DARKNESS TO LIGHT
From Goth to God
By Daina Doucet
They were dressed to intimidate.
The guys, some of them modern-day vampires in relic attire, distinguished themselves from their legendary counterparts with spiked Mohawks or long, gossamer black hair. Accompanying them, the women were elaborately arrayed in seductive Medieval gowns.
They were Goths on the way to a nightclub, desiring to be noticed. With jovial bravado the macabre bunch shouted obscenities as they gestured defiantly at passersby pounding their fists on cars in mock violence.
Roz was one of them.
Shrouded in black from head to toe, she masked her beauty with death. A crushed velvet veil over a fez-like hat fell around her shoulders; her long skirt swirled around mid-calf boots with skull buckles. A leather belt with three-inch brass bullets swayed with each stride emphasizing her tall, slender figure. Skull earrings and dreadlocks framed her pale face, accentuating black lips and eyes, darkened not just by elaborate eyeliner patterns, but by a profound sadness within.
That night, Roz was caught up in the moment. Swearing, she grimaced at a couple in a vehicle, lunging at them as if to throw herself on their hood, but suddenly, she felt discomfort. The couple didn’t recoil or show fear. Their fleeting glance met hers calmly, even compassionately, but their eyes shook her. She turned away quickly into the night. The car accelerated and was gone, but the moment remained etched in her memory.
Raised in a small Australian town, Roz had an unhappy childhood. The fourth of eight children, she suffered rejection and hopelessness. Her longing for love and acceptance manifested in all the wrong ways.
A misfit, kleptomaniac and “hell-raiser,” she was constantly in trouble. She hated her life. Events culminated at her 14th birthday party. A boy insulted her sister, and her father, an angry, violent man who was patrolling the party with a shot gun, fired at him. Overcome with horror and embarrassment, she ran away. When she was found, her mother’s crushing indifference broke her spirit. “Get the makeup and nail polish off,” was all she said. Roz determined to leave for good. At 15 she stole money, escaped to Melbourne, connected with Goth acquaintances and became one of them overnight.
Rebellion and crime
Roz was immersed in “Goth” when she encountered the car. The incident disturbed her sufficiently to cause her to re-evaluate her associations – some friends were burglars, or junkies; many were prostitutes. Wild drug parties got out of control. Someone she knew hung himself, while another friend who dated a coven leader acquired an evil presence and deteriorated visibly. Roz herself struggled with entities that tormented her at night.
What am I doing? she asked herself.
One day, a co-worker inadvertently challenged her. “I wonder what you would look like in colour?” he mused. It was as if a spell was broken. She cut her hair, stripped the black out, and the next day wore a cream-colored shirt to work. Her Goth friends were perplexed. She was no longer one of them.
How could she change so abruptly? Roz, known today as Rosalie, says, “I’m sure it’s because my aunts were praying for me.” Her aunt Maureen in Melbourne had shared Christ with her and always took time to answer her questions – something no one had ever done.
In spite of this change, Roz was continually running from the law, evading conviction under assumed names. She moved 17 times in Melbourne, then to Queensland. There she allowed her friends to rob a store where she worked, but was “busted.”
“This time I got hauled in by the police and I knew I was going down for several counts of stealing and fraud” she says. As she surveyed the courtroom full of unsavory individuals, she thought, I’ll kill myself before I’ll go to jail.
Collision with God
At that moment her aunt’s words flooded her consciousness. God, she pleaded in tears. If you get me out of this, I’ll serve you. She begged the judge, “I’ll turn my life around if you let me go back to Melbourne.”
“He eyeballed me for what seemed like an eternity. ‘I don’t know why I’m doing this,’ he said, ‘but I’ll let you off on probation.’“
Roz kept her word. She boarded a bus to Melbourne and called her aunt. Maureen explained to her about Christ’s forgiveness and the devil. “That day I asked God to forgive my sins and I immediately sensed something evil leave me. I also felt to leave Australia and go where I could start over again.” She chose Canada.
Rosalie knew no one in Canada, but she had noticed the name, Kenneth Copeland Ministries (KCM) on literature at her aunt’s house. “I think he’s a Christian,” she told her friend Marlise. Learning that KCM had a Vancouver office, Rosalie connected with the ministry. She and Marlise arrived in Vancouver in February, 1990. Carolyn Samson, a KCM employee, met them at the airport and invited them to church.
It was Rosalie’s first time in church and she was overwhelmed with the worship and God’s presence. The sermon answered her childhood questions. After the service the women were offered accommodations, and the pastor invited them to Bible school at no charge. “We went from zero to 100 just like that!” she says.
Rosalie felt accepted by God, but her adjustment to church life was difficult. She didn’t quite fit in. Alone with God for many hours a day, she devoured His Word and soaked in His presence.
When Rosalie and Marlise sought to renew what they believed were one-year visas, they met with a surprise. “These are three-month visas, and you’re in the country illegally,” barked the immigration officer. “You will be deported.” The women prayed believing God would intervene, and He did. Miraculously, their visas were renewed.
Through the church youth group Rosalie met Carsten Schwarm. Six months later they were married, but their marriage could only be validated when approved by Immigration.
A mandatory form demanded, Do you have a criminal record? No! she wanted to write, but felt convicted. Instead, she submitted a confession of her crimes and a two-page testimony of what God had done.
Immigration also fingerprinted her for an Australia-wide search of her criminal history. Knowing full-well Australia never revokes criminal records, she waited, dreading the outcome, but God comforted her.
Fear not, for I am with you. Be not dismayed for I am your God. ... You shall seek those who contend with you, but shall not find them (Isaiah 41:4-14).
God’s Word proved true. In a few days the report arrived by mail stating, "This woman has no criminal record!"
Astounded at God’s stunning intervention, Rosalie sat facing an immigration officer who reviewed her paperwork. “Honey,” she smiled, “you were supposed to have me today. My name is Rosalie, I’m German, and I’m a Christian. I see you’re not the same person you wrote about here.” She stamped the papers – Approved!
Rosalie still marvels at God’s grace. She believes God changed her fingerprints to give her a new life. She credits prayer as key to God’s intervention and muses, “My aunts prayed for me, but I think the people in the car that night were Christians and prayed too.”
One day, a number of years later, Rosalie asked her eight-year-old son Josh, “Do you know what grace is?”
“I think so,” he replied. “Remember when you were bad, and Jesus made you good? Now you take others to Jesus and He makes them good too.”
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Rosalie and Carsten Schwarm pastor Lighthouse Church, Waterdown, Ontario. Rosalie’s story has been published in Faith & Friends magazine and as a cover story in KCM’s Believer’s Voice of Victory. She has also shared it on a number of television programs. As a conference speaker, Rosalie teaches God’s Word and helps parents understand the sub-cultures that influence their children. Website: www.gotlight.org. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Daina Doucet is a writer and editor based in Hamilton, Ontario. She edits the website Christianity.ca for The Evangelical Fellowship of Canada.
© 2011 Daina Doucet. Used with permission.
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