I believe that Jesus Christ is the only son of God who came down to earth to die for the sins of the world. I believe he rose from the dead and is now alive sitting at the right hand of God. I believe Jesus Christ is the only way to salvation. I believe in the Holy Spirit as the helper and guide for my life. I believe that the Bible is the word of God and is 100% true.
I am so excited to share my story with you. This is a story of redemption, restoration and healing through Jesus Christ. It is deeply personal but it’s not private. A testimony by definition is, “evidence or proof provided by the existence or appearance of something”. The appearance of joy, peace, and forgiveness in my life is the evidence that God exists.
Where I Grew Up
I grew up in Nuevo Laredo, Mexico with a mom, dad and two younger siblings. We moved to Laredo, Texas when I was in third grade. Both of my parents were Catholic and believed in God and Jesus. We would attend Church sparingly throughout the year and on Easter and Christmas. Growing up we talked about God but not very deeply. I also believed in God but I didn’t really know him or ever said out loud that I believed in him.
I was about 8 years old when I noticed my parents fight and argue often. I didn’t know why or what they were arguing about but definitely felt the tension in our home. It wasn’t until I was around 12 or 13 when I realized that my mom and dad had major issues. I always knew that both of parents really loved me. Both my mom and dad were fun and loving growing up. We loved each other and I felt secure in that.
Sometimes my dad would act kind of strange and I didn’t know why but the next day he was back to normal. One night I over heard a fight and the word “alcoholic” was said and I put two and two together. This was the first time I knew that my dad had a drinking problem. After he drank, he would become a different person. One night the argument got so bad I had to call the police.
The police arrived and my father was arrested. At 13 years old, this was the hardest thing I had ever done. The next day my brother and sister woke up and my dad was gone.
The Breaking Point
I was in middle school when all of this happened and I was so broken and sad. I felt so much shame and a huge burden over my shoulders for calling the police on my father. I felt so guilty that I was the reason my dad was gone. I felt like it was my fault that my brother and sister didn’t see my dad for years. Yes, he was in jail for about 3 years. Those early teenage years are so hard and they were even harder growing up without a dad.
I think this is were I grew up the most. As the first and oldest child, I had always been very independent and self sufficient. Although my mom would tell you that I didn’t have to, I felt like I needed to be very strong for her and for my siblings. I felt that I always had to be good so that she wouldn’t have to worry about me. She had enough problems trying to be a single parent and support us on her own. I didn’t want to add to her list of problems.
I just suppressed all of these “daddy issues” for many years. I felt all sorts of feelings towards my dad. I was mostly angry with him. I was angry that he couldn’t quit drinking. I thought, “if he really loved us, he would stop drinking for us”. I didn’t understand.
How I Got Saved
We started attending a Christian church with my aunt. Growing up Catholic and going to a Catholic church I had no idea what to expect but boy was I in for a culture shock. We attended the first service and there was music, which was kind of strange. What was even stranger was that people were signing and dancing and had their hands up. When the person that was speaking (the pastor: I had no idea what that was), people were responding back to her! Oh yeah and she was a woman! It was very weird coming from a church where your mom would pinch you so hard if you made a peep in church while the priest was speaking. I didn’t really like it.
I would hate going and would always wake up late on purpose to make my mom late or to miss it (haha what a little devil). The youth group leaders and youth pastor (also a woman, hi Liz!) reached out to me and would invite me to the youth service often. I finally went and invited my best friend Celina to come with me. I ended up really liking it and making friends there.
The Youth Group had a summer camp coming up and I decided to attend. By this time I had let my guard down a bit, atleast enough to attend the camp. It was a couple of days long and it was at my Church. There was worship, prayer and Liz would preach. One night, something happened. I was so broken and confused I didn’t know how I could get better. I would pretend to be ok but I knew I wasn’t. I was just trying to be strong but at 15 years old, I couldn’t take it anymore. At the end of the service Liz asked if anyone wanted to accept Jesus into their heart as their savior. She explained it would mean that we would belong to him and that he would be the Lord of our lives. It would mean that we would be forgiven of all our sins and be made brand new. I accepted and prayed, “God, I have nothing to lose anymore. My life is a mess. Please help me get through this. I give you my life from now on”.
When I prayed those words, I felt heat come over my entire body. I was crying and fell to the floor! In that moment I felt the Holy Spirit stir in me a language I didn’t understand. I had received a personal prayer language that night. Both me and my best friend Celina accepted Jesus Christ into our hearts and were saved.
The Healing Process
I wish I could tell you that that’s the end of the story. That I accepted Jesus into my life and that everything got better and my relationship with my dad was back to normal and that my parents got back together and we were one happy family, but it didn’t work out like that for me.
After that summer, my life was definitely different but it wasn’t fixed over night. God worked in my heart for many years to forgive my dad for the things he had done. I struggled all through high school with who I was and not knowing my worth. Feeling like if my dad didn’t think I was worth not drinking anymore then I must have had no value.
My dad eventually returned and my parents got back together for a bit but ended up separating. Throughout this period I was on fire for God. For the first time in my life I had hope. It was not easy working trough these feelings and issues with my family but He got me through it and not only did I survive, I thrived. He healed my heart from fatherlessness. He showed me that although my earthly father was not perfect, He was. He is the perfect father who gave me worth and a value so high that a King would die for me.
My dad’s dad left him and his family for another woman and started a new family with them when he was a teenager. He did not have a good example for a father. This was not an excuse for his behavior, but it gave me an insight into his pain. I did not understand that alcoholism is an addiction that needs treatment and healing. The Lord showed me that I was faultless in this situation. That I was only a child when I had to make that difficult choice to call the police. He redeemed what the enemy had stolen from me.
The healing process was complete when I forgave my dad for all that he had done. I told him that I forgave him and that I felt healed from all the pain and insecurity I had. The Lord restored the relationship with my father and now we are incredibly close. We talk everyday and have been very close for the past 6 years.
God gave me a new perspective into other’s lives that I would have never had if I did not go through this. He taught me to have grace and mercy towards people but most importantly, to have compassion. You never know what someone is going through behind closed doors. I truly believe that I would not be the person I am today without going through this experience.
Of course I met Raymond in the middle of all this and the Lord used him as an instrument of healing in my life too. He was so sweet to me and loved me so well. If you are wondering how we met, read this.
Why I Share My Testimony
Again, my testimony is deeply personal but it is NOT private. It’s not meant to be kept inside. It’s meant to be shared as a story of hope and redemption. It’s meant to be shared to the world as evidence of God’s redeeming love and power. I am not afraid to share it because I know that if one person is drawn to Jesus because of it, it was all worth it. It doesn’t hurt anymore to talk about any of this. If I get teary eyed talking about it (in this case writing it), it’s only because God has been so good to me. He’s been faithful and my relationship with Him is the single most important one in my life, even before my marriage.
How to be Saved
If you’re wondering how you can accept Jesus in your heart as your Lord and savior, all you have to do is pray a simple prayer AND mean it. It begins with faith in God, confessing your sin and professing faith in Jesus as savior and Lord. You can pray this prayer.
“Father, I know that I have broken your laws and my sins have separated me from you. I am truly sorry, and now I want to turn away from my past sinful life toward you. I believe that your son, Jesus Christ died for my sins, was resurrected from the dead, is alive, and hears my prayer. I invite Jesus to become the Lord of my life, to rule and reign in my heart from this day forward. Please send your Holy Spirit to help me obey You, and to do Your will for the rest of my life. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.”
If you’ve prayed this prayer of salvation with true conviction and heart, you are now a follower of Jesus! This is a fact, whether or not you feel any different. The fact is, you may, or you may not. If you have prayed the prayer of salvation and meant it, you are now saved. The Bible tells us that your eternal salvation is secure!
“that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved” Romans 10:9
Thank you for reading friends.