In honor of my fourth year of salvation (03/04/2012), I am writing about my life before Christ.
My parents were never married, and I am the first born of four children. My mom’s side is nominally Catholic, while my dad’s family is predominantly Jehovah’s Witness. Growing up my maternal grandmother and I would recite the Lord’s prayer together. I remember that there was a shrine with a statue of Jesus, religious candles, and the like in my grandmother’s hallway. Whenever we would go to the local church my grandmother would swipe “holy water” on my forehead in the shape of the cross. She passed away when I was six and after that the whole religious aspect of my mother’s family died down. I was baptized as an infant at the local catholic church. My dad always hated religion and so when the time came for me to do my first communion, he and my mom naturally disagreed. My mom made me go while my dad encouraged me not to.
After my first communion we never really attended church or spoke of the things of God. I remember being a child and acknowledging how beautiful God’s creation was as I marveled at the rolling California hills (Romans 1:20). I saw God as most people do… an old white haired man in the sky looking to punish and condemn me. As long as I refrained from murder or committing suicide I would go to heaven, or so I thought.
My parents were pretty strict growing up which was weird because now that I am saved I look back and see how warped my perception of “strict” parenting and life itself really was. When you are young you think that your family is so great and that they would never do anything “wrong”. My family went through a lot with my dad. He was diagnosed as a manic depressive, and he went on untreated until he passed away from suicide last year in February. He suffered from major addictions and was also abused as a child. I won’t go into too much detail there. Needless to say, my siblings and I witnessed a lot of insane things growing up. My parents were pretty protective and I was not allowed to date until I turned sixteen. Without the consent of my parents, I ended up dating for the first time my sophomore year at age 15 and a half. We ended up getting sexually involved against my conscience. Something within me knew it was wrong (Romans 2:14, 15). This relationship went on for nearly three years (on and off), and it was not a healthy relationship. My anger was a serious issue and it manifested itself in numerous ways. I would go so far as to say that I was abusive to my then boyfriend. Likewise he did a lot of things to me that were messed up to say the least. Before we dated I had never succumbed to the peer pressure to smoke and drink. While we were dating a lot of “firsts” happened for me. I smoked cigarettes, drank alcohol, smoked marijuana, sniffed cocaine, and popped ecstasy for the first time. By his call the relationship was over late in 2010. By this time I was no longer afraid to touch drugs or alcohol. This breakup sent me spiraling into a far worse depressive and addictive state than ever before.
My best friend died in a tragic car accident in March of 2011. This combined with a horrible break up was what made me truly not care. I was no longer myself. I slept around just because I could. I considered becoming a lesbian because I craved so desperately to be in a relationship. Each day I woke up and immediately thought about how I would manage to get high and/or drunk that day. Alcohol was my breakfast most days, and if I didn’t have it i would shake and tremble. This went on for about two years. For two whole years I was sleep deprived, depressed, and addicted. There were many times when I wanted to end my life. The only thing that kept me from doing so was my family, my younger siblings and my mom. The thought of them finding me dead broke my heart and caused me to refrain from my desires. The things I was involved in very well could have and should have killed me. From driving drunk to overdosing, God’s sovereign hand preserved my life.
Moving from the place that my family was living in to my uncle’s house was the beginning of my detox. My mom put her foot down and told me there would be no drinking or smoking marijuana at my uncle’s house. So i decided to move out! The only thing preventing me was knowing that a part time job at McDonald’s couldn’t afford me an apartment in the Silicon Valley. I grudgingly remained with my family living in a fifth wheel trailer. The drinking and smoking continued outside of home but it was less frequently. Moving across town and the destruction of a then close friend’s car were both pivotal in the path to my sobriety.
Sober for the first time in nearly two years, I smoked a cigarette on the stairs of the fifth wheel trailer that my family of six lived in. I stared up at the skie and clouds and thought that there had to be something more to life than just living, working, and dying. Something in me had changed. My sister invited me to the church where she had occasionally attended youth group. Before I had agreed to go I tried the church (my current church) where my best friend’s (who passed away) mother had attended. They preached verse by verse and it made no sense to me at the time. I decided to give my sister’s then church a shot. The sermon seemed to be tailored to my life and circumstances. The pastor gave an altar call and I prayed “the prayer”. I knew that God was real. I could no longer live the way that I had been living. I told Jesus that I needed him. I wept uncontrollably and since then I have been saved (2 Corinthians 5:17).
God is faithful. He is mighty to save.
Me and my sister at our baptism 9/9/12