The Old Me
I spent most of my early years attending church with my mother. Yet no matter how many Sunday’s we spent at church, I never truly understood the loving magnitude of Jesus. I did not know God. My mother did what she could to teach me and my siblings right from wrong with a washed down God perspective. Hearing over and over that God would punish me for my transgressions. I grew fearful of God.
For most of my life, my parents spent many days fighting. My father was very harsh and stern. My mother was just attempting to do her best. My home life led me to question my identity and my validation for existing. Needless to say. My early childhood is a blur, literally, I can only recall bits and pieces of it. I am not sure if it is due to the highly stressful moments and a home life that was mostly in turmoil. As individuals, my parents each had their strengths but as a couple, they did not represent a great image of a Godly marriage.
During my middle school years, it was almost like I was on autopilot. I just did the day to day activities and just hoped that if I stayed as undetected as possible my father would spare me his wrath. If I just did what I was told maybe I would avoid my father from becoming exalted and if just for that day, I wouldn’t cause a fight between my parents. Most of the time, my mom spent her days defending me and my siblings from our fathers’ uncontrollable anger.
In my teen years, I rebelled against my parents. In high school, I began to hang out with the wrong crowd and started falling quickly. I was consumed by parties, alcoholic blackouts, skipping school, sneaking out of my house at night and also developed a true addiction for fighting, that was the way I could release my bottled-up anger and frustrations. That became my way out. All I wanted to do was not go home. When I look back at what could have been of me, I praise God for never leaving me. Even though I couldn’t see it then. Jesus covered me with protection. During this time, I began dating and was engaging in sexually immoral acts. After falling hard for my high school sweetheart, I found myself pregnant. I was sixteen years old, I was mortified and consumed with shame, I was incredibly embarrassed and felt unworthy. I hid my pregnancy from my parents for as long as I could. I was nearly six months pregnant when I revealed to my mother that I was pregnant. The pain I inflicted on my mom that day was more then I could bear. I made the decision to lighten her burden and leave the house. My mother and I were afraid of what my father would be capable of. From one day to the next I was out of my house and now shacked up with my boyfriend.
Escaping and hiding my shame was no fairytale. My relationship with my boyfriend was hard. It was rocky. We were two lost kid’s attempting to come together as a family. We were prideful and selfish. I was fighting to keep my little family together. My boyfriend was verbally abusive. Most nights I cried myself to sleep and many times, I ran back home to my parents. I struggled with thoughts of suicide, but somehow Jesus always gave me that tug on my heart. When I stared into my son’s eyes, I forgot about the pain I was suffering. I became accustomed to the daily struggle, the highs, and lows. I was just existing. During this time, we were also living a crazy, wild, life. Many nights we left our young son with relatives so that we could go out. We had late nights, still partied and fought like crazy. Being a teen mom was not glamorous at all. I struggled to rise above the stigma of the label “teen mom”. The world had placed a negative label on me, which hurt my self-esteem greatly. Attempting to beat the odds and not being the “statistic” was my only focus, which lead me to make a life-altering decision which would haunt me forever.
Even in the midst of my chaos, God called me. I had found Jesus. My boyfriend, however, rebelled and wanted nothing to do with God. I prayed time and time again that Jesus would soften his heart. I was steadfast in my faith and knew that I had a decision to make. Choose to continue living in sin, in fornication outside of the will of God. Or cut those ties and live my life free in Jesus. I realized then and there that my life was a mess because I was living in my will and not by Gods design for my life. I wanted God above all things. Soon after we suffered one traumatic event after the next. My brother in law was tragically killed in a car accident and four months later my brother died of a sudden massive brain hemorrhage. I realized very quickly that our days are numbered and that at any moment I could be facing judgment at the throne of God and I could die without salvation. I was on fire for God and I wanted to get right with God. During this time, I gave my boyfriend an ultimatum. We either get married and get right with God, or we split and go our separate ways. We soon were in premarital counseling with our pastor and a few short weeks later my boyfriend accepted Jesus as Lord and Savior of his life. We quickly got married and started our journey of restoration and healing. We were baptized and born again. Hallelujah, God is so good.
We now have been together a total of fifteen years and married four years. We are not perfect, but we now have the firm foundation of Jesus Christ who is our cornerstone. We’ve faced a lot of trials, and every time we cling to God for guidance and understanding. We are a true example of how God can restore and mend what was once so broken.
We now have three beautiful children. My husband and I have found our true purpose in God. I am grateful every day for the mercy that God showed me. That when I wanted to just die, God showed me time and time again that I was worthy. That my life mattered. My husband has learned what it is to truly be a man of God and what his role is as a husband and father.
I now can look back and see all of the times that the Lord pulled me out of the abyss. That void that I once felt in my heart is now filled with the joy of Jesus Christ. I have learned to praise Jesus in good times and bad times. My existence is validated in God’s love for me and what he has done to restore my life. God can take what was once so broken and mend it for his purpose. That is truly the good news of Jesus. My faith has helped me overcome that which wanted to break me. I am no longer a slave to sin, and even when I trip up God is there to catch me.
Forever seeking Jesus Christ,
Gabriela Gonzalez Child of God