My childhood was very dualistic because I was handed off between two families and two religions. I spent much of my early years with my two Grandmothers because my parents were divorced and so young. One weekend I would be sitting in the Kingdom Hall with my Nana Anita. All dressed in traditional Mexican girl clothing carrying with me a beautiful children’s book called “My Book of Bible Stories”, I actually loved that book.
It almost seemed as if everywhere she took me, the Jehovah church was somehow there. I remember feeling as if everything we did or touched was directly connected to the JWs. I remember my family whispering that my Nana was a Jehovah and how weird they thought it was because we were all traditionally Catholic. The word cult was common and I distinctly remember the gossip. Some people judge what don’t they don’t understand, I guess. I never understood that.
My other Grandmother Maria, was a devout Catholic. When I say devout, I mean devout. My Grandmother could be found three times a day on her knees praying with her Rosary. I heard she was in a women’s Bible study group and they would go door to door to spread the word to neighbors and friends. Going to Mass with my Grandmother was a very serious event. I remember doing the Holy Trinity with my left hand “In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, Amen” and then getting slapped sharply on my hand by my Father because I did the wrong hand. I practiced prayers in Spanish daily with my Grandmother and I loved that connection we had. I enjoyed making her proud.
Still to this day and while growing up, my memories were very dualistic, the same goes for my feelings about that time in my childhood. I love that I had these experiences with my wonderful Grandmothers, that I was exposed to God at a young age, and that I was involved.
However growing up, I did not really know who God was or what it meant to have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
I remember after I was raped at the age of 12 and being a runaway on the streets, denouncing God and saying that “God was Dog spelled backward”. I felt there was no God and if there was, why was my life this way? Why did this happen to me, why was I on the streets? I also remember feeling that I suffered for that statement for decades because I said such a horrible thing about God, further descending me and putting in a place of shame. I felt like I was living out bad karma for what seemed like forever.
When I was in my 30’s I started gaining a sense of favor from God because I had gone through so many tragedies, so much betrayal, and so much heartbreak, yet I was always okay. Blessed and unscathed considering what was going on. I even felt as if God punished those who messed with me. I felt protected.
Over time, I grew into my spirituality and studied the spiritual paths of humanity, such as early Buddhism. Learning about Siddartha, the first Buddha and studying those who followed this way of life. Oprah, Wayne Dyer, Allan Watts, Tina Turner, the list goes on. I loved Buddhism, meditation, and chanting because there was not a sense of organized religion. Siddartha was a great teacher who wanted to ease suffering by means of love, acceptance, and presence. In regular practice; meditation, affirmations, and prayer have been important tools for my personal growth.
I am more of an organic person who leans towards freeform and I love greatly, so I chose and created my own path. Using love as my mantra and the idea of calling to an unnamed Creator, “The Universe” to guide me.
That carried me a long way and I still practice those disciplines in my daily life. Yet, with all these amazing things, I still felt empty.
In 2017, I was in the middle of an extremely abusive relationship. I was also very sick with an ailment, that I was not aware of. I had journeyed into one of the lowest points of my life. I suffered multiple head injuries, concussion, bruises, cuts, scrapes, and the list goes on. My spirit and heartfelt broken. Spending most of my time in denial, trying to fix someone, showing them love and not myself, and blocking out my protector’s voices. I couldn’t hear anything and honestly, I didn’t want too. I was in disbelief that this was happening to me, that I had it under control and could make fix it (fix them).
One day after a very violent altercation, I had a massive headache of epic proportions. It was so bad that my head was ringing. It was almost like an alarm going off. Wow, I just had an “ah-ha” moment. Code red!
I had to stop off at the store before going home and get some Advil for my headache. I was also stalling because I was afraid to go home. Me, afraid? Never! Yeah right.
That notion was hard to swallow. I pulled into Rite Aid, it was nighttime, and I had just left from my usual “let’s find what I can do to waste time and not go home stuff”. The bar and the gym, in that order. Though I’m not sure if I went to the gym that night. I ended up calling one of my best friends Pat and asking him to meet me at my house after because I had no idea what that night would bring.
I had recently been listening to Pastor John Gray on YouTube and was finding comfort in the words of Jesus. Listening regularly for peace, guidance, and advice in the word. I even attended Bible study with friends of mine who prayed for me and my safety.
Yet, I was still not sure if God was with me.
While sitting in my car in front of Rite Aid with a massive headache and a sense of fear for my life. In desperation, I called out to Jesus. I called out to him by his name.
I said “Jesus, I believe in you and your word but I am not sure if you are there. I am not sure if you are really real right now. If you are here right now, I need you to give me a sign. Anything. Any type of sign to show me you really exist and that you can hear me.”
As I was saying this, I mustered up the courage to step out of the car and walk into Rite Aid. I can still see the doors to the entrance and the shadows of the panhandlers in my memories. The lights seemed so bright as I entered through the automatic doors. As I took my first step into the store I immediately heard loudly over the store speakers;
“My sweet Lord
Mm, my Lord
Mm, my Lord
I really want to know you
I really want to go with you
Really want to show you, Lord
That it won’t take long, my Lord”
George Harrison’s My Sweet Lord was playing.
I instantly started crying and laughing like a crazy woman. Shaking my head, pointing my finger in the air, and talking out loud saying “Oh Jesus, you are funny”. Sure enough, people saw me but I didn’t care I was grinning from ear to ear, with nonstop tears running down my cheeks because I just heard from God. In RITE AID!
The feeling of knowing that God heard me and took my moment of hopelessness to answer my prayer was beyond words. No one can ever take that moment from me and no one can ever tell me that God does not exist. I was touched and blessed with the gift of true belief.
I bought the Ibuprofen and went home. Pat was there waiting for me as a great friend he is. We sat and talked on the porch about my experience. About ten minutes later my phone rang. It was my friend Chuck who is a Pastor. He said to me “Hey are you alright? God told me to call you.” Wow, just wow. Amazing, Glory be to God!
Today, I am so in love with Jesus. I know I have a personal relationship with God and that I when I feel like I am alone, I really never am. I don’t practice a religion per se. I take from the word of the Bible, ancient philosophies, spiritual teachers and live in the belief that love is the ultimate religion and word. That God is love and God is in everything. That the journey of life is to reach a place within ourselves that exudes nothing but love.
Namaste and God bless.
I hope this story helps someone because our lives are living testaments to help others find their way. It is through our experiences that we shape ourselves and the world around us. Not one of us is alone, God is within us all and we are all connected.