From Jennifer Eivaz: I’ve known Tyler Combs for most of his life and was there when he was delivered from demonic spirits. Read his story and share it with those who would benefit.
Everyone has a story to tell about his or her life. There are different seasons in life, good and bad, peaks and valleys, and times you never want to forget. Some you’d rather never think about again. It is the combination of the positive and negative experiences in our lives that make us who we are and shape us into who we have been called to be. I was challenged by a friend, whom I have known for many years, to share my testimony in writing so that hopefully others can be encouraged.
I am going to share part of my story that even people who know me have never heard. There may be some that have never met me that will have trouble fitting my story into their theology. The unique power of personal testimony is that there is very little room for rebuttal. An experience by nature means that you have seen it, touched it, and felt it. This experience probably shaped me more than any other singular event in my life.
Regardless of religion, culture, or denomination,
the practice of worship is sacred.
Some worship is quiet and somber, and for others, it is loud and boisterous. As Christians, worship is a unique way for us to connect with God individually and corporately. I grew up in church so the idea of corporate worship was not a foreign thing to me. I understood music always started the Sunday services, followed by (in some churches) the “special” musical number for the offering. Growing up I always loved music, but I couldn’t stand this element of service. Worship time felt mundane and uninteresting to me. Around the time I was 15 years old, my choice of music began to change significantly. In retrospect, I believe, that because of the way God gifted me, I needed something that felt “real”, and at the time I didn’t know how to find it any other way. I was looking for a connection through music.
I’ll stop here and use the old adage, “if you stand for nothing, you’ll fall for anything”. Over time I stopped listening to Christian music and became more interested in groups like Nine Inch Nails, Korn, Limp Bizkit, Marilyn Manson, Rage Against the Machine, Nirvana, and Prodigy. There was an underlying theme with these bands. I believe there is substantial power in testimony, and these particular bands wrote from their heart, and more importantly the emotions that they experienced. Much of their music was centered on hurt, rage, and graphic violence. Typically, I wouldn’t give groups like this any free publicity, but I want to provide specific context for later in my story.
Regardless of what type of music you’re listening to,
there is a declaration of some sort being made around you.
Many people are not familiar with the term declaration in regard to music. In the Bible, there are many descriptions of worship as “declaring” or “crying out” the goodness and nature of God, and this is how music was created to function. Whether or not you are a worship leader, you were created to ascribe worship and adoration. To be clear, I do not believe that all secular music is “evil”. There are incredibly talented artists all over the world that produce great music. I do, however, believe that it is our responsibility to be aware of what we are listening to and how it affects us.
At this time our church had begun to really experience the move of the Holy Spirit. Although this type of atmosphere was still relatively new, God had begun moving in our youth services in a very real way. It was at this time that a collision of destiny in my life happened. Before I had begun to witness a genuine move of God, everything in my life was “fine”. I was a Christian and for the most part a pretty good kid. I didn’t have any real issues at home. I believe that when someone is dealing with spiritual issues, the first step should always be to establish an atmosphere where the Holy Spirit can move freely. Seeing the reality of God move in a tangible way was paramount for me. If I hadn’t seen the goodness of God first, I may never have been able to become free. I became attracted to what I saw God doing, and for the first time in my life, I wanted to be a part of it. I have noticed when God begins to move in our lives, the enemy is revealed. Fear is used as a tactic to keep us from breakthrough.
I will not dive too far into some of the things I experienced in the weeks leading up to this, but it was nothing short of terrifying. I heard voices, heard loud noises, and screaming when I was alone. I saw things in the mirror in the place of my normal face. I even found myself feeling compelled to kneel in front of my stereo while certain songs were playing.
Fast-forward a couple of months. We had an extended family member living with us at our home. We were very close when we were children but had grown apart over the years because we lived in different states. In their time living with us, we became close again. Their history is not mine to tell, but it does correlate with the beginning of the events that changed my life.
I can only fill in the moments I remember, so hopefully, at some point, a few of my lifelong mentors can fill in the gaps and offer their perspectives. We were in a Wednesday night youth service and there were teenagers getting prayer all around the room. I was sitting next to my family member in the back row. I was trying to engage in prayer. When I opened my eyes I looked around the room and noticed my family member had left. This is when it all began. Everything became strangely quiet, almost as though I was watching a silent movie. My hands and face went completely numb and I felt as though I was outside of my own body. I don’t remember being an overly angry young person but at that moment an unearthly rage came over me. The rage felt like insanity descending over me like a dark cloud.
The part of our church we were in is full of hallways that are like a maze. To have any idea where someone had gone, especially without seeing them leave is unlikely. I stood up and exited the room where the youth meeting was taking place. As I entered the hallway, somehow I could smell everything around me, including what seemed to be the scent of my family member. The best way I can describe the feeling I had was the way you see a wild predator following the scent of another animal.
I began to walk down the hallways touching and smelling the walls. During this time, part of me felt ridiculous but I was not moving or behaving in a way that I could control. I retraced my family members' exact steps to the church’s main sanctuary through multiple hallways and staircases. The moment I walked into the sanctuary, everything went back to normal.
Obviously, at this point, I knew something was really wrong, but I didn’t want to say a word to anyone. I came toward the front of the room to find my family member in the fetal position muttering and crying. At some point prior to my arrival, at least one of our pastors, my aunt, and my mother had been made aware of the situation and were now in the room as well. I was very concerned for my family member, so I put my hand on her foot and began to pray for her the best I could. One of my pastors politely waved me off and said something along the lines of “we’ll take care of this”. I was very concerned but very confused about what I had just experienced myself.
I sat in the front row and tried to be calm, whispering to myself, “everything is okay” over and over. A couple of minutes later, my aunt sat next to me to comfort me. She reached out to touch me and an unearthly rage took over my body from head to toe. I tried to bite my aunt and began screaming profane things at everyone around me. I remember glimpses of actions that seemed like they were happening to someone else. I have vivid memories of crawling on all fours, biting at and cursing my pastors and God. At the time I weighed around 120 pounds and was 5 feet tall. At some point, I remember it taking 5 adults to hold me down in a chair. During this time, I was coming in and out of consciousness and trying to convince everyone that I was “okay now”, and that we could go home.
When my leaders got us to the point where I was no longer a physical threat they asked whoever was talking through me what the open door was. In other words, how did they gain access in such a substantial way? I believe God brought me into a parallel consciousness to hear the answer to this question. I will never forget the answer. In a way, it ruined any potential for naivety or ignorance for the rest of my life. It answered simply “Nine Inch Nails, Korn, Limp Bizkit, Marilyn Manson, Rage Against the Machine, Nirvana, and Prodigy”. That’s right! Music, nothing more, and nothing less is what had caused this! There was no traditional witchcraft or conventional “open doors” that one would assume leads to such a dire situation. What opened the door in my extreme case was my intentional partnership with the testimony of things that were not godly, and it was through the vehicle of music.
For me this has always been a reminder that it’s not only heaven that recognizes the gifting and call on our lives, the enemy sees it as well. If you know me, one of my strongest God-given gifts is to flow in prophetic worship, and also to declare liberty through worship. I believe that many people who are tormented in unusual ways are called to operate in an unusual anointing such as the way I discovered. After the issue was identified, it took my own professing of words and proclaiming to set my heart straight and put God into the center of my life where He belonged.
Since that day, I have been far from perfect, but I have always maintained an uncanny ability to discern what I am hearing through the music of any type. For about a year after my deliverance, I listened exclusively to worship music. Again, I don’t believe this is a requirement for everyone, I knew I needed to become so familiar with what was real so that the counterfeit would stand out right away
If you’re reading this and want to try an experiment, try listening to nothing but worship music for one week. I believe after that one week you will see a difference in how you “hear” and “feel” anything else you listen to.
One of the most important pieces of this story for people who may have dealt with this or who may need to confront a similar situation in their own lives, is the phrase “did that really just happen?” Just a couple of hours after I was delivered and born again, the enemy began trying to convince me, “You made all this up. That was some good acting, weirdo. They’re going to find you out. That wasn’t real”.
I became fearful and confused. I felt overwhelmed and guilty. That night, after weeks of being afraid to look in the mirror, I looked at my reflection and God spoke to me as clear as day, “Now you are free.” This was the first time in my life I ever knew for sure that God has spoken to me. It seems to be a simple statement, but it was profound to me. It shut the mouth of confusion and I knew God saw me and that He had my heart. He loved me.
When the enemy loses his grip on a person, he will try to make our experience seem invalid. I count myself blessed beyond measure that He loved me before I was lovable. What a great example of what 1 John 4:19 speaks about. Thank you for reading my story. Please share with anyone you think could benefit from it.
Jennifer Eivaz is a minister and international conference speaker with a heart to equip the church with the supernatural and for raising up passionate and effective prayer. She is a regular contributor to Charisma Online and The Elijah List, has been featured on several Christian television shows, hosts the popular podcast Take Ten With Jenn, and authored several bestselling books. Jennifer and her husband, Ron, co-pastor of Harvest Church now meeting in three locations – two campuses in Turlock, California, and one campus in Ripon, California – in addition to hosting a thriving online campus. They also have two wonderful children.
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