Have You Ever Wanted Power and Control?

From when I was 16 to 19 years old, there are things that happened during that time I am not proud of. In fact, I have spent years trying to forget them.

We had a family friend that had been in my life from when I was 8 to 19 years old. By the age of 16, I trusted him and saw he had something I thought I wanted. He had Power, Control, and what looked like Freedom.

It wasn’t the kind of power, control and freedom that every teenager wanted. You know what I’m talking about. The freedom of having your own car, the control you have when you move out of your childhood home and stay up as late as you want or the power you have when you can write your own rules.

This man had a power that was different, a little scary. He seemed to have a supernatural ability to know things a normal human mind should not have known. He knew events that were going to happen before they did, upcoming business opportunities before they even presented themselves, and the private details of people’s lives.

It seemed crazy, but he always seemed to be right.

As I was beginning to take notice and became curious about his powers, he also took an interest in me. He offered to ‘train’ me and ‘raise me up’ as an apprentice to him as a psychic.

I took the bait.

Over the next three years, I went on trips with him to many different places and states. During these trips he would teach me different skills to do the things that he did. The trips evolved from training to quickly including emotional, spiritual, and sexual abuse.

You are probably wondering why I didn’t tell someone?

I wondered that also. I was afraid of the power that this 55 year old man had and what he would do if I told. I also didn’t want to make my mom mad.

If you are a survivor of abuse, you can probably relate. I compartmentalized my life in such a way that even my detailed journals from High School only talk about my normal life, such as friends, football games, the normal High School experience. Reading those, it was as if this part of my life didn’t exist. Yet it was very, very real.

Three years had gone by. I was pulling away from him as much as possible. I dreaded the trips and any moment I had to spend with that man.

One day while I was sitting in my house, my phone rang. It was him. Just hearing his voice made my stomach turn.

“You need to go on a trip with me for six months. If you don’t, you will be dead in six months.”

He was not threatening me. He was warning me. Remember, he knew almost everything before it ever happened.

At 19, I responded, “I would rather be dead in 6 months then ever go anywhere with you again.”

It was that day, in that moment, that I drew my line in the sand.

I began to imagine what I wanted my life and my future to be. He and his occult practices were not a part of it.

Three years after that day, I asked Jesus to be the Lord of my life. What a breath of fresh air it was to go to church and begin to learn about the Man who wouldn’t hurt me.

If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.  

Romans 10: 9

I learned that Jesus didn’t want control or power over me. He wanted a genuine relationship with me. What an incredible difference that was compared to what I had been experiencing.

I remember going to a conference where the gift of prophecy was talked about and encouraged. I immediately got scared.

Everything I saw at that event seemed suspiciously close to everything that man I apprenticed under knew about. It really scared me!

I made up my mind that if it looked like the occult, smelled like the occult, then, it must be the occult. 

I drew another line in the sand.

I began to reject any teaching about the supernatural. I was even afraid of the Holy Spirit, because He was referred to as a “spirit”. This was a part of Christianity I didn’t think I couldn’t engage in.

I had experience with spirits, guides and all sorts of stuff that didn’t turn out well for me.

The church I went to often talked of the prophetic and the supernatural. I was surrounded by it. I couldn’t get away from it. It was scary for me!

Until one day, a Pastor began to talk about the difference between the occult and God’s supernatural power.

She said that one difference between the occult and the prophetic was “the source”. You see people in the occult get their information from the enemy.

People with the gift of prophecy get their information from God. Both can have accurate information, but lead you on two different paths.

God’s word leads people toward Jesus, toward a life with Him. It is a call toward the life they were created to live.

The enemy has other motives.

He comes to kill, steal and destroy. If he has to use accurate words to lure you in, he will. In the end he will lead you down a dark hallway, toward destruction, away from life.

She went on to say that God created the heavens, and the earth. He is the only Creator. On the other hand, the enemy can’t create, he can only counterfeit. The occult is a counterfeit to real power that only comes from God.


As I read the Bible I saw many supernatural things that God had done. My favorite where we see the real power of God and it is directly followed by counterfeit power is from Exodus chapters 3-12. I encourage you to read it! It is awesome!

It begins with a burning bush.

Moses and Aaron are sent by God to Pharaoh to tell him to let the Israelites free the slavery and bondage in Egypt. The first sign that God gives them is to throw down the staff and God turns it into a snake. Pharaoh calls his sorcerers and the Egyptian magicians and told them to throw down their staff’s, which also turned into snakes.

However, Aaron’s snake proceeded to swallow their snakes. (I love that!)

These signs followed Moses and Aaron so that Pharaoh would know that God sent them.

Through God’s power, Aaron did a miracle. Then the sorcerer’s did the same miracle. They did not create; they copied God’s sign through Aaron.

What follows is a pattern of God’s signs followed by counterfeit signs including turning the Nile River into blood, and a plague of frogs.

The difference was the source. One was sorcery and one was God.

The lesson that Pastor taught on the counterfeit versus the real was so healing to me. The man that was in my life at a young age was not moving in the power of God. Yet, what the enemy meant for harm and destruction, God still utilizes for His Glory in my life.

Have you ever dabbled in the occult? If you have, chances are someone you know led you to it. Perhaps you were looking for control, power, or freedom.

I will bet you found the opposite of what you were looking for.

While I spent time with that man I lost more control, freedom and power over my life, mind and body than ever before.

That was before I began my relationship with Jesus.

For the last 21 years of my life, I have experienced God’s power and freedom in my life more than anything I could ever imagine.  God offers that relationship to all of us.

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.

John 10:10

An abundant life can only be lived in Christ. It doesn’t matter what you have done, what you have dabbled in, decisions you have made or decisions that were made for you.

Jesus came to give you an abundant life.

I know it’s not easy facing your past. I have come to trust Jesus with the details of my past. You can read part of my healing journey here.

It is because of His love and acceptance in my life that I can share this with you in hopes that you will have the courage to trust Him with the dark and shadowy pieces of your story.

Just imagine how your life could be if you made the decision to trust Jesus with your life.

I would love to listen to your story.

Twenty-one years ago, I had a friend who, with no judgment or expectations on me, just listened.

If you have experience in the occult and would like to talk about that, I’m ready to listen. There is nothing you could share that would shock me.

Email me at denishaw@reclaimedstory.com I would love to set up a time to talk with you.  

I had the opportunity to share some of this testimony on HSBN’s “Life on Purpose” with Sally Smale. The episode, “The Occult: Counterfeit vs. Authentic” can be watched here.

More Articles From Reclaimed Story Are Available Here.

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