I was born August 4, 1980 in Anaheim Ca. I grew up with both parents in Garden Grove. I am the oldest and have 3 younger sisters. We didn't attend church, but were taught to pray. I didn’t fully understand what it meant to be a Christian and who God was at this point in my life.
The summer of 1992, I had just finished 6th grade and was getting ready to go to 7th. I found out my grandpa, who I was very close with was diagnosed with bone cancer. This took his life in 2 months and I wasn’t allowed to say goodbye because he deteriorated so quickly. Shortly after my parents said they were getting a divorce and I had to move to a new city and start over in a new school. I was angry and upset with all the changes that were taking place so suddenly in my life so I started to act out and was really mad at God.
The divorce took a toll on my mother and her drinking got out of control. She attempted suicide one night when one of my sisters and I were home with her. We had to go live with my grandma for a few months during this time. My mother continued to struggle with alcohol addiction and I gave up on God. Although I turned my back on him, I still felt his presence with me I just chose to ignore it. I had a dream one night and my grandpa appeared and today it was the most realistic dream. We hugged and got to say goodbye. I had prayed to God for months to see him again and I knew he made that happen, but my stubbornness wouldn’t allow me to open my heart up to God.
My 10 year old sister tried to overdose on a bottle of vitamins because she wanted to die. This event brought my family closer together and gave my mom a reason to get sober. This had given me hope and I thanked God one day for answering my prayers, but I still was not interested in learning more about him. I was skeptical. Despite how young I was and ignorant about God I was I know I could always feel him near me, but I was still very hurt and confused.
I was introduced to a small painting company in Placentia by my boyfriend’s mom. They were looking for someone to help with office work and it was summer so I started working full time when I was 15 under the table. The owners of this company turned out to be devout Christians and over the years have provided such a positive influence and impact on my life. They were the first couple to pray with me and show me what it looked like to be a believer and have God in your life. They never forced anything on me, they just lived as a Christian person should and I saw it. I saw them go through many ups and downs and they never lost faith. They are still very important people in my life today and I am grateful and know God placed them in my life intentionally. I worked with them for the next 10 years, until I had my second child. They are one of the reasons I was able to graduate from college. They were flexible and allowed me to work around my school schedule and take days off when my son was sick without the risk of losing my job.
I graduated from Canyon High in Anaheim when I was 17. I barely passed because I tried to get my parents attention by rebelling against them basically all 4 years. In the end I just hurt myself not them. I decided to take off a semester of college and go back after I took a break to have fun with my friends. I had no plans for the future, I didn’t really care about anything and wasn’t looking for any responsibility. I had always had God in the back of my mind, but I definitely was not looking to live the way he wanted me to at this time. I was on a destructive path and felt I had no purpose.
My boyfriend and I were 19 when we got pregnant. He lived with his grandma and I lived at home with my mom. A few months after we found out, my mom moved to Las Vegas and got remarried. I was not close with my father and he lived with his long time girlfriend and my sisters lived with my grandma. At the time I felt my only option was to move in with my boyfriend at his grandma’s house. A few months later his grandma got very sick and passed away in her sleep. His grandpa still lived there and now it was just us 3. It was very uncomfortable and I became very depressed. I was miserable and blamed all my troubles on God once again. However, the day my son was born something happened to me. I was overcome with joy and gratefulness. I was blessed to have this child who I was so scared to meet. My son motivated me and inspired me to be the best person I could. God had blessed me and found a way to wake me up. I enrolled at Santa Ana College and started classes for a Liberal Arts degree in the Fall of 2000. My son gave me purpose and the will to push forward in life.
My husband and I went to high school together and already had a three year old son so we figured marriage was the next step. Probably not the best way to determine if you should get married or not, but we followed through with it. We were young and he went to school full time to become a high school math teacher and I worked to pay for daycare so I could go to school part time because I didn’t want to put it off any longer. Our relationship was strained and we struggled but continued together because it was easiest for us. During this time I felt numb and started to feel like I was just going through the motions and something was still missing in my life.
In May I graduated from CSUF with a B.S. in Child Adolescent Studies. In December my second son was born. I agreed to stay home until he started school and continue school for my teaching credential when that time came as well. Over the next 5 years my marriage became toxic and I became severely depressed. I was lost again and wanted to blame someone else for my problems so I used God.
I decided to find a church near me that I was comfortable going to. I went to Friends Church in Yorba Linda because it was very big and I felt like I could get lost in the crowds easily and nobody would notice me. This was the first church I had attended willingly and felt in desperate need of spiritual help. I was embarrassed and felt out of place, but something called me to go to church. It was God I believe. This was a very difficult time for me and I eventually took comfort in church and getting to know God without pushing him away.
This was a terrible time in my life. I was left with nothing and my husband did everything he could to make me miserable. I moved to Corona so I could afford to rent an apartment there, but had to commute to Orange everyday still for work and my children’s school. This was a devastating time and I stopped going to church and withdrew from the world. I handled my situation very poorly and almost lost my life.
I had to move in with my father who I wasn’t close with and really didn’t want to. This was so hard to do. He agreed to let me stay if I went back to school to get my credential. I ran into an old friend from high school and he had become a Christian. During this time in my life I noticed God was trying to help me. My father and I started to heal our relationship, my old friend started encouraging me to go back to church and read the Bible. He supported me spiritually and helped me find my way back to God. I started to use the time I had to drive in the car to pray and build a relationship with God as well.
I attended Crossroads Church in Corona and was immediately drawn to it. I felt comfortable and joyful to be attending this church. I started to go regularly to church and truly listen to the word of God. I was at a place in my life where I could give my troubles to him and surrender. I found peace and noticed I saw the world for the first time as a place that is temporary and a test. I realized the true meaning of being a Christian and finally understood that bad things happen for reasons we might never understand, but we must trust that God has a plan for us all.
I started my journey at APU. I believe that this is what God has been preparing me to do all these years. I am excited and blessed to have an opportunity to become a teacher.
In January my father was diagnosed with lung cancer. I was not angry with God, to my surprise I easily thanked him for the relationship I had with him, for all the time we spend together and gave all my worries to him. God managed to get me through the first quarter of Spring and be my father’s caretaker. He went through 4 surgeries and in the beginning of May was declared cancer free! It was a miracle and the doctors were surprised he recovered so quickly. God is great and I have made peace with him. I have so much to learn and am grateful to be here today. I am grateful for my sons and my health. I trust that God’s plan will always be bigger than my own.