How I came to know Jesus

I had been contemplating on whether or not I should share this post for several days now because many people see the love I have for Jesus but don’t know the story behind my praise. The purpose in sharing my testimony is not for pity nor am I seeking for attenion but to illustrate God’s grace, mercy, forgiveness & over all God’s love for us. However, I’ve come a long way & still have a long way to go. As long as I am still breathing, I will be learning & growing as a human being & most importantly as a follower of Jesus Christ.

I grew up Catholic. My sister & I lived with both of our parents. They’ve been married for 33 years now. Growing up, I remember going to church on Sundays & on special occasions. I don’t remember my dad ever coming along but I figured it had to do with him working full time during the day and at the bodega at night. My sister & I both completed our sacraments (first communion & confirmation) but I honestly don’t remember anything I learned.

I grew up hearing about God but didn’t really know Him nor heard much about Jesus. I don’t recall learning about what He did for us, of His love & the importance of having a relationship with Him. I’m sure it was taught to us but I just don’t remember. What I do remember is having to confess every Sunday before taking Communion. There were times I didn’t know what to confess about so I’d confess about silly stuff such as how I didn’t do the dishes when my mom had asked me to. The priest would tell me what prayer to say & I’d say it once I got to my seat & kneeled. I learned more about what I should & shouldn’t do than what Jesus had already done. But looking back, I’m grateful that I knew the little that I knew of God because that’s when the seed was planted.

Before I came to Jesus, I went through a lot. I have several different testimonies. One testimony led me to accept Jesus into my heart & another led me to finally surrender to God’s will & become intentional with my walk with Jesus. So, it wasn’t an overnight process that’s for sure.

When I was about 19 yrs old, I was raped by someone who I considered a friend. The very next day, I forced myself to believe it never happened. I was in denial for the next several months or so. It wasn’t until I watched a movie on Lifetime of a woman who had been raped. It brought me back to that night. I had never felt such fear like I did that day. I was no longer able to suppress it. The first person I told was my husband, Edison, who at the time was just my boyfriend. I was scared because I didn’t know what he would say or do. Would he be upset that it took me so long to tell him? Thankfully, he stood by my side & was there for me. Then I told my mom, grandma & aunt several days later. I remember all of us crying as each of them held me in their arms.

I became depressed, anxious & fearful for the next several months. I felt like I was dying inside but I never reported it because I thought it was too late plus I didn’t want to relive that moment more than I already was.

One night as I sat on my bed, I noticed a book on my dresser. It was a bible. Til this day, I don’t know even know how it got there. All I know was I memorized two chapters from the book of psalm (I wish I knew which ones they were). I’d kneel by my bed & would read it every morning/night for about 2 months straight. Those chapters gave me the strength I needed to move on with my life & I was able to forgive him in my heart for what he had done. I still hadn’t been saved though. But I knew that was all God’s work.

A few yrs later, I started hanging out with friends. Partying. Drinking. It happened gradually. This was after I had my son in 2008 (I was 23 when I gave birth to my son). I began sensing an emptiness inside but I didn’t really put too much thought into it I turned to everything else but God to fill that void. Towards the end of 2009, Edison & I broke up. We had been through so much. We both made very poor decisions & hurt each other a lot throughout our relationship. It’s true what they say, “Hurt people hurt people”.

Shortly after our break up, I met my ex. But before Edison & I broke up, he had gotten into some trouble & was facing jail time. Though we weren’t together anymore, we always promised each other to be there for one another especially for our son’s sake.

In June of 2010, he was sentenced to 5 years in jail. I took it much harder than I thought I would. No matter what happened between us, the bond we had was unlike any other & I was not going to turn my back on him. Many of our friends & family members found it hard to believe we were no longer together. I couldn’t blame them, we had been together since 2000 & they admired the love we had for one another despite our differences. Plus, I kept my relationship with my ex low-key so not many people knew I was dating someone.

We heard about a program called ISP. Getting approved meant he’d come out much sooner & had to follow the rules & regulations of the program such as curfews, community service, employment requirements & counseling. I had to do a lot of running around to get these papers turned in & processed. It was a waiting game after that but I remember going to my aunt & my cousin (who are Christians) for prayer before turning in the paperwork. They prayed over the application form, over me, & for Edison. Their faith in God gave me hope. It made me question my own faith & encouraged me to seek God for myself.

I remember being at work one day & searching “The difference between a Catholic & a Christian” on askjeeves.com. I had been curious of what the differences were for a while now. I felt as though I was betraying the Catholic church for wanting to visit a Christian church so I commited to visiting a few Catholic churches for about a month but at the end of each mass I felt the same as I did when I entered. I couldn’t understand why. Then one afternoon, I decided to go to the church Edison grew up in which happened to be a christian church. I visited several times. Each time, I felt something I had never felt before. At the time, I didn’t know what it was but I believe it was God’s way of beginning to work in my heart. There was a shift happening. I resisted a bit at first but when Edison finally came out of jail (he got approved & only had to serve 4 months 🙌), we committed ourselves to going every Sunday as a family even though we were no longer together & we learned to co-parent. Around this time is when I accepted Jesus into my heart.

Meanwhile, I was still with my ex but I was going through my own issues with him. Jumping from one relationship to another wasn’t the wisest thing to do. A little over a year into our relationship, he shared with me how important it was for him to have a baby & how he wanted to have one with me. He knew how strongly I felt about not wanting to have another one anytime soon. My son was only 2 yrs old & having another child was the last thing on my mind but he would always talk about it.

There were a lot of red flags I chose to ignore in the beginning of our relationship but I stayed with him. The more I learned about God’s word & hear the pastor preach the more I realized I wasn’t doing right by Him. God began to deal with me especially when it came to sex. I would pick & choose what I felt was easy for me to follow. My ex was also “seeking God” but I felt this was his way of trying to win me over after breaking up with him for lying to me about staying in communication with his ex. We’d break up & get back together. It was becomig toxic. So, he played the I’m-going-to-church-now card but I knew God wanted me to let him go for good but I held on to him anyway. I didn’t consider the consequences I’d face from my disobedience.

Fast forward to January of 2012, I got pregnant. I remember pleading with God & asking Him to get me out of this. I made Him so many promises. The only person I told was Edison. I didn’t even tell my ex because I knew this is what he wanted. About a week later, I went to the hospital after losing a lot of blood & I was told I miscarried. I felt this was God’s way of giving me a 2nd chance. You would think I’d learn my lesson though. A couple of months later, I found out I was pregnant again.

This time I told my mom & Edison. I couldn’t eat nor sleep. I didn’t know what to do. My mom told me she’d be there for me & I had nothing to worry about. Edison said the same but I knew deep down he was heartbroken. He always had hope that we’d get back together someday so that just crushed him.

I remember feeling so scared just like I had felt when the memory of the night I got raped came back. I was hoping it was all a nightmare. How could I have allowed this to happen? Again. I was too ashamed to turn to God. I began to make myself believe that the only option I had was to have an abortion. How could I be a “Christian” & even consider this?

Never in a million years, did I ever believe I’d allow such thought to cross my mind. Never! I remember always judging those who had abortions but never cared to wonder what it must be like to be in their shoes. Granted, there are women who have abortions without a care in the world. But that’s not always the case. I was terrified & truly believed this was the only way out. Two weeks later, I had the abortion & I don’t say it lightly. It’s a day I will never forget.

I told my mom I miscarried” (however, I just recently told her the truth) & told my ex the same. It was actually on the same day of his birthday (it was the only Saturday they had available & I just couldn’t wait any longer). So, I had to give an explanation as to why I was out most of the day. He insisted in visiting me at the “hospital” but of course that’s not where I was so I told him I’d be out soon & would go over to his house to be with him. I couldn’t believe that I had allowed this to go as far as it did but I was scared & didn’t know how else to go about it. I felt such guilt & shame.

I remember being at the clinic & waking up while in the recovery room & thanking God for sparing my life because anything could have happened to me during the procedure. I asked for forgiveness for the decision I had made & promised Him I’d abstain from sex until I got married. This time I meant it.

Edison was by my side that day. He drove me to & from the clinic. I had made up my mind & no one could tell me anything. Not even him. But I have to admit, it was hard seeing the women who stood outside with signs hoping you’d change your mind. Leaving was just as hard. All I could think about on the ride back home was of the other women who were there in the waiting room with me. Some were nonchalant about being there. It seemed as though it wasn’t their first time. But the others felt just as I did – terrified, ashamed & guilty. You could see it in their eyes. I remember one girl who must’ve been 16 yrs old. You can tell she didn’t want to but her mom kept telling her, “Don’t worry. This will all be in the past”. About an hour later, she stood up & said, “I’m sorry. But I just can’t”. And she left. I’ve always wondered if she ever went back.

It took a long time to finally forgive myself but I knew I had a promise to keep. I told my ex I made the decision to be celibate until marriage. At first, he wasn’t cool with it but then he agreed to support me on it. I think he thought I was bluffing. His willingness to wait lasted about a year. A lot occurred that year though. A lot of lying on his part & his true colors began to show. I dealt with it because I had such guilt from what I did. So, I thought I deserved it.

God continued to reveal to me many more signs. I was beginning to finally listen. I’d break up with him but only to get back with him shortly after. It was a tug of war. The more I forced the relationship to work out the more God revealed to me that I needed to let go. But I was scared to. I was afraid of being alone.

Not long after, he admitted he wanted nothing to do with Christianity nor Jesus. Could he have been hurt by the “miscarriage” or was he no longer able to keep up with being a phony?

Little did I know, he had met someone else & was waiting on the right time to leave me. I didn’t figure this out until months after he broke up with me. He claimed the reason for leaving me was because he knew I deserved a man of God who loved Jesus. But I wanted that man to be him. He had found someone else & was too much of a coward to tell me so he used my faith as his cop-out.

I had never felt such heartbreak. This was what God had been trying to save me from all along. Had I listened, I wouldn’t have gotten pregnant again let alone feel the need to have an abortion nor remain in a relationship I had no business being in. I had to humble myself & recognize all of the choices I made in the past several years that led up to this. I finally came to a place where I had to make a decision – was I going to finally surrender & submit to God’s will or was I going to continue walking the path of destruction? It was then when I commited my whole life to Jesus.

God began to open doors for me. I joined a class at my church & it helped me gain a new perspective on my life, all I had been through & what I needed to do in order to heal & be set free because I was lost & broken. He brought the right people into my life once I allowed Him to remove the wrong ones. He began to soften my heart & open my eyes to the things I had been so blinded of. I was intentional this time around. He started to give me the strength I needed to persevere & keep fighting the good fight.

Does it mean I’m perfect? Does it mean I don’t make mistakes or make poor choices? Does it mean I don’t experience trials & tribulations? No! We all fall short of the glory of God & we will go through hard times but I’ve learned to trust in Him & praise Him through the storm. It didn’t all happen overnight. It was a process & it still is. He reminds me of His love & grace any time I miss the mark. I see how much my life has changed & it’s all because of God. He gets all of the glory. Without Jesus, I wouldn’t be the woman I am today. I believe He allowed me to go through everything I went through for a reason. I’m able to relate to others because of it. I’ve gained so much wisdom & understanding through His Word. My faith continues to be strengthened with every season.

I decided to remain single & focus on my relationship with Jesus. I attended a few christian conferences & christian concerts. I loved it! I learned how to love myself without needing validation from a man. I started going out on dates by myself. I would go out to dinner & movies. I spent a lot of time investing in myself & recognizing my own worth. I needed to allow God to heal me from deep within & help me make the necessary changes I needed in my life.

In 2015, God began to place a love in my heart towards Edison that I hadn’t felt in a long time. We both decided to give our family another chance. At this point I was celibate for 4 years now & told him I was going to remain celibate until we got married. And to take it a step further we agreed not to kiss. We just didn’t want to take any chances in being tempted. He proposed to me on New Year’s day after the ball dropped in 2016. Six months later, we were married. 💑 About 4 months ago, I gave birth to a baby boy. #WontHeDoIt

God’s plans turned out to be far greater than my own & I give Him ALL of the glory. 🙌🙏

Overall, I realized God had always been with me even on the night I got raped – it could have been so much worst. Though I went through hard times, He never left me. He continued to pursue me no matter how much I tried to avoid Him. I was never too far from God’s reach. No matter what mistakes I made. He never got tired. He waited patiently for me. His grace saved me & His mercy kept me. I was forgiven & He taught me how to forgive myself & those who hurt me. He restored me & He had favor over my life. He rewarded me for my obedience. I also learned there was nothing I could have done that would have separated me from His love.

He says so in His word. It’s been a journey ever since.

Your word is a lamp to guide my feet and a light for my path. – Psalms 119:105 NLT

Maybe you’ve never experienced any of the things I have but still feel ashamed & guilty of other things. I pray this blog has encouraged you to see who Jesus really is, what He’s done for us & how there’s freedom in Him. The power of God is far greater than our hurt,fear, shame & guilty.

May the following verses bless you & encourage you to seek God for yourself & allow Jesus into your heart. Thank you so much for taking the time to read this lengthy post. I pray it blessed you in some way. May these songs bless you & remind you of the freedom we have in Jesus Christ & of His unconditional love. Fill Me Up / Overflow by Tasha Cobbs + Victory Belongs To Jesus by Todd Dulaney + Worth by Anthony Brown +

If you have any questions or would like to share your thoughts, please feel free to comment below or email me at journeyswithinblog@gmail.com.💕

🌻 – The fact is, it was our suffering he took on himself; he bore our pain. But we thought that God was punishing him, that God was beating him for something he did. But he was being punished for what we did. He was crushed because of our guilt. He took the punishment we deserved, and this brought us peace. We were healed because of his pain. We had all wandered away like sheep. We had gone our own way. And yet the Lord put all our guilt on him. – Isaiah 53:4‭-‬6 ERV

🌻 – Return to the Lord your God, for he is merciful and compassionate, slow to anger and boundless in loyal love – often relenting from calamitous punishment. – Joel 2:13 NET

🌻 – But God, being rich in mercy, because of his great love with which he loved us, even though we were dead in transgressions, made us alive together with Christ – by grace you are saved! – and he raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, to demonstrate in the coming ages the surpassing wealth of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you are saved through faith, and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God; it is not from works, so that no one can boast. For we are his workmanship, having been created in Christ Jesus for good works that God prepared beforehand so we may do them. – Ephesians 2:4‭-‬10 NET

🌻 – He died for all so that those who live would not continue to live for themselves. He died for them and was raised from death so that they would live for him. From this time on we don’t think of anyone as the world thinks of people. It is true that in the past we thought of Christ as the world thinks. But we don’t think that way now. When anyone is in Christ, it is a whole new world. The old things are gone; suddenly, everything is new! All this is from God. Through Christ, God made peace between himself and us. And God gave us the work of bringing people into peace with him. I mean that God was in Christ, making peace between the world and himself. In Christ, God did not hold people guilty for their sins. And he gave us this message of peace to tell people. So we have been sent to speak for Christ. It is like God is calling to people through us. We speak for Christ when we beg you to be at peace with God. Christ had no sin, but God made him become sin so that in Christ we could be right with God. – 2 Corinthians 5:15‭-‬21 ERV

🌻 – For this is the way God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world should be saved through him. The one who believes in him is not condemned. The one who does not believe has been condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the one and only Son of God. Now this is the basis for judging: that the light has come into the world and people loved the darkness rather than the light, because their deeds were evil. For everyone who does evil deeds hates the light and does not come to the light, so that their deeds will not be exposed. But the one who practices the truth comes to the light, so that it may be plainly evident that his deeds have been done in God. – John 3:16‭-‬21 NET

🌻 – We know that in everything God works for the good of those who love him. These are the people God chose, because that was his plan. – Romans 8:28 ERV

🌻 – But in all these troubles we have complete victory through God, who has shown his love for us. Yes, I am sure that nothing can separate us from God’s love—not death, life, angels, or ruling spirits. I am sure that nothing now, nothing in the future, no powers, nothing above us or nothing below us—nothing in the whole created world—will ever be able to separate us from the love God has shown us in Christ Jesus our Lord. – Romans 8:37‭-‬39 ERV

🌻 – “Look, I am about to do something new. Now it begins to happen! Do you not recognize it? Yes, I will make a road in the desert and paths in the wilderness. – Isaiah 43:19 NET

🌻 – Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own understanding. Acknowledge him in all your ways, and he will make your paths straight. Do not be wise in your own estimation; fear the Lord and turn away from evil. This will bring healing to your body, and refreshment to your inner self. – Proverbs 3:5‭-‬8 NET

🌻 – My son, don’t reject the Lord’S discipline, and don’t be angry when he corrects you. The Lord corrects the one he loves, just as a father corrects a child he cares about. Those who find wisdom are fortunate; they will be blessed when they gain understanding. Profit that comes from wisdom is better than silver and even the finest gold. Wisdom is worth more than fine jewels. Nothing you desire has more value. – Proverbs 3:11‭-‬15 ERV

🌻 – My son, don’t ever let wisdom out of your sight. Hold on to wisdom and careful planning. They will bring you a long life filled with honor. As you go through life, you will always be safe and never fall. When you lie down, you will not be afraid. When you rest, your sleep will be peaceful. You have no reason to fear a sudden disaster or the destruction that comes to the wicked. You can trust the Lord to protect you. He will not let you fall into harm. – Proverbs 3:21‭-‬26 ERV

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