I was raised catholic-abused by my dad, physically, emotionally and sometimes by my mom. I liked being at my Grandma & Grandpa Romero’s house. I would always cry and hide in my grandma’s closet when my parents came to pick me up. I can remember grandma reading to my brother and me, from the Bible, while sitting at the huge dinning room table-funny though, my brother doesn’t remember that. Daniel and the lion’s den, the fiery furnace, God creating the world, the birth of JESUS and HIS resurrection were always her go-to’s. I even remember that I would fall asleep listening to my grandma praying for my brother and me. Because of all those moments, I grew up believing in GOD and JESUS, but I just didn’t know that I needed to accept HIM as my LORD and SAVIOR, and that I could have my sins forgiven. I didn’t even know what being a sinner was when I was growing up; not until I was 19-20 years old.
I just had this feeling that “the Catholic way” wasn’t quite right. As I grew older, my grandma would try to talk to me about going to church. And when I was little, I would go with her. But when I became an older teen, 17-19, I didn’t want to go to church because, as I told my grandma one time,
‘I already believe in GOD. I don’t need to go to church to hear some man tell me that I need to believe in HIM.’
At the time, I had hardly any Bible instilled in me, except for going to church for Easter and Christmas services. The Easter after I turned 13 years old, my mom and I watched a mini series called “JESUS of Nazareth.” And I remember feeling so hurt and being so moved that JESUS died on the cross for me. It affected me deeply. I remember thinking,
‘Why did He have to die?’
That question haunted me for months but I never opened up to anyone about it. I just kept it neatly tucked away inside.
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In the Fall of ’89, I started attending College and started working at the local mall. I met a girl in my English Lit. class, who was Christian and she would always invite me to a Christian club that would meet once a week. But I wasn’t interested in hearing anything if it wasn’t catholic. Funny, I told my grandma that I didn’t want to go to church, but at the same time, I didn’t want to hear anything against the way I was raised. Now, I know that it has absolutely nothing to do with a denomination, but with a personal relationship with JESUS CHRIST.
But this one particular day, when she invited me, I decided to go. I was in the Girls Glee Club in High School. I loved singing and still do. (I know now that it means a lot to the LORD who we sing to. It has to be to HIM or not at all.) So, when the group’s leader announced that the club’s worship team had open practices once a week, I went ahead and attended the practices. I enjoyed it. For some reason, I couldn’t understand why I felt so at home with all of these new people! Even the club meetings, when the BIBLE was read, the atmosphere was wonderful. When I sang with the group for the first time at one of the meetings, Stacy introduced me to a gentleman who commented on how much he liked the sound of my voice. We started going out a short time after. He noticed that I wore a medal, pendant around my neck of the Virgin Mary. He started preaching to me about how the only way to get to heaven is through JESUS. I didn’t know that JESUS was and is the only way to HEAVEN because growing up the way I did, the Catholic Priests would always preach about what was going on in the world (news), and from the same little booklets that sat at the end of the benches.
So, needless to say, I thought the reason he was giving me a “hard time” was because he was a control freak.
The Spring of 1990, found my Grandma in the hospital, dying from breast cancer. She was diagnosed in the year before. Thoughts about my grandma dying from the cancer would pop into my head from time to time and I did my best to shake it. (After she died, I thought that it was my fault because of the thoughts that I had.) After arriving home form classes one after noon, just as I came in the doorway, my mom told me that grandma was doing a little better. She said,
‘Ever since I got the prayer candle, she’s been doing better.’
Then, it was as if I was placed into a slow motion scene in a movie. Everything was in slow motion as I walked from the front door to the couch. And the words my mom had spoken echoed in my head. Arriving at the couch, I turned to sit, and as I started to sit down I heard,
‘IT’S NOT THE CANDLE, IT’S ME.’
And when I was on the cushion, it was as if some sort of film had been taken off my eyes and THE ENTIRE ROOM LOOKED DIFFERENT TO ME! Everything looked brighter and more vivid. So, to make a long story short, a few nights after that experience, I was watching a TV station called TBN. (My grandma used to watch it). And I accepted JESUS as my LORD and SAVIOR, sitting on the couch in the living room. But the day before, my fiance had prayed with me to accept JESUS into my heart, while we were sitting at Heartwell Park, across the street from the College, which is where I went to school and attended the Christian club meetings.
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(The following is as recent as of 2011)
Since then, I have learned a lot about forgiveness-forgiveness of my sins, forgiving others. Including, forgiving my mom and ESPECIALLY, my dad for how he treated me. And even forgiving myself. I’ve learned over the past 18 years, or so, that being a Christian is an everyday life style. We are like babies when we first come to HIM. And then, the more we read the BIBLE (HIS Words), and the more we keep our minds on what is good for our spirits, we grow and mature in our everyday life style. But it will take time because we all make mistakes and fall short of being perfect. But one of the great things about knowing HIM as your SAVIOR is that we can ALWAYS ask for forgiveness, and HE WILL. Now, keep in mind that we all have lessons to learn, too. There are some things in our lives that we have to stop doing. And there are some things that we will need to start doing.
And the more that you trust that HE KNOWS WHAT IS BEST FOR YOU, you will begin to know HIS voice and HE will direct your life. This is true if you just came to the LORD right now, or if you have been walking with HIM for years.
No one person “has it made.” Not until we get to HEAVEN will ANYONE be perfect.
Oh what a great roller coaster, and adventure we have until we get there! 😀