I remember the first time I met Nina. She was a bubbly, joyful, outgoing, and beautiful woman. She hugged my neck every time I saw her and we had only recently become acquainted. I marveled at her openness. At the same time, I had no idea from where God had brought her. We were pregnant at the same time and would talk about when the babies were due and how we were feeling. I had no idea what a special gift this daughter of hers was….a gift of redemption, restoration. After recently hearing her story, I am even more amazed at what God has done in her life. She is abounding with joy (joy unspeakable) and she is the picture of grace. Her family is beautiful and healthy. God truly traded her ashes for beauty. Please enjoy her story of finding freedom….
I guess to know how I got here, you need to know where I’ve been. I was raised in a Hispanic Catholic family who attended … well … we were dragged to church every Sunday by Mom. I knew who Jesus was and about Him. I just did not know Him personally. My family fell apart on Halloween 1994, when I caught my dad in an adulterous affair. This event bred great anger in my heart, and I did not understand how this could happen to my mom. Everything I believed in and understood about my dad and my family was a lie. How could he do this to us?
The following year, I met a young man who was going to ‘rescue’ me from the place I was in. I finally had someone to share all of my feelings with. We were both virgins and prided ourselves on that fact. After a night of “one little drink won’t hurt” with friends, we slept together. We were both so disappointed in ourselves. Two months later, I found that I was pregnant. I thought, “PREGNANT? But we were only together once?!” The devil was setting me up to fail. A series of events took place that led me straight into the devil’s den. This series of events ended with finality when I had an abortion.
After the abortion, I immediately was enticed by drugs and alcohol. I wanted anything to numb the pain, shame, and sadness. It worked, but only temporarily. I fell into a deep depression. All of my friends would ask me what was wrong and where was their “old friend Nina”? I couldn’t answer that question. My relationship with my boyfriend unraveled and ended after three crazy years of abuse and blame. Not long after the break-up, I found that he had been cheating on me with my best friend…another disappointment.
I had had enough. I went to college and went wild. I became promiscuous easily while intoxicated. I began using and selling drugs. Marijuana led to cocaine, which led to ecstasy, which led to crystal meth. I truly have a span of months that I do not remember. Only by the grace of God did I not kill myself or someone else. And, only by His grace did I graduate from college.
I moved home and desperately needed a new beginning. In 2006, I met Jesus. He came into my world and immediately delivered me from drugs and alcohol. It was so unbelievable to me how in an instant the desire could just leave. I married my amazing husband and started school at CFNI the same year. God began a deep work in me. My second year, I had an encounter with God in my living room. I was crying out to him for freedom from my abortion. The next thing I knew, I was on the floor. God asked me, “Is Jesus’ blood enough? Is His blood not enough?” And it was. He set me free right there!! I had an Isaiah 61 moment that reads,
“He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to the captives, And the opening of the prison to those who are bound…To give them beauty for ashes, The oil of joy for mourning, The garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; That they may be called trees of righteousness, The planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified.”
This was the beginning of my process. God showed me that day a toy tree house/ dollhouse that I had as a child. My dad put it together, but the elevator crank never worked on it. We had to use our finger to push it up and down. God said, “It looks perfect on the outside, but does not function the way the manufacturer intended.” Wow! Next, I saw the tree house totally disassembled and He placed the owner’s manual in my hand and said, “Use this to build it.” As He lifted His hand off of the book, I saw it was the Bible. It was the owner’s manual to my life!! All the instruction I needed to rebuild was inside this marvelous book. The Lord began to help me set a foundation that I never had before. He began to clean out each room of the house. He did not do it all at once. I have rebuilt my tree house with God’s help.
It does require maintenance and cleaning on a regular basis. This rebuilding happened over a two-year span. I met with Dr. Carol Thompson, an instructor at CFNI specializing in deliverance ministry, every time God would reveal a new area where I needed healing and deliverance. When something else would come up it would frustrate me but God reminded me of Luke 11:24
“When an unclean spirit goes out of a man, he goes through dry places, seeking rest; and finding none, he says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came.’ And when he comes, he finds it swept and put in order. Then he goes and takes with him seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter and dwell there; and the last state of that man is worse than the first.”
God was protecting me. He made sure I was ready to deal with each issue. He made sure I had a firm foundation to be free in that area. He did not want me to be worse off than I was before. It started with breaking generational curses, then deliverance from a spirit of rejection, and a whole lot in between. Thank God for our fathers and mothers in the faith. Dr. Thompson taught me how to breakthrough and claim the freedom that Christ died for me. I think the most beautiful thing about me is my freedom. My name is Nina, and I am beautiful.