Whoever I just Prayed to Heard me and Loves me

After growing up as a CODA, Elisa ended up sleeping in her car in college.

"I was my parents' functional ASL interpreter from a young age. By the age of 16 my life was chaotic and out of control."

"I prayed a prayer to this man name Jesus, and I felt this peace come over me and my thoughts were clearer... I knew, 'Whoever I just prayed to is actually listening to me, and He's real, and He loves me, and cares about me.'"

Video Transcription

Hi, my name is Elisa and this is my story. Growing up, I didn't have a traditional home experience. Actually, I am the oldest of five hearing kids and both of my parents are deaf. At the age of six, I was completely bilingual and American Sign Language and English. And unfortunately, little did I know that becoming bilingual meant that I had become my parents’ functional interpreter throughout the world and my family and everything in between. And so that really led to this bitter feeling, the sense of rejection and anger and frustration with my parents and also the world.

I didn't have a voice or an identity. And because of that, I felt super, super insecure. I I grew up knowing who Jesus was. I went to church because it made my mom happy, but there was absolutely no obedience or actually wanting to go to church or follow scripture. And I lived my life like that, just always interpreting.

And by the age of 16, I had become very chaotic and out of control because of this deep sense of shame and rejection, bitterness, anger, you name it, I probably felt it. I decided to look to other things to try to fill that void in my heart. And it actually came down to a screeching halt my junior year of college when I ended up homeless.

I was living outside in my car, driving to work, driving to school, and literally couch surfing. And in between all those nights, I would go out partying and try to, again, fill a void in my heart. And one night, it was February of 2018, a fall term, I remembered thinking to myself, I cannot keep living my life this way. This is not fair. This is not good for me. This is not healthy. There has to be something better than this life that I'm living right now. Crying out to God was literally the last resort. And so I decided to pray to this man named Jesus, but this time I was ready to give him a second chance to be Lord and Savior of my life.

I prayed a prayer and I said, "'Jesus, if you're real, can you please send me a home to live in? And I will consider following you again."

Felt this like peace over me. I stopped crying. I all of a sudden kind of like felt like, my thoughts were clear and I got really scared because I was just like, okay, whoever I just prayed to is actually listening to me and he's real, he loves me, he cares about me. And so I got really scared and I was like, okay, Jesus, but you only have 24 to 40 hours to do it, otherwise I'm not doing it.

And literally the next day, a home was available to me and I moved in. It took a couple of weeks because I'm very stubborn, but moved in with them.

They quickly became some of my best friends and actually discipled me back to Jesus. Within a couple months, I was following Jesus again, going to church, reading my word. And within a couple months after that, I was on the grounds of a university campus, preaching the gospel and reaching my peers.

It's now been three years since that moment. And my life has definitely had a lot of ups and downs, but he has deeply redeemed my relationship with my parents, where not only have they said sorry to me for their actions, but also I have in turn said sorry for my actions.

Ultimately, my joy and my hope is eternal because it's in the love and the life of who Jesus is and who He says He was.