” God assigned as duty to every Man, the dignity of every Woman”- Blessed JPII
In case you noticed, YES! I am a New Yorker and I use “Ain’t” from time to time….(especially when I’m in a passionate conversation….and unfortunately, my Caribbean blood doesn’t help much!)
I sit here in awe as I think of ALL that the Lord has done in my life….I can honestly say that He has transformed me into a new creation.
So, just a little about my background – I was born in the Dominican Republic in 1986. My father (born in Puerto Rico in 1944 and later moved to NY in 1953) decided to study medicine during the 80’s in DR (or the Dominican Republic) and brought back to NYC a couple of different degrees: a medical degree, a Dominican wife and two children!
With my mother, we arrived in NYC on February 27, 1988 when I was only about a year and half old. There I was raised in the heart of NYC, a section of Manhattan(that definitely gives meaning to the term “melting pot“) called the Lower East Side, or by New Yorkers – “Da Lowa”. If you need to know, YES! I am a proud Loisaida! (Lower-East-Sider).
I grew up in between a few different places but my parents apartment (where we still live today) is located right between the government projects and a bunch of cooperative apartments owned by devout Orthodox Jews and other people with a lot of money.
Looking back, I feel like I was always stuck between two VERY different worlds. My grandmother lived in a government building that was sadly filled with cockroaches, where there was always pee in the elevators (only pee, on a good day) and my father would have to remind us “DO NOT LEAN ON THE ELEVATOR WALLS and PRESS THE ELEVATOR BUTTONS WITH YOUR KEYS, NOT YOUR FINGERS!!”
Those were the good ol’ days – I remember the smell of people barbequing in the street, the look of my grandmother’s house with plastic-covered couches and the park with metal slides (and the burn-mark scars we got from the hot metal)
But above all, I remember the joy and laughter of the children who grew up in this place that had made the best of their situations. My father was blessed with the opportunity to own an apartment in a very nice building in the same neighborhood (Remember- our neighborhood is split right between “the hood” and “those nice buildings”). TWO VERY DIFFERENT WORLDS
Now that I think of it, it was during my childhood that God planted within me a love for the poor…..
And it all begins… the journey to meeting my Beloved Lord and my beloved Andrew.
Okay so first off, let me say that it is pretty humbling to post this video! (Looking back I can notice how nervous I was when they filmed how much I was biting my lip, etc!) BUT, IT’S ALL FOR HIS GLORY!
This episode of “Too Blessed To Be Stressed – Rescued, Redeemed, and Renewed” was recorded 3 weeks before I meant Andrew for the first time again. (I say again because Andrew and I had met a year before we actually “met”, at a Catholic Underground) It’s funny because the first time I introduced myself to him I was very cold and people that know me say that I’m always pretty friendly…..I’ve come to realize that God allowed this because it was just not His time for us to truly meet. So like a good Catholic girl I went to a Catholic Underground to praise Jesus and I DO remember praying about finding “the one”…. and even though I had actually met him without knowing it, I left with this deep interior thirst to pray for him more and more from that day.
Back to my life…..and some of the parts that I left out during the interview above –
In 2005, I had hit rock bottom. I was a little 19 year old girl who didn’t want to live any longer. I was seeking my Heavenly Father through FAKE men that tried to quench my thirst with a poisonous drink that tasted sweet at first but at the end of the day, never fulfilled me. Instead it made me sick – literally (I remember throwing up) Oh! From within, how I desired that REAL living water….
On October 31, 2005 I made a decision that would forever change my life. It was that day that I remember FIRMLY deciding (and with the help from the prayers our friends in heaven) that I would no longer give of myself in any way to ANY other man until I married the one that HE had set apart for me. From within the depths of my soul, I knew that I desired to be truly loved and I knew that I had to abstain and to remain chaste until marriage.
On June 4th 2006 I made my confirmation in the presence of the Lord, confirming and CHOOSING the Faith that has molded every aspect of my life. I placed a ring on my left hand – ring finger that said, “ I will wait for my Beloved”. My dreams returned to me, and my childhood journey of being a Princess seemed to begin all-over again. (Ironically this is the same exact time when my Andrew was moving down to Honduras to serve for 2 years as a missionary)
I knew that I – His Princess – was meant to be fought for. You know, as a young girl I always loved movies about princesses. I remember dreaming of being a princess and having my prince charming fight the dragon to come and save me from my tower. I came to understand through the 5 years of waiting (and studying His Word, The Theology of the Body, the Lives of the Saints and Serving His people – the poor here and in Honduras) that I was able to become a real-life princess. I also learned that Tower wasn’t such a bad thing after all…. for the tower represented my time being alone with the Lord in His presence and trusting Him as He whispered into my ear -“Be still and know that I AM GOD”.
Sisters, KNOW that it is engraved within each one of us to be a princess, for a reason! For since we were small, a REAL MAN already fought the dragon for us – His name is JESUS, and He fought death and came back for US!
As I began dreaming of the beloved that God had created for me, the world/friends/family would constantly tell me: “Your standards are TOO high!” or “ You’ll never meet a guy like that…who wants to serve God and WAIT til marriage?!” and even some tried to help me by saying “ Don’t worry! You can just do it with him and go to confession” and the worst – “Girl, You have needs!” Oh how the evil one tried to keep me off track! My Soul, Mind, Heart and ENTIRE being was fighting against these dragons that were lying to me and keeping me from my beloved…..and it was a DAILY fight, believe me! But, during those 5 years I remember reading Crystalina Evert’s testimony and she impacted me greatly, for while reading it I said to myself, “Wow! I’m really NOT alone!” and this filled me with so much HOPE.
I felt my Saint friends in heaven so close to me and remember Padre Pio’s prayers for me – PRAY HOPE AND DON’T WORRY!
Seems easy right!? After the Lord did so much for me during my conversion all I have to do was pray, hope and not WORRY, right?! YEAH RIGHT! As a woman, I worried all the time that I wouldn’t find the One….and I would have to force myself to my knees because so many times I was tempted to settle!
I met so many Catholic- Christian guys, “Catholic – Christian” guys and even more non-Catholic-Christian guys that the enemy tried to confuse me with! Oh…..”but he is SO nice…”. It became overwhelming!
So I gave God a List of Qualities and Gifts that my heart truly desired in a man, in my future husband… and I didn’t hesitate in asking Him, for all that I was asking for were qualities that we would use to better serve Him!… I had to decide to not worry, to be still and to just WAIT. I remember having the image of me as as a flower that was waiting to bloom so that my bee would be able to come and get me when I was ready!!
As I get closer to the part where I actually meet my Andrew, I have to remind you of the power of prayer!
I remember as a Latina always hearing “Pray to St. Anthony and he will help you find your Husband”…..Hmmm….so obviously I began to have a devotion this great friend in Heaven. Every year I would pray a novena to St. Anthony asking his prayers for me finding my future spouse! Every year! And as you can imagine….as the years went by….no husband and I was a little frustrated.
On June 12th, 2010 I decided to go visit my brother who has been living in Virginia Beach, with my family and two close friends, one of them (Therese) I met through serving in Honduras with the Missioners of Christ. She insisted that she wanted to see her friend Andrew…..and ONLY because we were in his neck of the “woods”(Not the city), I settled and said “Fine, I’m down…” Before Anderw came over, I laid down to take a nap and let everyone else get stuff ready for a BBQ that we were going to have at my brothers apartment.
Once again, I found myself upstairs in my tower…while Andrew was fighting the dragons to come save me.
All of the sudden, the doorbell rings. Therese wakes me saying, “Andrew’s here, PLEASE don’t leave me alone with
him”. I respond with a little attitude – “Ugghh, fine. Give me a few” Remember, I’m thinking “I’ve already met this dude”
Like Rapunzel, I got my long hair together and walked down the stairs. My heart JUMPED out and something within my heart felt “BONE OF MY BONE, FLESH OF MY FLESH”…. He was sooo beautiful!
Right that very moment, I ran to the bathroom and forced myself to ignore it. I was so tired of obsessing and wondering like so many of us do “Is he the one?!” So I got on my knees and said, “NO Lord! I refuse to even over-think this right now, not my will but THY WILL BE DONE”
…What a fun night we had….
June 13th – the next day. Att Mass I looked into His eyes as the words “Peace be with you” rolled off of his lips and I knew there was something special about that day. So much Peace and Love about the WHOLE situation dwelled in my heart! St. Anthony of Padua from a distance stared and smiled with Jesus for my Prince found me!
The beauty of all of it, is that God KNEW how my heart works…..He chose to allow me to forget St. Anthony’s feast day….in order to keep me from obsessing over anything. It wasn’t until a month later that Andrew and I realized that we had shared that kiss of peace at sunday Mass on St. Anthony’s feast day!
At this very moment I present to you all of the women that may come across this blog. That each may know her dignity as the crowning of creation because you made us with such delicate detail. Help us to not settle for the lies of this world. For you give us the strength when we are weak! Help us especially in this CITY, guard our dignity and help us to stand for truth. For you are our King of Peace, help us to know that we are the crowning of creation and deserve nothing but You, THE BEST.