thought she had power over me. I remember taking my mattress off the bed, and sleeping on the floor, in case they threw a brick through the window to kill me.

It led to years of anxiety. I dropped out of all my activities and withdrew from life. My parents told me I was safe at home, but I didn’t feel safe in the world. I had panic attacks, and then uncontrolled vomiting.

In year 9, I changed schools, to a really small Christian school. It was like balm for my soul. I went from being hated, to being interesting. I was so broken, but I found peace. After year 10, the school finished, so I had to change schools again. But in the school holidays that year, three things happened. I started dating a non-Christian guy. I wanted him to know Jesus, so I shared the Gospel with him. As I shared it, I thought, ‘It’s amazing! God’s grace is incredible! Jesus died for us!’ In telling him, it became true for me. I was so struck by the grace of God, in Jesus. It seemed like such an incredible gift. The second thing that happened was that I had seven really vivid dreams. In every dream, the world ended but I didn’t make it into heaven. It shook me to the core. I remember going to church and talking to my minister, about the assurance we have of salvation, in Jesus.

Then, in year 11, I started at the new school. On my first day, someone came up to me and asked me where I’d been to school previously. I said that I went to a Christian school. The person asked me if I was a Christian and I said yes! I owned it out loud, for the first time in my life. I trusted Jesus. It was a game changer. From then on, I was all in!

But throughout my life, I’ve still been aware that the devil can get a foothold. Witchcraft is not the fun version, like in Harry Potter. It can be really sinister. I don’t think it’s safe to fill your mind with those things. The devil is really sneaky.

In 2010, I remember I went to a healing retreat. Three years prior to the retreat, I’d had a serious car accident and sustained a head injury, as well as broken bones. I had ongoing spasticity in my right leg and problems with my vision, so I really wanted to be healed! But I went to the retreat and I had a lot of prayer and I didn’t get healed physically. Instead, I got healed of my anxiety related to the death threats. As the people prayed for me, I realised that my friends didn’t have power over me anymore, 20 years later. God has power over me! I had an amazing time of surrendering that to God, and trusting him for my life. It’s been different since then! And in looking back, as difficult as life has been, I wouldn’t change any of it. I’ve learnt so much about the love and faithfulness of God, as well as the amazing hope for our future, through Jesus, our Saviour.”

“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” (Phil 4:13)

Naomi’s story is part of Eternity’s Faith Stories series, compiled by Naomi Reed. Click here for more Faith Stories.