My life was tattooing, it revolved around tattooing, everything was about tattooing. The “friends” I hung out with got tattooed or were tattoo artists themselves…Before that my life was all about the Military.
I never took the time to actually create a relationship with Jesus because I thought Jesus was fake, a man made self help system, I thought He or it was some sort of crutch people used to make themselves feel better. I thought Christians were weak, I thought that when you die you turned into dirt and nothing came after. That way of thinking almost killed me. I thought I was strong enough to handle anything, tough enough to fight my way out of any situation, smart enough to stay out of trouble and the trouble that I found myself in I thought I could talk myself out of it. Like I said before, those beliefs almost killed me.
In 1995 I had a brief experience with Christ. I had accepted and asked Jesus to be my Lord and Savior in front of Pastor Pancho Juarez at Calvary Chapel in Montebello California. I stood alone in front of a full church and asked Jesus to forgive me. I felt the Holy Spirit(although I didn’t know who He was) I felt Him. I never felt better, I drove down the freeway crying that night, throwing my White Zombie and other metal albums out the car window. I drove straight to my dad’s house and told my step mom and my Dad that I needed to forgive them for all the stupid stuff I was harboring in my heart against them.
I was in the Navy at the time and I told everyone on the ship that I had been saved. They looked at me like I was a freak and told me,”It’s cool man when you’re ready to come back we won’t hold it against you.” I tried and tried to read the Bible. I couldn’t understand it. I didn’t know or believe that Satan was real. I didn’t understand sin or who Jesus really was or the difference between the Holy Spirit and Our Father. Two weeks later I fell for the lie that I had suffered an “emotional breakdown” and nothing more. The only thing the people at Church had warned me about was that I better not backslide. I didn’t know what that ment. I remember a little voice in my head telling me over and over don’t forget that feeling. Then without even knowing it I was right back in the world and it’s darkness. I stayed there for 13 more years.
Tattooing, actually what comes along with a career in tattooing is what lead me to call out to God again for help. I had been tattooing for almost 8 years the night I called out to God. You see, when a tattoo artist gives someone a tattoo a whole lot of things are going on. There is a lot of conversation, usually the customer is the one talking. Most of the conversations are very very depressing. Broken marriages, broken families, lots of deaths, lots of recovery stories, lots of pain, lots of heartbreak, tons and tons of it. Everyone is looking for an answer to their problems. They’ll ask Oprah, Dr. Phil, Jerry Springer, even a high school drop out tattoo artist like me. When you tattoo 12 hours a day 7 days a week a lot of painful stories fill and consume your mind.
That night in 2008 I was in my garage, drinking, alone. I was deeply depressed about my life, my customers lives and my children’s future. I called out to God, I told Him that if He was real then things should be different, I told Him that He should be helping these people and helping me. I said a lot of other mean things. I had no idea who I was talking to, I didn’t know God, I didn’t have any fear of Him. I didn’t know Jesus, I didn’t believe in Satan, I thought God,(If there was a god) then He was responsible for all the pain. I thought that the whole fairy tale story about demons and the devil was a joke. I had never been scared of anything. Well, that night, when I went to bed, I had no idea, but the next morning my life was gonna begin to change. I was about to start down a two year long road of pain and deception which ultimately brought me to the foot of the Bloody Cross.
Up until this point in my life I had conquered most of my goals. I had served this country in the U.S. Navy for almost 10 years as an Engineman, received numerous awards and major qualifications. After that I opened a tattoo shop, I had been featured in magazines and I had a pretty good sized clientele. I was known to do a good solid tattoo and I could pull off pretty much anything a client could think of getting. I’ve never been comparable to a great artist, but I got the job done and my clients were usually always happy with my work. My Portfolio. I had a beautiful wife and four gorgeous children. I had done a lot, I’d even gone around the world and I still had no real answers as to why this world sucked.
The next morning I woke up and immediately I started hearing things and seeing things differently. I started to hear voices. My mind filled with scary thoughts of losing my family to death or that they would abandon me. I started to see weird things on tv. I came to the false conclusion that God was mad at me for calling Him out and asking for His help. Random people would ask me if I was Christian or if I believed in Jesus. I would get paranoid and tell them no. Then the voices would get worse and my thoughts would get scarier and more depressing. This went on for two years. The entire time I never thought Satan was real. I just thought God was mad at me and that He was punishing me. I never took the time to read the Bible for myself. My marriage started failing, my business started failing, I lost interest in everything. I now believed God was real, but I didn’t know who God was. I thought buddhism or Hinduism had to be the closest possibilities. Look at the Dali Lama, he’s so happy. I thought maybe I had to practice buddhism or some other eastern religion to make god happy, so I tried reading about buddhism and hinduism the voices would let up and I’d think I was on to something then ultimately Satan and his demons would pull the carpet out from under me. They were toying with me and I had no idea it was them, I thought it was God teaching me a lesson. They were very happy to let me continue to think like that.
To make a very, very, very long story short. I was coping as best I could with all of this and failing miserably. I was falling deeper into depression, I was beginning to believe I was crazy. I began to hate everything. Then one day my ex wife’s brother Chris came to visit me, I hadn’t seen him in 4 or 5 years. He listened to me ramble on and on about physics and science and then he told me that he had found Jesus and had been saved and that he had been sober for 18 months. I thought he was silly. But hey, this is america and in america your aloud to believe what ever you wanna believe. I served this country for almost 10 years so people could have their freedom. Now that I know Jesus, I’m sorry I ever did, but that’s a different story. Anyway, the conversation went well and he asked me,” So you mean to tell me you don’t believe in God?” and I replied, “No man, there ain’t no God, if there was the world wouldn’t be like this.” I pointed out into the street at the passing cars and said,”see all them diving by, not one of them cares about the other. There ain’t no God, if there was people would care about each other.”
As if my life couldn’t have gotten any worse, it did. The next day, people could hear my thought’s. My thought’s had become horribly insulting to everyone I saw. My thought’s told me that people could hear the voice in my head and the insults it was saying about them. People would react to my thoughts. It was horrible. My thought’s would tell me that I was crazy and that I had finally gone off the deep end and that God hated me. It would tell me about every sin I had ever committed and that God would never forgive me. It would even tell me that it was god and that it hated me. It would tell me that I deserved punishment and that I had to kill myself, and that I had to go to hell. It was unimaginable, it was my voice in my head, it wouldn’t stop saying disgusting things, I would do everything I could think of to shut it up. I would shake my head till I had a painful head ache. Nothing I tried worked. I was demon possessed.
Nothing I did would stop it. I tried hurting myself, praying to god begging for him to help me. But I didn’t know who God was, I was basically asking for anything to help me. I wouldn’t pray to Jesus I would pray to god, I had no idea Satan and his demons were pretending to be god, I tried ignoring it. I tried anything and everything, everything except ask Jesus to help me. I wouldn’t come to Jesus, because the examples I had seen from Christians who “followed” Jesus just didn’t make sense. Now nothing made sense, I truly believed and knew that God was real and believed that He hated me, and wanted me dead and rotting in hell. I couldn’t have been further from the truth.
I kept hearing another voice telling me,” I am the way the truth and the light. Come to me. Give it all to Jesus. Give all the credit to Jesus, get on your knees and give it up.” And what would I continue to say? No, it can’t be Jesus. How is Jesus going to help me? He couldn’t be real…I thought it was another trick my mind was playing on me.
After weeks and weeks of this torture I started to listen to the voice that kept telling me to give it to Jesus. But, I didn’t know how. I thought I’d have to do some ritual, some organized series of events. Some special magic spell or secret. The voice told me to go to church. The punishment continued, I finally got to church after a lot of struggling with what was controlling me. The thing inside me did not want me at church. I finally went, I felt different, I wasn’t as scared there. I told them that I thought God was mad at me. They asked me if I knew Jesus had died for me. I couldn’t honestly answer them, I said yes but I didn’t believe it, because I didn’t know. They gave me a book of John and I went home with a sense of hope. If anything, I had beat whatever was keeping me from going to church. I had developed a series of things that I had to do to make the voices be quiet. It was what a psycologists would call OCD and schizophrenia. I had pieces of pencils shoved in my ears. I now wore gardening gloves constantly and I would only drink water from a bottle that I had filled from the faucet. I stopped eating. So after I got home from church that day I did all my rituals and sat down to read the book of John. When I got to Chapter 14 verse 6 and read,
6 Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. 7 If you really know me, you will know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.”
After I read that verse I knew it really was Jesus who had been trying to save me. So right then and there I started praying to Jesus to save me. I got down on my knees and asked His forgiveness and begged Him to save me. I gave my life to Jesus that night and and as soon as I gave my life to Him, the voices stopped. I said I was sorry over and over I asked Him to help me. It was amazing, but it wasn’t over. I still didn’t know who Jesus was.I didn’t know because I didn’t READ the Bible. I didn’t know scripture. Jesus told me, that it was Satan and his demons that had been torturing me. And believe me, I heard what Satan thinks about us first hand, he hates us, he hates you! Most of all he hates God.
There is only one true God, He is the only God, The only One who created everything, and the only way to Him is through His Son, Jesus Christ.
I have pure faith in someone I can’t see. Jesus takes care of my family and I. The Lord is faithful and he takes care of us just like He promises in the Bible. It was a very hard lesson to learn and I know that billions of people haven’t learned it yet, but I hope and pray that they turn to Jesus without having to suffer the torture I went through. I hope and pray that they turn before they end up in hell to be tortured for eternity. Even though most people already are suffering horribly, drowning in a sea of hopelessness and deception, refusing to admit it for fear of rejection from their friends, family, husbands, wives, and yes even their own children. I pray that everyone turns to our Lord Jesus Christ to be saved from this world.
Freewill is a dangerous but necessary gift, without freewill God could have never created true love.
Thank you for taking your time to read this. Please give your life to Jesus the Christ!