I came to America when I was 20 years old to learn English while working for a ski resort in South Lake Tahoe. I took a semester off from college and left my sister and my mom behind for what I thought it was going to be 5 months only (little did I know…)
Looking back now, I know that I was trying to get away. Take a break. My dad had passed 2 years earlier and life was a bit sour for me.
Everything was a new challenge. My poor English, my poor wallet, my hotel room with 4 roommates in it (haha fun times), my two jobs and so many other great adventures that any young woman would love to be able to live if they could.
Since I didn’t have much responsibilities aside from my jobs (they were pretty easy) what was I doing on my spare time? P-A-R-T-Y-I-N-G!
I was going out with my friends to every dollar drink night I could afford. Needless to say, I was leaving a life completely contrary to the life that God created me to live. I was an easy pray for the enemy (“Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.”Peter 5:8-9).
In this life, we are either pleasing or displeasing God. There is no “in the middle” for Him. For every action taken there is a reaction. We reap what we sow. And I was very far from doing what was right on His eyes. I knew about Him, I knew about Jesus but I was living my life like I knew what was best for me. Like I didn’t need Him. And boy I was wrong!
I met my first husband on the Summer of 2004 , He had moved to Tahoe after a divorce (he was married for about 2 years before). We dated for two years prior to getting married and some of it was long distance. Throughout our relationship God was always trying to show me that we were not meant to be together. The bible says that the devil blinds the mind of the unbeliever (see 2 Corinthians 4) and it was exactly what he was doing to me. It even got to a point where while I was back in Brazil to graduate, I received an email from a girl saying that he was sleeping with one of her friends. Do you think I broke up with him? No, I forgave him. And we got married 1 year after that in August of 2006 at the Lake with just a couple of our friends and no family around. I remember the tears coming through my eyes during the whole time. Like my spirit was crying for knowing how much I would suffer for breaking a promise that I was making at that moment to him and to God.
God designed us. He made you and me for a purpose. He gave you your strengths, your gifts, your personality. The life He designed for you and me is an abundant life. Jeremiah 29:11 says “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”. What happens is that we love to take control of our own lives. We were thought to live free and independent and we end up forsaken God, making wrong choices and then asking Him to fix them for us. His plans for our lives are impossible to be fulfilled that way!
I was snowboarding everyday, working at a casino, drinking and smoking marijuana. I was different. Distant from my family (my mom and sister) and specially from God. My life was on the wrong track. Until they came for a visit.
My mom, my sister and my sister’s boyfriend (now husband) came to spend 2 weeks with us in Tahoe in 2008. After my mom found Jesus, she became a prayer warrior and of course, prayed over me before she went back to Brazil. I don’t know how to explain it but the prayer she prayed over me that day was different. It brought me peace. It awaked the sleeping spirit that was within me. I remember her saying that she had left angels in our house for us. Little did she know she did.
After they were gone, I wanted to read the Bible she gave me every single night. I was discovering a God that I had no idea existed. He comforted me when I needed, He brought me joy and peace in the midst of trouble and He loved me even when I did not deserved to be loved. His words were so alive and it was changing the deepest parts of me. It will change you too if you allow it! Hebrews 4:12 says “For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.”
I left my ex-husband and moved to Southern California in the Summer of 2009. So many great things happened in my life since then that I feel like shouting to the world about His goodness and faithfulness! If you find yourself in a situation where you feel discouraged, lonely, guilty or sad, know that there is a God that loves you just the way you are. He knows your struggles, he knows your pain and He wants to help you. Be humble, buy yourself a bible, find a local Bible-based church and start this journey today. He created you for a purpose. He will place your life back on the track He had designed it for you to begin with. If He did it for me, why wouldn’t He do it for you too?
To His Glory,