The first time I remember being truly scared was actually a period of time in my life between the ages of 10 and 17 years old. Every night before I’d go to sleep, I’d see someone or something standing in my doorway. This thing was as real to me as anything else in my life. It wasn’t my mother, my father, nor my little brother, but it was…the man with the black hat. Imagine a member of the Ku Klux Klan, pointy hat and all, dressed in all black instead of all white and floating a little bit above the ground. That was who or what visited my room; standing in my doorway, several days a week, and it frightened me. What made it worse was that, when I’d cry and complain about it, no one ever took me seriously. No one ever came into my room with oil to anoint it and me. No one provided protection from whatever it was that terrorized me. Even today it is a running joke in our family during holiday gatherings. Someone will say, “Hey, Tracey. Remember the man with the black hat.” And then laughter will ensue. But at 10, 12, 15, or 17, it wasn’t funny. It wasn’t funny at all. It frightened me because somewhere in my heart, I knew that this was not a Godly presence. This was no guardian angel. There was no sense of peace or comfort. My typical response was to simply squeeze my eyes, bury my face into my pillow, or another favorite, pile a bunch of covers over my head. I hid from the thing that I was afraid of and I think even now that pattern of hiding can rise up in me. Only then, I never rebuked it because no one showed me how. I definitely never confronted it. I accepted it as a part of my life and unknowingly, invited Fear in for a long visit.
The man with the black hat left me when I went away to college yet, interestingly, would always be waiting for me when I returned on Christmas Break or to visit. Eventually, it went away totally when my parents moved from that house so yes, I do believe that it was a demonic presence inextricably linked to things in my past; the sins that were committed against me as a child. In fact, I think that this devil knew that I belonged to God and my destiny and purpose would be so great in the Kingdom that, though it never touched me physically, it figured out an even more sinister way to reach me. By injecting fear into my already extremely creative mind and imagination, it could ensure my relationship with fear for years to come.
To be continued…