I was born and raised in a Christian home. My father had a good stable job in the city and we lived in a middle class neighborhood in Brooklyn, NYC. We faithfully went to church whenever there was a service and I began singing at the age of four.
Our life seemed so perfect on the outside, but it was far from perfect. Inside my home was filled with chaos, anger, pain, and misery. Most days my parents would fight over the simplest of things. I also faced abuse by my older sibling and all we ever did was fight.
My dad tried his best to keep things together but it just wasn’t enough. When I was twelve years old I remember my whole family stopped attending church. I was the only one who would go every Sunday all alone, because I loved going and I especially enjoyed singing.
Eventually my parents divorced when I was thirteen. My mother decided to leave the home and didn’t want anything to do with us. I still remember so vividly that night and how I had to stay up with my little sister as she cried uncontrollably for our mother. We didn’t understand why she chose to leave us, it took me many years to even understand why.
My life began to spiral out of control and I no longer cared about having a relationship with God. In fact, I became an atheist and had a strong hate for Christians. I would curse at them and tell them there was no God because if there was He wouldn’t allow me to go through so much.
The friends I started hanging around were drug dealers and gang members, they introduced me to a whole different lifestyle and I dug myself deeper into a pit. I started partying, drinking, and smoking marijuana. I did not care about my life anymore, I used the drugs and alcohol as an escape.
There were times I wouldn’t come home for days, because I didn’t want my dad to see me high or drunk. I lost complete control and became a terrible alcoholic. I had to have it everyday, even to the point of blanking out. I became a very violent person who constantly had fights in school and the streets. Some of my closest friends no longer wanted to be around me because they felt I was too dangerous to be around. My life was a complete mess, but I could not see how lost I was.
Until I met Jesus…
I will always remember this day like it was yesterday. My aunt purchased a brand new home and we were excited to go. She said my cousins and I could have a sleep over on the weekend, but I had to go to church on Sunday. There was no way I could agree to that so I said, “No!” My cousins begged for me to stay, so I finally agreed. We had fun just watching movies, laughing at silly jokes, and talking about random stuff. Sunday came along and I went to church begrudgingly.
I had the nastiest attitude while sitting in the youth Sunday school class. I did not want to be there at all and I made it known. The time came for the pastor to preach and I fell asleep for the whole message. Till this day I don’t remember what the message was about, but I just know that I woke up at the end of it while the pastor was making an altar call.
My aunt asked if I wanted to go up for prayer and I declined. The pastor continued speaking and I don’t know what he said, but I suddenly felt a conviction that I was a sinner and I needed to repent. I slowly began to walk up to the altar and when I got there all I saw was my whole life flashing before my eyes. I saw all the sins I was committing and how filthy I was. I did not want to be that person any longer, I began to sob uncontrollably and that day I accepted Jesus Christ as my savior.
I had a long way to go, but slowly and surely all of the walls broke and my chains were lifted. I was no longer bound to the pain and sins of my past. I stopped partying, drinking and getting high. I surrounded my self with new people and gained some Godly friends. As I studied Gods Word, my anger ceased and my love for Jesus grew. I started singing once again and had a passion for street preaching. That is how I met my husband, Pastor Chris.
It took a few years but I did forgive my mother and we now have a healthy relationship. My father is saved and preaching once again. My family is back together and God has healed us of all past hurts, we all get along and enjoy our time with one another.
Today I am blessed with a wonderful marriage and ministry that reaches thousands for the glory of God. My life is dedicated to serving like Jesus does and that’s why I evangelize, feed the homeless every week, visit the sick, elderly, and those in prison.
I also am the founder of True Beauty Ministries, it is an online ministry that encourages other women to know their worth in Christ.
I give because He freely gave to me, even when I did not deserve it. Jesus restored me. The past is gone and a new woman has risen.
“I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.” -Galatians 2:20
~ Deborah Rodriguez
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