I will never forget the day that Jesus set me free from the spirit of fear that I’d been living with for 18 years. It was the day I realized just how much Jesus is the Lord of Lords. And just how much He loves me.
My story began when I was 19 years old. I had grown up in Cape Town, South Africa and had given my life to Jesus when I was 12 years old. I went to youth group, became very involved in my church, and was a youth leader by the age of 19.
Times were volatile in South Africa, but I had led a relatively sheltered life and had never experienced anything untoward. South Africa was months away from having its first democratic elections, and there had been a number of random attacks made on various public places. Gangs of “Freedom Fighters” were opening fire on restaurants.
On the night of July 25, 1995, while sitting in the evening service at St. James Church in Kenilworth, Cape Town, a gang of African Extremists burst into our church, threw in some hand grenades, and began shooting at the congregation. It was traumatic and many lives were lost; but it was also the first time I really felt the tangible presence of the Holy Spirit. As I lay on the church floor and prayed, I felt such an overwhelming presence of God’s comfort and love.
However, I now believe that in the days that followed a spirit (demon) of fear entered my life. The doctors put it down to severe Post-traumatic Stress Disorder, and I assumed they were right. For three months after the incident, I suffered panic attacks twice a day and needed medication to control them. I saw fear and a possible trauma situation in everything. I was afraid to go out, and it took me at least a year to get over most of these intense symptoms, but I was trying to do it all in my own strength.
Over the next 18 years, I struggled through life. My Christian walk was difficult, and I backslid many times by trying to “fix myself”. I read so many books on fear and I received prayer, but I don’t think I realized that I had a spirit of fear in me. Rather, I thought this was just how things were since the church attack in 1995.
So I did the only thing I knew to do and that was to accommodate this terrible fear within. One of the things that I was petrified of was flying. I would cry for the majority of the flight. I would read Scriptures of God’s protection and love, but I just never overcame the intense fear no matter what I tried. So I would only fly if I absolutely had to. The past 18 years was one big calculation on how to live life and accommodate the fear within. It was tiring, to say the least.
Even sleep was exhausting for me. I would have dreams of demons attacking me and I was so afraid that I couldn’t even say the name Jesus in my dreams to get rid of the demon. I would be praying and seeking God and I would hear the name “Satan” – it was awful and it made me question if I was truly saved. I was just so tired. I had some breakthrough in areas of my life, but then new fears would come.
Then in 2010, my husband and I moved to the UK and joined Kings Gate Church. The move was good for me, and I felt in my Spirit that God had brought me to the UK; that this was the place that I would be set free from fear. I actually thought that it would be as a result of being in a safer country; I had NO idea what God had in store for me. My relationship with Jesus since 2007 had become much stronger and I was on track, so to speak. I just had this one “minor issue”, I was bound by fear!
Then I was told one Sunday morning that Ken Grenfell was coming to do a workshop on deliverance. I thought, “Hey that’s great, I would love to learn how Jesus sets people free.” I never applied it to myself – never! (I thought I was free.) In the week prior to Ken’s ministry I had more demonic dreams than ever before. I was fearful of everything – driving, flying, even the hairdryer exploding! It still didn’t click.
As Ken went through the teaching and explained what deliverance is, who it’s for, where the spiritual battle takes place, how a stronghold is formed – well, it finally dawned on me. This is my life. He is talking about me. I was scared (spirit of fear in me), and I prayed as I listened to Ken. I just felt Jesus say, “I am going to set you free today”.
So afterwards, I went up for prayer with my husband. As Ken began to pray, God gave him a picture of me lying on the floor and God lifting me up in His arms and carrying me. And He said to me, “Never will I leave you, never will I abandon you”. As Ken told me this, I was actually seeing myself lying on the St. James Church floor during the attack and Jesus picking me up and carrying me. He then continued to pray for certain things that God was revealing to him. After the initial prayer, I just felt like Jesus wanted me to tell Ken that I had a spirit of fear, and that I so wanted to be set free. And I told him.
As I did, I started weeping uncontrollably. Then Ken took my face in his hands and said, “Look at me”. I looked at him and the anointing of Jesus was in His eyes – I could see Jesus’ love for me. Then Ken addressed the spirit of fear within me. This was when I really realized that there was a spirit inside me, because when Ken addressed the spirit of fear, my head rolled to the side (I had no control over it), and I couldn’t look at him. I was scared, but I had my husband, the pastors, and people that I know love God around me. I felt safe. As I clung to Ken’s arms, I cried out, “I just feel so trapped, I just feel so trapped”, and then, “Jesus, Jesus, Jesus”. And as I said his name, Jesus came flooding in and set me free. I just cried and cried. God is just so good.
I was exhausted and we went home I just needed to rest. That night as I was falling asleep, I was concerned that maybe the entire demon hadn’t been cast out, and I started feeling anxious (apparently, that is normal). I told my husband and he reminded me that Satan is a liar and wants me to believe that I wasn’t set free. When I woke up in the morning, I realized that I had had my best sleep in 18 years – and, even better, I had no demonic dreams.
Two days later, I went for the first drive in my car since the deliverance. (Remember I was very anxious and fearful when driving.) And I realized, “I AM FREE.” I wasn’t scared at all. I cried all the way home and told my husband, “Jesus really has set me free.”
Then I was reminded of this scripture: “He who the Son sets free is free indeed” (John 8:36).
The Cherry on Top:
By the way, worshiping God after being delivered is amazing. God gave me a new song in the days after my deliverance. It’s as if the “floodgates” have been opened. Previously had put my guitar down, and my song writing had taken a back seat.
I also feel like a fire is being ignited within me when I read the Word. I now have much better concentration when reading my Bible.