Continue the Discussion

Your perspective matters. Please leave your comments or click below to join the discussion on the topic/topics mentioned in this Blog. Community matters, your comments make you apart of ours.

God Heals by Anita Rosario

My son's name is Rafael, he was named after his father.  The name means "God heals".  I've always believed in the significance of names.  In the Bible so many times you see the meaning of names would point to one's character or represent a time or something God was doing. Little did I know when I named my son Rafael, how he would live out his name.
I was pregnant at 17, about 1/2 way through my pregnancy I find out that Rafael Sr. also had another young lady pregnant. I would later learn that he was using drugs, getting into a lot of trouble, so in an effort to protect him his mother Gladys decided it would be best for Rafael Sr. to go live with his father in California.
I vividly remember the day he left.  I walked to his house that morning to say goodbye, and let's be honest, I was hoping that maybe he would change his mind and stay.  I remember being determined not to cry, at least not in front of him.  His cab arrived, we walked outside together and said our goodbyes.  As I walked back home, I cried my eyes out.  by this time, I had turned 18 and I'm in my 8th month of pregnancy.  I'm faced with the fact that I'm alone, a single teenage mom to be and my son will come into this world without a father.  Just to add some statistics here, 1 out of 3 prisoners comes from a home without a father.  90% of run aways have also grown up in a fatherless home.  Fatherless children are more than likely to grow up in poverty, and 300 times more likely to deal drugs and carry illegal weapons. I'm sure there are probably another whole set of negative statistics attached to being a child of a single, teenage mom. The odds are quickly staking up against my little Rafael and he hasn't even been born yet. 
It's a girl!  The other young lady had her baby first.  Now grandma Gladys had only ever had two children, and both were boys.  She always wanted a little girl, and now she has one.  She's extremely happy and you could tell instantly in love with her new granddaughter.  However, about a month later, baby Rafael is born.  My mom and grandmother are at the hospital with me, Gladys eventually makes it to the hospital for a brief visit.  She seems a little distant, quiet and basically unmoved at the arrival of her grandson.  I got one phone call from Rafael Sr., to make sure I was naming our son Rafael Jr.  This would be the last time I would hear from him in several years.  I would only see Gladys a couple more times.  I felt like we were just being rejected. 
In the meantime, I'm a single mom, I'm lonely.  I long to be in a meaningful relationship and maybe one day be married and have an actual family. I enter into a relationship with Timothy, little Rafael comes to call him daddy. Tim and I would have a child together, My baby girl, Tiena.  But my relationship with Tim is extremely abusive.  I am going through physical abuse; I'm having miscarriages and actually fear for my life. By the time Tiena turns one 1 years old I leave this relationship before he literally kills me.  Of course, this decision has a bigger impact on little Rafael then it does on Tiena because she's too young to even remember. Early on Rafael starts to exabit behavioral issues, he gets in trouble all the time, as early as daycare, and it continues from preschool all the way through high school and beyond.  Every school he attends has my number on speed dial.  
Rafael is confused, now he's 11 years old, he notices that his sister and Timothy look a lot alike, they have the same last name, and he doesn't have that last name, nor does he have my last name.  I always told myself when he got to the age that he started to ask questions, he would be ready for me to tell him about his real father.  Who by the way, has never called, seen him or been involved in his life in any way at this point.  Nor has Gladys ever reached out, she had eventually adopted her granddaughter and was raising her.  So, I tell him about his father, he seems to take it well.  In fact, he even seemed relieved and excited.  Now he wants to see him and talk to him.  Let me tell you how amazing God is, the very next day I'm walking across the street with Rafael, and someone yells out "Rafael!' and he turns around to see a woman he doesn't know, and says "how does that lady know my name?"  It was Rafael Sr.'s aunt, I never knew she lived so close to us, and she says "Oh my goodness, you look just like your father" mind you, I have not seen this woman in years, and I think she only saw little Rafale in pictures. So, we spend some time with her, she tells Rafael stories about his father, she gives him some pictures and a phone number.  We call, they probably talk twice, in these conversations we find out Rafael Sr. was married with two more children in California one of which was named Rafael! Can you believe it? He names another son Rafael as if the son here didn't exist or didn't matter.  After the two phone calls Rafael Sr. does what he does best, he disappears. 
My son is looking for a father figure in everyone, he wanted so badly to have a father.  I attended a church where I thought maybe he would have some good male role models, He took up sports, I would have a couple more failed relationships, and with every person who came into his life and left was another disappointment, these were only temporary fixes.  What he wanted was a relationship with his father, no other man was going to fill this void for him.  at the age of 14, Rafael finally meets his father in person.  He shows up at his high school, unannounced and walks up to Rafael and tells him "I'm your father" My Rafael calls me at work after school sounding very happy and excited and says "I met my father today" I almost fell over.  I couldn't believe his dad just showed up like that. They had a couple of outings together and he got to meet his siblings from California, but then once again Rafael Sr. disappears. I think my Rafael started to realize his father was not in his life by choice.  
I told you all this because I truly believe it all played a major part into the reason why my son would turn to drugs and alcohol.  Rafael stared sneaking alcohol, and smoking marijuana with some neighborhood friends. One day he finds himself with some of these friends in the home of an older man who would introduce these young boys to crack cocaine.  This one night changed all of our lives.  This would take our family on a 15 plus year journey that I would not wish on my worst enemy. 
I could not begin to tell you all the things we would go through as a family.  He began skipping school, stealing, making up stories for money.  Breaking into homes in our neighborhood.  I was missing work, and when I was at work, I was a reck. God blessed me with the most understanding boss I could ever ask for.  She was all about family first.  We are still friends until this day, even though I don't work for her anymore. I would stay up late, looking for Rafael, driving around the neighborhood, pounding on people's doors who were hiding him, and providing him with drugs.  Meanwhile real life is still happening for the rest of us, I have gone through a marriage, infidelity, a divorce, bankruptcy, health issues, surgeries, and the death of my grandmother, and don't forget I have a daughter who desperately needs my attention as well.  Her life and our lives revolve around Rafael and his addiction. Eventually the police came looking for him in connection with the break ins.  Since he was underage, we were able to work out an agreement where instead of jail he would go to Freedom Village, this was a Christian based home for troubled teens.  This was God at work.  Rafael would finish high school here, not just finish but finish at the top of his class.  He joined the football team, he was good, and they loved him.  He was mentored by Christian men, who not only taught him how to be a man, but a Godly man.  This is where Rafael would come to know the Lord, accept him as his Lord and Savior.  He got his foundation in the word.  He even joined their travel worship team.  He was a good singer. He would spend 2 years here. This was not free, it cost me a lot of time and money I thought for sure this was the end of all the troubles.
Something went wrong, he got into a disagreement with someone at Freedom Village and demanded to come home.  He was under no obligation to stay so I picked him up and he came home.  three months into being home, he went back to his life of alcohol and drugs, and this time it was worse than the last. One night he would come home drunk, and still drinking on our porch in the middle of the night, being very loud.  I woke up and tried to get him to come inside, but he got violent with me and ended up breaking my nose.  This would be the first time Rafael gets arrested.  Yes, I pressed charges.  Family members were angry with me for doing this.  I wasn't trying to ruin his life, but I had experienced so much physical abuse in my life that I was not about to allow my son to abuse me as well. I was able to request anger management, some counseling and rehab.  He did well as long as life was regimented. But as soon as this was done, he would go back to alcohol and drugs again, every time being worse than the last. 
He would go to jail a couple of times, I would visit every month, put money on his commissary, bring packages, etc.  I had a couple of car accidents over the years attempting to visit during the winter months, driving long distances to these jails that were always located in the middle of nowhere. He would come home and back to the same life, now he's dating girls who also do drugs.  One of them even overdosed and Rafael was broken over this loss, but he still wouldn't stop using.  During all of this I'm learning that I am a big problem in his life.  In my trying to save him and in trying to help him I was actually enabling him in a sense.  I had to get out of my own way and allow God to reach him. I was not God; I was not his savoir and I couldn't make him stop using. I was exhausted, I had been trying so hard in my own strength.  I cried out to God to please help my son. God in his faithfulness also brought people into my life that would come along side me and pray for my son as well.  Thank God for God fearing, praying woman.
One night I have this very vivid dream.  I was standing in front of a pit, and Rafael was a little boy stuck inside the pit, struggling to climb out. Alongside him is a huge scorpion that's following him.  I could walk in and out of the pit, but I could not help him.  Eventually the scorpion comes out of the pit and chases me around the pit 3 times.  I eventually turn around and kill the scorpion.  When I told this dream to my brother he says, this is easy!  The pit is jail, the reason why you walk in and out freely is because you can only visit him, but you cannot get him out.  The scorpion represents his addiction, and unfortunately when he gets out of jail he will still struggle with his addiction. And so, he did, he got out of jail and struggled. 
Now one day I was visiting my brother. We would have conversations about God, the Bible and such.  So, he tells me, if you ever wake up at 3 am make sure you pray.  I had not given this much thought, but about two weeks later, I have another dream.  This time I see my grandma who passed, she's driving up her driveway, as I step down one step to meet her, she's already standing in front of me.  She grabs me with both hands, lifts me up, shoves me into the side of the house and yells "DIDN'T I TELL YOU TO PRAY!".... scares me awake.  My heart is beating out of my chest, I look at my phone and wouldn't you know, it's 3 am.  I stand in front of my couch not wanting to fall asleep and begin to pray for my son.  This prayer is unlike anything I have ever prayed before, I couldn't even tell you the words I prayed, I just remembered it flowed, it was so easy, I was not at a loss for words at all.  When I opened my eyes, my couch appears to be so far away, I felt like I was 10 feet tall, I closed my eyes again in fear.  I couldn't believe what I was seeing, but I was fully awake.  When I finished praying, I went to sleep, I slept better than I had in several years. The next morning, I call my grandfather because I want to share this dream with him.  He doesn't answer, which is unusual since he's always awake very early.  He returns my call later that afternoon and says, "I'm sorry I missed your call, I was sleeping because I woke up at 3 am and was praying for you and Rafael." Still makes me cry every time I think about this because I know this was nothing but God.
Not too much longer after this, Rafael began to turn his life around, it was still quiet the process, but more for him then me.  He still went through some very difficult things, but for me things changed, I stopped chasing him.  I never stopped loving him, and I never stopped praying for him, but I had to surrender him to God, only God could save him. I had to make peace with the fact that his life choices were his to make, and nothing I said or did could change that.  This was his walk. We are never prepared to lose a child, but I honestly felt at this time that if I lost my son then it was God's will, and I would accept whatever God's plan was for our lives.
Today Rafael is clean and has been clean for 6 years.  He has his own family, which includes two beautiful children who I adore.  He seeks after God and is raising his children teaching them about God.  He is a hard worker, who supports his family so their mom can be a stay-at-home mom.  I am so proud of him and the godly man and wonderful father he has become. In spite of never having that example in his own father.  My daughter and I have a great relationship now, and she's expecting her first baby.  I can't wait for my 3rd grandbaby to arrive.  I have been in a stable marriage for 10 years to a man who loves the Lord and my children and grandchildren.  I am most grateful to God for His faithfulness, his grace and mercy.  I thank God for saving my family. I would tell anyone going through this to never give up hope, God does heal. 
Back to blog


Wow that was powerful !!! God Is Good !!!

Anita What a testimony of a woman of God who never gave up thank you for the reminder that God heals

Thank you for sharing your story Anita, God is so good! It must have been so hard to let go, I’m so glad that things have turned around for you and your family!


Thank you for your bravery and writing your testimony in your story! I know it brought healing to you and will also bring healing to others. Anita, you are one of my closest best friends. I remember those days praying and crying with you and you with your unwavering faith that God was going to take care of this. I’m so glad that I never smothered you with a pillow while you were snoring and that we overcame all of that, and we watched her family grow as we prayed for all of them. Thank you for being vulnerable and sharing your story with my readers. I love you my friend to the moon and back and around again.

Bambi Makowski

Anita this is a wonderful story. I remember you telling me about that dream after it happened so proud of Rafael for his changes in life.

Jen k

Leave a comment