I was born straight into a broken home. One parent was diagnosed with schizophrenia, battled demons (literally), depression, and drug addiction. The other parent abused prescription drugs and I suspect molestation and who had absolutely no idea what is was to love herself, let alone a child. My mom was 23 when she had me. I don’t know the entire story and I am sure I never will, but shortly thereafter – she became a single mom. My dad lived in Puerto Rico for a couple years, but my grandma (his mom) would pick me up sometimes so that I could have a relationship with his side of the family. I still remember the day he came back to NJ and they introduced me to him. I was so confused, and at roughly 6 years old, had no idea how to even feel. It was fun while it lasted. But because my mom and dad could never get along, my mom turned into this “baby mama” and completely just removed him from my life all together. My mom was a workaholic, and although when I was really young she spent a bit more time with me, as I got older, she would stay at work for about 12 hours and even when she was home, it was obvious she didn’t care much about connecting.
My grandma raised me, even though my mom was in the same household. She never cooked for me, never helped me with homework, and never really cared to get to know who I was while I was growing up. My mom was unstable and moved every single year of my life. Often not telling me where we were even going, but ripping me out of schools and letting me know 5 minutes before. There were many instances where the principle or teacher would wish me well wishes on my move, and I had no clue what they were even talking about. This affected me so deeply because I was never able to lock down genuine relationships because I was constantly being forced out of the environment I was just getting used to. I learned very early on that people are disposable and relationships aren’t worth fighting for because someone will always leave me.
Rightfully so, I grew up with a lot of rejection. Why wasn’t my dad around? Why didn’t my mom love me? And because my mom was desperately trying to fill a void in her life, there were men constantly in and out of our home. Here is where I learned that promiscuity was okay and commitment was a foreign concept. As I peeked into puberty at 9 years old, there were several family members that had that look in their eye. The look that if I wasn’t covered by the blood even at that age, they would’ve taken my innocence. My mom never paid attention to any of that. Since my dad wasn’t around, and my mom was bitter, she made sure to let me know every chance she had of how unfortunate life was because she had to do everything and my father was a piece of…you know what. Her favorite thing to do was speak death into me for as far back as I can remember. She would tell distant and close relatives that I was an issue and that I was schizophrenic just like my father, and I would never change. She would literally just spew hate to my family and then embarrass me to isolate them from me. My mom had two more kids (with two different dads) after me and I often asked her why she would even try again when she barely even knew how to be a parent to me. I loved them, but felt bad for them even at a young age. She seemed to only love the one whose father was around at the time. Once she moved on from the man, she would move on from us too.
By 13 years old, the enemy really had a foothold on me. I started doing drugs, I lost my virginity because I wanted to get it over with, and I started not coming home. My mom never cared. All my life I had friends tell me “Wow, you have the cool mom, she never cares what time you get home or where you are”, while deep down I was dying always wondering why my mom never loved me enough to force me to come home. Why didn’t my mom call me like my friends moms called them to see if they had eaten? I could never quite understand. I had such a void in my heart and such a yearning pain. At that pinnacle age, how can you make sense of it all? At 14, I got an older boyfriend who was 18 years old. I would be truant, spend all my time doing drugs—he would physically abuse me, was controlling and possessive and I had two abortions, all within the first year of being with him. It’s amazing how we are taught to accept certain things. So by 14, I had already been pregnant twice. TWICE. I was ashamed, broken down, and disgusted with myself. How can I allow this to happen? Let alone two times! I didn’t know Christ then, but I surely learned how to pray as soon as I woke up from the last procedure. I was crying in a room with a whole bunch of women who were also sobbing. It was in that moment that I knew this was not God’s will for us. Not having a relationship with Christ at 14, I vowed to him at that moment I would never have another abortion ever again. I was with that boyfriend until 19/20 years old on and off. Once we broke up, it really activated my promiscuity.
During this time, my mom got a boyfriend who she met online. He was married with children, but she saw fit to break up whatever situation he was in. Her boyfriend did not like me and told her that in order for him to move forward with her in his life, she would have to put me out and only my two brothers were allowed to come. He had a real vested interest in my brothers, but that’s a story for another time. Of course, my mother complied with his wishes. So, on the last day of school of my senior year of high school, my mother moved during school hours to South Carolina. Never asked me to come. Never asked me where I was going to go. Never said bye. And left me $100 on the kitchen table to “figure it out”.
At that point, I was so numb that I couldn’t even react. I cut off all communication with my mother, and I didn’t see my brothers for a few years. It was such a dark time in my life. I was 18 and now homeless. How was I even supposed to move my stuff if I had somewhere to go? I had no job. And let’s be real, even if I did – it wasn’t even to support myself on my own. I stayed in my old house with just my mattress in it for about 5 days. My friend’s sister opened up her home to me if I paid $200 a month. I was staying in a one bedroom apartment with her and her son. Not ideal but I was grateful for the blessing at the time. The depression I was in though, catapulted me into heavy drug usage. I was doing cocaine, popping ecstasy, smoking weed, drinking. You name it and I would’ve tried it. I would have really bad trips and my body would go into convulsions, and life would go black. I was hoping I would just die. I would degrade my body. Sleep with guys. I went on a tattoo rampage (I have 23 right now and 22 of those were done in one year). I was trying each and every way that I could to cope with what my life had become. I was falling deeper and deeper into a depression. I was able to somehow get a job and secure an apartment after couch surfing for about a year. Living alone, while It was a blessing I was even able to secure an apartment at that time, it just ignited a brand new kind of loneliness. One where I really had to deal with my emotions. I spent a lot of time in excruciating pain as God broke me down, and dealt with my pain.
I always knew I was different. I always knew life wasn’t supposed to be this way. When I was about 5 years old, I remember hearing voices and my mom would just brush me off and say I was crazy. I didn’t know the voice of Christ. I started doing Santeria thinking that if I joined the spirits, they wouldn’t bother me so much. I would wake up sometimes and my bed would be elevated in the air. I would get raped by demons in my sleep. They would choke me to the point where they would almost kill me, and made sure I wouldn’t be able to scream. How can these spirits I prayed to betray me like this? I remember vividly that even while I was playing with ghosts, Christ started to pull me out of those trenches. I remember I had absolutely no friends who understood the darkness I was going through. I would get high and drunk, and sleep with guys and come home to cry and ask God why I was doing this. “There has to be more to life than this!” I would plead. Looking at myself in the mirror with tears falling down; not knowing who I was, what I have allowed myself to get to, and why I couldn’t just have a “normal life”.
I had such a yearning in my spirit for education and never ever thought I would be able to attend because I could not use my parents income for the FAFSA form and I was “too young” to be considered independent. But God made a way. I knew I had to surpass my mother’s education and be the first in my family to attain a degree. There was more to life than THIS. I applied to college for Fashion Merchandising and got accepted as an independent student after trying for two years. At 22, I was starting college in a full time 18 month rigorous program where I had to be there from 8:30-3:30pm. What would I do for money? He had it all figured out. I was offered a stipend to cover my rent (I had just moved into my first one bedroom apartment) and books, commute, etc. for the entire duration of the program. I was awarded $25,000 to make it through. Looking back at that time in my life, I can’t believe how much He really blessed me. God said, “Here Babygirl, don’t you worry about a thing!” When my mother caught wind that I was awarded this money, can you guess what she did? Without ceasing and without shame, she asked me for $10,000 in order to move out of state yet again, and uproot my brothers. No congratulations. No “I’m proud of you”. No nothing. I hung up the phone on her and didn’t speak to her for another several years. While things were looking up, I also had a lot of internal work to do. I felt so very blessed to be able to attend college! ME! In a real college with real students. I was so worried. Would I excel? Would I make friends? For so long, I had convinced myself I wasn’t worthy of extending my education. But He saw differently.
In October of 2009, I rekindled the relationship with my father. I was so happy to have him back in my life. A month later, he was murdered. Although a huge tragedy, and I miss him every day, I was SO GRATEFUL to God that He allowed us to come together again. It seemed as though all my daddy issues just disappeared. He was taken from me too soon, yes, but gosh I was just thankful to have had him for that short while. I thank God often for allowing me to experience what life would have been like if I had my father around. At 22, while doing a project for school, I met the man I would eventually fall in “love” with and have a child with. I thought “This is it…the struggle is over!” Boy, was I wrong. Since no one ever taught me that relationships were hard work, I was always trying to bail. Until…oops. I get pregnant. Now, how do I bail? I contemplated abortion. Again. Then remembered my promise to God. Even still, I had just started college and was too bogged down by the notion that men don’t stay anyway, right? I mean my daddy didn’t stay. So, why would he? I contemplated abortion until I was about 5 months. All the while, not understanding the hormones and everything else that was happening to and inside my body. We treated each other harshly. I ended up in the hospital from stress and dehydration. The person who was “guiding me” in Santeria told me that my son had problems with his legs and would never walk correctly, and would be wheelchair bound for life so that I should just abort the baby.
That same night when I got home, I had a dream of what my son would look like. If you remember earlier, I mentioned that I was being tormented in my sleep and that often included being tormented in my dreams. This dream was different. I knew it was from God. He showed me that it was a boy with dark black hair and big dark eyes, porcelain skin and a smile that would light up any room. In that moment, I declared that I would never speak to my guide again or practice Santeria again and I would move forward because it’s obvious God had a bigger destiny for my son than what fear was trying to alter. Once I made the decision to keep the baby, things got really real. The devil was working hard. My son’s father became erratic, verbally, and mentally abusive. He would throw me into walls control me and speak death into me every chance he got. Sound familiar? Things were so dark again. This isn’t how I ever envisioned my pregnancy. Why is this happening to me? I still wasn’t saved, but I knew this wasn’t God’s will for my life. Why was I here again, God?
On April 30th, 2012, Kingston Zion was born. But, I too was also born. I was in shock for about 2 weeks that I even had this human here. Things were still terrible with his dad, but I was just trying to focus on sleeping and feeding Kingston. His dad did not help me at all, and told me I was worthless because I couldn’t do it on my own. I was already getting a taste of what was to come. Because of the lack of help, sleep, and the hormonal imbalance that happens for weeks after giving birth, I fell into really bad post partum depression. Here we go again, I thought. I spent all day crying. Everything made me cry. I couldn’t go out. Needed help. None of which was available. At 6 weeks, after discovering that K’s dad was cheating on me, things got even REALER. His dad left my house and was not to return for about a year after. But not without any torment thereafter. Wishful thinking. Here I was, a single mom, just like my mom. At this point I was mad. Like, God how can you do this to me? Everything that I’ve been through and you can’t just look out for me this one time? I have no job. I was only getting $200 a week off of unemployment. I had taken the semester off from school and had to go back in a few weeks. I had no money for childcare. What are we going to do?
I feel that after this very significant moment. My entire life changed. When Kingston was 12 weeks old, I had to go back to school. I had no money, but He made a way anyways. I found a daycare that I was able to pay by the day and since I was doing the majority of my classes online, would only need about a day a week. So $35 a day I had to live with that. I would sit in class and basically have to excuse myself to go cry in the bathroom because I was having such separation anxiety from being away from my newborn. God moved on the heart of the daycare provider one day, as she offered to allow my son to attend her center for FREE for a year. FREE! YOU hear me? Because of this mighty blessing, I was able to persevere and push through and finish school! I was determined to be nothing like my mother, and everything I did or didn’t do was motivated like that. He provided. I fell so in love with my son; he became my entire world. I use to ask God how can I even love him properly when I never knew what love was growing up. Why did you choose me? I’m going to mess this up God, I just know it. After about 10 months of the biggest struggle of my life, I knew I couldn’t do this anymore. I knew that change had to come because anything had to be better than everything I have gone through thus far. I had to try it. I had to just touch the hem of His garment. In February of 2013, someone I knew invited me to his home church. And lo and behold, I gave my life to Christ that very day.
The scripture that Christ gave me when I first got saved was;
“But Yehshua turned, and when He saw her He said, “Take courage, daughter, your belief has healed you.” And the woman was healed from that hour. – Matthew 9:22”
My life is a story of healing. It is a story of His grace. Is it perfect? Heck no. I’ve been saved for 3 years now just about, and I can tell you that I’ve had my share of trials thus far. But I can also tell you about how tangible and real freedom is. He kept me through it all. I am no longer a slave to the bondage the devil tried to keep me in for so many years. I literally cannot count on one hand the situations YHWH (God) has pulled me out of. Even ones that I put myself in! For many years, I condemned myself for having a baby out of wedlock. He showed me there was purpose in my struggle. Although I was promiscuous, He taught me the beauty of purity. Although death was spoken to me my entire life, I am an encourager (and I have a little encourager too—Kingston!). Even though I never knew what love was, He used my son to teach me what it was. I was always told I was too broken, too crazy, too weird, too unlovable. Christ proved to me otherwise.
If I had to choose one thing I was most grateful for (besides salvation), it is the ability to be a parent. A sane parent. A healed parent. A sober parent. A parent nothing like my parents. A diligent parent. An involved parent. And above all – a nurturing parent. I can’t express my gratitude enough for allowing me the privilege. I know now that I would not have been able to get through parenting without Christ. I have such a passion for motherhood and when I see my son, I know Christ has replenished my childhood in him. My son’s father, although not perfect, now is active in my son’s life. I, as a mother, am also not perfect. We tried to be together, but being unequally yoked is not in God’s will for my son, and although raising my son in a broken home is not what the ideal situation would be for any parent, pray for us as we maneuver through co-parenting. It is NOT easy – but at the end of the day, it’s about raising Kingston to be the man YHWH has called him to be. Nothing less. YHWH promised me that with Kingston, the generational curses have been broken. So I am standing firmly on His promise. Things for us will surely be different. Because He promised.
I’m still growing as a woman, as a mother, as a follower of Christ, as a business owner, as an employee, and as a potential wife one day. I am constantly being delivered from old mindsets as I continue in my walk. But what I did learn early on was that YHWH did not put me on this earth to suffer. He didn’t put me on this earth to roam around aimlessly. He knew the plans that He had for me all along; plans to prosper me and give me a future (Jeremiah 29:11). Although not an ideal life growing up, the pain needed to happen. The pain birthed my purpose. I pray that if I can just touch one soul and inspire just one person to not settle for what their life might look like RIGHT NOW, then it would have all been worth it. My biggest fears all came to pass, but YHWH got me through! “Rock bottom became the foundation in which I built my life”. It is incredible what God can do for us when we just let him. What He is willing to do for us, even when we are far from Him. My life and now my son’s life is a true testament of His relentless love. He is surely faithful to deliver. Just hold on.
“If you decide for God, living a life of God-worship, it follows that you don’t fuss about what’s on the table at mealtimes or whether the clothes in your closet are in fashion. There is far more to your life than the food you put in your stomach, more to your outer appearance than the clothes you hang on your body. Look at the birds, free and unfettered, not tied down to a job description, careless in the care of God. And you count far more to him than birds.”
Yara’s blog site: http://www.kingdombabes.com