It doesn’t matter what you went through or what you are currently facing, there is hope in the life-changing grace of God.

The hope we place in Jesus provides us with the truth that no matter how hopeless your situation is, or what your past looks like, none of that has to keep you from carrying out God’s purpose for your life; to live revolutionary, counter-cultural lives that can make an impact in your generation to the glory of God.

It starts by believing these words,

I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.”

– Jesus

Vanessa was born and raised in Chicago’s North-side and at an early age was abused by her father. The abuse began as physical and emotional and turned sexual at the age of 6 and did not end till she was 16.

Throughout high school, she suffered from various degrees of identity crisis, depression, anxiety and anger while trying to raise and sustain well enough grades to graduate. Determined for change, she set out to become a United States Marine in hopes of recreating her identity, worth, and purpose.

 From the outside, Vanessa’s career in the military thrived in meritorious promotions, awards and increasing respect from her peers, however, in the inside Vanessa was filled with emptiness, pain, loneliness and bouts of extended periods of weeping without cause. There was deep, suppressed pain in her soul that no amount of success or acceptance could remedy.

After four years, Vanessa returned to her hometown of Chicago to live with her family.  Anger ruled over her emotions and everyday dealings throughout her home.  She describes herself at that time as a “land mine that if not trodden upon lightly would explode and take everything with it.”

Soon thereafter, Vanessa found herself in the hospital with a hernia in her stomach from having cried too hard. It was at that moment in the hospital Vanessa was awakened by a profound feeling and gut-wrenching urge, that she needed to find God.

She began a journey for a year through Catholicism, Mormonism, and plenty of doubt, only to end up at the Christian church down the street. It was at that church Vanessa clearly understood the Gospel of Jesus Christ and can now say with great humility and gratitude, freedom at last.

At that church, Vanessa met her husband and best friend Adriel Cruz while both were serving as youth leaders. In the summer of 2009, they married and continued to charge forward with the plans God had in store for them.

Vanessa founded Live Revolutionary in 2010 and both have since planted World Renegade Church in Chicago’s northwest side. Vanessa completed her Masters in Clinical Psychology from Olivet Nazarene University and is now a Licensed Professional Counselor.

I once was lost, but now am found. Was blind but now I see.

John Newton, Amazing Grace

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