Hello, my name is Ana. I was born and mostly raised in Puerto Rico. I’ve been in Maryland since 2012. I have a 15-year-old son, Marcos, and I have been blessed with my fiance John, who is my side by side, and his son Christian.
Life before Jesus was just survival. When I was 10, my mom died of an aneurysm, and a few months later my father died of a fall. I went through a lot of struggles through my teen years. During that period of time I lost three brothers, my closest aunt, and my closest niece. By 18, I was convinced that anyone who got close to me would be taken away. But then my teen years went, and I was out living life on my own as an adult. I was blessed with my son and I got to travel and visit family. So in my eyes life was good enough. I always went to church and I would pray and read the Bible. But there was something always missing. I didn’t know what it was and I wasn’t really trying to figure out what it was either.
I always think back to my father. He was an alcoholic who one day found Jesus, and all I remember of him is his joy. Ever since he found Jesus, he was always joyful — always singing and praising God with such joy. I knew this could happen to anyone, and clearly during any stage of their lives, but I always excluded myself of things like this. Good things were not for me.
So on a visit I made to a new church, for the first time I let myself be angry at God. I had never questioned why he took my parents away or why I went through all the things I had gone through during my teen years. However, that day I did. While the band was playing, I was literally throwing a mental tantrum and asking God why wouldn’t he come and hug me right then and there. I knew that what I was asking for was impossible. I limited God’s power to my own limitations. But God is omnipotent. And God at that moment when I was so angry towards him, he showed me his love for me. Within seconds of my thoughts slashing through my mind, the pastor’s wife came and she said to me, “I don’t know why, but God wanted me to come and hug you and so I am going to hug you.” But I still fought back my tears and kept my heart hard.
So on a second occasion, God came to me again at this same church. My son had gone to the restroom, and I felt like he was taking too long, so I was looking towards the restroom just waiting, wondering why he was taking so long. The pastor’s wife comes again and she tells me, “You see how you are looking for your son, waiting for him to come back to you. So is God looking and waiting for you.”
So of course after that, I ran away. I felt as if I had called too much attention to myself and I needed to lay low. Simply because this was all too good. And good was too overwhelming for me. I only knew how to deal with bad. I was comfortable surviving through the bad.
Since moving to Maryland a lot of things changed. Life got even harder, and I went into survival mode again — working hard to just make it through. But I started listening to Christian radio stations, and little by little my heart started seeing Jesus with me. Not just recently, but going back years and years, I clearly saw him everywhere with me. So I started to understand what trusting Jesus really was. And it has been a roller coaster, but one that leaves me hopeful. One that lets me leave my battles to God so that I can work on the things that he is directing me to. Jesus is my Savior.