Free, At Last!

Dear Randy;

I am so excited! This is Easter Sunday, and all are gone now. But I am so happy. I was brought into the JW org when I was 6 yrs old when my mother began to study. I remember the nightmares from the Paradise Lost books, and how my mom took the scripture "spare the rod spoil the child" to new depths. I spent a childhood having no friends. We didn't attend enough 'meetings' to be included with the 'good groups', and mom would not allow 'worldly' friends-so guess you know where that leaves us?

After staying with the org (leaving briefly in teens, two yrs, until married and baby) I answered my door, and my life changed once again!Twenty some years later, after my oldest two were grown, I could take it no longer. My husband was as MS, I was a regular pioneer, and on anti depressants for the millionth time in my life. I always seemed to have a cloud over me, always expecting to die of some awful disease (half wishful thinking I think). Something had to be wrong, I would think, or else why would I feel so awful? Aren't I supposed to be happy? But in 1995 I knew what it was. I had been bedridden (self-induced by depression) for months, my 5 yr old being taken care of by my husband and daughter. But the most bizarre thing happened: it was the week before Thanksgiving and I felt an 'excitement' I had never felt. I jumped up, and told my daughter we were doing the holidays! I have never believed in being a half-anything. I used to hate the fact that we were JW kids only where holidays were concerned, but not meetings and such. I swore I would never be that way. So, I sat down, wrote my DA letter, and mailed it right away. No fancy words, just 'get me out of here. I told God that the thought of spending eternity with a people that ice-water for blood, was more than one body could bare'!

My life became a tightly controlled one. I isolated so as not to be shunned (which was impossible completely), shopped mostly out of town, and lowered my head upon seeing one. Then the Lord led us to the internet, and my freedom bell began to ring! As we know; you can leave the WT, but it doesn't leave you without you actively kicking it out.

In March of 1997 I became a REAL Christian, I gave my whole heart soul, and mind to the Lord. But now one problem: I had gained so much weight during my depression, how was I going to share, because they would be thinking "See she left Jehovah, and got fat" (and I had heard it from those hens about others, so I KNEW it). I took this to the Lord too. Then He led me to a program called The Weigh Down Workshop, a literal Christ centered study on God and food addiction, depression, alcoholism, and more. I read in there on the golden calf, and it totally hit me that that is what the WT had been. As long as we look to someone or something else to 'be before us for God, we will always be victims of such cults as these. I cried many tears, but my hatred and anger were gone, I finally had peace. I became a sponge for Gods Word, and spending time with Him ,became my greatest joy. I was smiling all the time, I was happy. My husband could not believe it, my kids could not either. And then I turned around, and after 9 sizes of clothing were gone, I knew I could share with the world. JWs who weren't supposed to talk with me, were-they had to mention my weight loss, and others just stared. But this opened many doors, so cool! What an awesome glory to our Lord, for it was only Him. I now lead 2 of these classes, and my testimony is always worked in there, to protect them and their kids.

But that isn't all: I am now attending Bible college to become a Christian counselor, to help others leaving these cults but still wanting to know God. He brought it to me, and I even received a scholarship/grant for my past of JW, they were so happy for me. The saddest thing for me is that persons leaving the WT take with them that God is that kind of God. And the God I know now listens to me, speaks to me through His Word, prepares me for trials, and answers prayers no matter how small. I am filled with such joy now. I have people tell me all the time now that I do not look my age, then they will say it is because I seem so happy. Cool huh? I used to look sooo old! I see pictures of a few years ago, and shudder, it does not look like the same me. It seems God keeps placing young ex-JWs in my path here, ones who grew up with my two oldest. I have been able to share with them everything I have learned. It is an exciting journey. My husband sometimes gets sad and says "oh the wasted years we had", but I always tell him, that it is only wasted if we learned nothing from it, and do nothing with that! I know the Lord has took something Satan intended for evil, and made good. All three of my children are now born-again Christians, my oldest son just last month. Another answered prayer. And my husband has seen such an improvement in our marriage, he is a happy man. Since I left, and got out of the initial depression of the unknown, I have not had another pill. No suicide thoughts, and no looking for the dread diseases!  We are expecting our first two grandbabies, respectfully in April and Sept. And Christmases are a treasure for our family. He brought all my family together this past one. Awesome God He is!

This truly is an exciting day for me, for I know I am a child of God, and deserving of my Heavenly reward! God bless you, and give you strength. I prayed for you before your surgery, and I continue to pray for you. I knew you would be ok, because He still needs you here. I cant tell you what you mean to us, but I wanted to share this metamorphosis from stunted bug, to butterfly. Thank you and may God shower His blessings on you. Please let me know how we can financially help you keep going, I know it must cost a lot, but we are so blessed, and want to help.

Amazing Grace was my very first song I remembered, upon becoming a Christian, and is my favorite. The next in line is Awesome God. It is so wonderful to be able to hear the love others have for God, contrary to the WT teachings. In Christ (this time for real)

Anne McCaleb