They say a picture is worth a thousand words. I am not proud of what these say of me…

 Smiling but Dead on the Inside Drunk –  Sept. 2008

I never ever thought I would be brave (or crazy) enough to post old drunken pictures of me. It is not pleasant seeing this old truth about me. But I am grateful to God that my past is in the past and God is using all the bad stuff for good today. I would not be sharing these horrible pictures if it were not true! It took me a while to get courage to do this, but I feel like keeping it real about my alcohol abuse. Besides, how can I share about my miracle if I cannot openly share the hard stuff about the old me?

Anyway, I am celebrating my miracle sobriety milestone early because…well, because I am ALIVE and because I can! My heart hurts and rejoices at the same time when I look at those old photos. What I see in my eyes, the windows to my soul, is nothing but darkness and death. The smile means nothing. At least that is what I remember all too well — I just wanted to die. Actually, I was already dead inside. I was just using alcohol to try and finish the job, but it did not work the way I wanted it to. THANK GOD.

I do not want to wait for my official milestone date in order to celebrate. I am celebrating right here, right now. I am celebrating that I am alive when I should be dead. After twenty plus years of trying to drink myself to death and no end of the darkness in sight, I am celebrating that I found the Light – the Rock at the bottom — my Lord Jesus Christ who has saved me in so many ways! I am 27 days away from turning 50 years old and 28 days away from celebrating six full years of discovering that God is real. I discovered His power to change and because of that, I am sober, free, and living on purpose!

My life story is all over this blog so I am not going to rewrite it here. I just want to take this opportunity to Praise God for saving my life. I thank Him for pulling me out of the pit of hell and for setting this captive free. It has been a tough six years, but NOTHING is too hard for God to do within us when we get out of His way and let Him have His way. Soooo grateful that I caught on to that.

I am forever grateful and I pray with all my heart and soul that others will experience life like I am. I make a daily choice. I choose to be free from harmful vices. I have not relapsed, nor have I traded one vice for another. I am truly FREE. But only because of my Lord and Savior Jesus for giving me the power to change. It takes work, it takes faith and trust and the willingness to do some super hard stuff, but man is it so worth it. If you are struggling with something tonight, I am praying for your freedom. You can do it…JUST DO IT and reach for God above all and get ready to LIVE like never before.

God bless you and someone please…celebrate God’s mighty miracle with me! To God be the glory, amen? AMEN!

Nothing is impossible with God. This photo speaks for itself. Ah, the sober life with Him…cannot imagine any other way. Thankful!!! ♥


Christmastime Misery to Miracles: My prayer for the sad and lonely hearts this Christmas

So many people suffer from sadness this time of year. It is mind-boggling to me being that I am one of those who has suffered since I was sixteen years old — I believed for so long that I was alone. I believed that something was wrong with me because I did not have the joy that I would see others have.  After all, it is Christmas – the most wonderful time of the year, right? OK, sorry. I never thought that was cute either, especially when I was in deep depression.

Well, this Christmas, just two months before my 50th birthday AND my six year milestone of sobriety (WOW…only God!), something extra incredible is taking place inside of my heart for the first time. The Holy Spirit of Christmas is moving and I have to tell the world about it because I know without a doubt that what God is doing for me at this very moment is something that He will do for anyone who calls out to Him wholeheartedly. No matter how long it takes, those who keep following, obeying, seeking, and trusting Him will receive their miracle too! But you must believe without a doubt and NEVER GIVE UP while waiting.

I pray this story of my own Christmastime miracle will reach many. I so want to encourage the hearts that feel like giving up and who perhaps are losing all hope. Do not give in to those thoughts that are from the devil wanting to destroy you. I know how tiring it is year after year to have the heavy heart that you are currently suffering. I walked with that heavy heart for over 30 years of my life.

For just a quick background of my story, one day, in my most desperate moment, God heard my sincere cries and reached down and changed everything. He changed me in ways I never dreamed of. I have been living an incredible life as a new Christian since 2010. Notice that I did not say it was an easy life, but incredible, nonetheless. For those who are new to my story, I suffered from severe depression and was tormented by thoughts of suicide. The only way I knew to deal with it was to drink as much as I could to kill the emotional pain with the hope that one day I would not wake up. But there came a day with a heartfelt rock bottom cry and that is when God sobered me up and took the severe depression away. It was a true miracle.

However, when Christmas 2010 came, I was discouraged by how heavy my heart became once again. I did not understand it. I pushed through and sometime after the New Year, I was all right again – only to find it start all over again come Christmas 2011…2012…2013…2014. Toward the end of 2014, I could not believe that I was starting to go backwards, spiritually speaking. In the Spring of 2015, I was entertaining thoughts of giving up. I was so tired of the fight. I was starting to believe once again that I was worthless and that everyone would be better off without me. I heard stories of recent suicides – I have a hard time explaining where my mind went with that, but it really had me thinking that maybe it is not such a bad idea after all (dang devil is such a liar).

So what happened that made me go backward? Well, it all started with an annual physical in September 2014 that suddenly had me going through invasive medical tests and procedures that caused a lot of physical pain. Although that was pretty bad and discouraging in itself, the part that really brought me down was the reason I was having to go through any of it. It was due to a repercussion from my past life. The poor choices I made long ago had caught up with me and the devil took advantage of my vulnerable state. He had me believing that I did not deserve God’s love. That I was a bad person and that was why I had to suffer the consequences of my choices. I got knocked down pretty hard spiritually and I would get up and be all right for a bit, but I would get knocked down again and again until I almost got lost in the dark again.

I cannot tell you how grateful I am that I never fully gave in. I still continued to cry out to Jesus for help. I had sisters in Christ listening to my tears and praying for me each week at Bible study — one being my pastor who would also answer every text message and email I had ever sent her during each week when I was struggling. My church prayed for me. I even had a dear and very busy brother in Christ make time to call me frequently to pray. I am so blessed because these wonderful people of God helped me to keep on keeping on and Jesus lit the pathway in the darkness so I could see just enough to get to the other side with Him.

It has been an incredible year of spiritual growth. That is what I love so much about this journey of walking with God in the center. NOTHING goes to waste. He truly uses all things for good. I received a clean bill of health from that last medical issue and I received much more than that! I have complete freedom for the first time in my entire life! GOD BROKE THROUGH, AND I BROKE FREE!!!! In that year-long struggle of dealing with depression, I became an incredibly strong woman of God. God’s Word, my sword, never leaves me and I am able to fight off every attack of the enemy since. I am eternally grateful. Now this is all wonderful, but this is not the miracle that I am wanting to share. But since this all helped me to open the way for God to give me the miracle, it is an important part of the story that needed to be told.

SO, the greatest lesson I learned through this year-long struggle was this: Getting past my past! That is it! I needed to completely let go of the shame…AGAIN. I had let it go before, but the enemy was able to sneak it back in when the medical issue came up. However, since I did not give in, Jesus once again took the pain away. He showed me that I am not worthless and He gave me His wonderful self-esteem — the days of no esteem are over. The enemy, the accuser of my life, has been silenced!  I learned that NOTHING in this world can ever change who I am in Christ. NOTHING, NO ONE, and NO THING defines me. Only God does and I know so well what He thinks of me. I know what He thinks of you too. Just open the Bible and listen to the Love He has for you that pours out all over the place.

This breakthrough that took place around August 2015 has been bringing some incredible blessings as I continue on in the journey. My strength has helped me to become an incredible prayer warrior for others, and it brought me the most beautiful gift I have experienced in a long time — God turned my Christmastime misery into a Christmastime miracle. I do NOT have a heavy heart this year! Friends, that is nothing short of a miracle, especially since my circumstances have not changed. I am still alone (meaning single and childless) and still have my losses in life, BUT have so much more in Christ and my eyes can see that now. I see more now what I have gained in Christ and that is a life-saving transformation! Jesus has filled every hole in my heart with His gift of grace and love. He has filled me with His Presence and I wish I could explain this better for those of you still suffer, because you need to feel what I am feeling. It is beyond incredible. With Jesus’ love consuming my heart now, there is absolutely no room for any sadness or darkness.  My heart, which is His heart, is pouring into yours at this very moment as you read this. I pray you can feel Him! He is right there with you! Open up and let Him pour in…

I also just want you to know that I get it – your heavy heart. I am praying for your miracle to come and I pray that you will not give up while you wait for it. Remember, I suffered for over 30 years, and after giving my life to the Lord, I waited another five years. But God came through, just like He promises too. While I waited, I took advantage of every challenge so that I could grow closer to God and grow stronger in Him. I am so in awe of His power that is available to those of us who seek it.

So, that is it. I have been talking about this a while, and writing down what is going on in my heart is difficult. I do not think I could ever do it justice, but I pray God gets through somehow. I just want to say again, never give up. Never give in. Trust in God. Surround yourself by godly people who will help keep you lifted when you are down and will encourage and love you every step of the way. Choose to make opportunities for lessons learned out of every challenge and wait to be amazed. You will be. It is a promise. It is HIS promise.

May your heavy heart be light soon – may it be filled with His light that drives out every ounce of darkness. God wants to turn your misery into a miracle too. Will you open up the way for Him? I pray you will. God bless you this Christmas and every single day. Keep pressing on, your miracle is on the way…

Now, if you will excuse me, Christmastime is here and I need to go tell it on another mountain!


Jesus is the Light of the world — “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” (John 1:5)


A FATHER’S DAY POST: Some Heartfelt Words For Dads – The Good and the Bad


The last time I opened my heart about Father’s Day was in 2014. I thought that would be the end of it because I believed that I was completely healed. I guess I thought that when I first wrote about it in 2012 too. Ah, healing is a process. So Father’s Day 2015 is only a few days away, and I discovered a few weeks ago that this time of year is still a trigger for me — a negative one. I am glad I can share that things are turning around and I am getting better. For the first time recently, I shared things that I had not shared before with my Bible Study sisters. They are amazing women of God who bless my life and they make it so safe for me to pour my heart out and to cry when I need to. Why I held stuff in for so long, I do not know. I just know that vulnerability still does not come easy for me. I am so grateful that I finally opened up because since I poured out my troubled heart to them few weeks ago, I have found more freedom and more healing. God is so good. I pour out my heart to Him all the time, but for some reason, it took sharing with my sisters that brought me more healing from things that have been weighing my heart down for the past 5 years or so — since my dad was found dead in his home. I know this additional healing has come because my sisters lifted me up in prayer. I can see now that God made it all happen and I am so grateful!

For those who do not know anything about me, since I was sixteen years old, I dreaded Father’s Day because my dad pretty much abandoned me. He did much more than divorce my mom. He completely crushed my spirit. Maybe it would not have been so bad had I known my Heavenly Father, but that was just not how life was for me back then. I have shared in the past that I felt robbed. I hated not having a father as I was growing into a young woman. I missed my dad. I cried myself to sleep many nights from a crushed heart and every time I would see the good Dads loving their children, that just made it worse for me. I was happy for them, it was a blessing to see, but when I was alone at night it was nothing but tears and emptiness. I love my mom dearly. She worked so hard keeping a roof over our heads until I could get a job and help, I did not want to burden her with what I was going through. That was the beginning of a pathway to rock bottom that finally happened when I was 44. I get a lot of hits on my “Praise God for Rock Bottom” post and I hope it has touched some hearts. Rock Bottom is where I met God for the first time in my life. It is where I discovered that He is real. He has done amazing things and has completely turned my life around. I no longer desire to drink my life away and I no longer desire to die. I cannot say enough about God in my life!

Anyway, enough about me…what I mostly wanted to say is “Thank You!” to all the Dads out there who are there loving your families. I want to especially thank the men of God out there. I have many brothers in my journey that make my heart smile as I watch them be the amazing godly fathers that they are. What a blessing it is to see that they do exist! Just because I did not have a dad like that, does not mean that they are not out there and I am grateful that God has opened my eyes and heart to witness it. To those of you whose fathers are in heaven, I pray for peace and comfort and wonderful memories that warm your heart. May our Heavenly Father be enough. May you be filled with His amazing love that fills any void that you might feel in your heart.

I pray for the fathers who are denied access to their children. There are a lot of tragic circumstances where I know that dads who want to be there for their kids are not being allowed to. I pray for the fathers who do not know how to be there for their kids and decide to leave and not make contact like mine did. Now that I am much older and wiser, I do not hate my dad. He just did not know how to be a dad when I needed him most. I am grateful that God gave me strength to forgive. I am beyond grateful that forgiveness and restoration took place before my dad died. I pray for the children who are caught in the middle of ugliness between their mom and dad and I pray for the children who are left behind like I was. Lord, let there be more healing, restoration, and forgiveness, I ask that You do for them what You have done for me.

So, Happy Father’s Day to the Dads out there. But above all, HAPPY FATHER’S DAY to the God of my life — my Heavenly Father who loves me more than anyone ever can. I love You too Daddy. Please tell my earthly dad who I know is with You in heaven now, that I said hello and that I will see him when You bring me home. ❤

“Sing to God, sing praises to His name; Extol Him who rides on the clouds, by His name YAH, and rejoice before Him. A father of the fatherless…” ~Psalm 68:4,5 (NKJV)

He is my Father and I love Him with all of me!

Better off dead?

My heart goes out to those who believe that right now. Christian or not, life is hard. It’s much worse when we live it apart from God. When I was experiencing years of those tormenting thoughts of wanting to die, I wasted a lot of time as if I had already died. I felt dead. I was dead. I became out of sight and out of mind from family and friends. I didn’t want anybody to know. I tried so hard to drink my life and pain away, but all it did was make my world darker and more painful. It left the door to evil wide open so it could completely destroy me. I believe it was a matter of time. It is a complete miracle that I am still here today and set free. During the entire time I lived and breathed darkness, I did not know the Lord, nor did I want to know Him. I’ve had my regrets of the time that I wasted, but I no longer dwell on the past that I can’t change. I am alive today, and I don’t waste a moment now to share how God has changed everything. That’s pretty much what “A Reason To Live” is all about — an ordinary soul who God touched and chose to write an extraordinary story to share with the world. I’m just me. This story is SO not about me, it’s all about Him. I pray people will see that. Many will choose to not believe the words I share. They’ll roll their eyes and think I’ve lost it. Many will completely ignore it, but if just one troubled soul is touched and given the hope that only turning to Jesus can give, if His light shines through the darkness of one soul who thinks they would be better off dead, if His light and hope has them holding on one more day — one more precious moment at a time, then me taking the risks that I have been taking in sharing my heart so openly and suffering for some of it is more than worth it. This is my ministry, my passion, my reason to live, and I will not stop until God decides that I’m finished. I praise God for the gifts He’s given to me to bring glory to Him. When I come to the end of my earthly life, I don’t believe I will have one regret because I spend my life each day doing all I can to do what God has set for me to do. Of course I fall short each day, but I keep trying to do better each chance He gives me. That’s an incredible place to be in this journey of less than five years that has brought many tears, but unspeakable joy. I do believe I have much more sharing of His love to do in the years to come.

I am grateful that God rescued me when He did. I admit I still have occasional moments where I wish it would have been sooner, but since I can’t go back and change it, I am just thanking Him every single day that I am able to get out of bed and follow Him. I’ll be honest. On occasion I still battle with the dark thoughts. So I think it will always be a battle whether I am obedient to God or not. Only now, the thoughts have become easier to overcome with God in my heart. And because I let go of pride and sought help throughout this growing and healing journey that seemed to bring a lot of the darkness back, I now have some amazing tools that I have learned to put into practice to keep me from going back to the pit. Seeking God, seeking help, and although it’s challenging, I continue to share, cry, and talk about it with some amazing women of God I am blessed to spend time with each week — it all keeps me wanting to live one more day and it’s all for Him. What an amazing ongoing miracle in my life. God rescued me by reaching down and pulling me out AND by putting the right people in my path to love me and show me how to live for Him. I am eternally grateful. Now when the pain comes, I hold on tight to my Lord and He carries me through to the other side, every single time. Just like Jacob who wrestled with God and told Him “I will not let go until You bless me.” (Genesis 32:26), I too, will continue to hold on until I receive His full blessing.

When the hard times come, I won’t let go of the One who will never let me go and I pray that you will keep holding on to Him too. Life is truly worth living. Thank You, Jesus.

2014 Summer Sky in Anaheim, California

Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning (Psalm 30:5)

I know your hidden pain. You don’t have to hide it anymore…

This is for those who are struggling with pain buried deep inside their soul. Maybe you’re feeling worthless, lonely, unloved, abandoned, and forgotten. Maybe you have lost all trust in the human race and have put up a giant wall around you so now most of your time is spent in isolation. Maybe the isolation is taking its toll and the depression is becoming more severe and perhaps you’re even feeling that life isn’t worth living anymore – the pain and darkness is just too much to bear for one more day.

Well, I really do know your pain. I pretty much just described my life for over 20 years until just a little over four years ago. For decades I tried to escape it all through attempts to drink myself to death. But I’m still here. I’m here for a reason. I want to share some good news. I want someone out there to find hope like I did. I now have victory — victory that can only be found through Jesus Christ. All the bad stuff I believed, were lies. They were lies of the devil who wanted me destroyed. I’m so grateful that I know that now. I’m grateful that I have learned to turn my thoughts around and have learned to listen to the Voice of Truth, which is my Lord Jesus. It took me a while to learn. It’s been a tough walk, but I don’t regret one moment of fully surrendering my life to the Lord. He has helped me to open my heart up to Him so He could come in and do some amazing work in me. He has truly changed me from the inside out. He sobered me up. He showed me I had a reason to live. About every post in this blog speaks of my personal struggles and how God has given me amazing miracles and breakthroughs – VICTORY.

I pray my personal story of transformation and victory will bring you hope that God has not forgotten you either. Stop believing the lies. I spent over 20 years believing I was worthless and that my life was a waste. I tried to numb the pain with alcohol. Of course, it never really helped. It only made me hate myself even more. I thank God that He rescued me from that horrible, slow and painful death that was once the only life I knew.

It’s been very recent where I received my breakthrough in my emotional healing journey. That was a very painful journey bringing years of deep emotional pain to the surface, but I am finally healed and finally free! My last blog post was about a mentally abusive relationship I was in. I had mentioned that I might share a letter of victory in my next post. I almost backed out of doing it, but I feel that I should share it to show someone who is struggling right now that there IS hope. Don’t give up on yourself, don’t give up on God! In this letter, I speak of a longing that I was praying that God would either fulfill or remove from me. At the time, I hadn’t heard either way, so I kept hoping for that desire that was in my heart. I will share now that a lot has changed since writing the letter back in April 2014. God has answered my prayer in a wonderful way. It wasn’t the way I had initially hoped for. He has removed the desire I was hoping for and has replaced it with a much better one.

So here I go, I think this may be my most vulnerable moment, but I pray with all my heart that the below letter will give someone hope that God can do the same for anybody who seeks. It’s strange to share something so personal, but I hope it will be a blessing to someone out there. Don’t lose heart. Your victory is coming too.

Letter of Victory by D. Bonilla (April 2014)

“This is about true transformation. It’s about how I have gone from years of believing I am worthless, to knowing and believing that I have value because Jesus Christ lives in me. My transformation also means that I will no longer be afraid to trust. The wall I spent years building around me for protection has been knocked down. The protection I need can only come from God. I now have the faith and belief that God will protect me and will bring the right people into my life. I fully trust that He will give me the discernment to know the people who are safe to let in and the people I need to keep at a safe distance. 

So where will these new healthy beliefs take me? I believe they will help me to reach the top of the mountain of God! There won’t be an obstacle I cannot overcome because He is with me and my new beliefs will help keep me from getting in the way of His blessings. 

I am finding that I still have a deep longing for family. There have been certain triggers that have brought it back. Gratefully, I have recently been able to grieve the loss of never giving birth to my own children so I can move on. From years of brokenness, I had made the choice to close the door to marriage and family without knowing or caring what God’s plan is. I was too afraid to even think about letting another man into my life again, especially because the last one almost finished the job of what the others before him had started — complete destruction of my soul. But now with God in the center of my life and now that I have begun to heal and have changed my way of thinking, I no longer feel that the door to my heart is sealed shut forever. 

I actually see the possibility of a new relationship once again. This gives me such hope for the future. I have a new dream that the perfect man for me, a strong man of God, has already been chosen for me. He will have a passion like mine to serve God in ministry. He will be faithful. He will be a family man. He will be a good father. His children will have children. He will have a love for me that I have never known from any other man in my life. And with the heart that God has given me, I know that I will be able to love him the same. I will be able to love his children as if they were my own. In the years to come I can see us serving together in ministry with the kids and grandkids. You see, I don’t just long for a family, I long for one who serves the Lord together. “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” 

However, if it turns out that this desire is not of God, I also trust that He will completely remove it once and for all and will keep me filled with His Peace and Joy. I trust He will fill the void in my heart (perhaps as a spiritual mother) so I can stop wondering and stop longing. I trust He will give me the contentment to remain single and the strength and desire to dedicate the rest of my life to only Him. I have prayed the prayer to remove or fulfill my desire more than a few times. Since nothing has happened either way yet, I am going to hold on to the hope of family. I will keep praying. My God is faithful. 

So whatever the outcome, I am praising God and claiming victory. I can finally say with confidence that I am NOT worthless. I have amazing faith in an amazing Heavenly Father who loves me more than I can ever imagine. I have a wonderful mother and church family who love and support me and encourage me greatly. I love them back more than they can ever know. The future is so much brighter and exciting than ever. I have incredible HOPE. I am blessed and eternally grateful. My story is just now beginning…”

I’m looking forward to sharing how God has answered the longing that you just read about, I think you will be surprised. I was. But I cried tears of pure joy when I realized how He fulfilled my longing in an unexpected and more incredible way. He’s amazing that way. 🙂

God bless you. I’ll be praying for you.