This week on the blog, I am happy to be featuring Jessica from Faith and Books. As part of our testimony tour series, Jessica shares her personal journey with us on backsliding to finding her way back to God. I hope you will be blessed by her testimony.
A Little About Jessica
Hello, my name is Jessica Alvarado and I am 35 years old. I am from San Antonio, Texas. From the age of 13-24, I served with my parents as missionaries in Mexico, then I came back to Texas to finish my education. I met my husband here and we are now parents to two beautiful daughters. I started my blog FAB (Faith and Books) in January, where I focus on books and bible verses that inspire me, as well as do book reviews for Christian authors & Christian publishers.
When I was 24 I hit a very dark place when unexpected life events happened. I know people at church meant well, but I was the center of attention and didn’t appreciate the pity looks I received. So, I started missing church and looking for friendships outside of church.
This wasn’t a bad thing, but I started joining my newfound friends in ungodly activities. For the first 24 years of my life, I was sheltered. I was home schooled and dedicated all my free time to assist newcomers, persons in need in hospitals, and on the streets.
I had never so much as stepped foot in a movie theater and all of sudden everything that I had never done started looking very appealing. My dad then was very strict and had a serious conversation with me about coming back to church. He was hoping I would snap out of it and told me that I had to pick God or my new friends. To which I stared him in the face and said `my friends’. To which he replied, ‘give me the key to the house’. Which I gave to him and was gone by morning.
My choices went from bad to worse, and my dad came looking for me many times after that, but my heart was hardened. I was severely depressed and became an alcoholic. As soon as I would get out of work I would drink my life away. This was daily and weekends were worse because I didn’t have to work. After a year of this nonsense I decided to come back to the States to finish my education.
In the States, not only did I feel depressed I felt the worse anxiety ever. I was tired of the life I was living yet I could not leave my addictions. I felt out of place at church, and even in this country. I was from U.S. but spent so much time in Mexico, the fast pace life was a little too much for me.
Where I lived we would only have water supply 2 or 3 times a week so we had to store water in barrels and be frugal with it. Also, washers and dryers were a luxury. Can you believe I didn’t know how to use the gas pump at age 25? It was a very stressful time for me and alcohol and cigarettes weren’t enough for me anymore.
I started sinking deeper into a hole I myself was digging. There were times I started to doubt God existed then I would remember miracles I saw in Mexico. I saw someone being raised from the dead, demons being cast out, and remember God speaking to me. Yet I was prideful and needed help getting out. Then I met my now husband, not a believer but “Mr Health guy” with a bachelors degree in Kinesiology.
He gave me plenty of sermons about my drinking and smoking. I think God started working with me then. Any doubts I had about him disappeared when I got pregnant with my first daughter. How could he not exist when here I was carrying a precious miracle growing inside of me?
He literally took my addictions away through my pregnancy, my taste buds had changed and I couldn’t even stand the smell of cigarettes!!! I had people praying for my return and I don’t think I would have made it without their prayers. I finally gave myself completely to Christ again last year in January 2017. A random lady at the library I had been talking with gave me her number before we parted and she invited me to church for about a month. Then one Sunday I was feeling low and tears were coming down for no reason, I felt led to go to her church. The preaching that day was the story of when Mary and Joseph lost Jesus and had to go looking for him. The story can be found in Luke 2:41-52. I have not looked back since.
Favorite Bible Verse For Encouragement
I often go to Philippians 4:13 “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. It reminds to go to God for strength, because on my own I can’t do anything, but with him everything is possible.
What Advice Would You Give To Your Younger Self?
Hold on to God it will blow over, learn from your mistakes. While I wish I would have avoided all the heartache I caused myself and my parents, my failures have made me who I am today.
I cannot change the past, only learn from it and use it to help others. If I had not gone through what I did, I would never have had the ability to truly understand backsliders, people with addictions, or even know how visitors at church feel. I was only fortunate God saved me before I ended up 6 foot under.
What Advice Would You Give To Young Adults Struggling With Their Faith?
The word of God is our bread of life. If you struggle to read it, find creative ways to incorporate it in your life. The same with prayer. When I feel the need for more or know I need to be more sensitive to his voice, I fast. Surround yourself with positive people who want to do God’s will. Go to church even on days that you are tired or don’t feel like it.
How do you nurture your faith?
Prayer, reading the Bible as well as inspirational living books, fasting, joining Bible study groups and helping the church in what I can.
Do you have a testimony that you would like to share with our audience? Head on over to our contact us page and send us an email, you could be featured next.