Wednesday, May 12, 2010

What's In Your Closet?

I couldn’t wait to get home from work on that beautiful spring day in 1985. P.F. Communications hired me to be a production assistant in September of 1984, when I was six months pregnant with Dallas. The company was a Christian-owned business and I was so lucky to spend each day with supportive and kind co-workers.

I started my maternity leave on December 4—just four days before Dallas was born, and went back to work six weeks later. My boss let me bring my new baby to the office several days a week. How lucky was I!

I liked and enjoyed my job, but I adored my new role as “Mama”. I relished the time I spent with my son—reading stories, taking long walks, feeding and bathing him, and listening to his happy baby laugh.

Dallas’s father had spent the majority of our 2½-year marriage addicted to cocaine, but he seemed truly committed to sobriety now that he was a daddy. On that gorgeous afternoon the sun was shining, the air was warm, and the trees in our neighborhood were covered with new green leaves and tiny white blossoms. I wanted to get home, put on my comfy shoes, and take my son for a long walk—maybe I’d introduce him to ice cream. He was, after all, five months old.

I walked into our tiny apartment on the corner of Maple and Shields in Fresno, California. My husband didn’t have a job. God “told” him to stay home and wait for directions. As soon as I entered the front room—with Dallas propped on my hip—my husband rushed in from the bedroom.

“I’ve been casting demons out of your closet all day”, he said. “Every article of clothing is dripping in evil.” The only bedroom in the small apartment had been transformed into a nursery, so the front room doubled as the master bedroom. I calmly laid my son on the queen-sized bed.

“What are you talking about?” I kept my voice quiet and low, as I didn’t want this to escalate in front of my baby.

“There are demons everywhere! God told me that you are possessed.” My husband came at me and before I knew it, he had me pinned to the wall. I hadn’t realized that my purse was still hanging from my shoulder until I felt it slip down my arm and heard the thump as it hit the floor.

“In the name of Jesus,” my husband prayed, “I cast out the demons from this woman’s body.” The father of my child tightened his grip on my shoulders and used the force of his entire body to hold me firmly to the wall. He began speaking in tongues—his “prayer language”.

What should I do? I tried to think quickly. If I cried or screamed, surely he would believe he was right about me being possessed, and he would continue the attempted exorcism. If I did nothing, how long would he keep me pinned to the wall? Would he choke me? Would he kill me?

He clenched his teeth and touched his nose to mine. My young son was lying just four feet from me, but I couldn’t reach him. I heard him start to cry.

“Please.” I barely recognized my own voice. “Please don’t do this.” I felt his grip on my upper body relax and the tension lesson slightly in my legs. I was unable to control my own muscles as I felt myself slip down the wall. My husband grabbed me, pulled me towards him, and then slammed me hard against the wall. “You like living in her, don’t you Satan!”

He turned and walked away.

I ran to my baby and scooped him up off the bed. His frightened blue eyes were like giant saucers and they seemed full of questions—questions I wouldn’t answer for many, many years. I grabbed my purse and a couple of diapers, and ran downstairs.

After securing Dallas in the car seat, I drove away. Not having anyplace to go, however, I returned to that dark apartment less than an hour later.

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