I used to think witches, demons, and magic spells were just fantasy, something made up for entertainment . . . but by the time I was in Middle School, I knew otherwise. My dad was a Baptist pastor, and even he did not grasp the reality of demonic oppression until tormented people started coming to him for help. Some of these individuals had even been victims of satanic ritual abuse, the worst kind of evil you can imagine. This certainly was not something he learned about in seminary, but my dad was determined to help these people find freedom . . . so he went searching for understanding. Because there were few pastors who knew how to navigate such situations, my dad became the local expert in deliverance ministry, and this ended up becoming a large part of my dad’s passion and calling. This is why I learned about Halloween at a young age. I learned that it is the highest “holy” night for Wiccans and Satanists, a time for ritual sacrifices and ceremonies, and for the worship and invocation of evil. But we did not just read about these things in a book, we learned about them from people who had lived through the unfathomable atrocities that occur on this day. This insight forever changed my view of Halloween, and I could no longer . . .

It was one of those days. You know, the ones you never want to repeat again . . . or have anyone remind you of what went down. Connor was three, and he had discovered the fun of stuffing lots of toilet paper in the commode before flushing. He yells for me that the toilet is overflowing and I dash upstairs to assess the damage, only to find he had stuffed the toilet full with paper after . . .

"Time to clean up!" I told Connor to pick up his toys but he just sat on the floor whining. He begged me to help because it was “too hard,” a task that would literally take 30 seconds. Connor said there were too many toys to clean up. My ingenious response was that if he had too many toys to clean up then maybe he should give some away. (Of course my intent was to motivate him to clean up, not give the toys away). Instead he replied, “Okay Mommy, I want to give my toys to children who don’t have any.” Uh oh, I wasn’t prepared for that response . . . but I knew I couldn't back down from my "threat." I paused for a moment, not knowing what to say.  Immediately I heard in my spirit . . .

We know that God is love, and that as Christians, love is our highest calling. Most believers even know the Bible teaches us to love our enemies and bless those who curse us. (Matthew 5:43-48, Luke 6:28). However, recent events in my life have aroused a further question in my mind; am I called to respect everyone too?

Bob and I have been trying to figure out how to best address the disrespectful talk, tone, and behavior we get at times from Connor. A part of me believes that my son should respect me simply because I am his mother. So, when he is rude or defiant, something within me wants to . . .

Last year, Bob and I noticed a pattern of troubling behavior from our son Connor. He is normally a sweet and joyful child, so his outbursts of anger and defiance were out of character. We tried disciplining him in different ways, but no matter what we did, nothing seemed to work. I wanted to write his behavior off as a normal stage of development, just a facet of his emerging independence . . . but it almost appeared as if something else was taking over and driving him. Something didn’t feel right, and I was concerned about what was going on in my sweet boy’s heart. I truly did not know what to do . . . so I got on my knees in prayer. I asked God to form a kind and obedient heart in Connor, to deliver him from any evil, and to give me wisdom to know how to best address the problem.

A month or two later, I woke up in the middle of the night from a disturbing dream. In this vivid dream, evil had . . .