I apologize in advance for the R-Rated nature of my painting. It was my not-so-abstract “purely artistic” attempt at rendering my dream devoid of any lascivious provocations and intent whatsoever.
My conversion began when I had this dream circa 2001. I dreamt that I was in a room full of relatives, myself being singled out and pushed into the corner with no way out. I remember them rebuking me about why I have betrayed the faith, until one of them pulled the trigger and fired three shots at me-one to the head, to the heart and to the stomach. As my lights went out, in pitch black was a message written in dripping blood stating, “If you think there is an alternate place after death, you’re wrong…There’s only HELL!” It seemed so real. It was a very rude awakening especially waking up to that on my 22nd Birthday.
It’s been a few years since I had that dream. I didn’t really try so hard to figure out what it meant even though it constantly was in the back of my mind. For quite some time, I took it literally thinking I was going to physically die young. Yet one night sometime in February 2004, sleepless, after saying a prayer to Jesus, the very meaning of the dream got revealed to me.
Just months prior to my conversion, I felt this strange force driving me to tamper with the occult. It all started with my obsession with astrology, which then led me to New Age Philosophy. I would go to Barnes & Nobles and head straight to the New Age section and soak up and live what I read. I was experiencing a lot of synchronicity. It was very weird, almost too much to take which led me to believe I was losing it. I would be thinking things, reading things, and they would come true almost to the point of delusion that I had some kind of power. I realized that is how it works to lure people in.
In my misguided state, I sought refuge in New Age to remedy the miserable life I was living, a life in deep depression which made me even more dependent on reading my daily astrological forecast or anything that could give me a glimmer of hope. I thought reading something to make me feel better would be harmless. The thing was, I still clung to what I knew from Catholicism even when I was into New Age. It was made clear by unseen occultic forces it had to be dealt with when the materials I read, even the daily horoscope (which I now call horrorscope) had a repetitive common theme that I needed to let go of some strong conviction I held. With deep introspection, it came down to my belief in Jesus.
Apparently, this was the one “outmoded” belief as the thing coined it that I held which prevented my full conversion to New Age. I at least had this basic knowledge that “Jesus Saves” inculcated in me at such a young age, about the age of 7-8 when I memorized John 3:16 in Spanish. To this day, I look back at that time and see God’s hand planting the seed since come to think of it, what would spur an Asian girl, to memorize the verse in a language that was not even my dialect?
I remember being engaged in countless monologues and feeling some kind of mental force coaxing me to embrace Buddhism, a gateway to get deeper into Eastern Philosophy, a prerequisite in the New Age Movement, but I would always reason that I cannot deify someone whom I know was merely a man which I later on found out what I was experiencing was in the Bible (John 10:4-5), and besides, I already did have a religion. I was a non-pious Catholic who was delved in immorality, drug use and being in an abusive co-dependent relationship. Yet as contradicting as it sounds, I still called on God during my godlessness.
In the verge of a nervous breakdown, downtrodden, brokenhearted and scared, I took my best friend-my journal, and wrote every bit of emotion I had in me. I then wrote “Jesus, I entrust my life to you. Please save my soul.”
With a sincere plea, He restored my soul…
I had broken relationships with each member of my family, especially my mother. Things started to change. Of course, it did not happen overnight but gradually. My astrology obsession came to a halt, although there were some occasions I was tempted. My resolution of steering clear from such things were reinforced when I was reminded of a passage in the Scriptures that said it is really not for us to know about the future since we have enough worries for the day (Matthew 6:34).
For years, I was a chain smoker and I quit my smoking habit cold turkey even though I had 3 10-pack cartons of cigarettes stashed in the drawer. The drugs stopped and later on found out dropping the vices would be the best thing I have ever done finding out I was pregnant. I could not have done it without divine intervention. God helped me clean my act in order to deliver a healthy non-druggie baby.
It was a very rough time in my life and I can honestly say the things that sustained and assuaged my barraging fear of the unknown was praying everyday and faith in Jesus’ promise that He will never leave nor forsake me during my hour of testing. I am not in any means ashamed of my past as it is the testimony of the wretched life I was delivered from. I glory in the fact that I am a new creation in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17). I can only hope and pray that I will never live apart from the desire to be faithful to the One and True God until the end of my days.
This goes for whoever out there who has the desire to cut off any kind of addiction. Don’t deceive yourself into believing you can do it all on your own (via self-help books). Call on Jesus (Acts 2:21) with sincere repentance and He will free you from bondage and give you peace which surpasses all understanding. What He asks is a willing resignation to Him and His will. It sounds limiting but nothing could be further from the truth.
As for my dream, it was to signify a transformation of my mind, heart and soul. The “alternate place” revelation was actually to debunk my long-held Catholic upbringing’s belief in purgatory. It was a call to face the naked truth- that God never intends for any of us to walk into the path of oblivion. We make that decision from the very free will that He gave us.
God gave this declaration to the Israelites in Deuteronomy 30:19-20a which is applicable to modern-day believers, “… I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life so that you and your children may live and that you may love the Lord your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him.”