Florence Johnson: An Atheist's Pain
By Christine McWorter
The 700 Club
CBN.com -“I personally, at a young age, decided that there either was no God, and if there was a God, I hated him because I thought, how cruel can you be to allow me to get beat, to get smacked, hit with objects and things and talked down to?”
Florence Johnson’s childhood was painful and confusing.
“We were in a single parent household and my mother took us to church on Sundays, so we were taught to believe in God, however during the week it was anything but godly,” remembers Florence. “She was physically abusive, emotionally abusive. ‘You’re fat. You’re ugly. You’re stupid.’ My mother also did things that, as an adult, I call flirting with demonic forces. In our family we had an Ouija board, which is a quote unquote ’game.’ We used it to contact the spirits and we had séances.”
Young Florence had strange and scary experiences.
“I would see things, hear things, but as a child, I was too frightened to tell anyone,” recalls Florence. “And when I say ‘see things,’ shadows darting in corners, I could hear voices at times, I always felt there were presences there trying to get my attention. I spent many, many years trying my best in my own power to ignore it, to pretend it wasn’t there. If I saw something I would look in the other direction and act like I didn’t see it until, as I got older and older, I became numb to it. By the time I was an adult, I was scared of the dark, I was afraid of driving, I had so much fear.”
Florence did her best to ignore the voices and to control her fears. She married and had children, but her new husband was abusive, so she took the children and left. They moved in with family, but her fears intensified.
“I was terrified of just about everything,” remembers Florence. “I had claustrophobia, height-aphobia, every phobia you can think of as a result if the abuse.”
One day, her brother, a pastor, began talking to her about going to church.
“I know now that he had been praying for me all along, but Bishop Z, as we call him, would talk to me about the Lord,” says Florence. “I was a lot more interested in Star Trek than God, so I would change the conversation and zone after a few moments, but he persevered. So eventually I started taking my children.”
“I did not go initially to know God,” admits Florence. “I just went because I wanted to know what my children were being taught. but God grabbed me and I now know it was the spirit of God, because peace just enveloped me from my head to my feet. I knew there was something here that I wanted. I took the salvation call, Romans 10 and 9. And I asked God to be the Lord of my life.”
Florence accepted Christ into her heart, and trusted Jesus to take away her phobias. She enjoyed peace for a while, but soon the experiences of her childhood returned. This time it was worse.
“I would be doing dishes and I’d hear a low murmuring in my ear and I’d turn around, but there was no one there,” says Florence. “I would see presences moving, growls, like the growl of an animal. I became petrified, scared in my own skin, in my own home. Sleep was non-existent. It came to a horrifying head one particular night I sat on my bed and I literally felt a presence beside me. I looked over and saw the indentation on the bed and a growl in my ear and I screamed and in that second I felt that ‘if this is what it is like to love God…’ And my next sentence would have be, ‘I want no part of it.’ But instead it was like, ‘oh no! This is the devil and I will hold onto God that much harder.’ Immediately I just started praying, I fell to my knees, ‘God help me,’ I pleaded to Him. I felt a different presence protecting me.”
“When I finally went to sleep, it was the first time I had slept an uninterrupted sleep, in about two years,” remembers Florence. “And I felt as if the presence of God was holding me safe. And I knew in my heart that whatever battle this was, it was over.”
Florence hasn’t had any experiences like that since, and is confident that God protects her each day.
“He is in every sense of the word my father,” says Florence. “I do not think of God as some presence out in the cloud somewhere with a long beard and a lofty position, because of God’s presence is in my life. I know, that without a shadow of a doubt that He will see me through anything. Ask God to help you, because He will show you the way. He showed me. He got me out. And that changed my life from that point forward.”
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