Part 3: The Great Reward Trials Bring: My Testimony, By Sister Isabel Mendoza
My mother ran into some money and rented a nicer home. What she didn’t realize, it was 1 mile from a United Pentecostal church. It was my shot at a break through and every time the doors of the church became open, I was there. I wanted to be there so often I asked to vacuum the church and clean the windows before every service. The janitor of the church agreed and we cleaned, vacuumed, and dusted the whole building before every church service. What an honor it was to clean the house of God, that’s exactly how I felt!
I was so happy to be able to go to church. The joy of being in the presence of God was and still is amazing. My mother noticed how happy I was. It never bothered her that my brothers would leave the home and return at ungodly hours of the night, but she grew to despise my happiness. She started giving me chores to do before I left for church, threatening if they were not done, I could not go to church. I would run around the house picking up after everyone, doing laundry, dishes, sweep and mop. I always seemed to finish just in time. As she created hardship on me, I would run late for church, it would take me about 20-30 minutes to walk to church through the dirt road and most of the time I would get dirty before I got to the church service. The time when I had excessive chores I asked if she would drop me off at the church, after all, the car was sitting in the garage. She would yell at me, NO! If you want to go to that church take yourself! It was a challenge every service and it began to wear on me. I realized what a blessing it was to go to the house of the Lord but it was also a challenge, for now a 13-year-old girl.
My older brothers never took a father role, they would laugh at me because I would wear long skirts. One Sunday morning after my chores were done, I ran out, started running to church. This day was heavy on me. I had many chores and going to a public school was heavy on me this particular Sunday morning. I am running through the dirt road about half a mile into it when I heard a bunch of commotion coming from an oncoming vehicle. I could see a red car with kids in the back seat yelling at me, “Run Fat Girl Run!” I was not thin, a little on the heavy side, Hispanic young girl, barely 5 feet tall. Most of my clothes were borrowed or pre-owned.
As the car drove passed me I noticed it was Sister Martha and her kids. It was a Sunday school teacher at my church. I expected her to turn around and pick me up. The church was just down the road and it would only take a few minutes. So I waited and waited. I finally realized she is not coming back. I remember feeling let down, sad and exhausted. Here I am trying my best to live for God with no support of my family and felt that my church family wasn’t supportive either.
My youthful mind felt let down. I fell to my knees on that dirt road. I could hear the sounds of cars passing and my eyes burst with tears. I was tired of trying, tired of pushing and begging to go to church, tired of carrying a heavy load. As I knelt on that dirt road a strong impression came over me. A thought came to mind in the form of a question, that question asked, “Do you go to church for people? Or do you go to church to serve the Lord? Because is you go for people they will let you down, but if you go for the Lord it will not be in vein. Now is the moment you need to decide who you will serve, God or people.” I lifted me head and said, “Lord I chose to serve you, I’m going to church for the Lord.” I got my heavy set body up off the ground, dusted off the nicest dress I had on (which was ugly), tightened up my dress shoes that were 2 sizes too big, picked up my feet and started running to the house of the Lord. I could see the dirt being kicked up from behind me because my shoes were too big and dragging behind me, as I gladly continued my journey to the house of the Lord. As I finally arrived to the church with sweat running down the sides of my face, I wrapped my little hands around that doorknob and swung that back door open. Feeling that fresh cold air conditioned temperature hit my face was a sign of peace. Church had already started because I was talking to Jesus on the dirty street side of white Road, but I still walked myself up to the very front row with my Red comic book Bible and sat down ready for some good church!
Church has been amazing. I joined the choir and starting in on a bible study. I learned and grew in the word of God over the next several months. One of the things I learned was the power in uncut hair. I vowed I would not cut my hair and it began to grow long. My mother noticed my dedication to my hair and made threats of cutting it while I was sleeping. It was not strange for her to feel jealousy of my happiness. I would sleep at night with my hair up and my hands fastened around my head and hair, hoping and praying she would not cut it during my sleep. As I was drawing closer to God the light of Gods Holy Spirit in my life was bringing conviction to her.
She opened our home to Friday night parties. I believe it was her attempt to lure me into a sinful lifestyle. My older brothers would bring high school friends over to drink and party. Many Fridays at church we had prayer nights till 9pm, and on my way home turning the corner, I could hear the loud music coming from my house. I would walk through the front door and quickly make my way to my room, shut the door behind me and lock the door. Many times young men would knock on my door wanting to come in. I would burry my head in my pillow and ask God for his protection. That door was very thin and not one time did any of those young men pry the door open. I believe God had his hand on me in that situation and was protecting me.
The on going of the party life style began to become a norm in my home. Cops visited our home because of fights and drugs. Although my mother would party with these teens there was still drugs and alcohol being given to these teens.
At night while trying to sleep I started having nightmares and the feeling as if someone was choking me. I could feel the hands around my throat. I would wake up in a panic, feeling as though I could not move. Being fully awake with the feeling of hands around my throat was a very traumatic experience. I was afraid to sleep and started sleeping at school. I was afraid when nighttime came. Every night I would feel hands around my throat. I began to call on Jesus and every time I did I would be free from those hands. About an hour later the same night they would come back again. Sometimes 3 and 4 times a night I would feel like I was being attacked. At this time I was not aware of spiritual warfare. I felt maybe it was all in my mind. After a month or two I got used to the feeling of being attacked in my sleep. I learned to call on Jesus until the night I was sleeping on my right side and I heard a loud voice laughing at me. I opened my eyes and felt a hot wind blow in my face. It was the most evil presence I had ever felt. I jumped up and started praying in Jesus name. After that incident I decided to talk with someone at church. I talked with my Care Pastor and he gave me a little bottle of oil. He asked if he could come to my home and pray over my house and especially my room. I told him my mother would be furious if a preacher would come to my home. I would never forget what he told me that day, He said, don’t worry and put the bottle of oil in my hands, closed my hand around the bottle of oil, saying, “God is going to use you.” I didn’t know what that meant at the time but something about those words pierced my heart. Those words echoed in my heart all that week and many years after. I felt a longing to be used by God from that day forward. The time came when I was home alone still battling through the nights. I took that little bottle of oil and anointed every door and window seal in my home. I prayed, then anointed the door, then prayed some more, then anointed some more. Since that day forward I had never battled that spirit again. God gave me victory over demonic oppression once again.
As time went on the emotional pain began to penetrate my mind. The severity of my mother’s actions toward me became intense the more I tried to live for God. She began, sitting me on a chair in the middle of the kitchen telling me how ugly I was. She would circle around me and continue telling me, “I was worthless, and nobody will ever love you.” These words were repeated with cuss words over and over again on a daily basis that lasted about 30-45 minutes.
I lived in a small room, alone, always afraid of getting in my Mother’s way. One day I walked by the kitchen and she pulled that chair out. I knew it was coming, but this day I could not handle any more. I sat there listening to those words all over again and I felt my mind begin to slip. I was starting to finally believe her. In my mind I knew I couldn’t defend myself anymore. I’m not strong enough anymore. I thought for a brief second, I will stop fighting my mother and give my life to drugs and prostitution. I decided, I would do anything to stop this emotional abuse. I was in the valley of suffering.
It was at that very moment, sitting on that chair with my head hanging low, I felt a wind blow through the kitchen. It blew my hair off my shoulders and I could hear footsteps walking towards me. I could not see anybody but I could hear those footsteps coming toward me. A second later, I felt someone standing next to me. I couldn’t see them but I surely felt someone standing next to me. From a distance I could hear my mother still yelling and cursing at me. Suddenly I felt a drop on my head, as if the person next to me was spilling something on my head. I felt one-drop on my head, begin to fall, spreading all the way down the front and back of my head. As soon as that oil hit my eyebrows, my eyebrows instantly relaxed from the tension. I would not move a muscle. I could feel this oil reach both my hands, as the oil was running through my fingers. I lifted my hands and began to make a fist-like motion. I was still feeling the oil moving down my body. When it hit the soul of my feet, I heard that beautiful audible voice again, this time I knew it was God, and he said, ‘’Isabel, If you will hang on just a little while, I am going to raise you up, I am going to make you a living testimony. I am going to use you.” As soon as that voice stopped talking my mother yelled, “Get out of here!” I ran to my room, put in the only gospel CD I had from CLC youth choir, second song titled, “Use Me.” Throwing my face in a pillow, I said, “Lord if I have to go through this, to be used by you, I would do it again. If you can use anything Lord, use me!”
Life is not always easy, when times of test and trials do come, the reward of blessing and anointing are far greater then the pain we may endure.
P.S. The year of 1999 my mother was set free from cocaine and heroine in a revival service and is currently living an overcoming lifestyle.
(Name and Locations have been changed)
©Copyright Isabel Mendoza and Women of Vision Leadership