My name is Ali Underwood and this is my testimony of how I became a child of God. I grew up in a Catholic family and participated in the ceremonies of the Catholic church until I was about age 13, after my parents got divorced. Growing up my parents fought a lot about money, often with verbal abuse and in front of me and my siblings. My dad had an intense pornography addiction, anger issues, and worked a lot—he wasn’t really present with me until later in my life. My mom was emotionally overwhelmed and depended on me to soothe her and listen to her problems. I began binge eating at home when I was alone beginning at age 7. I was bullied at school and in dance classes for my size. I was a high achiever and very smart and creative for my age, and I felt I needed to earn the love and approval from everyone around me by being perfect. I had friends, some who also bullied me, but I really wanted someone to love me the way I always dreamed of being loved. I developed really intense crushes on boys, but when they reciprocated I pushed them away.
I got into relationships with boys who wanted me for sex pretty early in my life (age 13). I imagined that being wanted in that way was almost like being loved. I began starving myself and lost over 40 pounds, and I was obsessed with becoming thin and looking perfect. I had my first gay relationship at age 15 and it felt very wrong and I felt that God convicted me many times, but despite being miserable I stayed with her for 7 months because I wanted love and didn’t want to be alone. When we broke up I went back to dating boys, though by this time I was also drinking, smoking weed, and doing psychedelic drugs regularly. The first sexual interaction I had with a boy was non consensual and I felt I couldn’t say no. I was very passive and continued to talk to this guy for a few months before cutting him off silently. I began cutting myself. My mental state was breaking down, and I got diagnosed with bipolar disorder, borderline personality disorder, depression, and generalized anxiety disorder. I was admitted to treatment for bulimia for the second semester of my senior year of high school. I had a serious boyfriend for 3 years, and we fornicated and spent a lot of time together. When we broke up I was very lost and lonely and immediately began dating around and eventually found myself in a relationship with a guy who was addicted to opioids. After we broke up, again I hated to be alone so I dated and slept around a lot with women and men. I began seeing a guy casually who I met on tinder who I would later cheat on my other partners with. I got into a long term relationship with a girl who moved from out of state to be together, and she struggled with alcoholism. I cheated on her and told her about it while we were doing psychedelics. When we broke up, I slept with the tinder guy again and found myself hopelessly obsessed with him afterwards.
I got into astrology, tarot cards, and other witchcraft things I learned from tiktok and youtube. I started posting deeply personal things on my social media about my childhood and family issues, knowing it would hurt my family. I began working at a gay bar, started identifying as non-binary (that is, not a woman or a man), and stopped taking my psychiatric medication. I went into a deep depression and intensely considered suicide by overdose. God helped me overcome this without me even knowing it was him.
One day I saw a “message from your higher power” video on tiktok that said to remove and throw out my bedsheets and to look for “that thing” in my closet. I looked in my closet and found a box full of letters and cards from friends and family all throughout my life. I delighted in each one, really feeling like each one was designated for me to read at that exact moment in time, one said “See you in 2 or 3 days,” love Dad. I hadn’t talked to my dad in over 2 years but for some reason I had a feeling this was true. I came to the middle of the stack and found a strange letter—a strange symbol made of letters overlaying the word “friends” was written on top of a letter from a childhood friend from when I was 5 years old. I immediately recognized it as some kind of witchcraft and asked a friend about it who knew about magic. She said it was a binding sigil or a spell designed to keep me in someone’s life spiritually. I knew immediately that it was the tinder guy who had placed it in my room, and it began to make sense why I continued to add him, go to reiki sessions, block him, then later add him again and allow him into my life. I felt extremely violated and scared and my friend coached me into doing a cord cutting ceremony where I dabbled in more intense witchcraft than I had ever done before. I wished evil things on this guy and after doing the whole ceremony I felt this hollowness, shame, and guilt that I had not felt since my first gay relationship.
I got on the phone with a crisis counselor because I was sure my life was over. I began to journal and then I took out my tarot cards. I asked “spirit” why I was feeling this guilty. God communicated with me through these cards; each card was upside down which I had never seen before. My world was upside down. I asked spirit what is the way through or out of this? I saw a card that made me think of Jesus and I remembered somehow—“Jesus forgives.” I started to pray to Jesus and ask him what I should do. I looked up on Google what to do when you’ve done witchcraft and you feel guilty. I found a site about repentance. I believe God was very present at this time, guiding me through the process. I began reading out prayers for repentance I found for a whole host of sins in witchcraft and sexual immorality. I began to feel the shame and guilt dissipate. I reached out to my dad (who was born again for 2 years at the time) over text and heard from him in the morning. We talked on the phone and he talked me through some things about what I’d went through and what could happen next, given that I would decide to give my life to God. I threw out my tarot cards, my sex toys, weed, and anything else of my old life I was willing to part with. I met with my dad and saw him for the first time in over 2 years. He prayed for me and showed me the gospel using the witness cards. That night I had a dream of heaven and a dream about a house that ended up being the house I was baptized in one week later. After my baptism I felt this burden and weight lifted off me which I didn’t know was there. I received the Holy Spirit two nights later in my sleep after praying to receive it. It was an experience I’ll never forget and always cherish, one of so much joy and peace. About a month later I spoke in tongues for the first time at a TLR Kickstart, and meanwhile had been hearing from many people in my life about California. I received deliverance from my parents laying hands on me, and it was intense. Over an hour of loud screaming, demonic voices speaking, involuntary convulsing and shaking later and I was free.
I felt very called to attend the Luke 10 School in Vista, CA and was admitted only 2 days before the school began and without submitting an application. The school was incredible for so many reasons; the fellowship, learning how to be a disciple and make more disciples, becoming much closer with God and understanding His nature more, understanding more about spiritual warfare, learning more about scripture, learning about forgiveness and much more. During my time at the school I experienced a vision of Jesus where my entire body felt washed over and covered with pure, intense love and light. He showed Himself in a tent market handing out fish, and each one of my negative thoughts bounced away like His love was acting as a forcefield. I immediately began praying in tongues and worshipping Him.
My walk throughout that time and since then has not been easy—renewing the mind, focusing on trust and love rather than legalism and perfectionism, and fighting lies with the truth of the Word have been the most important parts. God surprises me daily with His love, goodness, and faithfulness. Learning to hear His voice and obey has been incredible, and in obedience I am never disappointed with the outcome. He truly is so good. I have done outreach and a Luke 10 trip since being home and seen some fruit. While I’ve experienced a lot of ups and downs, I have never gone back to any of my old ways or patterns of sin. I don’t consider my identity as I did in the world i.e. by my sexuality or talents or achievements. I have lost many friends but I have gained so much more—Jesus is truly all I need.