The Witch Who Found Christ
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Barnett: "In kindergarten, during art time, I made -- out of Play-Doh -- a little coffin with a little body in it. And I explained to the teacher that this was a vampire."
Just listen to Sherry Barnett for a while, and it won't be long before you'll detect a consistent theme running through her conversation.
Barnett: "Halloween was to me as a child what Christmas was probably to other children. I thought it was a cool thing. You know, wicked things were cute, and I didn't see any harm in it. When the going got rough, I could always rely on suicide because that was a way of escaping. I liked the idea of just being dead, not existing anymore.
Barnett says that there was nothing unusual about her home life. So what is it that makes a person's obsession in life, death?
Barnett: "My childhood was the perfect childhood. I had perfect parents. We did not have the Lord in our home, but I had everything a child could want. The fascination for the occult began back when I was five, and it started with simple things like little childhood storybooks about witches and ghosts. And that just grew."
As she grew older, Barnett's childhood obsession with vampires increased.
Barnett: "It just grew into a lifestyle for me. I mean, as opposed to somebody else just, watching a vampire movie and saying, 'Oh, you know, that was cool,' I took it to heart. I made it my life."
Indulgence in drugs, alcohol and sex were also becoming a lifestyle for Barnett. And her fascination with the occult brought with it a price. When she slept, her dreams became nightmares that were hard to distinguish from reality.
Barnett: "Sometimes I could even almost hear something coming down the hallway. I could feel it, like something was coming into my room. And it got so bad that I couldn't move, I couldn't wake up. And I just always remember that every time I'd struggle, I'd hear the same voice telling me, 'You know, Barnett, don't struggle. The more you fight, the worse it's going to get for you.'
Barnett's drug and alcohol use escalated as she tried to suppress the dreams, but the result was depression and worse nightmares.
Barnett: "I would feel this heavy presence on me, pushing me down, trying to suck all the life out of me. And then I would hear this screaming. It would start real quiet, and the scream would get louder and louder and louder to the point where it was just deafening to my ears. And I would wake up screaming myself.
"I remember this one night that I was just so depressed, I wanted to die. But that night, I thought, 'Well, I'm going to give myself one more chance, and I'm going to pray to the devil.' I wanted to pray to Satan himself.
"I'm going to pray to Satan and I'm going to ask him to come and help me. I'm going to give my life to him. I'm going to give my soul to him. And maybe, he'll help me out of this. And so I drew a pentagram on the floor, I got the candle, put it in the circle with me and I prayed to the devil. And I just gave him my soul that night. Nothing happened. I cried and cried and cried, and still nothing happened. And I thought, "Well, that's not going to work'."
And nothing else was working for Barnett. Even marriage and a baby could not drive the depression away. When a co-worker gave her husband, Rick, a Bible, Barnett took an interest in it.
Barnett: "I sat down and read a little bit of it, and then I started thinking about it. And that's really what started me thinking about God. And when I started reading that Bible, it was like something started asking me, 'Well, Sherry, where is your hope?'
"I just grew up thinking that God was out there, but he wasn't for me. He was for priests, he was for pastors, he was for other people, but not for me."
Barnett says she was finally ready to believe that maybe God was for her.
Barnett: "I was in the kitchen doing my housework, and I just kind of like whispered to myself, 'Well, God, if you can take away the love for drugs, I will give my life to you.' And I just said, 'God, I can't do 'it. I cannot do it.' And I didn't realize it at the time, but I was really talking to God. And God heard me."
As she went to sleep that night, Barnett says that something unusual happened.
Barnett: "It was like a flash of lightning went through me. And then I just sat up in bed, I bolted up and I felt like I was sober -- instantly sober."
"And then all of a sudden I heard this voice tell me -- it was a comforting voice. It wasn't anything scary this time -- a voice telling me, 'Sherry, you're going to stop this. You have to stop this. No more drugs; no more. You're going to have to stop this.' And right away, I just felt like I was sober, but I was scared. I was shaking. And I had this new type of feeling in me."
"That little prayer that I rambled off in the kitchen -- it wasn't even anything real formal. It was pretty much just talk, you know. To me, I didn't think that He was really listening to me. But He did. He delivered me. And that day was when I gave my life to the Lord. I said, 'Lord, this is it. I'm going to be a Christian. I'm going to live my life for you.' And I've never been the same."
"There was no more blackness inside. There was no more having to run out and try to do something else to fill up that blackness -- that darkness, that oppression that was inside of me. It was just -- it was gone. It was gone. And I never think about death anymore."
Barnett's husband gave his life to Jesus Christ soon after Barnett. They're now rearing their three children in a home where love, not fear, reigns.
Barnett: "The Lord has brought so much hope into my life. I know who I am. I know why I'm here. And I have stability now. He's faithful. He's been faithful to me to this day. He hasn't let me down at all."
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