My Story, by Andrew Goodwin
I was a small boy either 4 or 5 years old, and it was bed time. Mum said “time to go to bed, you go and get in and I’ll come in a minute and tuck you in.” I left the living room and came to the stairs and turned to go up. I looked upward to the top of the stairs and saw something that left me petrified. There was a figure at the top of the stairs, about four feet tall, it had green skin and bright yellow eyes but was also transparent. Its look was piercing me as I stood for a second unable to move. It had such a horrible, grimacing sadistic grin. “Mummy, mummy” I screamed as I ran back into the lounge, “There’s a monster at the top of the stairs.” She tried to reassure me that there was no such thing as monsters and carried me upstairs. I was so scared. She tucked me in and looked under my bed telling me, “look Andrew, no monsters here, it’s just your imagination.” As I lay in bed that night shocked with fear I could no way comprehend what exactly had happened, but my mind raced with panic. I was so scared and I kept thinking about my year old baby sister and what if the monster got her, I felt so helpless. As the nights went on I would lay in bed fearful. I would see things moving on the walls and would hear voices of things somehow calling and screaming to me only quietly. I never spoke again to my parents about what I’d seen, how could I, I was so young.
We moved 2 days before my sixth birthday, out of the town where we had been into a village a few miles away. From the age of 6-11 life seemed good although I did struggle with being afraid of people sometimes but didn’t think anything of it. When I was 10 i was sexually abused by an older male who was a friend of the family. It happened while sleeping over at their house as we often did. While this was going on i was aware of a real presence of evil around me and could hear demons laughing at me. I didn't tell anyone about it but it left a massive impression on me. I had to still see this person and his family on a regular basis and i wasn't the same, like something in me had died.
At 11 I started and attending secondary school I started smoking, and then shortly after at 12 drinking and smoking weed. In the years of 13-18 my weed smoking became daily. I’d always be living for the daily dope session. Drinking and parties and pubbing were my life style, even from the age of 13. I had lots of circles of friends from other schools and villages and a spectrum of backgrounds. I didn’t make real friends though, because I wouldn’t let people get to really know me, I just moved around a lot if I felt my cover had been blown, i felt i really insecure and couldn't face friends seeing how truly weak i was. When I was 10 my teachers told my parents that I’d be off to university no problem, but at 16 I wasn’t interested in study and homework. So when it was time for my exams I wasn’t ready, I even got high before a few. Somehow I passed and stayed on to the sixth form to do A-levels. My drug taking and lifestyle were so much of a problem because I was getting more and more messed up in my head.
I think I was 17 when I started hearing voices regularly but because of my pride and fear I daren’t talk to anybody about it. I also would see things that I thought others didn’t, like evil and darkness in peoples eyes and ghosts. I used to walk home stoned 6 miles from my dealers house to my parent and would talk to the stars and moon and the spiritual forces around me that I felt somehow connected with. On some level I felt privileged to be a part of spiritual reality but knew that I didn’t really understand what was happening. It often felt like the world of the spirit would kick me around but I would sing to them all the same because of a weird sense of belonging.
When I was 18 I was so messed up. I believed that Holly Johnson, the lead singer from “Franky goes to Hollywood” was going to take me to London and give me a record deal because I’d seen it in a dream, and that there was this path laid out before me. I also believed that the television was being used to spy on me and that the spirits did it to turn people against me. I was at home one day watching the houses of parliament on TV and trying to use psychic energy to make the people move and say things (which I believed I could do as part of the powers granted me). I was sat pointing at the TV spinning my finger around at it when my dad came in.
My Dad has spent 30 years working with mentally ill people and held a high position within a major NHS facility dealing with mental health issues. He knew then that I had a problem. I was taken to see a doctor who prescribed a drug for me. My head was in such a bad place, I couldn’t talk or hold my concentration; I was mostly not in control of myself. The medication I was given made me like vegetable, I couldn’t move and feed myself, and my tongue kept swelling and spaseming nearly choking me. In that place I thought I was going to be that way forever 2 weeks later and I was on a different drug. I saw I psychiatrist and was diagnosed as having a “drug induced psychosis” or “chemical imbalance of the brain” which is basically induced schizophrenia. I was told that it was incurable and that I would be on medication for the rest of my life and that I wouldn’t be able to drive or do any work. A couple of months later and I thought my head was well enough for me to go out by myself, so I went and got stoned again thinking “I know I shouldn’t but I can handle it”. Later that year I got a small flat but couldn’t cope alone and moved back home again. Then I managed to get into some sheltered accommodation with 4 other teens, where I stayed for a few months. At this point I was spending all my money on drugs, smoking and beer. I didn’t eat for as long as 3 days sometimes and my mum like a saint would come with shopping bags full. It was upsetting for me because I knew that she was upset, neither of us new how to deal with what was going on. I would also go around town in search of discarded cigarette butts to make roll ups with. And on a Thursday afternoon in October in 2001 I went out with this aim as I had no money.
I was walking through town when I heard someone calling my name so I turned and saw it as a girl I’d been talking to the other day when I had been off my head on magic mushrooms. She called me over and introduced me to her friend, who started ask me some questions. He told me that drug taking and my illness was not part of God’s plan and that He had much better for me. He told me a lot of things that I didn’t understand but somehow I knew were true. As if a conviction within me knew what he said was right. He asked me if he could pray for me and I agreed so we went round a corner to a slightly quieter street and he began to pray. As soon as he did I felt an incredible peace come upon me, both in me and around me. My eyes fell shut and my hands went out before my waist somehow supporting this marvellous glory. I could hear him praying that God would heal me and speaking in a strange language that I didn’t understand. But what was happening inside me took all my attention. Until that moment the only feelings I had had deep inside were ones of fear, darkness, loneliness, isolation and evil. But now I was filled with truly infinite peace and it was so amazing that I didn’t want to open my eyes when my friend’s prayers had ended. When I did though I kept in the same position, wanting to hold on to the blissful presence I felt inside. He said to me that the Holy Spirit was all over me and asked if I wanted to give my life to Christ. I said yes and asked Jesus to come into my life and give me the life He’d created me for. It was amazing. The next week I went to church and then week after too, I got up when the pastor asked for testimonies i got up and sang “oh happy day” badly, I was embarrassed after and didn’t go back to church for a few months. During this time I would try and pray and read the bible but didn’t get very far. The voices in my head screamed when I opened the bible once and threw it across the room. But in the midst of that time God did tell me to trust. Then a couple of months later, about Christmas time I went into hospital to be observed under the recommendation of my physiatrist. I was there 3 weeks and when I came out I had a small flat on the outskirts of town. I really struggled until one day in town I bumped into the guy who had prayed with me. As I saw him coming from across town I could see him glowing with the radiance of God. I told him that I didn’t want to go to hell, because I thought that I was on my way there. He started to spend time with me; he was at Bible College and would come every 2 or 3 days and share the Word of God with me and pray for me too. We went to church 3 times every Sunday. Every time he came and spent time with me I felt the presence of God, and when he prayed the Holy Spirit would come and I’d sometimes fall asleep.
The following November, a year after I was saved I was baptized. By now I had stopped smoking and had been clean off of drugs for a few months too. On the day of my baptism the Holy Spirit came on me in a bigger, deeper way and I knew I was really on the right track. About a year later my friend and I went to a seminar in London about breaking curses and demonic strongholds as some friends there had invited us. On the way I had a real sense that God was going to do something powerful in me but I didn’t know what. I felt the enemy inside me still now, scared and panicky causing me to feel the same way, but I didn’t listen to my feelings but trusted in Jesus instead. During the seminar I had demons cast out of me, and on a retreat a few weeks later received more deliverance and a lot of prayer. The release I felt was incredible, I felt like a new man. I had been given control over myself in a way that others take for granted. Before the enemy had been in me, occupying me and filling me, but now I was liberated. It was a most amazing time and I’m so thankful to God.
Soon after I felt it was right to stop taking the medication that I was on and trust in God that I didn’t need it anymore. I had been medicated for roughly 5 years. I continued to be monitored weekly by a nurse who would visit, and had to meet with the psychiatrist for a chat to express my intentions to stop too. After this i was monitored for a while more before being told that due to my full recovery this was no longer necessary by the medical professionals. I was 23 at the time.
I started working a day a week in a christian bookshop and later that year began a catering apprenticeship at a local boarding school. My friend and i started attending another church as we felt uncomfortable with some of the practises we had experienced at the first church we were at. They were heavy into the Toronto blessing. We started attending an AOG Pentecostal church which was a lot more grounded. I worked with the school for six months and quit because the pressure was hard and I’d decided that catering was not for me.
I met an American guy from church while at guitar lessons and he invited me over one Friday night. God told me i would live with him and his family that day but i forgot that till later. His name was Brian and he was in England with a missionary agency called Youth With A Mission, or YWAM for short. That coming September i moved in with them to start a year long training/discipleship course. I It was great. we had daily prayer and teaching. we spent time together, it was cool. there were 7 students, 3 families with about 9 kids and 4 other older singles making a little christian community. the Lord miraculously led me to a job working mornings in a local warehouse and we did stuff together in the afternoons.
The Lord really used that time in many ways for me. He led me to revisit my past and express the pain that had been buried deep inside. He spoke to me about looking to the future rather than looking back over the past. I also learned so much from being part of a family. i shared a house with Brian, his wife and 2 kids and another guy my own age. i shared in cooking responsibility, cleaning and other stuff to pull my weight. We had a trip to Amsterdam that year and i shared a testimony in a church in the red light district and served soup to the homeless. it was definitely an eye opener for me. The following September of 2005 i left as Brian and family as they were due to go back to the US.
I got a job working in a shop in town and moved into a house with 2 other single guys from church. i wanted to carry on life in community and help these 2 to grow in their faith and experience with the Lord. I also shared Jesus with a girl at work who gave her heart to Christ in Feb 2006. I always felt it important to openly share Jesus with people. I kept on going to church and we also had meetings in our house. one of the guys i lived with really grew a lot in this time. A couple months after this girl was saved we started going out. I thought that it was of the Lord but was being led a lot more by my own desires than i realised. We decided to marry and did in September 2006. My pastors had recommended that we waited longer and even though i knew that was good advice i went with my own plans all the same.
We moved to a town 10 miles away when i was offered a job working for a christian couple and we settled into a nice home that came as a perk of the job. I passed my driver’s licence in February 2007 and was so happy when i did. All the thing the doctors said I’d never do i was doing and was so thankful to the Lord for the healing and restoration i knew in my life. We attended a church nearby and all seemed well. my wife though was not as keen on the Lord as i had thought. she didn't want to pray with me and didn't really want to read the bible either. some friends from this new church we were at were the only reason she seemed to want to be at the church. we had a baby girl in August 2007. I had lost my job because i was apparently too slow and started working at an enormous warehouse down the road. we also lost the nice home and moved into a 2 up, 2 down. Still we made the most of it and pulled together. i was still very much in love. a year later we had another baby, this time a little boy. We had pretty much stopped going to church because of our little girl being so loud during the service and her need to be fed halfway through. I had not really settled into the fellowship though and missed the sense of belonging i had known before.
After my son was born i started moving back into worldliness more. i started drinking on the weekends and even smoking. i watched TV a lot and my language became a little distasteful. My marriage was suffering but i didn't realise how much. My christian witness was really low and i felt so far from the Lord. I knew we had problems but thought we would always work it out and come through together. I was begun really struggling after we started talking about these problems. i so wanted to work it out but as much as i tried it seemed i wasn't good enough. She said in September 2009 that she wanted some time. i came back to my parents and waited. i tried and tried to work things out with her. i took her out and gave her flowers and gifts. 6 months later she messaged me on Facebook to say that it had been over for her for a long time and that she had someone else. i was devastated.
In the time i had at my parents i began to really cry out to the Lord. I realised i had completely backslidden and repented. I started reading the bible a lot and crying out for more of Him. He led me to some really good books and helped me to understand what i needed to do to get back right with Him. I had let demons back into my life and didn't realise. i needed to repent of a lot of stuff and clean myself up from what I’d let them influence me to do. it wasn't easy and it went on for a long time. I came through to a wonderful place with the Lord. I was also back at my previous church and the familiarity was very nice. i didn't receive much support though; mostly there were only a few people who seemed genuinely interested. but i went to as many meetings as possible to get fellowship and learn, but to be honest i don't think i learnt anything from the sermons, they were mostly unspiritual. I also started a new job but it fell through after a couple of months and i was left unemployed. Around the same time i shared Christ with another guy who gave the Lord his life and came regularly and we prayed a lot together.
in the time of unemployment i started watching christian stuff on you tube. i had a growing conviction that i needed more of the Lord in my life. i found i wanted holiness and to be obedient to the Lord. i wanted to share my faith more and to live a lifestyle in faith. i knew that the Lord was stirring me to lay everything down and empty myself of everything so that i could be fully devoted to His will. this was so exiting. i was experiencing His presence in wonderful ways sometimes spending full days in my room praying and reading in fellowship with the Lord.
I began to see how messed up the church is and how many false teachers there are. i started to see how luke warm the christians i knew were and how little regeneration is in the average believers heart, I saw how little discernment is used and how carnal the church leaders of my town were. It was quite a shock to be honest. it felt like i was on some holiness crash course for all the stuff I’d missed out on in by backslidden years.
after I’d had deliverance in 2003 I’d found it difficult to speak about it with a lot of believers. often they would not understand and be disbelieving of my story. sometimes people thought i was seeing stuff that wasn't there or that i must simply be wrong. actually they were just ignorant and closed off to the truth of the matter. I've seen over the last year that most of the believers in my town are in some form of bondage or another. i don't think there are many who actually hear and obey the Lord on a daily basis and let Him live through them. It is sad that there are many well-meaning people who don't know the leading of the Holy Ghost.
In February this year (2011) i went out to hand out tracts in town (i was meant to preach but bottled out), and i met some guys there. i would share the gospel with anyone who stopped by and had some really good conversations. i was talking with three guys on time and 2 later gave their lives after hearing the gospel, the other died a week later after rejecting it. i baptized the both in the local river a couple of months later and continue to meet with them regularly.
My divorce came through 6 months ago; it was never what i wanted. I've been working as a cleaner since April and have had struggles with my ex in regards to my children who i would like to see more often than i do. One big break through recently was to stop believing a doctrine called "once saved always saved" which caused me to take salvation for granted and meant i sinned willingly. I have repented and stopped the sins i was committing against the Lord. i am very grateful for this and all the things He has taught me. I want to live fully dependent upon Him forever and live in His perfect will.
I know that the last few years have been rough but i am so thankful to the faithfulness of the Lord to bring me through all He has. I know that the deliverance from mental illness is a true miracle and i want to share with others that they may be encouraged by the goodness of the Lord; I've been medication free for 8 years now. I know that He is faithful and will guide me as i seek to do His will and I know i am a new creation.
The Lord has used many people in my life to teach me and guide me to know Him better. I wrote this testimony to give God glory for all He has done for me. He has healed me of so much damage. He really has made me into a new person, renewing me in the deepest part of who I am. I know I can trust in Jesus Christ with all my heart, and I desire to live this life for His glory as He leads me day by day. I hope and pray many are really blessed and encouraged by His goodness to me and If you would like to comment or ask questions, please feel free to do so.
Love in Christ, Andrew Goodwin, UK.
email me [email protected]
I NOW HAVE MY TESTIMONY AND OTHER VIDEOS ON YOU TUBE PLEASE COME, SEE AND BE BLESSED. GOD BLESS YOU http://www.youtube.com/user/healedandrestored