Today, Hermaris speaks to us about books you will want to add to your list, how God helped her escape a moment of danger and her childhood memories.
Tell us a bit about how you grew up and your childhood: I was born and raised in Puerto Rico. When I was two years old, my biological dad disappeared. It looks to be drug problems, and his body was never found nor his whereabouts. For this reason, my mom lived in fear, and I grew up being overprotected. A couple of years later, my mom married my (step)dad, and I finally had the brother I had prayed for. I grew up in a Catholic household and attended a Catholic school. I loved God very much and always had a close relationship with Him through prayer. When I went off to college, I started questioning more “religious” stuff like my mom not being able to join in Holy Communion because for the church she is not married… Anyways, back to your question– I grew up living in my grandma’s house and hanging out with my cousins, until my mom married my dad, and we moved about two hours away, so I lost that. It was hard to adjust, and I think I never got over being far away from my cousins. I grew up in a house where there was no water heater nor cable. When I went off to college, I lived on a $20 weekly budget. I grew up understanding that only by God’s grace I have gotten to where I am now.
“When I went off to college, I lived on a $20 weekly budget. I grew up understanding that only by God’s grace I have gotten to where I am now.”
Inspiring biblical passage of the moment: Romans 8:28 is our motto! We live and breathe it.
“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.”
Spiritual growth focus at the moment: I am focusing on growing in prayer being more specific and intentional with my prayer time. I believe that prayer can be looked at as working on quality over quantity.
Profession: Ha! So many! I studied math education, so teacher is one. I have also studied photography, so photographer is another and one that I am pursuing. On the other hand, while I was at college, I took advanced redacting and English courses so writing is another profession I do- two blogs, one for ministry and one for my photography. And finally, I also have a Master’s in Theology. All of this has come together to help me fulfill my vision with both Anchored Diary LLC and Hermaris Photography.
If you wrote a memoir, what would the title be? Never stop learning.
When did you first encounter God and how did you encounter Him? As I said, I have always had a deep relationship with God. However, I was mad at him during my first years of college, but He was still there. On a given day, I went out with someone I thought was a friend. This male attempted to rape me. As I was pinned down, I remember I prayed for God to do something and free me, and that if He did, I would seek Him differently and outside of religion. He did get me out. How? Someone came knocking at the door, and I ran when the door was opened. From then on, I began to seek God differently and noticed that it is not about religion. Although I love my Catholic roots, I am happy where we stand.
“As I was pinned down, I remember I prayed for God to do something and free me, and that if He did, I would seek Him differently and outside of religion.”
How has your relationship with Him changed you? Well, for starters I left the Catholic church. I began to see Him in everything I do. I have learned to blindly trust He will provide although things look uncertain. He gave me my husband, and I could not have done a better job, by far! My character has changed in the sense that I have learned to listen and obey without allowing others’ opinions on me to stop me.
“My character has changed in the sense that I have learned to listen and obey without allowing others’ opinions on me to stop me.”
What has helped you grow spiritually in this season? Praying, time alone with Him when I start my days, fellowship and Bible study with peers.
Just read/currently reading (and what has it taught you?): Audiobook- 168 Hours: You Have More Time Than You Think by Lauren Vanderkam. It taught me that I actually have more time than I think and to prioritize my time, to budget my time, and it has been life-transforming. Also, Audiobook- Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey, it changed my perspective on “good debt”, and we are on our journey of being financially free
Top three essentials: A good journal, which is why I am creating my own, keeping records of your prayers and words released over your life are pivotal to your growth. Keeping those records are proof to yourself that God never fails you
A reliable and durable phone! I don’t know about you but most of my apps and audios are on my phone. A phone should be able to last long, have a good camera, and support all your favorite apps like the Bible app, Kindle, and podcasts. I also KEEP all my reminders on the KEEP app (see what I did there) and I can access my lists anywhere. As well as Trello and all my social media. Even my email is at the tip of my fingers. So yes, a good phone that you like is essential.
For parents- A Lillebaby carrier! Babywearing is so healing and important. A good carrier, like the ones Lillebaby offer, will help you keep sane and get more things done.
How did God speak to you recently? Prayer and dreams- Anytime I need an answer, I come to God through prayer. He has always placed right in front of me the resource I need or reveals in dreams what I should do. Recently, I have found Godlywood Girl’s School of Purpose, and WOW- it was transforming. I can share more info with anyone who would like to know more.
Hobby: Music and Photography- I can dance or sing, so music is the best way to summarize that while photography is becoming my job, too. It is still a hobby, and I am blessed to be able to work in something that I truly LOVE.
Top three practical tips for staying spiritually strong:
Do not neglect your prayer time! We need to have our time with God. Good communication is KEY in any relationship.
Journal; our minds can only go so far. Just watch Inside Out, if you’re not certain about it. Journaling important events help us remember things that the enemy might try for you to forget but God does not forget.
Connect yourself with likeminded people and people that are at least one level up from where you are now. Yes, it is good to disciple, but allow yourself to be discipled. You need to relate yourself with people who challenge you and help you move forward.
Favorite person in scripture? Other than Jesus, Mary! It will always be her. Especially, now that I am a mom. I cannot fathom seeing my kid in pain. I am looking forward to having a conversation with her. My girls are only three and almost 1 year old, and I am already praying for me to have strength when I see them giving birth. I promise you, imagining it hurts– so Mary is the real MVP.
What do you want people to learn about God when they look at you? That no matter what your family’s history, no matter what people think, no matter what people say, YOU have a purpose. There is pure JOY in God and obeying Him is the best thing you can do.
“No matter what your family’s history, no matter what people think, no matter what people say, YOU have a purpose.”
How do you engage with your community? I mostly engage through Instagram and e-mails. I am looking into doing LIVES weekly and start my YouTube channel
Favorite holiday? Christmas! The remembrance of Jesus’ birth, the joy, the presents, the celebration, the family gatherings, just everything!
A goal you have? Impact the life of at least 1 million women, so that they understand that there is purpose within them and no matter the changes they go through that purpose will come to pass.
A special tradition you and your family engage in or keep: I video call my parents at least once a day. This all started in college. It was “required” for me to call them every day when I left my apartment and when I got back to it. Now, it is second nature. Also, for big celebrations like birthdays and Christmas, we video call all the grandparents to open presents with them even if they are miles apart from us.
Question you will ask when you get to heaven? What happened to my (biological) dad? Yup, there is more to this story, and I am considering it to one of my short videos on testimonies for my YouTube Channel
Thing you want to raise awareness about: The importance of praying specific prayers; post-partum depression is not something to be ashamed of because you are a Christian; mental health/having a psychologist and loving Jesus is okay; and babywearing
What does your morning routine consist of? Waking up, praying, having breakfast and work one hour on the most important task for my business. Then, I work on everything else and stop to prepare and have lunch with my kids and husband.
What is on your nightstand? I don’t have a nightstand (LOL) BUT! It’s because we got a KING size bed, and it literally fills the tiny room wall to wall. If I had one it’d have a journal, my wireless speakers, and phone charger. Maybe a printed version of the Bible and the book I am currently reading, but since I discovered Bible App and Audiobooks– that mostly happens on my phone, especially because I am mostly in my bed with lights off.
Define Christianity in a sentence: Having a relationship with the One who created you and died for you in a way that you can focus about your service to others as opposed to what others think or say of you.
For more Hermaris:
Blog on parenting, overcoming fear and prayer: Anchoreddiary.com
Until next time, keep witnessing!