Introduction by Teresa Taylor, Bipsy’s producer and friend:
In March of 2009, Bipsy was brutally murdered by her fiancée. We all mourn the loss of this amazing gift from God. Thankfully, we had just finished mastering her CD and she was very happy with the result. Her family and I decided to go ahead and release this CD. Her music will live on forever.
Thank you for taking a listen and supporting her memory.
Here is our BattleCry:
O Death, Where Is Thy Sting?
“Prophesy over these bones:
‘Dry bones, listen to the Message of God!’”
So I prophesied, just as he commanded me.
The breath entered them and they came alive!
They stood up on their feet, a huge army.
The following is Bipsy’s testimony:
My father was an Armenian from Iran and I am the youngest of four children. We lived in North Carolina and had a very strict upbringing--we weren't allowed to associate with other children or do anything outside of home and basic school. My mother was also never allowed to leave the house or even get her drivers license. My father was very abusive mentally and physically, and boasted to my mother that he cheated on her and there was nothing she could do about it. He threatened her with death if she were to ever try to leave. He claimed to be a Christian and made us read the Bible and pray. So naturally, I grew up with a very twisted perception of God.
Since we couldn't do other things or have friends, we all read a lot of books and lacked social skills. I was beat up and teased mercilessly in school by children who went to church and claimed to be Christians. So at the age of nine, I started reading books on anything spiritual aside from Christianity to find another way. I was seeing "ghosts" so I thought I had ESP and read many books about that. I became fascinated with the hippie era--the music, the rebellion, the feminist movement and started wearing my moms old hippie clothes. This got me teased and beat up even more. At the age of 11, I hated waking up in the morning to go to school. I was depressed and i constantly fantasized about running away.
I begged my father for piano lessons, but he wouldn't budge. I begged him to let me join the youth community theater, but he would again hear nothing of it. I loved art and wanted so badly to travel and live life. My sister wanted to join the school choir and my father said no and could give her no good reason why. He said the uniform cost too much but she said shed make her own. He still said no, so our mom spent the 4 dollars on the fabric behind his back. When my sister came home from school, our dad had spread the fabric out on her floor. He had cut the word "NO" into it in huge letters. As she broke down crying, he laughed and smiled. I began to fear that we would never be free from our father. I'd cry myself to sleep at night if I even slept at all.
I read a book about how you could use more than 10 percent of your brain to levitate objects, so I tried that. I read a lot of Freud and Mesmer. Then I started reading books about self-hypnosis and palm reading. I found that self-hypnosis was an escape from a hated reality for me and I felt it brought me into some sort of spiritual realm. The more I got into these things, the more the children (and even the teachers) teased and humiliated me. I remember waking up laughing, having had dreams of taking a gun and murdering all the children and teachers who tormented me.
At the age of 12, we escaped my father by a miracle. It took my mother 2 nightmarish years to gain full custody of us. Once they separated, I pretty much went wild. I could suddenly go out and do whatever i wanted. I began experimenting with drugs and drinking heavily and smoking. It wasn't long before I was coerced into losing my virginity. I felt so empty and hurt and worthless and I didn't know why. What I had learned from my father pretty much was that a woman's entire purpose in life was to be a sex object to please men. And all the nasty guys I hung around seemed to feel the same way. I guess, when I look back, I always wanted power. Being pushed down and trodden over my whole life made me want to have some kind of control. I wanted revenge.
I got into witchcraft--it began with spell-books. I would try to do the spells and then be disappointed that they didn't work. I became frustrated, and as a 12-year-old little girl, I prayed to Satan for demons to fill me so that I could have power. After this time, I became very tormented, more so than before. I thought I was going insane. When I would get drunk or take drugs, it would only be worse. My "friends" had to restrain me a couple times because I would become so uncontrollable and violent. They said I would scream things like, "God hates me!" and "I'm going to hell!!" Yet when I was sober, I was a self-supposed intellectual who didn't believe in foolish things like hell and the devil. Interesting that the devil, whom I had prayed to, now caused me to think that I didn't believe in his existence. One time when I was freaking out, they shut me into a room and I saw flames leaping everywhere and heard a voice telling me to "kill the Christians, kill all the Christians!"
I attempted suicide for the first time after my first boyfriend dumped me. I drank a whole fifth of vodka and took an entire bottle of Tylenol. I didn't even get sick. I laid there all night waiting to die and then cursing God for not letting me die!
My brother and sister became friends with a Christian girl from their school named Nikki, and she invited us to her church. We went and I met Nikki. She was the epitome of the kind of girl that usually teased me--pretty, popular, good grades, nice family. Instead of being repulsed by my appearance like other "church people" had always been, she was very kind and said she liked how I dressed so uniquely. I'll never forget this: she told me once, "i like how you're bold about your opinions, God's really going to use that one day for Him." I laughed at the time, but what a concept! Instead of condemning me for the obvious, she gave me hope for my future. Needless to say, I started watching her like a hawk to see if she was a fake, but she seemed to be equally loving to everyone, and her devotion to God seemed sincere. One time I was taken advantage of by an older guy and was crying the next day about it at her church. I didn't know of anyone I could tell, so I told her. She grabbed my hands and prayed for me and tears came to her eyes and I was completely shocked that she really cared about me so much. It was moving, but I felt that her prayers would do no good since I was an enemy of her God. (I believe it is because of Nikki that my family is saved today. Wherever you are, thank you!)
Isaac started to change. He had been downcast and very quiet for the past few years. He never looked people in the eye, hardly ever looked up and he mumbled so much when he talked, no one could understand him. He hated when people were loud and never did anything to draw attention to himself. In church one day, he came up to the alter and started praying with a group in the front. Suddenly, he started shaking ever so slightly; I could tell he was trying to fight it since he was not a showy person, but he finally gave in. He raised up his hands to heaven and seemed to be so filled with joy!! If my brother could respond this way, I knew he wasn't faking.
The next day, he was coming downstairs with a crate of CDs. We were both music freaks and liked a lot of the same stuff. I said, "Where are you going with those?"
"I'm going to go throw them away!"
"WHAT?! Are you crazy? Why?"
"Its not pleasing to God that I listen to this music so I'm getting rid of it."
Wow, I thought. I hated fake people and I honestly appreciated when people stood up for what they believed. I may have acted like he was nuts at the time, but deep inside, I admired this. I admired Nikki too. Even though I teased her, it was half-hearted--I wanted what she had, a purpose for living.
I was getting in trouble almost every day. I didn't want to but I felt like I had no control. All this desire for power had somehow made me a slave…. I was a slave to my own desires and could not resist anything, even when I wanted to. How is that freedom? I kept running away from home, getting in trouble with the police. Messing around with guys, girls; getting drunk and doing stupid things I regretted. I would go into rages and not remember what I had said or done. One time I wrote a long and psychotic description of how I was going to torture and kill my mother, and I could not remember writing it. I was horrified of myself and so was she.
On New Years Eve of 95/96, I attempted suicide for the last time. I was staying with some family in New York and had stolen my fathers little revolver, with the original intention of killing my whole family with it—I can't believe I ever thought that, I'm now so sensitive to violence. Well, up in my Aunt and Uncles attic, I became so depressed, I just decided to kill myself right then. It was my first and last time ever holding a gun so I didn't know that when you pulled back the hammer on this type, the trigger became feather sensitive. As I was slowly lifting it up to my head, it went off. I never heard the blast cause I went instantly deaf and it lasted for about an hour. My vision blacked for a second, and when it returned, I saw blood and heard ringing in my ears. I felt my head to make sure it was all there and ran downstairs screaming that Id shot myself. I was so terrified. Really, I had just powder-burned my hands and one of my fingers was badly burned cause it was touching the chamber. It turns out that my Aunt and my sister were actually on their knees praying for me when they heard the gun shot.
I turned 14 shortly afterward and I was scared. I was deathly afraid of what I might do. Two natures were warring in me. One was insane and wanted to kill. The other just wanted to be good and be happy and have a normal life. But I felt that I couldn't be stupid enough to be happy knowing the depths of pain and suffering that were in the world. I couldn't have a "normal" life because no decent person would ever want someone like me and there was no such thing as love. People only "loved" others on the condition that they got something out of it.
One time, it seemed to me as if Nikki was glowing and I asked her, weeping, what it was that she had and that I wanted it. She said, "its the Holy Spirit." Now I had heard of God, the guy who threw lightening bolts on people when they messed up, and Jesus, the bloody guy nailed to a cross, but didn't know anything about the Holy Spirit. She explained to me that the Holy Spirit was how we could have a personal relationship with God. How Christ died and then ascended, and sent His Holy Spirit so that everyone could know God personally if they chose to. Now I was even more tormented cause it all seemed to make sense. I had studied all the other religions and beliefs I could think of but they all seemed to have holes in them to me. If this was true, the Bible must be true and Christianity must be true. And if it was true, I now was accountable and had to make a decision, to accept or reject Christ. There was no middle ground. But then why were there so few "real" Christians? If the Holy Spirit could enable people to resist sin, why was there so much hypocrisy? I struggled with these things for the next 6 months.
During this time, God did a lot to get to me, to show me what real love is. One time a gay friend of mine was teasing a Christian girl. While mocking her, he busted a light fixture and cut his hand. I was wearing a large safety pin in my ear. I was laughing so hard that I fell over and the pin jammed into my right ear-drum and it popped. We had no insurance and I was in excruciating pain and panic. I asked my friend to rush me to the church where my brother and sister were having a prayer meeting… They all laid hands on me and prayed for me and the pain went away and I was healed! Needless to say, I was astonished and troubled. Later, I attended a service at that church and there was a guest speaker. He called me up for prayer. By this time I had black hair with blue stripes and always wore it in my face. I had a permanent scowl and wore clothes full of holes or made of duct tape. Earlier in that service, a little old lady had slipped me a note that said "Jesus loves you" and I slipped her one back that said "F*** you." So in this state, I went up to the preacher. He said, "God is telling me that if it wasn't for His angels of protection surrounding you, that you'd be dead already three times. He has a plan for your life, but you cant keep running from Him any longer. He says, run to Me, run to Me, RUN TO ME!!!" So yeah, this kind of freaked me out too. I was frightened and wondering and further torn. I was almost angry. I wished I had never even heard about Jesus so I wouldn't have to surrender my life. I didn't yet know how amazing it is to know Him.
During this time, I felt more and more insane. I went to my school guidance counselor desperate, begging her to lock me up, put me in a mental institution, cause I was afraid of what I might do against my will. I said I was so sick of having to turn my little knob and adjust to everyone around me and be fake just to get through life. I had created a very elaborate alternate reality in my head that I often wrote about and drew pictures of. I said, if they could just let me spend the rest of my life in an asylum, I would be happy cause I could go and escape to this world and finally be free to truly be myself and not have to adjust. She sensed my sincerity and had a meeting with my mom. They discussed sending me away to various programs, also because my mother couldn't handle me anymore---she had tried everything. But summer was coming and my siblings wanted to attend this intense Christian camp in Virginia where they worked their butts off and had church 3 times a day! It was also a lockdown and it was completely free. Since we were pretty poor and my brother and sister were going already, they decided sending me there was the best idea. I fought my mom for three months on it, thinking that this had to be the ultimate torture. We screamed and cussed and threw things but in the end, I gave in, saying I'd only stay for 2 weeks and then she HAD to come get me. She consented. I found out way later that my mom had been praying and something just told her to send me there no matter what, even if I said Id kill her. Wow.
So I went, bringing my books and drugs, telling myself this would be a research project. I wrote pages and pages trying to reason away miracles, how they were just an act of the power of positive human will and not of God. People would try to witness to me and I would tell them that Christianity is for weak, dependent people who need a crutch to lean on, so they invented a God to feel good about themselves and feel like they had a heaven to look forward to, and that's great for you, but I can see through all that. I sneaked out every night with the other "bad" kids whose mommies had sent them there and we would drink and smoke and mess around, but it was all very depressing to me. They all seemed very stupid to me, yet I was just like them.
On July 1st, 1996 (I had been there exactly 2 weeks, mind you) I sneaked out of the night service and got drunk out in the woods. A Jamaican guy with gold teeth started to take liberties with me (ewww), but this was all standard procedure by this time. I just thought, "Eh..why even bother, this is my lot in life." I really believed if I lived past 14, my only job option was street musician who sleeps with people for money. I really believed that. That's how little self-worth i had.
It's amazing how much can go through someone's mind in just one second. I was suddenly struck with these thoughts. "Bipsy, your life is a wreck. Its just the same misery over and over. How are you going to feel tomorrow? Just like you always do, miserable, and that you want to die. If you keep living this way, you're going to die very soon. Christianity is true, the Bible is true and Jesus is real. If you die like this, you chose it yourself. Run from the devil and run to ME!!!!" I pushed the gold-toothed guy off of me and ran for the church. I literally felt like I was running to God! I fell on my knees at the altar where dozens were still worshipping. I cried and cried and cried until I thought I would explode. I didn't "say" a prayer, my heart just communed to God these thoughts, "God, if you're real and Jesus is real, and You can really clean me up and make me a new person and help me not to sin, I swear I'll serve you for the rest of my life. Ill do whatever you want me to do. I'll give up my music, I'll love my family, but You have to help me."
A lady who had tried witnessing to me earlier saw me now and came up and started praying for me. I felt the demons leaving my body, I felt the darkness fleeing from me and Christ coming in. That night, I was literally flooded in something I had never really felt before, unconditional love. It was so new and amazing to me, it was tangible. It felt like every beautiful thing Id ever known. like lying on the shore in warm water, feeling the waves pulling at you. Like running through some field of flowers and laughing. I couldn't stop laughing, I was so overjoyed. I knew I had found that One True Love I had been searching for. I fell asleep that night praying for God to help me not to fall away. I was so afraid of going back to my old life.
The next morning, I flushed my drugs down the toilet and threw away my new age books. I went straight to the prayer chapel and got on my face and started begging God to help me not to backslide. I prayed that He would give me the Holy Spirit and I know that He did. I began to read the Bible and it suddenly all made sense to me! The words seemed to leap from the page straight into my heart, like God had written them just for me…the Bible is amazing like that. I had read it so many times before, and it had never been "alive" like this. My mom called saying she was going to come get me and I said, "No, I want to stay for 2 months, I got saved!" And she said, "Yeah, right!" But I stayed.
One of the first changes I noticed was that I was no longer filled with hate. I looked around at the hundreds of people around me and really felt an overwhelming love for them all I knew that was NOT of me. I suddenly loved my family, even started praying for my dad. I wanted to tell everyone about Jesus. I looked different. Even the day after I got saved, people who had seen me before couldn't recognize me--the hatred was washed off my face.
I couldn't wait to tell all my friends. I foolishly believed that they would instantly receive Christ since they were "truth-seekers" like me--but they just thought I was nuts. God hooked me up with a group of radical friends who were all new Christians. We started street witnessing in our city and our school and I could tell so many stories that are all awesome but there just isn't enough room. I had always been able to play the piano and sing even though I'd never had lessons and couldn't read music. But God began giving me songs and i knew it was a gift from him that i wanted to use for His glory. A year later, we moved to California. A year after that, our mom and step-dad rededicated their lives to Christ and began serving Him. I can't help but praise God for His goodness. I should be dead, but He had mercy on me and I'm grateful for the gift of life!!!