God swooped in and rescued me from the fangs of the devil in the summer of 2005. It was a great summer at a summer youth conference called War Cry when  God called me back into His marvelous light. I had gone to church my whole life and had accepted Christ into my heart at the age of 5. From early on I saw God work in mysterious and incredible ways; however, through personal decisions and life events, I had walked away from God. I took me until my sophomore year of high school to wake up unto the glory of His Grace.

Between the years of 2000 and 2005, my life had taken multiple and crazy turns. Even though the experiences, emotions, heartbreaks, and frustrations are too many to mention here, these are some of them. Between the summer of 2000 and the summer of 2005:

My family and I had moved to a new country where I didn’t fit in and where I barely understood the language.

I had practically no friends between sixth and ninth grade. I spent my afternoons at home doing homework and watching TV. It was during these years that my imagination took flight and gave me the imagination I have today.

I had become marginalized in middle school not only for forcing my way to the top of the class, but also for espousing a type of Neo-Nazism or Fascism internally and publicly.

My best and only best friend in middle school, my cousin Danny Herrera, succumbed to cancer when I was 12 years old. I literally lost a crucial part of my life at that point.

My family and I, between sixth and tenth grade, had moved three to four times. Each time it was hard to reboot and adjust once again.

And the saddest part of it all was that, in those four years, I had forgotten what the true worship of God was about and ended developing a very overwhelming idolatry of human heroes and of my own academic prowess.

The outcome of all these events ended up being a very disturbed and scarred teenager by the time I was fourteen. I at no point gave up my faith or stopped believing in God, but I wasn’t in any way truly living out my faith. I knew the Scriptures, I knew all the important stories of Scripture back and forth, and I knew who Jesus Christ was. However, I wasn’t aware that Jesus was actually interested in getting to know me better. At fourteen, I was merit-centered, anger had become the outlet of my emotional loneliness, and I still espoused an incredibly radical, unjust, and brutal worldview that had no room in the Kingdom of God. I had come a long way from the child-like faith of my infancy.

In the summer of 2005 I attended War Cry, a summer youth conference hosted by Grace Churches International. I had never been to a summer youth conference before. I had also never attended a youth group. I had gotten so used to having no friends all throughout middle school, that I simply marginalized myself. Nevertheless, my parents convinced to go to War Cry after a pretty cool promotional video was shown at Grace Church. A few months later, I was at War Cry and my life would never be the same.

I still remember calling home the first couple nights of War Cry. I was overwhelmed. The Holy Spirit had poured into my life and the Father God has smashed walls at multiple levels of my life. Through God-led speakers, Spirit-led worship, and great small group leaders who were there every step of the way, God had moved in a way He had never moved before. My life had been crushed under the hammer of His grace, love, and mercy, and even though He continues to work at all levels of my life today, the first major breakthrough into the person I had become happened that summer at War Cry.

It’s easy to credit conferences, retreats, and even speakers for change in our lives–Divine change. However, it wasn’t the workshops, speakers, or conference environment. The Holy Spirit receives all the credit for what happened that week of 2005. I had become a fortress of solitude and of anger. I had made so many idols in my life that I could not count them if I had to. God was true to His promises.

That summer of 2005 was just the beginning. Or, maybe I am still in the beginning. I don’t really know–my life is only fully seen by the eyes of God. However, that summer of 2005, God broke through my fortress and my anger. Even though it took many more years of idols to be conquered, God won a major battle. This post may seem incomplete. I feel this is a good place to stop in part because this was just the beginning of when God rescued me from the fangs of the Devil. I was headed straight into the cave of the demons and God pushed me off the cliff into the arms of His Spirit.