Part 2: The Great Reward Trials Bring: My Testimony, By Sister Isabel Mendoza
It was about an hour and half later, my mother returns home with an older cousin, Jan. They both came in as we were lying on the floor. My mother stood in front of us 5 kids and said, I have something to tell you and before she could get the words out of her mouth she fell on her knees crying,” Your father is dead!”
My two oldest brothers cried aloud and I lay back down and held back emotions. I felt one tear leave my eyes. I felt motionless, and I said nothing and just laid there in silence. My cousin Jan came over to me and asked me a strange question, so I thought it was a strange question. She asked, “why aren’t you crying, little girls cry when their daddy’s die, why aren’t you crying?” I had no answer to her question; I just stared into her eyes. I repeated her question to myself through out the night and many nights and years after that; “little girls cry when their daddy’s die, why aren’t you crying?” The truth is, I was devastated, and hurt, feeling guilty and ashamed and nobody caught it. I was deeply wounded and nobody could understand my re-actions and I didn’t understand my own re-actions either. I needed help to cope with the life I was living.
My father’s family drew the conclusion to my father’s untimely death at the age of 32, and claimed that my mother and I poisoned him or suffocated him while he was on medication during his sleep. They were sure this was why I did not show reaction for my father’s death. The police were notified of her assumption and returned to ask me a few questions. I told him what had happened while I was kneeling by his side. After being questioned for the death of my father, I became very withdrawn and in silence. I could not speak much. It felt like everybody was starring at me; I just wanted to be alone. My father’s family would take me aside on many occasions and accuse me. I would repeat the story over and over again. They wanted to catch me in a lie, but there was no lie. My father died of a drug over dose and they would not accept that. They planted a seed in my mind that allowed me to believe I could have done something more and maybe today I would have a father. It came down to, the time I spent on my knees beside my father when I should have called the paramedics. I stooped into a deep silence. I did not speak much to people for nearly a year and never expressed my feelings to anyone.
I wanted to go away from my father’s family but all we had was there financial support. We had nothing and moved in with a family member.
Soon after my father died my mother became twice the monster he was. It was not long after we moved out from that house that my mother took all the anger she had towards my deceased father onto me. I was the only woman in the home and she began to treat me as her late husband treated her. I noticed my mother began drinking alcohol and very soon after, it was crack cocaine and heroine. This is the season she began to verbally abuse me on most days.
I did not know who Jesus was but I would cry and cry every night for God to reveal himself to me.
I signed up to work for an after school program and get paid a little money for selling candy. One night after school, the manager of the teen work program congratulated me for selling the most candy. I became the top seller and he asked me to train the rest of the teens. One evening I had a young man with me, I was training. He was a very lazy person. He sat on his box of candy and wanted a break so I knelt down and sat on my box. He pulled out a small box and opened it up. I noticed it was drugs. He smoked it and began to pressure me to smoke with him. I refused several times. He proceeded to say it would take my mind to another place, off my problems. At that moment I could really use a moment of relief from my mother’s cruel words. I agreed to smoke with him, as I went to grab the drug (as God is my witness!!) my arm froze stuck!! I could not move my arms to grab the drug!! I looked down at my arms and I am trying to move them! They would not move! Suddenly and for the first time I heard the audible voice of God. I heard a voice talk to me saying, “I am God and I am with you”. I jumped up and told that young man, I gotta go. I called the manager to pick me up and take me home immediately, and he did. When I got home I ran upstairs to my window seal, and said, “oh, God, OH GOD, you’re real, you’re real!! You’re REAL!! And you’re with me. I wept and cried myself to sleep.
At 12 years old I had an incredible experience with God. It was undeniable. I knew what I heard and felt was real. It changed my attitude, not my circumstances, only my attitude. I saw a glimpse of hope. I felt as thou God were watching over me.
Many people came in and out of our home. I spent most of my time in my room reading my red comic book Bible. I found peace in reading my Bible. It’s what I did most of my time. A friend of my mother’s, her name was Jane; she was addicted to heroine and recently lost her daughter to foster care. Jane always wanted me to be around her. I guess it was a way of making up for the absence of her daughter. Jane would ask me to tie a large rubber band around her arm while she gave herself a shot. At first I thought it was for a medical reason but after watching her body respond it dawned on me I was helping this woman shoot up heroine through her veins. Shame began to settle on me again. Going back to my room reading my Bible after assisting Jane shoot up was not working for me. I did not feel right about what I was doing.
My mother and another family member appeared to lose their tempers often in this season. My mother began getting paranoid and would beat anything or anyone in her way. I watched her beat my brother over and over again. She kept saying, “he is trying to kill me.” I thought she was going to lose her mind. I felt like I had to do something. So, one night I screamed, “Leave my brother alone!” It was like she could not hear me at all. She was so far gone in her mind she just kept punching and punching my brother in the face and head. I would have called the police but we had no phone service. Finally she got tired of hitting him, he fell to the floor in pain and I ran to my room. A few minutes later she came in as I was putting something inside my closet and she pulled me out dragging me by my hair, I remember such evil in her eyes, and she said, “Don’t think I would not do the same to you.” Then she let me go and walked out of my room. I was full of anger and hatred for my mother. She was not only mean and ruthless but also evil.
I could hardly stand the way I was living, the daughter of a drug addict, the daughter of an abuser. I fell into depression. I stayed in my room behind closed doors.
Living in this environment with cocaine and heroine started a new battle. When the money ran out, and the need for cocaine was strong, prostitution became a known occurrence. Jane began to take me on her prostitution trips, showing me the connections of when and where. I was so sick in my stomach but I knew better than to talk back to a woman who needs a high. This brought many sleepless nights and some nights when I would sleep I started to hear sounds of animals growling. I would wake up and turn the lights on and there was nothing around the house that would make that sort of sound. I would go back to bed, shut the lights off and that sound would return. It was the sound of animals growling again, it was loud enough to wake me up and scare me. As sleepless nights settled in and fear of the growling sound, I started sleeping with the lights on and still that sound of growling would come. I started to pray and ask God to help me and protect me. Soon after the sounds would leave and I could sleep better. This was happening for many months. I had heavy eyes and felt tortured. Tortured by my mother’s harsh words and tortured by a demonic world I knew nothing about.
©Copyright Isabel Mendoza and Women of Vision Leadership