Today’s guest is a wonderful friend that I’ve had the honor of knowing for several years now. She is one of the first people who showed me glimpses of God’s love and patience. I have been inspired by her love for people, especially for the homeless, her genuine kindness, and her love and devotion to God. Ladies and gentlemen, allow me to introduce you to my friend Koko Venegas.
You may ask yourself, “Why are people so distrustful? Why are people so bitter? Why are people so angry, overly sensitive, or negative?”
Throughout life we will meet many people in different walks of life- people who we often criticize, judge, or condemn without fully understanding their past experiences. I have learned through my own experience that people are like books, because we cannot judge a book by it’s cover. When people act a certain way that we don’t agree with nor understand, we need to realize that it is an issue of the heart. We must be graceful, pray for them, and ask God to bring them healing through Christ- the only true healer. Everyone has a story- an experience that shaped their inner thoughts, emotions, and perceptions of life.
Today, I will share my story- a story of a girl who found true Love, grace, & safety in Christ in the midst of chaos and pain.
I grew up in a dysfunctional home, the youngest of six sisters, where I never quite witnessed romance, kindness, faithfulness, or true love between my parents. My father was physically, mentally, and emotionally abusive to my mother. He was also unfaithful, irresponsible, jealous, and controlling. When I was 7 years old, my dad put a gun to my mom’s head, and two of my older sisters wrestled with him until they took his gun away safely. One of my other sisters and I witnessed this and cried- it was a very traumatic event for us. Incidents like these really affected our perceptions of understanding true love and healthy relationships. I grew up feeling a need for love. I grew up insecure, and struggled with my confidence. Although, my mom was a great mother, and an example to us, not having a dad to validate me really affected my self-esteem.
I was only 5 years old when my mom taught me how to pray. She also read scripture to me, and I remember asking her many questions like, “If God exists why can’t we see Him?” Her answers were always precise and gentle. She would say,”God is so big that we can’t see Him, but everything you see in this world, like creation and humanity? He made it all, and someday you can ask him all the questions you want, but for right now he wants our faith. Even though you cannot see Him, you can feel Him in your heart.” And so it was my mother who planted seeds of faith in my heart. And it was through those seeds that a desire to have communion with God through prayer grew.
When I was 7 years old, I attended a Seventh Day Adventist Church in the L.A. County. I felt God’s presence during Sabbath School, where they were singing “Joy to the World,” and felt like I was finally home. Sadly, my dad did not let us go back to church due to his jealousy, and although he believed in God and knew God’s Word, he did not follow Christ- the head- and therefore was not qualified to be the the head of his own home. Because my father left God out of His marriage, and because he would not fully surrender his will to God, his priorities were out of order… causing his family to fall apart. In 1991, my parents separated.
Shortly after, my mom, my sisters, and I began to attend a local Seventh Day Adventist Church in Redwood City, where my mom began receiving Bible studies and, eventually, gave her life to the Lord through baptism. Through her example, I began to be involved in church activities. I made godly friends and began to develop a more intimate relationship with God.
I attended church for a long time but still had not made the decision to surrender all to God. Truth was, I was fighting with God. And in 1998, I walked away from God, stopped going to church, and began to seek my own dreams of becoming a famous singer. I recorded two songs in an album of 10 local artists in Los Angeles. The album was promoted in the local radio waves and we began to perform at different events.
Then one day, as I was performing at a fair, a drunk man began to say disrespectful things to me. It was at this moment that I felt God say to me,”Is this really what you want to inspire?” He then gave me flashbacks of my teenaged years when I used to sing at church and minister through songs to those who felt hopeless. In 2001, I abandoned my pursuit of becoming a famous singer and began to seek God once again. In 2005, during a church event that my best friend invited me to in Milpitas, I made the decision to get baptized; It was the best day of my life!
In conclusion to my story/testimony- it doesn’t matter how or where you grew up or even how much pain you have experienced! God can turn a mess into a message, a test into a testimony, and every trial into a victory! Everything we experience is molding and shaping us for heaven. Where we are today is no accident. Everything I went through as a child shaped me into being exactly who I am today- a strong woman. The seeds my mother planted in my heart in those early years were watered.
Galatians 6:9 Says: “Do not grow weary in doing good, for in due time you will reap a harvest if you do not give up.”
I know works will not save us but it is through a life filled with service that I have discovered what it truly means to be rich and complete in Christ. My faith is no longer a seed but a harvest that will continue to grow until Jesus returns. I also delight in the fact that even though I did not have the best earthly father, I have the perfect heavenly father who’s love has led me to develop a real relationship with my earthly father, in spite of everything he’s done.
God has helped me discover what true love is all about. Although I never witnessed healthy relationships, through God I can learn how to experience them, but it begins with Him because the most important relationship we can have is with God.
God is love, and through Him we learn to love ourselves and others as He loved us.
Since 2005-present time, Koko Venegas has been involved in all sorts of ministries. She is dedicated to helping women and broken individuals through her personal life stories and music. She is a Bible worker at her home church, a youth director & teacher, and a radio-host for a radio ministry called “Re7Vive” at Launchradio.fm.
She has recorded a Spanish single and music video called “Necesito Mas de Ti,” (spanish for: I need more of You) and has even started a family ministry called “Mas De Ti” (spanish for: More of You) to help homeless, addicts, depressed individuals, and orphans.
She is also part of a ministry called “His Daughter’s Meekness”- a ministry that emphasizes on building up women to become the daughters God wants them to be.
You can discover more about her ministries through Facebook & YouTube: