Rosie Rivera is an evangelist, television personality and current CEO of Jenni Rivera Enterprises. She shares her healing and redemptive story in the midst of abuse and rejection in the best sellers, “Secrets: Come Out Of Hiding” and “My Broken Pieces: Mending the Wounds From Sexual Abuse Through Faith, Family and Love.”
In one meeting with a stranger, Rosie’s life would change for the better… “She anoints her hands and put them over my legs and I’ll never forget because she said the most amazing things about me. She said, ‘You are a woman of God. You will be an evangelist. You will speak his word. You are a worshiper. Thousands and thousands will come to the Lord because of your story.’ And I felt bad for her. I said, my poor mom, if she doesn’t know her daughter, and my mom will say, no, I didn’t know my daughter. I just knew my God’s power. Also. I know what my God could do. So here I am, years later, almost 10 years later in the street yelling for him to kill me. I said, my mom said you’re merciful. And my mom said that you love. If you love, please kill me. I can’t live this life anymore. It just hurts too much. Sexual abuse has followed me at eight. At 15, I was raped on date rape. At 16, my driver’s Ed instructor assaulted me and I had to run home from Huntington Park to Long Beach. And now my husband was raping me and throwing me at a hotel that said, I can’t do this anymore. I can’t. Whatever this hurt is, whatever this is, whatever I do, whatever it is about me, because you always think of you. I can’t do it anymore God. I don’t know how to make it go away.
On Faith: “It is everything in my life. It’s faith in God and Jesus Christ is my strength. I believe you can put faith in different things. We all have a yearning or an inherit wiring to have faith in something. I believe it’s supposed to be Jesus Christ, but sometimes we put our faith in the wrong thing. Things like money or our job or our kids or our spouse, and then those things crumble. So for me, the fact that my faith is in Christ and that he never crumbles, genuinely holds me. It always holds me because the world changes. People change, money changes, but my God doesn’t. That is what holds me day today, especially, facing death, facing on changes in family dynamic, facing difficulties in marriage. My faith has held me up, kept me sane, kept me hopeful and joyful even in the biggest trials of my life. I think people can see that. I am not a pastor yet. I’m, I’m an evangelist. I have the calling of a pastor, but it has to be God’s time. I did go to Bible College. I loved it. After law school, I actually left law school to do Bible College.”
On Healing: “I got into reading the word of God, because when I was being sexually abused, I wanted to escape. During those times, I would close my eyes and pretend that I was someone else in a different world. Even after the abuse ended, years later, I would just lock myself up in my room and read, read and pretend I was someone else. When the Lord came to me about 15 years ago, I was so in love with the word. It’s poetry, it’s metaphors and it’s all true. I didn’t have to pretend to be anyone else, God was revealing to me who I was through his word and through other people like Esther, Ruth, Moses, Abraham or Peter. What I saw in the word was God understood me… He has a plan of redemption and justice. I really got engulfed in the word when I was 25. I didn’t know who I was. I hated who I was or whatever I was, and I had no purpose. The word really took me through the process of restoration and healing and finding my purpose. I think unstuck is a perfect word. At 25, I was in a deep, deep hole. I was a single mother of a two year old. Her father had broken up with me the day that I told him I was pregnant. So it was shocking because the relationship was a beautiful relationship. And he is an amazing father now, but at that point, sexual abuse lies to you, especially when you go through it alone in your mind goes wild, telling you you’re not worth it. You’re dirty, you’re just used. Good people can use your body and throw you away. And abandonment and rejection with something that I dealt with since I was eight, nine years old. And you are so afraid that if people knew the truth, they would leave you. So this whole time you either pretend everything’s okay and you hide your deep, dark secret from people. Well, thank God when I told my family at 16, they were very understanding and to begin with, they believed to me because that’s a stumbling block for many people that their mother doesn’t believe them. Their sister doesn’t believe them and thank God, everyone in my family believed me. And but that didn’t make it better and you would think, and it’s part of the process. Speaking up is part of the process, but it’s also opening everything up. Speaking of isn’t gonna to heal you, it’s taking a step towards your healing. But they tried to give me counseling, whether it was state based or private. We tried everything for me and just nothing would work. I tried everything. I started drinking at 13, doing drugs at 16, by 18 I was an alcoholic or I needed a shot of Tequila every morning. I was a very functioning alcoholic where I still went to college and was a straight a student and no one knew that I was that bad, but it would just get darker and darker and worse and worse. And my family really didn’t know what to do with me. And usually our families don’t. They are indirect victims and they have no idea how to help us or even if you know what they could say. So I think sometimes we have to forgive our family members if the reaction wasn’t what we expected. If they couldn’t quote unquote success or take us to the right place. I know my family tried very, very hard and they couldn’t. So by the time I was 25, being a single mom, I was heartbroken. I’m feeling like everything my mind had said was true. It had just been confirmed by my baby’s father. I was useless and worthless. And even now, the single mom, no one would want me. And I’d never get that, that beautiful marriage that I so desired. You don’t have to accept labels that people give you. They are not yours and you don’t have to accept the labels of your past situation. Those are situations that happen to you, but they don’t have to define you…”