It was a two way kind of life because I lived this very public persona that was a very successful woman and inside of me I was a very angry, hurt, bitter, person. And the way that people realized that it was showing - or the way that I thought that I expressed it - was through the choices that I made: alcohol, drugs, promiscuous behavior. Swearing a lot. Those were some of the ways that my pain was showing itself.
I finally, eventually, saw a psychiatrist who counseled me and helped me through very painful parts of my life and told me that I was mostly...his vision...his image of me was that I was round peg trying to fit in a square hole or one of those old clichÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¯Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â¿Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â½s, idioms, whatever.
On one hand I was very famous: I couldn't walk through the city without being photographed; I was always on the news in doing television talk shows and so forth; very popular with the media people. And on the other hand, I lived a life that every time I went to me...went home, I would think: Tonight is the night I'm going to kill myself." In fact, I attempted to commit suicide on three occasions that I can recall right now. So I had that very difficult kind of a life.
I decided early on in my life in this local political scenario that I could do a better job than the local politicians and I wanted to run for office. And I began to prepare myself. In fact, I did hire my own campaign manager and we were planning and plotting and getting people together and beginning to raise funds to take on my boss. And I did quit my job so that I could do this effectively.
During the course of this political campaign, which was in its very formative stages, I did have the endorsement of a local TV station and a newspaper, but outside of that, it was in its formative stages. During that period, I began to hear voices and I began...and I thought that I was having a mental breakdown. Actually, that was my first thought: that I was falling apart. And the more I heard these voices, the more I drank.
You need to understand that because of the life that I lived, I smoked quite a lot of cigarettes. I was smoking 3 packs of cigarettes a day and drinking coffee all the time. And I was for all intents and purposes, anorexic. I was weighing 78 pounds, literally. I wore a size three that was too big for me during that time and I...because of that kind of abusive way of living, I ended up in the hospital. I had a stroke that was medically-induced during this period. It was just a horrendous time of great things and very bad things.
So here I was running for this office and having these stresses relating to my relationship with my boss. Because I lied a lot at the time. You need to understand that I did not just say: "I want to be a politician". You know, it is true that we politicians lie a lot. And I thought that my way of segueing out of the job was to lie my way out of it rather than to just simply look him in the eye and say: "I'm through with this job and I'm going to run against you."
So all of these stresses from trying to hold the stories together and keep things together - plus the fact that I was entering into uncharted waters created in my perhaps what I thought. And that's how I related the voices that I heard in the beginning. I thought this is all related to those factors. Plus I was drinking quite a lot. And because of my weight, the size that I was (as I mentioned, I was 78 pounds), a friend of mine who was a lawyer suggested that I use marijuana to gain weight. And so I had started using marijuana in addition to the fact that I was eating everything in sight, including the kitchen sink. I was also becoming more and more paranoid. So I thought all of those things induced the voices I was hearing. So I paid no attention to them. I had a friend of mine who had heard voices. And she was a very popular media personality and heard voices and ended up in a mental institution. And I felt that that was where I was heading. And I should go there. Except, it turned out in my case that these voices really was God calling me. And that was the amazing turn around in my story.
There was nothing...at first I did not understand the "God" thing, because I was an atheist. I did not at all believe in God. And if someone had suggested to me at that time that this was God, I would not have a frame of reference for this God-being.
I felt that people who believed in God were weak and could not make decisions on their own. And needed to lean on an invisible being to do that. So, I did not assume that it was God, initially. I knew that some thing was invading my life and disrupting my life in a very particular way. I think I discovered it was God through two experiences which may show you how I came about.
Her First Epiphany
I was ...I had ...I might say, successfully disengaged myself from my boss from the Mayor, he just passed away earlier this year so...I want to mention that somehow. But I had, in some way, disengaged myself from him. And one of the things that I had done...there was a lot of investigations happening and I had stolen some files that I knew would indict some people in the city. And I had stolen these files and hidden them in my home. And when the time came that it was discovered that I was the one who had taken them, I was...I went to his office to confront him. And I remember just this "being" over him. And he was sitting on the other side of the desk and I was just screaming, foul language, words that not even sailors would use, in fact, I swore so much, if I ran out of swear words, I made them up. I would connect two swear words and I would be creative with...you know, I was ...invectives like you cannot believe.
And he needed to have someone negotiate us through these muddy waters and he invited the personnel director for the city to come and talk with us. When he came, I continued the caustic manner in which I was addressing him. And I remember the personnel director saying: "Hyveth, you know, a soft answer turneth away wrath". And I had never heard those words before. And I remember turning my head and almost like my neck would snap. You know, it was such an instant reaction to those words. Because they pierced through something. They passed my brains, beyond my heart, into my very soul and I needed to know: "Where did you get those words?" I stopped and said: "Where did you get those words?" And he said: "Out of the Bible." And I said: "I want to see it." And before I left that day, he gave me a red King James Version of the Bible. And I went home and I read that Bible from Genesis to Revelation. I did not sleep. I stayed up and read the whole thing. It took me maybe about seven days, but I did. So that was one event that changed...that had an impact, that began to make me realize that there is something or someone, a "being", God.
Her Second Transformational Experience
And after that, I had another experience that came about as a result of all of these things that I did in the context of trying to get myself elected in the city because they had never had a black. They had never had a female. And I wanted to be the first black female Mayor in the United States. And that was my goal, that was my dream. And so I would stop at nothing. There was nothing that I would not do to have that.
Of course, I did not have any underlying principles. I didn't care. This is what I wanted. And I didn't care how I got it. And so the second incident was that having been discovered that I had been doing all these things, I was persona non grata of course, in many circles, where I was once welcome. Also, there were some people who were very threatened by what I had done, because I had information that could jeopardize their safety and security and they did go after me. And when I discovered that I was...my actions had been discovered, I began to run away, literally run away. And in the process of running away, I ended up in a safe house.
And I won't go into too much description of this place, but when I got there, it was just a funny way of my getting there. I had taken...I had flown in...my son was a young boy at the time...I had taken him out by night, put him on an airplane...couldn't get him on without someone, so I flew with him to New York. Put him on an airplane to outside of the United States...and then took a bus back to my home because I couldn't get another flight. And when I got home, it was like two in the morning- and someone was in my home. And this person later just totally destroyed my house.
But that's another story.
I ran from there seeing this person in the house and realizing that my life was in danger, I ran from there into a...I called a cab...and I called the cab and the cab was taking me to this place where I knew I could be. Then I had him call another cab and I was crawling from cab to cab on the floor so that I could ...if someone was following me, this was just like a weird movie happening in my life. But anyway, I got to this safe house early in the morning, maybe by then five in the morning, I have no idea. But it was in the morning. I remember hearing the birds ...the sounds of the birds.....that early morning sound as I was dozing off in the sofa. And I fell off into a very, very deep sleep. And as I slept I realized that I would not come back.
You know there are many Christians and many people who say that people don't have this experience where you know you are dying and you see light and everything like that. I think they do because I did. I really believe that people do. I think some people exaggerate and some people make more of it so they can get on Oprah Winfrey or something. But I do think there is a moment in some people's experience where they have this experience...something. And I had that. I felt that...at that moment, I saw myself dying and I knew...I felt that I had stepped outside of my body and I was standing outside of my body looking at myself laying there. And I knew I was not going to be reconnected with that body. I knew this was it. I didn't see my life pass before me. I didn't see God and angels or anything like that.
The weirdest thing and the only thing that I recall is that I saw all the ice cream that I had never eaten. And I kept screaming: "I haven't had," you know, "Mississippi Mud!" or something like that. That's what I saw pass before me because I am that kind of a crazy person perhaps.
But anyway, as I watched this happening and I realized that I was never going to be reconnected, I heard a voice say to me, come with me and I will give you peace and joy forevermore. And I knew then it was God. I don't know why I knew this voice was God. And I can never explain it to anyone. But it was in that moment that I knew I heard God. And I had been hearing him many times before but we didn't' connect. This time we connected. And I said, I want to live, I want to live. And this voice said if you will follow me and do exactly as I tell you to do, I will give you life. I didn't understand then that it was eternal life. I wanted to live physically, naturally. And before I ...the voice said to me: "You will know that I spoke to you because three things are going to happen in your life. And the first one..." (this voice...and it was a male sounding voice and I don't know what intonation it had because I wasn't taking notes about that. I wanted to live and that's all I cared about. I was a very selfish narcissistic person so I didn't care about anything else. I think that...and before I woke up and regained consciousness this voice said to me): "You will know that I spoke to you because three things will happen: Number one someone is going to come to you and they will say to you: "I have come to take you home." And when they do, you must go with them. And the second time, for the rest of your life, as long as you live on this earth, no matter what the weather, no matter where you are, you will always see flowers." I will always...you will always be reminded and I can tell you some incredible stories of being in strange places, snow covered places, and found a rose that someone dropped and I would remember. I have been in the desert and found a flower, just one little flower peaking up. And I remembered that yes, I had this encounter.
And the third one was something that I needed to do with this encounter, that was not for public consumption and I have never shared...I have tried on one occasion to share it and just got befuddled. And I have just not bothered to share it. But there were these three things. Well, I got up and being sanguine and if you know anything about sanguine people we've very dramatic and you know...the life of the party and everything like that, I got up. I had my life. And I decided to go out and buy a long green gown and wear it to the corner, one of the street corners, busiest street corners and just begin to tell people that Jesus lives and that God is love and I've never read a Bible and didn't know what I was talking about. But you know, I felt I had to pay back since I was alive. And particularly since I'd been an atheist.
Anyway, some of my friends came and grabbed me, threw me in a car, smacked me a couple of times, poured some alcohol down me - and I came to my senses. And I quit smoking for about two weeks. Here I was smoking three packs of cigarettes. I quit smoking for about two weeks. And I refused to smoke. I was going to be a Christian. And I thought I had heard the King James version and I began to speak in King James. I thou who art thou...that sort of thing. I didn't know how to pray, so I used to hang my head out the window and say: "Hey, JC, this is Hyveth Williams, here is my social security number..." You know, it was just crazy stuff. I did this for maybe a month and then one day, I said: "Wait a minute! I don't even believe in God! What's the matter with me? I must be totally crazy! And so I went back to my lifestyle: smoking again, drinking, and I had a business at the time in public relations and I remember calling my secretary and we went out and bought a case of champagne and we put the champagne in the freezer in the basement and some in the freezer in the kitchen. And we started drinking in the afternoon.
And by maybe 2:00 and by 5:00 we were zonked. And we were sitting just making stupid plans and talking silly things and everything like that and the champagne that was in the upstairs, in the freezer...if you freeze champagne, the bottles burst and it sounds like bullets. And we were there all zonked and suddenly: "Bang! Bang! Bang! We were diving under chairs and screaming and thinking...you know. I'm saying: "Oh God, I'll be a Christian if that's..." It is crazy. I shouldn't really tell this story.
So anyway, in the middle of this chaos, with the champagne bottles going off, the door bell rings and this man that I knew, he and his wife, I had not seen them for about ten years or more, they were standing there. I opened the door and I'm, you must understand that I'm really out of it, cigarette hanging out, just totally.
And he said: "I have come to take you home."
And I remember just sobering up instantly and falling apart then.
Just not knowing what to do. And so I went. And in his home, one night, maybe the second night that I was there, I had this incredible encounter with God and I knew then that it was God.
And I fought with him and wrestled with Him. And I said: " You will not have my life. I don't want to be a Jesus-freak. I do not want to be a zombie. I do not want to be what I had seen so many Christians being. I do not want to be a phony. I don't want to be fake and unreal. I want to be happy and live life and have joy and still be a Christian. And I will not go with you."
And ...we wrestled all night and I remember in the morning, I was so exhausted, and I said: "You know what? I can't fight with you anymore because I'm not going to win. I will go with you. But if you ever, ever, ever let me down, if you ever lie to me, if you ever turn me into something that I'm not, I will spend the rest of my life telling people that you are not to be believed."
That was how I became a Christian