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Choosing to Follow the Occult or Love?

Every Christmas season, Annie puts on an extravagant holiday concert in Las Vegas. But she hasn’t always had a passion to celebrate the birth of Jesus.

“When I think about the time when I didn’t even equate Jesus Christ and Christmas, his birth, the nativity,” says Annie.  “Because I was immersed in so much darkness.”

For years, Annie delved into the occult and called herself a witch.

“I looked the part, I had the powers. I embraced it.  I was seeing demons,” Annie recalled.  “It just completely enveloped my life, the darkness did.”

As a child Annie loved music and theater.   But others saw her as being different.

“I was always the bunt of every joke. Nobody seemed to want to embrace anything I wanted to do,” says Annie.  “So it was just this kind of pent up that ‘I don’t belong, I don’t fit in and it makes me angry and I’m going to get even with everybody eventually.’”

She remembers the night she was given the power to do that.  It wasn’t long after she had started playing with a Ouija board.

“I felt something in the room. And then I saw something dark come across the ceiling and it started descending on me like a blanket. I was never the same,” says Annie.  “It did give me like an edge, and I enjoyed that, that sense of ‘This is how I can be popular is by being different.’”

By her teen years she was reading tarot cards, predicting the future, and says she could even transport her body and move things with her mind.  It got people’s attention, but not their friendship.

“I always had this depression and oppression inside me,” Annie recalls.  “I wanted to be the homecoming queen.  I wanted to be the head cheerleader…I wanted to be this person.  And no matter how hard I tried to be, I couldn’t be that girl.”

In college she numbed her pain with drugs and alcohol.  The “dark presence” was still there, often appearing as a man in a black cape.

“He would talk to me through my mind and console me and tell me that I was powerful,” says Annie.

Still Annie only saw darkness and despair. She dropped out of college and moved to Hollywood to pursue acting and singing, but nothing panned out. So one day she closed up her apartment, opened the gas burners on her stove, and waited to die.

“I just wanted everything to go away,” Annie recalls.  “I felt that rejection had just built up.  I was never going to be popular.  I was never going to be pretty. I was always going to be a failure.”

Annie was barely conscious when a friend happened to stop by, and took her outside.  She moved to Las Vegas for a fresh start.  There, she joined a rock band and started dating Peter, the band’s bass player.

“I had this guy that just is really interested in me and loved me and thinks I’m beautiful.  I felt like the real special one for a change,” says Annie.
    
But when Peter started going church, he confronted her about her witchcraft, then gave her an ultimatum.  

“He said it’s an abomination to God and I told him, I said ‘I beg to differ because God made me this way and he thinks it’s okay that I’m a witch,’” says Annie.  “He said, ‘I’m going to serve God with you or without you.’”

Thinking the relationship was over, Annie blamed God for losing Peter and for everything else that had gone wrong in her life.

“I was pretty much furious,” Annie recalls.  “I was jumping up and down and screaming and shaking my fist.  Now you’ve taken the man that I love.  I’ve had enough.  And that’s when something so strong spoke to me that ‘You have a choice Annie. You can either walk to me now or you can walk away from me forever.’”

Annie says she knew right away that voice was God’s.  So one Sunday she went to church with Peter, where the pastor gave an invitation.

“He said, ‘Who wants to wipe the slate clean? Who wants to start all over?’ And that sounded good to me.”

She said a simple prayer.

“Please forgive me of my sins, and you know, that I believe that Jesus died on the cross and that he rose on the third day,” says Annie.  “It was as though I was taken and plunged into a waterfall. Instantly, I felt like a new person.  Like everything had turned white, like all the dirtiness was being flushed off of me.  It was just so glorious of a feeling of warmth and love.”
 
Annie stopped using drugs and burned everything she owned that was associated with the occult.  Eventually she and Peter married.  The “Dark Presence” tried to come back into her life numerous times, but it finally got the message.

“I said I belong to Jesus Christ now and you’re not going to bother me anymore,” Annie recalls.  “It all ended.  It’s like the darkness was cast out by the bright light.  Jesus offered me peace and he offered me deep seated joy that no matter what I’d go through, I’d have the courage to face it.”

Now Annie is a Christian recording artist and a worship leader at church. This Christmas, she encourages anyone experiencing darkness or despair to receive Christ’s gift of hope and start fresh.  

“You’re never going to get rid of that desperation or darkness until you accept Jesus,” says Annie. “Jesus never leaves our side.  He never turns his back on us. And to have that feeling of knowing that he’s always there.  It changes everything for you.”

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