“REMEMBER” A Young Man’s Journey From Depression To Christ- Bishop Riley

 

 

Learn to Trust your conscience

Hello to all, my name is Bishop Riley. I am writing this book on how I became a follower of Christ. 
This testimony is based on a true and inspiring story that all of us Christians need to know about. I live in California, where I was born and raised in a Christian home where  I was introduced to Christ by my family at a young age. As long as I can remember my family would always take me to church and taught me to always trust and to put my faith, into God’s hands. There came a day when I had to put what was preached to me to the test. When I was growing up my father, Gregory, would always tell me stories about his older brother Butch. My Uncle Butch’s real name is James, he was named after my grandfather but he was given the nickname Butch because of his personality. What does James teach us? “ The Book of James is filled with practical wisdom for Christians, calling us to live out genuine faith through good works. In our own ability, we cannot stand in the face of adversity. Without faith we could never find the strength to trust God.” The name who follows,” Uncle Butch was my idol when I was growing up and still is to this day. It’s funny, I wanted to be like Uncle Butch so badly when I was a little boy that whenever I heard someone saying his name I would turn around like it was my name that was being called, and that is something that I still do as a man. 
I remember when I was in elementary school that my fourth grade class had a project. The project was called “Changing Your Name and Why.” When it was my turn to present my project, I told the class that my full name is Bishop KNIGHT Riley. What is the true meaning of a Bishop? “Someone having spirtual or ecclesiastical supervision over others.”  I said if I had to change my name it would be Butch. I said that I would change my name to Butch because I had an uncle named Butch and that he had inspired me for as long as I could remember, especially because I saw how everyone had so much love for him. I’ve always wanted to be just like him and that he will always and will forever be a king in my eyes.  
As I was growing up I didn’t get to spend much time around my uncle but we would talk on the phone frequently. My father and my uncle didn’t talk much. One day when I was about 14 years old my father was driving me to school and out of curiosity I asked him why they didn’t talk to each other. He told me that my uncle had a drug addiction. When my father told me this he was also explaining that my uncle’s drug addiction was also the reason why he didn’t let me and my two siblings, Shakira and Braxton, around him that often. This didn’t affect the way I felt about my uncle at all. I actually felt extremely sorry for him and I even began to pray for him. 
One year later after my father explained the whole situation to me about my uncle, I Began my first year as a freshman at Etiwanda High School. Things were going very well for me for the first couple of months of my freshman year until one day I was called up to the front office. As I was walking there I noticed my father was standing in front of the building and I was very surprised to see him. I asked him what he was doing at the school and he told me that I needed to find a ride after football practice because he and my Mother, Yecenia, had to take care of something very important. My father looked like he was in a rush so I didn’t ask him what they were doing. 
The next day I asked my father where they went. He told me that they drove out to San Diego to go see my uncle because he had become very ill from his drug addiction and had been sent to the hospital. He also told me that my uncle wanted to see me and my younger brother. About a week later, my family and I drove to a hospital in Upland where my Uncle had been transferred. 
When we arrived at the hospital we found Butch’s room. I was so excited and filled with joy because my dream was finally going to become a reality. At long last I was going to be united with my uncle. When we finally went inside of Butch’s room I couldn’t believe what I saw. Upon entering Butch’s room I saw nothing but skin and bones. I automatically felt immense sympathy for him. I had to put on an act like I wasn’t sad about it because Butch was brimming with so much joy to see me and my brother again. I began talking to Butch and we were catching up; it had been several years since we last saw each other. 
Since it had been so long and my Dad and Butch’s relationship was getting back to normal, my uncle told me that when he recovered we would go out and do something together. He suggested that we should all go fishing because it was something that we all enjoyed. After our visit with Butch we returned home. Before we left, I gave Butch a hug and told him that I loved him and that he was gonna get through this. He smiled and looked at me and said, “I love you too.” 
As time went by, my family and  close family friends were all visiting and taking care of Butch. He was trying hard to recover. At the time, I was playing football for my high school and some days after practice my mother would take me to the hospital where Butch was staying and we would check on him and help him out, seeing if there was anything that he needed. We were all doing this because when Butch was sick he was just laying down in the hospital bed and his body was not  responding well to the treatments that the doctors were giving him. This began to worry me and my family. We all started praying for him because he looked like he was growing weaker according to the doctors’ assessments.  
One night when I came home from football practice, took a shower and sat down to do my homework. I turned around and I saw my dad looking like he was going somewhere. I asked where he was going. My father told me that my uncle had been transferred to another hospital in Upland because he was getting worse, that he almost had heart failure and that he might not make it through the night. When my dad told this my heart automatically stopped and I stood still like I was stone because I was not able to cope with what I was hearing. 
It took me a while to snap out of it, and when I did I got into the car with my dad and we rushed over to the hospital. When we arrived, we went inside my uncle’s room and little did I know that there was a surprise waiting for me. When I opened the door I saw a nurse, and when I walked a little closer to her I realized this wasn’t just any nurse, she and I were actually related. The nurse in my uncle’s room was my older sister Shakira. 
When I was a child I did not spend a lot of time around her because Shakira and my mother did not get along with each other. Shakira was really disrespectful to my mother whenever they were together. This was because she thought that my mother messed up her marriage with my father. The way she treated my mother was also the same way she would treat Braxton and me. I even remember when the holiday season would come around when we were little and how we would just look out through the window for hours, asking our parents when she would be coming but she would never show up to come and see Braxton and I. She would go years without talking or visiting us because we were not her brothers in her eyes. 
By having such a horrible relationship with my sister it made it really weird to see her again. I had to keep my composure because I didn’t want my uncle’s last memory of me to be a bad one. So, just to keep the peace we simply said hello and gave each other a hug. When we were all at the hospital, we gathered around Butch and I said a prayer for him. By some miracle, he survived the night but his battle for life and death was still ongoing.  
The next day, I received the worst news of my life from my mother. She told me that my father was talking to her earlier that day and that there was nothing more the doctors could do for my uncle. The moment she told me I got dressed so we could go and say goodbye to him at the hospital where he was staying. Before we left to go to the hospital my mother ran upstairs into her closet to get an old coat that had belonged to my grandmother, who was my uncle’s and father’s mother. My grandmother had passed away when I was about ten years old and she gave it to my mother before she died. My mother wanted to bring the coat to the hospital because she wanted to wrap it around Butch. She was doing this to let him know that he was going to be with my grandmother in paradise that day. After my mom grabbed the coat we rushed into the car. As we were driving to the hospital I was praying to God that He would spare my uncle’s life because I knew how bad it was going to hurt watching him pass away. Like I said before, ever since I was child my uncle had always been my ideal and in some ways he was like a mythical legend to me and I couldn’t even imagine how my life was going to be with him gone. 
When my mom and I arrived at the hospital we were about to walk into Butch’s room and we saw my father, sister, aunt and my godmother were all outside his room waiting so we could all say goodbye to him together. As soon as we got inside the room my mother wrapped my grandmother’s coat around my uncle. We sat there for several hours praying. Then his doctor came into the room and gave him medicine to feel more comfortable so he wouldn’t be in so much pain as he was dying. A little later, I heard the worst sound of my life. My uncle’s heart monitor started going on and off. I started to break down and started crying. My sister was crying as well. She told me not to cry. I was very shocked because she was never there for me when I was growing up and now she randomly wanted to comfort her little brother?
I put that awkward moment to the side because I was too terrified for my uncle’s life. I never thought that I would see the day that my superhero would weaken. I asked all of my family members to step out of the room because I wanted to be alone with Butch for a while. When they went outside, I started crying even more and I was praying like I had never prayed before and I was begging God to please spare my uncle’s life. I knew a part of me was going to die if he died. I asked my uncle before he died if he could tell my grandparents that I said hello and if he could give them a hug for me. Then he made me promise him to never do drugs. After he did this I asked him to let me see his eyes one more time. We were looking each other in the eyes for the last time. When he closed his eyes, I told him that I loved him. He squeezed my hand to let me know that he loved me too. 
My dad came into the room with my sister and told me that he wanted to talk to the two of us. He told us, “Do you see what happens when you start following the wrong crowd and trying to be someone who you’re not just to fit in, this is why I get on you guy’s butts the way I do.” He also told us that he’d left his little brother and that his heart had been broken for years, and that if he did drugs that he would be laying down in bed with him and that we would lose a father too. He said that, “We are Riley’s are stronger than that, and you guys have to be there for each other. Shakira, you’re the big sister and, Bishop, you’re the big brother.”
Then my Father started directing the conversation more to my sister. He said that she needed to change because, “You have two brothers that are alive and healthy.” Then he pointed at my Uncle and said, “I have a brother dying right in front of me.” 
After this she gave me another hug and she told me that she was going to do better as a sister and that she wouldn’t leave me anymore. After my sister told me this we all looked over towards Uncle Butch and we saw that he was stretching out his hand like if he was trying to grab something, but we didn’t know why he was doing this.  
A few weeks after Butch passed away, we had a memorial for him at my house where my whole family was celebrating his life. Before the memorial started one of Butch’s friends, Mike came a little early to the house. Mike came with Butch’s old fishing poles. He came up to me and told me that my uncle wanted me to have his fishing poles and tackle box because he knew how much I loved fishing. After Mike gave me the fishing poles he gave me a hug and started to cry. I asked him what was wrong and he told me that he wanted me to stay who I am because I reminded him so much of my uncle, and I didn’t understand what he meant by that because we’d only met each other only a few times, but I  said that I will stay who I am.  
During the memorial there was a time where loved ones could speak and say a few words about my uncle. A couple of family members spoke about special memories they had of him. My mom spoke as well. She shared how when my uncle was in the hospital in Upland, California, a kind woman by the name of Cindy stopped and spoke to her about my uncle. Let me clarify here, my mom did not know this woman…had never seen her before, not ever. She asked my mom if she was a believer. Of course my mom said yes, that she was a believer. Cindy, who wore glasses and had the kindest face, according to my mom, told her that there is a fight for your brother in law’s heart. It is a fight between good and evil, the light and the darkness. Cindy went on to tell my mom that there was a lot of shame going on regarding my uncle. Cindy told my mom that she and my dad needed to not judge him but just love him. She also told my mom something very powerful, “there is one person on my uncle’s side of the family who has been praying for him.” My mom asked her who and she said she only knew that it was someone from my uncle’s side of the family. This happened about three days before Butch passed away. 
After my mom was given this information by Cindy, my mom went into Butch’s room. When she went into the room Butch was asleep. She woke him up and said that she had something very important to ask him. Her question to Uncle Butch was if he had accepted Jesus as his Lord and Savior. Tears came down his face as he responded no. Then my mother asked if he would like to become a believer and he said yes. She then grabbed Butch’s hand and led him off in prayer. Butch accepted Jesus as his Lord and Savior. After that a few other people came into Uncle Butch’s room his friend Andre who prayed a powerful salvation prayer over my uncle. Also, a little while after that Uncle Butch’s best friend Atlas brought him a Bible so he could read it for the time that he still had here on earth with us. 
Do you know that my mom did not share this with me until a couple of years after my uncle passed away. When my mom shared her experience she had with Cindy, I looked at her and told her, “That one person was me, Mom.” 
After my mother spoke, my father went to speak. When my father was speaking he was talking about all the good times and the funny memories that Butch and him had when they were growing up. He said that his older brother had taught him so much in the past, and that my uncle was not just a man, but a man of character. When my father was talking about the last conversation that him and Butch had, it was the thing that stood out to me the most. Butch called him on the phone one day and he said, “You know what, man, I’m tired,” then my dad asked him what do you mean you’re tired? Then Uncle Butch replied, “I’ve seen it all, I’ve done it all, I’m ready to go see Mom and Dad.” This stood out to me the most because he knew that he was living in his last days. 
After my father spoke he told me to go in the house and get the memorial sky lantern that we were going to release in honor of my Uncle Butch. When I came back, I handed my dad the memorial sky lantern. Everyone started gathering around each other as my dad was setting it up. I remember when he finally released it how I was just staring at it rising up into the heavenly sky. 
After the memorial my sister and I were on good terms for a while. As time went on, however, I started hearing less from her and she disappeared again. I guess my uncle’s death didn’t help open her eyes. 
A couple of months after Uncle Butch died, Auntie Sophia had a seizure and slipped into a coma. She passed away the following year. I never got the chance to tell her goodbye and how much I loved her. Likewise, I did not get to spend that much time with her. I never got the opportunity when I was growing up, because of some family issues. This also made my depression even worse because I didn’t really get a chance to be close to my aunt. 
As time went on I was still very sad about my uncle’s death and I became more depressed and I started getting social anxiety. I had these mental health issues for about three years when I was in high school. When I was depressed there was never a day in my life that would go by without thinking about my uncle’s death. My family never knew I was going through this because I would never open up to them and tell them how I felt as I should’ve. Oftentimes, I would just lock my door in my room and lay down and cry over my uncle’s death because I couldn’t find a cure to my pain.   
One day I decided that I was going to get baptized in honor of him. I thought all of my mental pain and suffering would come to an end. When I did this I didn’t do it for me. I only did it for my uncle. After I got baptized, I was confused because all of the pain I had was still there. This left me very lost. When my family and I would go to church on Sundays I would go to church very angry. I didn’t know why God took my uncle from me so soon. Being that mad and frustrated, I was not able to focus on the word of God that the Pastor was saying to the church and I stopped going to church so often with the rest of my family members. 
The reason why I had social anxiety was because when my dad would tell me stories about my uncle when I was younger, he made him sound like he was a superhero. That was something that I wanted to be ever since I was a child. When I saw my uncle’s dying body at the hospital I was shown a different story from what I was told by my father from when I was a child.   
When I was going through social anxiety, I had a very difficult time communicating with other people. When I would talk to a person I would have to repeat myself multiple times. I would talk so fast that you couldn’t understand what I was saying, sometimes people would give me weird looks when I would talk to them because I would refuse to face them at a vertical angle because I was so nervous. I would also chop my words in half as well. Sometimes when I would walk past some of my friends at school, I would pull out my phone and act like I was busy doing something. I was trying to avoid talking because I could feel my anxiety building up. When I was in the middle of class I would often ask my teachers if I could use the restroom. I would do this because I felt as if everyone was watching or judging me and every single move that I would make throughout the whole period. 
A couple of times I actually got into some fights at school just for being so overly quiet and keeping to myself because of my social anxiety. I am guessing they thought I wouldn’t do anything to defend myself because I was such a quiet person at the time. I wouldn’t necessarily say that the fighting was happening frequently, but when I would get into a fight with someone I would make sure that it would never happen again. When I did so, I did not handle it in a Christian manner. As we all know, the Bible clearly says to turn the other cheek. 
There were often times that I would not go out with my friends and I would just stay at home in my room. The more I thought of my uncle’s death, the more my anxiety increased. My parents began to notice and they started asking me why I was staying at home so much. I told them that I really didn’t feel like going out. By that point, I was talking so fast from anxiety that my parents were thinking about putting me into a speech therapy program at my school. Like I said before, I was already in high school at the time so I said no. I didn’t want anyone from my school to know that I had a speech problem going on for somebody my age. So, instead of going to speech classes I started going online and I was searching up some tongue twisters to better improve my speech. When I did this, it didn’t really help me to slow down and to pronounce my words any better. When I would get anxiety, I would often sweat under my armpits and my palms as well. This was from thinking too much and letting my mind play tricks on me for some things that I shouldn’t have been worried about at all. 
I had anxiety so bad that I would even get it around my relatives at home. People that I have known ever since I was born that I should always feel comfortable around. Regarding how big of a problem my situation was, I would also lie to myself and say that I never had these issues at all, but deep down I knew that I did.   
During this time I was thinking about smoking weed and drinking alcohol. I thought about doing this because I figured that it would help me get away from my problems. Then again, I knew that it was going to make my life a lot harder. I decided not to do it. I knew that I was also going to be breaking my promise to Butch and making the antichrist smile. One way, however, that I did try to escape my depression was by sleeping. I would sleep as much as possible in order to get away from my emotional pain. Unfortunately, when I did this, I would have nightmares about watching Uncle Butch dying at the hospital. When I would wake up out of my nightmares, I would be so relieved that it was just a dream. Then again, the relief would soon go away because I would remember that it actually did happen.  
I remember this one nightmare I had of Butch dying. I was driving on my way to the hospital. While I was driving, there was a trail of crack and cocaine on the road that was leading me all the way to Butch’s room in the hospital. Then I was also starting to hear Butch’s heart monitor. It sounded like if it was making a loud echo. When I went into the hospital and into Butch’s room I opened the door. He told me to never do drugs. Then his heart monitor went off and I woke up out of fright. When I would wake up out of those nightmares, I would sometimes be drenched in sweat all over my body. At times I would be so sweaty that I would have to change out of all my clothes. I was having these nightmares because I was over thinking about Butch’s death. There was not a day in my life when I didn’t think about it. When I was playing football it was my only coping mechanism with my depression and social anxiety problem. It was like all of life’s problems went away when I was out on the field with my teammates. But later on during my football career I was not getting as much playing time as I did my freshman and sophomore year. I asked a few of my coach if I could get a chance at getting some playing time on the varsity team. When I asked them this they wouldn’t even give me a chance. I was so desperate that I was even  trying to schedule a meeting with one of them to discuss about getting more playing time on the field but he wouldn’t even show up.  I remember a time when I was doing a class project in my class when one of my coaches which was actulaly a  gang member decided to stand up infront of my class. When my coach did so he was doing and saying a bunch of negative things about me.  He was trying to label what kind of a football player I was as he was belittling me. One of the reason’s he was doing this because it was his last day on the job, I never saw him again after that. I was being given such a hard time during all of this. There was actually a time that I was supposed to start a game when they put a guy infront of me that had a broken arm. We didn’t even play the same position. Not to mention Butch also died on the same day when I was playing a game at Upland High School, which was also the same city where he passed away. The weirdest part about this was that the game and the hospital were only five minutes away from each other. I really had to drive by and see the same exact hospital twice within just hours after watching Uncle Butch closing his eyes. This was also the best game that I had ever played during my four years of high school football. I got in on every single tackle that game just for Uncle Butch.   
When I was fighting for a spot on the field it didn’t matter based on who could play better. It was like whoever wanted my spot could take it regardless of what kind of player they were. Don’t get me wrong now, I wouldn’t say that I was the best player on the team but I was a very good football player. This also happened to a lot of my teammates when this was going on. As a matter of fact, when this was all going on my own childhood best friend that I have known since the age of six decided to make a poor choice by betraying me. You see, my friend went for my position and took it. When he did this he thought that it would be a cool thing to kick me to the curb. What do I mean by this? When this happened my friend had the audacity to treat me as if he never knew me and if he was better than me as a person. In some strange way it was a blessing for me in disguise. After being terribly betrayed like that from my friend, I found out later on from my peers that he’d started to surround himself with the wrong crowd. Some of the people that he let into his circle were fighters, carrying guns or on drugs. Some of them have since even been to prison and some have died due to their lifestyles. I believe the reason why God allowed the door of football to close for me was to show me what my friend’s true colors were and what would’ve happened if I kept trying to be his friend after the way he treated me. His football day’s had soon came to an end before it’s time, he received multiple injury’s during our games. “Never feel guilty for cutting someone off when they handed you the scissors” (Trent Shelton, You Tube, December 6, 2018).  
Also, after my career of playing high school football I also learned that the way you treat people always has a way of coming back to you. My coach was dismissed from coaching for my high school. A little while after this I was actually nominated to receive a football reward during my senior year banquet. The reward that I was given was the Hatchet Reward. I was being given this reward because of my character on and off of the field.
When this was all happening, I did not seek any prayer or counseling from anyone like I should have during those darkest times of my life. I felt as if I was being mentally crucified with all of my emotions. Everything just kept piling on top of each other. I’ve kept this all a secret because I didn’t feel comfortable discussing my personal problems with anyone. I started posting stories on my social media accounts asking how to deal with depression. When I would do this my friends Martel, Daniel, Jasmin, and Kassandra would check up on me and they would give me some suggestions on how to deal with my depression and anxiety. Martel, Daniel and I have been really close friends ever since the sixth grade and we still are to this very day. When I was going through my phase of depression and anxiety, they were among my supporters. The main ones who were supporting me were Jasmin and Kassandra. They would always call and text to see how I was feeling and would text me to wish me a great day. 
One evening I got a text from Jasmin. When I opened the text it had a picture of an invitation asking if I would like to go to her sister’s party. For some odd reason, I told her yes. After I said yes, Jasmin kept on asking me if I was still going to make it to the party and I kept on telling her yes over and over again. A little while after Jasmin invited me to the party, Kassandra came up to me in class one day and told me that she was having a birthday party. When she told me this I asked her what day she was planning on having a party. She told me that it was on Saturday. I replied that I couldn’t go because I had already been invited to another party on the same day. She told me that it was ok with a disappointed look on her face.   
The day of the party had finally come. When I got to the house where the party was taking place, Jasmin was standing outside in the front yard. When I got out of the car, Jasmin walked over with a smile to give me a hug. After she hugged me she told me that she was glad that I made it. We walked over to the backyard where they were having the party for Jasmin’s sister. About five minutes later I heard a girl yelling my name and telling me hi. When she did this she ran up and gave me a hug; it was Kassandra. I asked her what she was doing there and that I thought that she was having a birthday party. She laughed and told me that this was her party. After that, Jasmin told me that her and Kassandra are sisters. I laughed and said, “Oh sorry, I had no idea.” 
During the party I was a little bit nervous and Jasmin and Kassandra were trying to get me to dance. I said no because it was a Quinceanera, meaning a party for a 15 year old Hispanic girl and I didn’t know how to dance in that culture. Later on with a little bit more convincing they made me change my mind and they taught me how to dance in their culture. In time, I started feeling more comfortable and I wasn’t feeling any anxiety at all. When the party was over they both gave me a hug and told me thanks for coming. When they did so I asked them why they were being so nice to me. They told me, “You’re our friend and we care about you and love you.” When they told me this, I told them that I loved them too. After that, the we hugged again and the conversation made me feel special. 
Later on in life I became closer to them and they had become like my sisters. It felt really great how well they would treat me like their own brother. When my very own sister didn’t want me, Jasmin and Kassandra had taken me into their family and I got close to their relatives, too. We became so close that I had even started calling their mother, Mom, too. I remember when I asked their mother if I could call her Mom, she said that it was perfectly fine because I was a part of their family now and she told me that I was already like a son to her. For what they did for me they will always have a special place in my heart. 
Before you read this part of the story, I would like to apologize to all of those who are reading this. This is very disturbing news that you’re about to read. This may make you realize how precious your life is that the Lord has given you. When I was going through this dark time in my life, I started hearing a voice in my head that was telling me to commit suicide one night. The same night when this randomly popped up out of my head it was the same night, I was going to take my own life. The very night when this was going to happen, I felt a lot more depressed than what I was usually feeling. Something about me was off that night. This is something that I would have never thought about or done to myself. Let alone, I have a huge family and loved ones who truly love me and have a lot of favor for me as well. This day I felt as if I was being possessed by a demon or some sort of evil spirit playing mind games on me. You would actually have had to have felt this feeling for yourself to understand what I mean, but when this was happening I told myself “You know what if this is how my life is going to be then I don’t want to live anymore.” The night when this was going to go down, I didn’t even tell my family and loved ones that I loved them. I didn’t even write them a note either. When this evil spirit or whatever it was that was in my body, went inside of my room, it made sure to close the door behind me to make sure that no one would see what its plan was to do to me. After It was done, it told me, “You can’t overdose because you will be breaking your promise to your Uncle Butch.” After the evil spirit said this to me it gave me two options. It told me to, “Either get a gun and shoot yourself in the head or cut your wrist with the pocket knife that you have in your room under your desk.” After it told me that it pulled out my pocket knife from under my desk that I have in my room. It was placing the knife towards my wrist. When it did so I started crying and it asked me, “What is the point of living if you are so sad all the time?”         
Just before I was about to take my own life, I had a flashback of Butch and me when we were in the hospital. When I was in the room with him, I was holding his hand when I promised him that I would live a clean life. As I held his hand, I looked up and I saw several scars on his arm. When I was younger, I didn’t realize why he had all those scars on his arm, but when I was about to commit suicide I kind of connected all of the dots together. At that point I realized that Butch also had mental health problems as well as me. After having those flashbacks, I quickly put my pocket knife away and that demon or evil spirit left my body and I had lost the thought of suicide. I believe that was Butch’s way of telling that it wasn’t my time to go yet. I knew he wouldn’t want me to make the same mistakes that he made. I believe this happened to me because before the situation I was trying to use spells and spiritual contact to talk to Butch. I believe that Satan was doing this because he saw that I wasn’t mentally well at the time.             
I didn’t realize how selfish I was being towards all of my family and loved ones. How were they going to be able to stomach the fact that I was gone and that they would have to be buried in this earth. I was going to leave a huge hole in all of their hearts. How were they all going to live with this? Knowing that I was the one who was responsible for my own death. I was not able to fall asleep that night with all of the negative thinking of what could’ve happened if it wasn’t for the grace of our God and His mercy that He had for me that night. The strangest part about this was before I was putting away my pocket knife I saw that it had some engraving on it. The engraving had a cross of Jesus’s crucifixion and on the rest of the engraving it said Bishop: First Born Son.       
I do apologize again to all of those who are reading this. I promise that I will never leave until the good Lord calls me to come home to live with Him in Paradise.   
Little did I know that in a few months  after this incident that a great surprise would happen that changed my life forever. The day finally came when I reached the peak of my mental health. When I did this I directed my rage towards God. When I did this I asked God why He was allowing all of these horrible things to happen to me. I asked Him why would You ever abandon one of Your sons and why would you ever take my uncle away from me if You knew this was going to happen to me? Then I said to God, “If You’re the God who You claim to be, then prove to me that my uncle is with You in paradise.” This is the part of my story where you need to have faith and believe. The moment I said those things, I closed my eyes and when I opened them I was inside of this blue portal that looked like it was traveling somewhere with me inside of it. I was confused and I didn’t know where it was taking me as it was reaching its destination. You can see a light at the end of the portal. As it hit the light, everything began to became a lot brighter and the light was beginning to dim down. I saw that there was a wooden brown door in front of me. For some strange reason I opened the door and when I did this, I saw this woman inside there with a baby. She looked like she was laying down on a hospital bed and I walked inside. I told her hi, and when I did she looked up at me and told me “hi” back. I asked her if she’d just had a baby and she smiled and told me, yes I did. Then I asked her what it was and she told me that it was a boy and I said, oh ok. I asked her what was his name and she told me his name was Butch. When she said that I was going to tell her that I actually have an uncle named Butch. Before I could finish my sentence I looked up at the woman and I was in shock to see that It was my grandmother who had passed away from heart problems when I was 10 years old. I was so surprised to see her and I was very confused at the same time. I remember how I was just staring at her for a long time. She looked at me in a strange way like she was concerned. When my grandmother saw me staring at her she asked me If I was ok. I didn’t answer her the first time because I was still in shock when I saw her. I was in even greater shock because I knew that the baby she had wrapped in her arms was Uncle Butch. She asked me a second time if I was ok and I said yes, I’m fine. I didn’t tell her who I was because I thought it might have some effect on my future existence. Also, my parents were not even born yet during that period of time. When I told her this, I asked her if I could pray for Butch. She told me sure you can. When she told me yes, she handed me Butch and the moment she did I automatically started praying for him right away. I was praying for Butch because I knew what was going to happen to him when he got older and I knew what I was going to go through three years after he had passed away.           
When this was going on it was the first time that I had ever came to and prayed to God about the situations that were going on in my life at the time. As I was praying for Butch I was so filled with emotion that I began crying. The very second I did, everything around me became dark as the night sky. Butch and my grandmother disappeared when this was going on. I started walking around to try to find any type of civilization.  As I was doing this I noticed an orange light. Next to the light there was a tree that looked like a dark outline of a silhouette that appeared in front of me. For some weird reason it kind of looked like a light of fire like if you were to light a candle. I walked over towards the light, and as I was looking at the light, it appeared as if it had some type of life in it. When I was looking at it I touched the light and it started shining extremely brightly. As it was doing this I was able to see what the tree looked like. After I saw the tree I heard a voice saying that your uncle is with the Lord. When the light started to dim down, I saw that I was in a place and I was surrounded by a bunch of clouds. I looked down towards my feet and I saw that I was standing on the clouds too and that I was able to walk on them as well. I had no idea where I was but I felt like I was at so much peace for some reason. As I was walking around in this place I saw the biggest surprise of my life. When I was in this place I had the feeling it was telling me to do something. I felt like it was talking to me but without actually having to talk to me. Without actually having to use any words, like it was giving me senses on what to do or knowing what was going to happen. Out of nowhere, I sensed that I was supposed to turn around. When I did so, I saw the same light that I’d touched just a few moments ago before I was transferred to a place filled with many clouds. The light started to dim down again. When it was dimming down again, this time an angel appeared in front of me. I was so amazed to see this happening right in front of me because I knew that I was in the house of God. The angel was wearing all white with a purple sash and it also had hair that was glowing red too. When the hair was glowing it was as if the angel was wearing a crown on top of his head. When I saw this angel’s hair turning red I knew that my hair was doing the same thing. I couldn’t see my hair glowing red of course but I could most definitely feel it if that makes sense.        
When I was looking at the angel I couldn’t help but notice that both looked alike, as if we were relatives. Then I noticed he was smiling at me like he already knew who I was and I was trying to think if I knew who he was until the whole thing had finally hit me. The angel I was looking at was my Uncle Butch who I had watch died from his drug addiction. When I realized that it was my uncle, I ran up to him and gave him a hug. What was three years felt like an eternity for me because when he had died I felt like I was stuck, like I couldn’t move on with life. After we hugged, I felt like I was invincible, like if there was nothing that could harm me. I also realized that I was also wearing all white like my uncle was, but I was wearing a blue sash. After the hug, I felt like I changed and I’m guessing that I had become an angel too. When I looked at Butch you could already tell that our very own Lord and Savior Jesus Christ gave him a new body. Butch wasn’t old, he wasn’t sick, he wasn’t skinny, he wasn’t on drugs and he didn’t have a single scar on either of his arms. Heck, if I didn’t know him I would’ve never known what type of life he was living when he was still with us on earth.      
Afterwards, my uncle and I were walking around in the clouds. In other words, we were walking in Heaven together. As we were doing this, my uncle and I were just looking at each other and we were just smiling at each other. We were also talking to each other without really talking because in Heaven, you can talk to other angels without really saying any words. As Butch and I were walking around in Heaven we had to teleport. We had to do so because in Heaven there is a beginning but there is not an end. As my uncle and I were doing this in the kingdom of everlasting life, we looked at each other and we held each other’s hands. When we did this, we created a light and you could feel nothing but happiness, joy and love from the light’s energy. Out of curiosity I was wondering how I was with my uncle in Heaven because I knew that I didn’t die. I turned around to my uncle and I was going to ask him how all this was possible if I didn’t die yet. When I did this I noticed that I was actually able to talk without using real words but when I did this I noticed that my uncle was gone. I started yelling out his name to try and find him. As I was doing this a very a strong wind came out of nowhere and the clouds started glowing in a golden and yellow color. 
When the wind came to a stop I noticed that I was standing on top of this huge mountain. It had seemed to come out of nowhere. All of a sudden I heard a voice that said my name and when I heard the voice I looked up and I saw Butch. He had become a cloud himself. He was still an angel of course but he was formed into a cloud. When Butch said my name his voice was extremely loud and his voice sounded like thunder as well. Around Butch there were several stars. I have never seen so many stars that close before in my life. As me and Butch stood there, he was looking at me as if he was concerned about me. Then Uncle Butch spoke to me and he said, “Hey, Bishop, you forgot about me, man.”
When he said that I replied to him and said no and I asked him what he meant by that? 
Then Butch told me, “When I died you had forgotten who you were, so you have forgotten about me, and when I died a part of you died too.” 
When Uncle Butch told me this I told him that I had been feeling kind of depressed lately. Then I realized that I actully did forget about Butch because when I first saw him in Heaven I wasn’t even able to recognize Him because the Uncle Butch that I rememberd was the one that died in my arms at the hospital.
Then he told me, “That’s why you need to take on the role that God has for you.” 
When Butch told me that I took a deep breath. I was very upset because I knew I had to go back to earth and I was also going to be separated from him again, let alone live out my days living with depression and social anxiety. Then I told Butch that I didn’t even know who I was anymore because I felt so lost.         
Butch smiled and looked at me and said, “You’re my nephew and the new me remember who you are.” The moment he said this I started getting flashbacks/visions of the past. I started to remember things of what I like and what my character was. When this was happening I was shown a documentary of Butch’s life and my life. I was also shown several family members who have passed away. The family members who I saw were my Grandma Willie, Aunt Sophie, Grandpa Riley, Aunt Sylvia, Grandpa Whitfield, and Granny Minnie. When I saw my family member’s I noticed that I didn’t see them the way we are able to see each other, they looked like they were pictures from my Fathers family photo album which is called Such Good Memories. It has pictures of all the Riley’s that have passed onto the next life. During the documentary I could see where I was sitting, where I was yelling and comforting God. When I saw this I noticed that I was not doing anything at all. It looked like if I was lifeless. As if my soul was not in my body. When the documentary was almost over it was showing Butch’s face turning into me as a grown man.
When I was done remembering, he told me again to remember. Then Butch’s spirit started glowing and turning white and he flew down and hit me with his spirit as if he was a shooting star flying across the sky. The moment he did this I felt so revived and I no longer felt my depression or my anxiety. I felt as if the breath of life was blown right back into me. Then Uncle Butch’s spirit was beginning to fade away and he was telling me one more final time to remember, and when he left you could hear the sound of him giggling.
When he finally left, I closed my eyes again and I had returned back to earth. I was in the exact same place where I was when I was confronting God in my house.
A few weeks after the whole thing happened, I had a vision of me thanking Butch for helping me out. Then I asked him if it was a dream or a vision and he smiled and looked at me and told me, “You decide.”
The next day after my vision with Butch, I went to school. I saw two of my friends, Marshall and Tyler. They told me that they could feel like there was something that was different about me. They told me that it was like if I was a different person, with a smile on their faces. I also noticed that I didn’t have a difficult time communicating with people any more. I didn’t have to repeat myself multiple times when I would talk. My parents even noticed it and they both told me that my speech had become so much better out of nowhere and that I didn’t have to go to the speech therapy classes at my high school after all.
Months later I decided to give my life back to Christ and to get baptized again. This took place sometime around Easter. When I did, I didn’t tell my family I was getting baptized. I didn’t want them to know all the things I was going through. I felt like my darkness was going to hurt them and maybe even make them depressed. So, I lied and told them that I had a friend at my school who wanted to be baptized and he invited me to go support him. Finally, when the day came I was in the front row of the church and I was waiting on my turn to be baptized. While I was waiting, I heard this voice calling my name in my head and it told me, “Bishop, before you get baptized I want you to forgive Shakira for what she did. I know that it doesn’t sound fair, but when you don’t forgive the ones that hurt you, then you are still giving them power over your life and that they don’t deserve it; hate is wrong.” If you are curious to know, when I heard this voice in my head I knew It was not my uncle’s voice that was speaking to me.
It had finally come to be my turn to give my life to Christ. When I went into the water I believed that it was Pastor John who had asked me if, “I accept Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior,” and if I believed that He died on the cross to save me from my sin. When he asked me this, I told him yes. This time when I got baptized, I did it for myself. When he put me in the water it was like I could almost see Uncle Butch smiling down from Heaven and telling me to remember. After Pastor John pulled me out of the water it felt like all of that hate that was inside of me had just magically disappeared. I had felt so brand new and so refreshed from everything that had happened during those three years of my life.
After I got baptized. I realized that I forgot to bring a towel. When my mother picked me up from the church she asked me why I was soaking wet. She told me that, “I thought that your friend was getting baptized.” I smiled and looked at her that “I am my friend.” She asked me how come I got baptized again and why I didn’t tell the family. I told her that there were some personal things that I needed to take care of. I did not want to tell her and the rest of my family because like I already said before, I didn’t want my darkness to come back and haunt them.
After when I was in Heaven with Uncle Butch, I was curious to know why his sash was purple and mine was blue. After having this thought, I decided to go onto Google to look up what they were symbolizing. Along with the other colors that I also saw in the Kingdom of Heaven. These are the colors and the symbols of what they meant when I was having my testimony. The colors that I saw were orange, black, brown, green, purple, blue, red, yellow, gold and white. The brown door that I opened when I saw my uncle and my grandmother in the hospital. What does the color of the green leaves represent in the Bible? “But grow in grace And knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever! Amen.” 2 Peter 3:18.
What does the color brown represent in the Bible? “Life; Change of Season; Born Again: Without Spirit; Repentance Or Turning From Dead Works; Spiritual Death.”
When I saw the light that I touched it was orange. “The color of fire, orange, represents the power and presence of God as well as a prophetic warning.” “The color of enthusiasm and emotion. Orange exudes warmth and joy and is considered a fun color that provides emotional strength. It is optimistic and uplifting, adds spontaneity and positivity to life and encourages social communication and creativity. It is a youthful and energetic color.” “SYMBOLIZES: Emotion, Youth, Optimism, Enthusiasm.” “EFFECTS: Encourages, Uplifts, Stimulates, Communicate.” “POSITIVE: Spontaneity, Creativity, Warmth, Positivity.” “NEGATIVE: Exhibitionism, Superficial, Impatient, Domination.”
The black place that I was in before I touched the orange light. “The color black symbolizes suffering and death in the Bible. It’s used to represent mourning. Job 30:28, 30, Jeremiah 14:2 “famine.” Lamentations 5:10, Revelation 6:5, “judgment of sin.” Jude 13 “death and the grave.” Job 10:21-22, and more. “The color black lacks brightness and hue.” ”Negative, Depression, Sadness, Pessimism, Dominance.” ”Used to: Hide Feelings, Intimidate, Radiate Authority, Create Fear, Associate with Fear.”
When I saw my uncle in heaven he was wearing a purple sash. “Purple stands as a reminder that Jesus is the king of kings. It also represents virtue, spirituality, and physical wealth as with the Proverbs 31 woman.” “The color of spirituality and imagination. Purple inspires us to divulge our innermost thoughts, which enlightens us with wisdom of who we are and encourages spiritual growth. It is often associated with royalty and luxury and its mystery and magic sparks creative fantasies.” “Symbolizes: Spirituality, Mystery, Royalty, Imagination” “Effects: Enlightens, Inspires, Uplifts, Encourages.” “Positive: Compassion, Fantasy, Wisdom, Creativity.” “Negative: Sensitive, Vigilant, Immature, Emotional.”
Purple reminds us that God is King. Deuteronomy 10:17.
When my uncle hugged me in heaven I was turned into an angel and I received a blue sash. “Blue, the color of the priest’s garments, indicates a servant of Heaven and the heavenly authority of a believer in Jesus. It is a reminder to be holy.” Blue-Baptism. “Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not belief will be condemned.” Mark 16:16. “Blue stands for faith.” “We become right with God, not by doing what the law commands, but by faith in Jesus Christ.” Galatians 2:16. BLUE: “The color of trust and loyalty. Blue has a calming and relaxing effect on our psyche, that gives us  peace and makes us feel confident and secure. It dislikes confrontation and too much attention, but it’s an honest, reliable and responsible color and you can always count on its support.” “SYMBOLIZES: Security, Trust, Loyalty, Responsible.” “EFFECTS: Protects, Calms, Relaxes, Supports.” POSITIVE: “Confidence, Peace, Honesty, Reliability.” “NEGATIVE: Conservative, Passive, Depressed, Predictable.”
When I saw my Uncle Butch, his hair was red and it also had a shiny glow to it as if he was wearing a crown as well as me. “Red represents the love of God. It also refers to the blood sacrifice necessary to atone for sins, and the blood of Jesus that makes us righteous before God.” “Red stands for the blood Jesus shed on the cross for our sins.” “God so loved the world that he gave his only son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16.
When the clouds were changing before I saw my uncle’s giant spirit in the sky, they were changing into a yellow/ gold color. “Yellow, or gold, is used to represent the divinity of God and His holiness. Refers to the refining process of fire to make gold your faith” pure.”
“Yellow stands for the promise of eternal life.” “Jesus said, ‘I am going to prepare a place for you … I will come and get you, so that you will always be with me where I am.’” John 14:2-3.
After my uncle told me to remember who I was and refreshed my memory, his spirit began to shine and turn white and came down and hit me. “White, the color of purity and innocence. White is a true balance of all colors. It is associated with cleanliness, simplicity and perfection. It loves to make others feel good and provides hope and clarity by refreshing and purifying the mind. It also promotes open mindedness and self-reflection.” “SYMBOLIZES: Cleanliness, Purity, Innocence, Perfection.” :EFFECTS: Refreshes, Balances, Purifies, Simplifies.” “POSITIVE: Goodness, Hope, Clarity, Openness.” “White stands for being cleansed and forgiven” “Purify me from sins, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.” Psalm 51:7” “White is for our forgiveness.” Psalm 51:7.
What do doors represent in the Bible? “According to biblical scholars, doors signify communication and agreement. Often, when the doors were open they were in communication with God and others. When they were closed, they did not communicate or were not in agreement. That is the foundation of the meaning of open doors.”
What do stars in the Bible represent? “Likewise, stars in the Bible represent divine leadership. The Lord sends His messengers to help guide the people in their spiritual journeys.”
When I was standing on top of the mountain in Heaven. “In the Bible, mountains are often the places where God encounters people, changes their lives and sends them back down to the world.” “Mountains remind us of God’s glory, trials we face, victories we obtain through Christ, or refuge from the enemy.”
What do trees represent in the Bible? “Trees are in the paradise of God. In Revelation 22, we learn that the tree of life bears fruit crops 12 times a year, and its leaves are for healing powers at our disposal now, which is a sign of God’s provision for us.”
My uncle’s voice sounded like thunder and lightning in Heaven. Others said, “An angel has spoken to him.” Jesus answered… Heavenly beings tend to sound like thunder when they talk.”
Why was Uncle Butch raising his hand and staring at the ceiling in the hospital. “Even in the face of death, many people stare at the ceiling in an attempt to avoid looking down. This is because the fear of looking below makes it hard for them to overcome their sadness and pain. When someone dies, they often stare at the ceiling in an attempt to communicate with the deceased’s loved ones.” When my uncle told me that I needed to take on the role that God had for me, I didn’t understand what he meant by that exactly. I mean, I knew that I had a job to do but I didn’t know exactly what I was supposed to do as one of God’s servants.
Right now with the whole world a mess with the whole pandemic due to the Coronavirus, I thought about writing a book and sharing my gift to the world and letting people know that there is a loving God. At first, I had no intentions of writing or sharing my story with anyone because I didn’t want anyone to go around and gossip about me. Or maybe say that I was lying and saying that Bishop is just seeking attention. Or maybe even think that I am going insane or something. The thought of writing this book was tempting me for a while. The fear of judgment was also holding me back from God’s plan and His purpose that He had for my life. The craziest part of this Idea was that I’ve actually never even read a book before. One night before going to bed I sat down and I was praying to God. I was praying and asking God what it was that He wanted me to do and I asked God if He would show me a sign of what He desired and whatever it was I was going to do by His will. The next morning I decided that I wanted to go to church. In some kind of a way I felt like it was going to be more than a service for me. Personally, I felt like it was going to be some type of message that was specifically for me. It’s kind of difficult to explain but when I was in heaven with Butch I kind of knew what to do when I was up there. It was like there were no surprises or any instructions that I needed to follow. It was like my senses were at their peak.
When I went to Abundant Living, the church I attend and where I got baptized, I went inside to take a seat and I waited for the service to start. I think the pastor that was preaching to the church that day was Pastor Adam. During the service, Pastor Adam was talking to us about fear and how you shouldn’t let it separate you from God’s plan. They were also talking about exactly what I was praying for and Pastor Adam was begging to talk about testimonies. Adam was saying how we should all go out into the world and tell people their testimonies. That we shouldn’t let fear get in the way of God’s purpose for our life, for it is an evil spirit. Just like it says in the Bible: “I sought the Lord, and he answered me and delivered me from all my fears. Those who look to him are shall never ashamed.” Psalm 34:4-52. “Even though I walk through the valley of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.” Psalm 23:4. “For I, the LORD your right hand; it is I who say to you, ‘Fear not, I am the one who helps you.’” Isaiah 41:13. “You shall not fear them, for it is the Lord your God who fights for you.” Deuteronomy 3:22. “But fear not, O Jacob my servant, nor be dismayed, O Israel for behold, I will save you from far away, and you from far away, and your offspring from the land of their captivity. Jacob shall return and have quiet and ease, and none shall make him afraid.” Jeremiah 46:27. “Thy Word is a lamp to my feet and light to my path.” Psalm 119:105 “For it is written you shall worship the Lord your God and him only you shall serve.” Luke 4:8.
That is how God answers my prayers on how I should serve him as one of his sons.
What was it that inspired me to write this book? What inspired me was that God sacrificed one of His lambs, my own uncle, to save my life. Like it even says in the Bible: (Matthew 16:25) “For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.”
Another thing that inspired me was seeing Uncle Butch again in the kingdom of heaven and when he was telling me to remember who I was. When my uncle’s spirit flew down and hit me, I felt so refreshed and I felt like I had a second chance at life. There isn’t one day in my life where I haven’t felt my uncle’s spirit inside of me. Satan did destroy a temple that day, but in three years God showed me that it had risen up again from the grave and during that time He also allowed me to see the mansion that He was making for me in His kingdom, and this made me fall so deeply in love with our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Like I always say, I know that you were only Uncle Butch but you will always and will forever be a king in my eyes.
After denying God for three years, He used my Uncle Butch to help restore me, by reminding me who I was three times and showing me that nobody ever truly dies that has our Father in their heart and that God never truly did leave me and that He still wanted me as one of His sons. Moreover, besides being reminded who I was, He reminded me of something even more important, which is that Jesus is the King of kings and that He is Lord over, any man that walk’s on the face of this earth without Him is no man at all. Also, my friends Martel, Daniel, Jasmin and Kassandra who were there supporting me when I was going through the darkest moments of my life.
Finally, the last reason why I have been inspired to write this book is because there are many people who are maybe going through depression, anxiety or maybe even suicidal thoughts. I just want to let these people know to never give up on life. Somewhere in this world you’re someone’s smile. There is a living God who loves you and will never abandon you even if you abandon Him like I did. I couldn’t ever ask for a better God.
Now at this time I would like to give the biggest thank you to the person who helped publish this book. Where do I even begin to start? First of all, you are truly a genuine Christian. You are a warrior who serves Christ and you do not fear the enemy. You have helped me to walk out onto the water with Jesus with this book. You have encouraged me into becoming the servant that the Lord has called me to be. You’ve kept and made your promise with God. I could never thank you enough for everything that you did. God surely knew what He was doing with His pen, especially by allowing Renee to introduce us to each other. I think I might get into ministry one day. I am here in prayer over your grandson Ptolemy Henson. I know that the Lord will not forsake him but bless him. You should write a book too someday and tell your story. Thank you for everything, you have a big heart Grandma Jacqueline. I love you and God bless your soul.
REMEMBER! Even when we go through pain or sorrow in life…God has a way to remind us there is always a reason to live and to be happy we are here. Recently I found out that I too will be an uncle to a little life that has yet to join us. My sister is having a BABY!!! Best part is, that she will have my namesake and will be a shining KNIGHT when she arrives. I am so excited I can’t wait to finally see you, my beautiful little niece. I am on the way to come and meet you. I wonder what our Lord and Savior has planned for you and me? Maybe you and me could go fishing one day. My uncle was going to take me fishing when I was younger but we didn’t get the chance to because Jesus wanted him to go live with Him in heaven. But instead of him teaching me how to fish he taught me something even better, he taught me how to be a fisher of men.
Your Uncle Bishop loves you so very much. I finally understand one of the reasons why Jesus told me to forgive Mommy three years ago, you’ve made my heart a little softer. I suppose that little nieces must be magical because, you have opened a door that I thought would have never been open before, Mommy and me are finally friends. We are also speaking to each other now and it’s all because of you!!! Your Great Uncle Butch told me about you in a dream that I had. He told me that I will be getting a really big surprise very soon.  I hope that I will be as good as a teacher and a uncle to you as my Uncle Butch was to me. As one of Jesus’ disciples, Uncle Bishop is mostly grateful for one thing, having you as the key to my smile. Your name is the most beautiful story that has ever been told. Do you know what your name means, you don’t know what your name means? Ok, let Uncle Bishop explain to you what your name means. The meaning of your name means Christmas, but there is a lot more to it than that. Christmas is the day that the Virgin Mary gave birth to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Did you know that, “God loves the world so much that he gave us his one and only son that whoever believes in him shall not perish but will have everlasting life.” John 3:16. That’s what your name means, my beautiful little niece. Uncle Bishop loves you baby girl. Welcome to the world, Noelle KNIGHT Herrera!!!