A Christmas Story

My Story | Your Story | His Story

by: Saleama A. Ruvalcaba 

In December 2007, my life changed forever. I was a married mother of three at the time and I hated myself and I hated my life! Nothing seemed to go my way. I had already spent my younger life shy, alone, very little friends, bullied, and very little family support. I had barely graduated high school and was spelling at a fourth-grade level in my early twenties. I had to teach myself how to properly spell and write. I didn’t feel like I had any talents, so I really could not see a future for myself. I felt like everything I tried to accomplish was a failure. I was sick of the life I had! Me and Omar were in a horrible financial state at that time. As far as we knew it, Christmas was about Santa Claus and buying presents for our children. It was the first Christmas we had absolutely no money to buy anything. While everyone was out shopping and enjoying Christmas, we were at home angry and upset. We convinced ourselves that we had a bad luck curse attached to our lives because nothing ever seemed to go our way.

Matthew 11:28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”

I truly believe it is God’s plan for everyone to accept Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior and He will get our attention one way or the other. Well that December was my turn. Neither me or Omar had any knowledge of Christianity. As far as believing in God, we believed He created the earth, the sun, moon, and stars, but beyond that we had no understanding of what it meant to be a follower of Jesus Christ.

We were living in California and had bought our house earlier that year. The previous owners of the house had left a lot of stuff in the garage. One Saturday, we were cleaning everything out of the garage. We came across a box of books that we were about to throw away. I suddenly stopped at the box of books and grabbed three of them before throwing the rest away. I put the three books in my room on the bookshelf, but I did not read them.

Months went by.

My son and daughter, Jaden and Gabi, who were one and two at the time, would knock all the books on my bookshelf on the floor, EVERY SINGLE DAY. Every day I would pick the books back up. This went on for several months until one evening in December 2007.

I was in my bedroom at my computer. After finishing my work I proceeded to pick the books up that were again all over the floor. This particular night, however, I stopped at one of the books from the garage. The book was called The Sermon on the Mount, by Emmet Fox.

(Still on my bookshelf today)

I decided to read it. I read the book in about three days and the moment I put it down I asked Jesus Christ to be my Lord and Savior. That book put the love of Jesus Christ into perspective for me and I wanted the love of God described in that book to be in my life!

I had spent my entire life up until that point feeling worthless and hopeless. I wanted, and I needed to feel loved!

1 John 4:19 “We love because he first loved us.”

Jesus Christ was my answer!

It was a Friday evening when I asked Jesus Christ to be my Lord and Savior. That Monday morning, I woke up to get ready for work. I was working at a small café, but I felt a strong sense to stop working at that job. I decided at that moment I would quit.

I was going to Bible college!

(Please note, I was a two-day old believer and did not know any better. Please do not make decisions like this without your husband and much prayer).

Luke 2:11 “Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.”

For the first time in my life I had come to realize that Christmas was more than buying gifts and Santa Claus. I knew the birth of Jesus Christ would have a lasting impact into the lives He came to save. Me and Omar changed that December 2007. Our marriage changed. Our behavior changed. Our language changed. What we watched on television changed. The music we listened to changed. The way we spent our leisure time changed. December 25, 2007, we still did not have enough money to buy gifts for our children or for each other, but I will never forget that day. We spent the day cooking and watching stories and movies about Jesus Christ. For the very first time in our lives, we had hope. For the very first time in our lives, were excited about life!

Galatians 6:9 “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”

Do you ever wonder if God really loves you? Sure, you hear many stories about His goodness in the lives of others, but do you ever wonder if He really loves you?

Here are a few of my testimonies since December 2007. I pray they encourage you to trust in Jesus’ love for your life.

A year after we accepted Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, we were still struggling financially. We were attending church faithfully. We were attending Bible studies. We were studying the Bible on our own and praying. We were teaching our children how to live for God, but financially life was still very hard for us. One Tuesday morning we woke up to find our cellphones had been turned off. We simply could not afford the bill. We did not have a home phone, so our cellphones were our only means of communication. I had come home from Bible study and I just sat in the living room praying and asking God to help us. I had spent my entire young life living in poverty and I was tired of it. I would come home from school and find we’d have no running water, or electricity, or phone service. It was so embarrassing when a neighborhood friend would stop by and I wouldn’t invite them in because I was too embarrassed. Here I was an adult now with my own children, and still found my survival in a constant threat.

“Lord, help us!,” I begged.

I prayed and said, “Lord, I don’t care how you provide I just ask that you do.”

Our cellphone bill was high because we managed to push two payments back, but they wouldn’t allow us anymore wiggle room. We needed $200 just to turn the phones back on.

That evening, after I had prayed, a family friend, and a man Omar did odd jobs for stopped by. He had just returned home from his vacation. He stopped by to give Omar some survivors, but Omar wasn’t there so he shared with me some stories from his vacation. As he was about to leave, he leaned in close to me and said, “Is everything okay with your phones?”

I replied; “Oh yeah, the bill is a little high, but we’ll take care of it this week.”

I said nothing else to him.

He went into his pocket and handed me $200. He said, “Please go take care of your phones.”

I nearly fell on the floor. I could not believe my eyes!

Andrew Murray once said, God delights in answering the prayers of His children. The answer of prayer will bring the child and Father closer together.

Oh, How right Murray was!

There was nothing I did on my own to receive the money we needed except pray – and God answered. I didn’t call family to borrow the money. I didn’t try to think of ways to get the money. I prayed a desperate prayer that Tuesday afternoon. I gave my burden completely over to God – and He answered. After we were able to turn the phones back on, Omar received some unexpected work, so within a week were able to pay the entire bill.

Can you trust God? Do you believe Jesus’ Christmas birth was for you as well?

But God does more than provide our monetary needs. He is Lord over our lives when we allow Him.

Remember, I was spelling at a fourth-grade level in my early twenties. I had to teach myself how to spell, and how to write properly. I was not a quality student in elementary or high school. I was always in “special” classes with other students who had learning and or behavioral issues. I did not consider myself smart at all. I graduated high school only because I had a high school counselor who really liked me and helped me complete enough credits to barely graduate.

I was clueless about college. My first day of Bible college were asked to take out our Bibles and I didn’t even bring mine while the entire class had theirs. That’s how clueless about school I was.

How was I going to survive this?

To Be Continued…

Saleama A. Ruvalcaba