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Freedom Living Blog

  • Writer's pictureNadia Spradlin

I Didn't Want My Life, So I Gave It to Him

Updated: Sep 23, 2021

My name is Nadia Spradlin. I grew up in Austin, Texas and I had a very unusual upbringing and grew up completely isolated from much of the world. My parents believe, live, and teach a Hindu religion. I grew up in an international cult chanting mindless mantras on strings of tulsi beads, worshiping demonic gods on an altar, and doing yoga on a regular basis. It was all I knew for the first twenty years of my life.

In 2015, I heard the Gospel for the first time in my life and gave my life to Jesus Christ. That was the greatest moment of my life. God placed some amazing people in my life to disciple, teach, and lead me closer to Jesus. In 2019, God asked me to leave everything I knew and move to Cleveland, Tennessee. It was a giant leap of faith, but I knew God had great and mighty plans. I ended up applying for an office manager position at Divine Design Natural Health. It was my dream job. I thought this was the reason for the move, but it ended up being so much more! I am now married to Dr. Brett Spradlin, the owner of Divine Design Natural Health. The story of our relationship is a powerful testimony, but that's a story for another day.

There were many trials and tribulations that led me to where I am now, but through each one, I've grown closer to the Lord. I look back on all the years that led me here, and I wouldn't change a thing. The lyrics to one of my favorite songs, All Along, sums it up.

"Tomorrow when I turn around

And look back at today

I will understand Your purpose

And my thankful heart will say

All along Your hand has been guiding me."

Shortly after moving to Cleveland, TN, I had the honor of meeting the Seals family. Andria has become one of my closest and dearest friends. She is incredibly gifted and a wonderful friend. I was honored when she asked me to share my testimony for her blog. If you don't currently follow her on social media or subscribe to her website, I highly recommend that you do! Her story, content, and heart will bless you beyond measure.

What was your upbringing like?

My siblings and I grew up isolated from the world that many know. Before I was born, my parents had gotten involved in a religion rooted in Hinduism. That was the primary focus of everything we did and learned growing up. Our daily lives consisted of meditating for hours each day, practicing yoga regularly, studying Hindu scriptures and stories, and worshiping gods on an altar. I now know these to be demonic idols.

My mom graduated with an English major from a prestigious east coast Ivy League school. She taught in public school for a short time, so she homeschooled us through high school. My dad was from England. In the 1960s, he hitchhiked across Europe to India and got connected with people teaching meditation and yoga. My dad taught us daily from the Bhagavad Gita.

I have eight siblings, but most of them were older. I grew up with an older brother, younger sister, and younger brother in the house. My parents ran a yoga and meditation center. We spent a lot of time there with my mom teaching yoga and meditation while my dad taught meditation and yoga philosophy. I watched a lot of people become intrigued with everything they taught, start practicing yoga and meditation, and unknowingly getting deeper and deeper into a religious cult.

My parents sat under a guru who proclaimed to be a messenger from God. He guided, taught, and directed every decision that everyone in the international community made. We had to be sure to please him, follow everything he said, and obey him. If we didn't do those things or if we spoke badly of him, we had displeased God and our life was practically over. We were taught to believe in reincarnation. We might have been a dog, a mosquito, or a rat in our past lives. We had to take advantage of being a human in this life. If we chanted enough mantras, we could get off the "wheel of birth and death" and go to be with God when we die. But we had to work hard at it, be really good, and not mess up this one chance we had.

Because we believed in reincarnation, we were also vegetarians. We couldn't eat a cow or a chicken, because it could be a family member! If we killed another living being, we had countless lives added onto our future. The only way to get rid of those was to chant more mantras and worship more gods. There was so much striving and no peace. I was constantly fearful. I feared not doing enough or being good enough. I feared death. I always felt like there were people around every corner waiting to kill me, and I constantly had dreams of people hunting and killing me. I lived in a paralyzing state of fear. We were not allowed to listen to secular music, watch television, or spend time with people outside our way of life. Looking back, I am so thankful that my parents did not allow us to be exposed to so many unnecessary things that kids unfortunately grow up around. Though there was a lot of wisdom in this, there were of course some downsides. One of the main downsides is that our lives were mostly planned out for us. We didn't have to make decisions. This religion believed in arranged marriages. When I got old enough and was ready to get married, a spouse would be selected for me. The thought of this terrified me. Observing many dysfunctional marriages and relationships in our community, I didn't look forward to any future.

My parents didn't believe in worldly goods, so we never had extravagant things. I never worried about going hungry. I never heard my parents talk about lacking money. As I grew older, it became evident that I would never have concerns about money. I didn't have to work to pay bills. I would never worry about providing for my future family as long as I followed the plan for my life. I'd be okay. I had a car to drive, a phone, a place to live, and food on the table.

Though I had everything I needed, the thoughts of what my future held led to depression and suicidal thoughts.

What did people outside your way of life think of you and your family?

We had no intimate relationships with anyone outside our community, but as a child, I participated in soccer, dance classes, and music lessons. Everyone we encountered thought we were a normal family. We were told never to go into detail about what we believed. Peoples' minds were so polluted by the world that they would be unable to understand our beliefs. People in the world needed to practice yoga and meditation to cleanse their minds before they could receive the truth. So whoever we were around, my parents related to their beliefs as much as they could. I watched my parents ask questions, control the conversations, and agree with just enough of what people said to never have them wonder if we believed differently than them.

No one ever came over to our house, so they never saw the pictures of Hindu gods all over our walls. They never saw the altar with pictures of our guru and multiple demonic idols. They never saw the incense, the conch shells, the instruments, or the artik trays with items that we offered to the gods daily. They never watched us bow down on the floor each time the altar was opened. They never saw us repeating mantras over 1200 times per day on our strands of tulsi beads. They only saw what appeared to be a typical American family.

What did you think of people outside your way of life?

My parents always told us that those who didn't believe in God the way we do were lost and would die in a fearful and miserable way. They told us that other people, particularly Christians, were acting happy or they had convinced themselves that they were happy. When I saw people who seemed truly happy, I reminded myself that they were putting on an act. It was so discouraging to feel so unhappy, so fearful, so empty, but to believe that everyone else was even worse off than I was.

If this was as happy as I would ever be, what was the use? Did I really want to live the rest of my life depressed, anxious, fearful, and miserable? I saw my family, the people in my community, and the future that was planned for me, and I wanted no part of it. By the time I was 20 years old, I was severely depressed and planned to commit suicide.

How did your friend share Christ with you? What were your thoughts or feelings when they first did this?

My initial encounters with Christ were through coworkers and patients. The first way they shared was how they lived their lives. I watched how they thought, made decisions, and how happy they seemed. At first I thought it was all an act, but the longer I knew them, the more I realized that they had something in them that I'd never seen before. I worked in natural health and met one particular patient who was a cancer survivor. Due to all the surgeries, chemo, and drugs, she was very sick and in extreme levels of constant pain. There was no reason she should be happy, but each time I saw her, she was full of joy and peace. That didn’t make sense to me. How could someone who is going through all that be so happy? One day, this patient mentioned something about Jesus to me. I told her I didn't know what she meant. I had heard of Jesus but only as another servant and messenger of God just like the guru we followed. What was I missing? Who was Jesus really? She started talking about the Word of God, the Bible, and what Jesus did for us. Sin, salvation, grace, and forgiveness were completely foreign to me. I asked her if she would be willing to meet me sometime to answer some questions. She gladly agreed. I didn't have anything to live for, so what did I have to lose by finding out who Jesus was?

We started meeting once a week for lunch. She brought her Bible, answered my questions, and pointed me to the Word of God. I asked some tough questions, but even when she didn't have all the answers that completely made sense to me, she pointed me to One who did. She would say, "Just keep reading God's Word. He's going to show you." She often quoted Jeremiah 29:13-14 to me. " 'You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you,' declares the Lord…"

This brought a peace to my heart that I never felt before. I kept seeking, reading, listening, asking questions, and learning. There were pieces of the Bible that seemed familiar to me. There were stories in the Hindu scriptures that had similar aspects. The difference was that there was redemption, victory, salvation, hope, and healing in the Bible. Those things were not present in the Hindu scriptures and stories.

What made you finally give your life to Jesus?

My friend continued meeting with me each week for lunch. As we got closer and became friends, she would invite me to spend time with her family on the weekends. It was a welcome reprieve from the depression and anxiety that increased at home on the weekends. She invited me to church many times, and one Sunday I started going. I told my parents that I was searching for what I believed. I didn't know if I believed what they did anymore. I told them I was studying the Bible. I knew that no one in my parents' community/religion ever left. You just didn't do that. We were told what to believe and what we were allowed to do. So when my parents told me that I could do whatever I wanted and believe whatever I wanted, I was shocked. There was, however, one simple condition. They told me, "You can do whatever you want and believe whatever you want as long as you don't believe that Jesus died on a cross for you."

Growing up, they told me that the Bible was just another religious book written by men. Jesus was a messenger of God just like our guru was. "Evil people in that day didn't like Jesus, so they brutally murdered him. In the years that followed, people created a religion that believed he was sacrificed for us so that we can live our lives any way we desire. You don't have to work to get to God, and you don't have to live a holy life. You just pray a prayer and go to heaven." This was my only understanding of Christianity.

So they told me that I could do what I want and believe what I want but just don't believe the lie that hundreds of thousands of people all over the world believe. Jesus simply never died on the cross for our sins. He does not offer salvation. He did not heal us. No one can do any of that.

It was so interesting to me that they didn't want me to believe the one thing I was studying. It was no coincidence, and it only encouraged me to continue asking questions and reading the Bible. As the months went on, I felt hope but still battled suicidal thoughts. One Friday, my friend showed up at my work. She told me to go home, pack my bags, and follow her home. We had plans for the weekend.

We drove to the first night of a weekend conference. Dan Mohler was preaching all weekend. It was overwhelming. The worship was beautiful and Dan Mohler talked about Jesus and His love for us. I longed to believe him but still had so many questions. He prayed for people at the end of the night, and many testified of being healed. My mind battled with believing that too. I didn't know these people. They could be faking! No one could get healed in a moment. It just wasn't possible.

The next day, we attended the second night of the conference. When Dan Mohler prayed for people needing healing, my friend stood up to announce that the pain in her body was gone. I couldn't believe it. I had known her for nine months. I knew her pain was real. One side of her body could not be touched. I had to be careful how I hugged her. She would collapse from the pain if anyone touched her too hard. I was speechless the whole way back to her house. How was this possible? In a moment, she was pain free. How does that even happen? The questions were spinning in my head, but I couldn't deny what I saw.

At this point, I had one question stopping me from accepting Jesus into my life. "Why would Jesus die for me?" We went to church the next day. The topic was "Why would Jesus die for me?" I gave my life to Jesus that day!

What changed about your life once you accepted Jesus' sacrifice?

EVERYTHING! I walked out of church that morning filled with so much joy that I didn't know what to do. I told my friend I felt like skipping through the parking lot and with no hesitation, we did just that. We skipped, laughed, and celebrated. I felt happy for the first time in my life. We went out to lunch and ordered a salad but told them to put the chicken on the side. As usual, I was going to let my friend eat it. When the food arrived, I looked at the chicken. For the first time in my life, it looked like food to me. I no longer worried that it was a family member or that I would be punished if I ate it. Astounded, I told my friend. She excitedly told me to eat it. It. Was. Delicious.

My health, although greatly improved, had reached a plateau. After getting saved, being set free, and eating meat for the first time in my life, those remaining health issues started quickly disappearing. Two weeks after getting saved, I moved out of my parents' house and went to live with my friend and her family for a few months until I figured out what God had for me next.

From the moment I opened my eyes in the morning until I went to sleep at night, everything in my life looked different. The things I used to do each day, I didn't do anymore. The people I was surrounded with, I didn't see anymore. The way I previously thought, I didn't think anymore. The constant fear that I lived with, I didn't live with anymore. In one day, everything changed. God set me free!

What are any challenges you have faced since becoming a follower of Christ?

The biggest challenge has probably been learning how to have a relationship with my family. For quite a few months, I didn't see them or talk to them very often. It was incredibly hard, but it was God allowing me a season to grow in my relationship with Him without being pulled back into my past. When that season was over, He released me to begin rebuilding my relationship with my family. I struggled with learning what it meant to honor my father and mother when my father and mother worshiped the devil rather than God. It was painful to have family members reject me, give me the silent treatment, and constantly try to make me feel guilty for leaving home and "hurting them." My family could not understand what had happened to me. They were convinced that I had been deceived and that I was lost, when in reality it was the other way around. It was difficult to finally realize that my parents were in an international cult. I discovered who my family was. My whole life was based on lies. As I learned more about it, I realized that it was a miracle that I got out. God truly parted the Red Sea and made a way for me.

Another challenge was learning basic life skills: how to find a job, how to pay bills, how to find a place to live, how to spend my time, how to make friends, how to be a friend, how to communicate with others…etc. There were many skills that people learn growing up or do on a daily basis without thinking about it. As a 21 year old, I had to figure these things out. Shortly after becoming a Christian, God led me to return everything I had that belonged to my parents. I gave them back their credit cards and their car.

For the first time in my life, I questioned if I would have a place to live, if I would have food to eat, and if I would be safe. Though I had a whole new set of challenges, I never again had the crippling fear that I experienced every day of my life for 21 years. God was not a distant, unknown, scary figure I was striving to reach. He was now my Father. He doesn't leave me nor forsake me. He is my Protector and my Provider. He is with me every moment of every day. I need only call on Jesus.

What lessons have you learned?

I've learned a lot in the past six years. I'm still learning. There's so much of my testimony and my life that can't be written in one post, but just know this. Jesus Christ is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through Him. If you don't want your life, give it to Him. He wants it. He made you, and He has a future and a plan for you. It's better than anything you could ask or even imagine. He will work EVERYTHING for your good. Just trust Him. I've learned the power of prayer. I didn't know it at the time, but there were many people praying for my salvation. If you have family members who don't know Jesus, pray for them. God hears your prayers. I'm still believing for my family to be saved. I'm standing on a promise that they will come to know Jesus. God parted the Red Sea for me, and I know He'll do it for my family too. The most important thing I've learned is God's identity. He loves you with an everlasting love. He desires to have a relationship with you. He is the answer to everything you're looking for. His name is Jesus.

Is there anything else you feel led to share?

Yes. Growing up in a cult that was a mix of Hindu religion and new age beliefs, I am particularly discerning when I'm around those things now. It has crept its way into the Christian church. One of the biggest ways this has happened is through yoga. Many people are doing yoga, unaware of its actual origin. Even worse, there are places that offer "Christian yoga" or "holy yoga." Neither of those things exist. Yoga is rooted in Hinduism and occultism. I began doing yoga as a small child and have done thousands of hours of yoga throughout my life. My parents professionally teach yoga. So I do not make the following statement flippantly or without validity.

A true Christian who believes the Bible simply cannot do yoga. The yoga poses are all worship to different gods. Yoga means "to yoke." When you do yoga, you are yoking yourself to those gods. It doesn't matter if you pray while doing them or rename the poses, you are still paying homage to ancient demon gods. Yoga is the gateway into the cult in which my parents teach. New people go through yoga classes for months before they are allowed to attend ongoing meditation classes. I watched yoga "brainwash" many people throughout my life, and sadly, I still see it happen with Christians. You may not realize the effect it's having on you now, but trust me when I say that yoga is worship. It's not worship to God. It's worship to the many gods of Hinduism. The final thing I would like to share is regarding salvation. Please don't ever assume that your coworkers, friends, or family members have accepted Jesus into their heart. They may have "grown up in church", their parents might be Christians, and they may even have read the Bible. But do they know Jesus?

For instance, one of my brothers works as an audio engineer for a megachurch. He has worked there for years, but he doesn't know Jesus. How many people in that church have walked past him or talked to him and don't realize he is going to hell? Hundreds of people will walk right by him again this Sunday. They will sit down in a comfortable chair, worship Jesus, listen to a practical sermon, and go home without knowing that the very person who made the entire service audible is actually going home to unknowingly worship the devil. I think back on my childhood. I didn't hear the Gospel until I was 20 years old. Don't let another day pass without making sure you know where your friends and family are going when they die. Life is short. Eternity is forever.

Do you know who Jesus really is?

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