When Fathers Fail You

“Father to the fatherless, defender of widows— this is God, whose dwelling is holy.” Psalms 68:5

I believe that God always makes a way to take care of you and looking back, I can always see the people He brought into my life to guard me and to guide me. 

My dad went to jail when I was really little. Probably younger than a year or right around that time, I’m not really sure when or why because we don’t speak of it, I just know that it happened and my memories of him are pictures of my mom taking me to see him in jail. We would drive a few hours to see him, arrive at 7:00AM to spend a few hours there. The officers would call him over the system and we’d have to wait for him to be called and come out. And this continued for the next few years, but because he was an immigrant, he was deported to Colombia and our communication over the years has been little to non existent. 

I’m sure growing up without a father was a root of a lot of the problems I faced as a young girl and a teenager. I was boy crazy lol and so insecure – placed my identity in my looks, my hair, my popularity. 

At 7 years old, I had a step dad and for the next 10 years, he would shape my identity. At first, he was my entire world! I had never had a dad and I was just so excited to be able to wear the daddy’s princess shirts (because I’ve never been able to) and to have someone to dance with at my Quinceanera or at my wedding. He would buy me toys, take us to the movies, plan my birthday parties, take us out of town, and so much more. 

But then something shifted, something I didn’t understand when I was younger but now don’t blame him for. He was in his 20’s taking care of two kids who weren’t his and had life happening, just like we 20 year olds do. He became angry, aggressive, and controlling- with my entire family. 

I was constantly grounded (because of my mouth – I never hold back lol) for things like mismatching my socks or a girl in my school writing on my arm. I would get my phone taken away for months for turning it in at 9:01 instead of 9:00PM. I felt like he was more affectionate towards my brother because my brother was always the calm, peaceful, good one and I was the one who brought trouble, talked back, fought in school.

I would get notes from the front office letting me know not to ride the bus because he was going to pick me up and I would be terrified the rest of the day, full of anxiety. I knew I had probably done something wrong and was going to get in trouble for it. Sometimes the car rides were a trip to get ice cream and other times, it was lectures and unreasonable anger. This created “waves” that would later follow me into my 20’s. Waves are the idea that I am simply tossed to and fro in life, with no control and no preparation, hence my need to control everything. There is always uncertainty with waves. And even though everything is going so well, something bad WILL come. Because with my step dad- something bad was always coming. 

This continued through middle school and finally ended my 8th grade year when my parents finally split and he never came back. 

Towards the end of his time with us, they would fight, he would leave and I would be so relieved for the next few weeks, secretly hoping he was gone for good. 

And although my heart was hurting when he left because I was fatherless again and  because my mom was hurting, I can’t tell you how relieved I was when it was finally set. I was finally able to be normal. To be a young girl. To be my wild loud self. 

And to think that I once thought that normal was being a daddy’s girl but at this point felt normal was not having a dad. I was glad he was leaving so I could be a normal teenager and have a normal family. 

After this season, I enjoyed life with the occasional teenager rebellion and drama. I felt like I had finally gotten my mom back and was able to confide in her because my step dad wasn’t controlling everything. 


Then I turned 15 and started attending a youth group. Through this youth group, the youth pastor became a spiritual father, a father figure, a best friend and literally my entire world again. 

And again, for the next 10 years, this man would shape me and make me mostly who I am today. 

At first, everything seemed great. The “my dear’s” affirmed me and the texts and involvement in my life meant the world. At first I would ask bible questions and ask about theology because I was so hungry to know more. Then I would ask about relationships and life. And eventually I began to share every secret from my past to my present and of things to come. I shared my dreams, my failures, my heart and to me, I thought maybe this is what a father was like. He would take me home after services and would pay for my food, invite me to all the family events. I would celebrate him on Father’s day and honor him with a gift. 

Eventually, the verbal & emotional, spiritual abuse began. I would get shamed and called out in public. Things like “shut up and sit down” or “stop acting like a freaking child” and even being told I was acting skanky or that I needed to get my crap together to be used by God was what I would constantly hear. These may not seem like much but I don’t believe anyone should be spoken to this way, blood or not. 

And it wasn’t always this way. But one day, I woke up, 10 years in, and don’t really know how I allowed someone speak these words over my life when I am a strong girl, never afraid to defend myself. 

I realized over a year ago that the feeling both my step dad and this new father figure made me feel was all too similar, too familiar. 

And that’s when I began battling my connection to him. It feels almost easier for someone to walk out and never come back versus having to find courage to leave and then constant strength to not return when life feels like it’s falling apart. 

You see, I learned to depend so much on him that whenever something would go wrong, I knew he could fix it, no matter how bad I had messed up. 

And although the way I was spoken to and treated was not okay, I am thankful today. 

He taught me to be strong, to show up no matter how I felt, to find beauty in my brokenness and developed me into the woman I am today. 

And I was dreading today. Because father’s day is never easy for me. I am reminded that I am fatherless, that I only have one parent, that I have had one father walk out and 2 figures who failed me. 

But it’s never about that, never about what someone does to you, but rather how you react and what you do with it. 

I have chosen to forgive and to continue forgiving. It’s not easy. Some days I feel like I hate them and other days I want to cry because I miss him so much. And other times I want him to fix everything and just go back to “normal”. 

What I choose to stand on is that nothing surprises the Lord. He sends humans to take care of us and in their humanity, they don’t get it right but at least they made an effort. 

The Lord is the perfect father and I can finally view him that way. I woke up this morning and instead of feeling abandoned, I felt a sweet love entangling me. And the first words I whispered were “Happy Father’s Day my sweet God” 

He knows my pain, my anger, my deepest sorrow. And I don’t have to explain that in this moment. All I have to do is respond to His faithfulness and know that He is good, and He truly is. 


Maybe you have a dad and a mom. And maybe you can’t relate. But maybe there’s someone who failed you, abandoned you. Or someone you need to forgive. I want you to know it’s a choice. One to make DAILY! I have to remind myself daily to let the hurt go, forgive the words spoken over me, and to let go of those who walked out. Some days are easier than others but day by day, I make the choice.

Whatever you are facing today, know that God is good. He is faithful, he has your back and He always makes a way to take care of you, even when you don’t understand. Humans fail us all the time, just as we fail other humans too. 

But the best thing about Jesus, is that He makes everything good. He covers us and allows a blessing to come out of the most painful moments in life. 

A special father’s day to those who have stood in my life as one. I still honor you from a distance and choose to do it because the word of God tells me to honor and because of His grace in my own life.

Happy father’s day to my mom. I love you. Thank you for everything always. You are the best mom and dad we could’ve ever had. 

And lastly, Happy Father’s Day my sweet God. Thank you for never failing me. Never walking away and for always loving me. You are my very favorite ever and I don’t know what I would do without you. A father to the fatherless. A father to me. 

Forever dancing in His love, 

Leslie Tatiana 

The Test of the Thought Pt. 1

Let’s take it back to last week.

Monday was terrible. I went to work and by 4:30 I was so stressed- I cried, hid in the bathroom and walked around aimlessly until 5:30 CLOCK OUT TIME!!!

Tuesday…. By 10:00 AM I was ready to walk out because I couldn’t handle the stress and the environment anymore. I’ve recently become someone who doesn’t tolerate anything that does not bless me or anything that takes my peace away. I spent way too many years submitting to people, environments, and habits that I couldn’t stand and in the end, was in deeper mess than if i would’ve had enough self-worth to walk away. And that’s what I did Tuesday. I went to lunch around 12 and never came back to work.I spent the day walking into salons and leaving my resume and now I have a new job, in the field that I love- beauty industry!

Then later that week, my name was involved in a “he said she said story” and words were placed in my mouth that I never said. It took away my peace. I’ve worked so hard these last few months to get rid of everything that did not bless my life and the enemy took advantage of it.  But I chose to stay silent and allow God himself to fight for me. I talked to God over and over, complained and cried because I am not one to stay quiet and allow disrespect, I am a fighter (lol)- and the only thing I heard back from the Lord was Exodus 14:14 “the Lord will fight for you: you need only be still.” And I had no defense back to this, I simply submitted and did as told.

This night I also went to a spanish church service on the other side of town and one thing that stood out to me was my thought process during this event. I was in the midst of it, singing spanish worship songs, listening to a pastor preach in spanish, surrounded by spanish speaking people and I suddenly missed my life a few years back- because there was no pressure to be better, to step out in faith and serve Him leaving everything behind. I thought I had my life together, planned from school to marriage to ministry and friendships. And this is when I knew something was wrong. Though the message and the pastor himself blessed me and confirmed something I had been praying earlier, the enemy was up to something because I wanted to go back to my old life, a time in which I had every detail of my life planned and I was the one in control, playing God.

Besides me, I knew a couple of people in our leadership were dealing with attacks as well. With finances, relationships, insecurities, thoughts, exhaustion, all sorts of things. I know that we don’t get spiritual enough these days to say”attacks” (which we should) but i will get spiritual today and just call the enemy out.

It’s not a coincidence that all of this happened in one week, especially the things in my life considering i’m on a “no drama” type of attitude and I am nipping things as soon as they happen.

But then came Sunday.

& setting up that morning felt different. And though we couldn’t grasp what God had in store a few hours later, we could smell Him cooking while we cleaned Numbers and got ready.

Service was set to start at 6:00 PM…. By 5:50, the front doors of the club were packed. It was awkwardly packed, people kept staring at me so I could open the doors and let them in. The atmosphere was alive and people we’re excited, though there was no room to stand – ready to worship God and celebrate Revive.

From the moment the doors opened, all 14 rows were packed. I put out an extra row “just in case” and went to sit at the front. 1 minute later, Pastor Eddie came over to me and told me there was no room to sit and all chairs needed to be put out. We ended up being so packed out with 140 chairs that we had to ask leaders and Dream Team Members to give up seats and sit on the side bleachers! How GOOD is GOD?!

The worship team was on fire- nothing more to say here. I have been led by each one into worship but last night was different. Each person was on another level and another realm. Alive and electric- dancing, singing, shouting, hands lifted and eyes on the King.


Jabin Chavez at Revive!? Seriously?!!!! How in the world did we manage that? God did it. And I loved what one of my pastors said “it is God’s way of saying I got y’all.” He killed the word and messed us up, stirred up a hunger and a revival that WE are the church- when God sees a city, He sends His church. He saw Montrose & He sent Revive.


So going back to the beginning, we all went through hell this past week and though we didn’t broadcast it, it was a very difficult week. & there was a moment in Jabin’s message that brought everything together. He explained how the devil does not know the plans God has for us but he knows the potential, and because of that potential, he attacks. Jabin does not know what our church has been through in its short year of life and neither do some of you, but he very specifically pointed out that through the attacks, through the haters, through the mess, through the Red Sea- God promised to be with us.


Last night, I saw dead spirits and souls coming back to life. I saw new faces in awe of a REAL God. I saw parents encouraged and proud, finally understanding why their child is ALL about Revive. I saw youth catch a vision, a hope for their future. And what impacted me the most, I saw my pastors and the team of leaders get a glimpse of the potential we have together and a picture of what God can do in Montrose. It gave life, hope, strength.

The tears have been worth it Revive. Crossing over and leaving a familiar land to an unknown and unwelcoming one. Losing people, losing loves, friends, family. Having to drive 40+ minutes to set up for 2 hours, worship, and tear down for 1 hour. Being criticized, forgotten, and undervalued.

ALL of this was worth it last night- because so many souls came alive, friendships and families were strengthened. We were injected with the vision to run for another year, to build His kingdom and love the broken.


Thank you to each one of you who celebrated with us. We love you dearly, we are honored, and we cannot wait for the next 100 years!


Happy Birthday Revive!

Here’s to building a legacy with Kingdom Carriers, all for His glory!





August 16, 2008

Allowing myself to share and to re-experience this trauma is terrifying. But 8 years later, I am praying it blesses your life and it allows you to feel a little stronger and stand a little taller.

I grew up with my little brother, who is 2 and a half years younger, and my uncle who was 4 years older than me. We used to play hide and go seek(in the dark because that’s the only way to play right?), cops and robbers and most of the time we would end up fighting because that’s what big brothers do best right? He would make me so mad for all the pranks and fights we would get into and all the different rules he would change last-minute, but when he was in trouble with grandma or when he had nowhere to go, my mom took him in and we learned to grow up with him.

My mom was in the living room of our two bedroom apartment in Katy, Tx. She was currently enrolled in online classes at Phoenix University.

I don’t remember what my 11 year old brother was doing, because I only know my experience, and he has never spoken of his.

I was praying in my mom’s room. Writing and listening to a third day song- which I have blocked out because the pain from this night was too much so I cannot remember the exact song anymore.

Mom’s phone rang.

And then there was crying and crying and questions. and crying.

I turned off the music and waited.

She came into the room- “Edwin was shot… my little brother is gonna die.”

I didn’t know what else to do because I was 14… not an adult who had experience with someone dying and being shot, just a 14 year old who was starting high school in a week. So I did what 14 year old’s do best and I called my best friend Lisa. And I told her what I knew, and in a few minutes, my brother and I were being dropped off at her house to stay with her family while mom came to Boxelder rd. to help.

I don’t remember much else from this night. Except that my brother clinged to me and we prayed together before going to sleep that my uncle would survive. And that we would get to see him the next morning. I had full faith that I was going to wake up the next day okay.

only to be woken up with the worst news my family has ever received till this day.

I arose from Lisa’s bed, got my brother ready, and waited for mom to come get us. My heart felt like it was no longer beating- and this feeling continued for months after. My breathing slowed and knots formed in my throat, and stayed.

I remember crying in the car, and hearing mom and a family friend talk about me as if I wasn’t in the back. I had entered a completely separate world and I was now watching myself experience this trauma. Too much for me to bear, I took the backseat in my life and watched everything around me crumble. My brother never said a word, never blinked, never reacted, and never asked anything. He just sat still and allowed the chaos around him to swirl.

walking into my now home- then grandma’s house,  the eerie dark atmosphere that surrounded my home was an indescribable one… I could not catch a breath because the darkness and sadness and death was so tangible in the air… it was better to not breathe.

There was bullet casings in the grass that the cops missed and blood stained cement that Marvin was attempting to clean up. That spot by the front door stayed dark for months after until it was finally washed away and covered by the seasons.

And all i heard was crying, and screaming, and the questions in my head grew louder and the anger began to stir. I didn’t understand because I had prayed & I was nice to my brother & I was a good daughter by listening to mom when she dropped me off in the middle of the night in another home instead of letting me be by her side. I had asked God to save him and to protect him and I woke up the next morning, with a God who didn’t hear me.

My grandma was empty inside and all she did was scream and ask for her son, who was dead. who had died in our front door. Whose life was taken from us in the comfort of our own home.

The next days weren’t any better. And his room was cold and empty, lacking in life and in humor. His voice, his loud obnoxious raps, and chopped and screwed music, the room was silent, gone.

And then came the people. And the people sucked. Because they whispered and they asked questions and they gave opinions and theories, without being asked.

And some sat quietly in the living room, and their silence reminded me that this was the worst thing that had happened to my family, in the comfort of our home. I wanted everyone gone and I wanted answers.

So I sat by the front door.

And I waited.

Because I refused to believe that he was gone. Any minute now, he would walk in through the door and punch me and call me a “peon” and sit to eat Doritos…. or cocoa pebbles, which till this day, my grandma still buys.

Then came the wake and though I thought I had experienced the worst, this was worse than worst.

His body slowly changed colors and his fingers lost life and they hardened. And I could no longer stand at the front to hold his hand because it was no longer him, the life had left and all that we were left with was a strange body.

I experienced my first panic attack this day.

As I grabbed his hand and it was harder than the day before.

So I hate funerals. 8 years later and I refuse to look at lifeless bodies. Because of him. Loving someone, robbing fake banks together, giving my little brother wegies, putting ointment on his wounds from fights with grandma, and then suddenly seeing them lay lifeless. And as you call their name, they still don’t get up?

I would stand for long periods and I would hold his hand and pray. And I would demand that he get up and walk, but it never happened. And soon his body became so cold that I was no longer allowed to go up to the casket because I could not mentally handle it. Different family members would hold me down in the bench. It didn’t make sense to me.

He never walked through door. And he never got up.

I still consider this the event that changed my family forever. My grandma still cries. My brother barely speaks, and I am never home. We have never experienced a death so close to home- figuratively and literally. So it’s still rubble we’re figuring out. I can’t see guns or hear balloons pop without my heart beating faster. There’s not a night in which I don’t look around me a million times before walking into my house. Black SUV’s scare me, I run if they drive by. My German Shepherd does not do well with fireworks because he was also here with the gunshots and the chaos of the police and the entire Boxelder street.

But the best thing is that, today, I know God is still good. He did hear my prayer and he took care of my family because we didn’t fall apart. We are still breathing. And there is an unshakable bond between mom, brother, and myself. We saw hell and death, and have been able to live life for 8 years, maybe with a few faults but nonetheless live.

And though we never found the killer, and I don’t quite understand- I choose to believe that God turns bad to good.

Not sure if this speaks to you, but I choose to believe that I have a God who has a plan bigger than what I can understand. He is not surprised nor is he moved by the events of our lives. I pray that in every situation, you choose to see the good, and that even though you prayed and you asked for a different outcome- know that He did indeed hear, He holds our words close to his heart and whispers them to none.

I am stronger today. I know what its like to lose, and to eventually rise again and stand tall. I no longer cry every day and now, I can share his story, in the hopes that it will bless many lives. I only share this so that you know you are not alone. We all have situations we don’t understand and trauma happens. But what you do after is what matters. And I pray that you always choose to stand and continue in the fight. This life is good and we are blessed to be able to feel so deeply and to experience love.

I wish you would have had the opportunity to meet him. He was misunderstood. A basic Alief raised young man- looking for a place to belong because his family was broken at home. But with such great potential and intelligence.

Eight years later and here is my experience of August 16th, 2008.

Missing you forever Ed.


God of Miracles.

It’s been such a strange season for many of us at Revive. Our worship leaders Israel and Jeanette Belford were flooded with tough news about the pregnancy that had just begun only a few short weeks before. And what is for most a joyful experience turned into a battle, as they prayed and worshipped, choosing to believe in the God of Miracles. From the moment they found out to today… Revive and other Families have surrounded them and been with them in every step.

Today, 1:37 AM, I am sitting in a waiting room, with 2 sleeping, 8 awake but tired people, at the Texas Children’s Hospital in the Medical Center.

Although our faith is being tested, my heart is full in a strange way. 

I am astonished first at the perseverance of the Belford’s. Leading worship every Sunday, choosing to celebrate Baby Belford AND still raising their hands to glorify God. I sense the tiredness, I sense the fear, but what is more- the trust in our sweet sweet Jesus. They have truly shown what it means to fight and be still, to wait on the Lord and believe in His promises.

And then, the amount of people who have called in, left work early, stepped off the elevator and walked through these doors on the 9th floor. It is said that during the worst times of life, you will see the true colors of people who say they care for you. And I am oh so thankful that this generation is living what they believe. We are told to love one another, to lock arms and share in joy, to share in mourning. The world sees hypocrisy and jealousy and hatred and judges and let me just take a moment…. To breathe in this beauty.

We actually get to put into practice what we believe. The support that has been shown is indescribable. And although we won’t physically feel Jeanette’s pain, and maybe we can’t relate to how Israel feels as a new father, I am so full of gratitude to the God we serve. Only He can pull this off. Bring people from all types of walks, churches, histories, and bring them all together for ONE purpose- to see a miracle. To unite in faith and belief that He is still unstoppable, that He has the last word.

Regardless of the outcome by the end of our time here at Texas Children’s, God is still good and our position does not change-

To God be the glory  

Forever and ever