Nilssa G.

Nilssa G.

from CA
Story #458
My Story
I was born in the small town of Douglas, Arizona, but grew up just two hours north, in the city of Tucson, Arizona. I’m the youngest of three girls so like they say, I’m the baby of the family. My dad passed away when I was seven months old; my mother never remarried, so I grew up in a home with no father figure. Despite the fact that my father wasn’t around I had a great childhood. My mom is an amazing woman and did what ever she had to do to provide for my sisters and I. There were times where the absence of my father was tough, especially on father’s day. I had always longed for that feeling of having a father, and it took some years for me to allow God to fill that void in my heart.
Like I mentioned before I had a normal childhood but at the age of 12, someone who I was close to sexually abused me. I remember not being able to fully comprehend what just had happened. The following 24 hours were a nightmare. My family gathering and talking about what had just happened. I remember my mother asking what I wanted to do, and I just did not know how to answer that. After that huge incident in my life, as a family, we just tried to forget about it. I never spoke to anyone about it and it was this big dark secret that I carried with me. Life after that became a blur and my decision-making became worse. During middle school I struggled with self-esteem and come high school I began to hang out with the wrong crowd. I began to drink and the way I saw myself was not positive. During that time I had no identity and struggled to find it in alcohol, drugs, sex and so many other things that many teenage girls struggle with. I never talked to anybody about what I was going through but God would soon speak to me and change my life for the better.
It was the summer of 2007 that I decided to come and spend a couple of months with my sister and brother in law in Fresno, California. I was getting into trouble back in Arizona so a change of scenery seemed right. My sister and brother in law were pastors, so church was going to be a big part of my summer. I came to California not looking to rekindle my relationship with God but God had different plans.
During a regional event God spoke to me through that nights preacher. Like every Pentecostal event there was an altar call and something in me said that I had to go up there, but because I’m stubborn I chose to ignore it. The preacher then said that there was someone in the crowd who God was speaking to and they needed to stop running way. At that moment I knew God wanted to encounter me. I gave in and walked up to the altar, and God spoke to me in such an amazing way. Promises were prophesized and at that moment my relationship with God began, again.
My life didn’t get easier and going back to my reality in Arizona was tough. I had to go back to the same friends, and the same atmosphere I wanted to move away from. The night before I had to leave to Arizona I cried because I was so afraid of becoming who I was and/or feeling how I felt before, but I had to go back home. Few days after being home I began to hang out with my same friends and old habits became my routine, yet again. I knew something had to change because I could not continue that path now knowing what God had planned for me. On November 2007 I decided that I had to move to Fresno. It wasn’t an easy decision but I knew it was what God needed me to do. January of 2008 I packed my bags and made my way to Fresno, California; where new adventures and new trials awaited me.
Truly accepting God into my life was one of the greatest decisions I have ever made. However I don’t think I was prepared for the process I was about to begin. I was still somewhat lost in understanding who I was before God. I knew God had saved me and had a perfect plan but my self worth was non-existent. I felt as though I needed someone to define who I was or how special I was. At the age of 16 I became involved with this boy that was part of my youth group, and at first, it was everything a girl could ever dream of. Sending emails back and fourth, late night phone calls, and feeling the whole zoo in your stomach when seeing each other, that kind of love. He became my world and unfortunately we took a path that would only lead our relationship to a toxic place. We became unhealthy for each other but I just could not imagine my life without him. Without him, my life had no meaning. I would always do whatever it took to keep him happy. He cheated, he disrespected me, yet I couldn’t be without him. I found my identity in him and this only led me to put him before anyone, before God.
We were on and off for about three years until one day he betrayed me, yet again, in the worst way possible. My whole world immediately shattered. I needed him in my life, and without him I was lost. It then led me to overdose on medication and nearly lose my life. I remember feeling so lost and so lonely that death seemed to be the only way to stop that empty feeling. I remember being at the hospital and doctors telling me they didn’t know if my organs would ever function on their own due to the high amount of medication I had taken. All I could think of was all the plans God had for me and how quickly it was all to be taken away. So many people from my church were in that waiting room and praying for a miracle. The next day, tests were done and no organ in my body was affected, and doctors couldn’t explain how that had happened, but I knew God was giving me another chance. At that moment the old Nilssa died and a new me was born. I found my identity in Christ and from that moment on, my life has never been the same.
The process of healing had begun but I wanted more in my relationship with God so I prayed to be baptized by the Holy Spirit. Our annual youth camp was coming up and I had faith that God was going to do something amazing in my life (not that he had not already done that). Summer camp came along, and it was Saturday night of our Jesus filled weekend. I was at that altar waiting for God to baptize me but it just was not happening. Everyone around me was being filled with the spirit and I felt like maybe it just was not going to happen. Then the big moment came. The preacher prayed over me and this fire came upon me and I began to speak in tongues. It was one of the greatest moments of my life. I had encountered God like never before and this fire had been ignited. From that summer on my life changed drastically. God began to move in my life like never before. I had given my heart completely to God and I knew that one day a man would walk into my life that would love me, just like God intended him to. I was not waiting on God and allowing God to be the center of my life. On December 4, 2011 I went on my very first date with the man who would one day be my husband. He was the sweetest, and treated me like I had never been treated before. February of 2012 he asked me to be his wife and by April of that same year we were married. Four months of just knowing each other and we became husband and wife. We’ve gone through so many tough moments but God has been so present in every single one. We are five years into our marriage and I could not love this man any more. God knew what my heart needed and sent me the man who would love me just like God loves his church.
My husband and I are now working in youth ministry at our church. I strongly feel that God has placed us there for so many reasons. God has used my broken past to help those around me. I am living proof that our God is a God of many chances. My life is nowhere near perfection but I trust in the perfect plan of God. I may have taken a few side roads but I am back on track to becoming everything God has destined me to be.