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Anissa Ybarra, University of Houston, Cheerleader

by carmine on March 1, 2014

My name is Anissa Ybarra and I am a cheerleader for the University of Houston. As there are no words that will ever be able to come together to describe what God has done in my life, there was no way I couldn’t not try and keep silent about it.

I am 19 years old, I spent 18 of those years a fan rather than a follower of Christ. The scary part was that I wasn’t even aware that I was simply only a fan. I grew up in a Catholic home and went through the process of baptism, communion and confirmation. I attended church on Sundays, said I believed in God, prayed every once in a while and that’s about as far as that went. It wasn’t until High School that I noticed my life was gradually changing, new friends, new school, boyfriends, parties, the casual teenager stage. I was never a bad kid however, there’s no denying that I wasn’t living my life through God by doing things that weren’t of him. Being the fact that I was only a fan of God, the way I was living my life and the choices I made didn’t even cross my mind twice on how they were wrong, therefore I kept doing what I wanted to do and when I pleased. I was never one to drink or do drugs but you could find me at all the parties on weekends. I was never one to be dishonest but I found myself lying to my parents quite often to go to places where I shouldn’t of been but went to anyways. I also found myself doing things I never thought I would do but did anyway simply because of ignorance. I can’t tell you how many times I was grounded, how many times I had my phone taken away, or how many times none of that even mattered to me because I would repeat it all again.

Four years rolled by and it was time to graduate. Despite all the rough memories followed great ones as well. Cheering for four years with the same best friends by my side each step of the way were the best memories I could ask for. I couldn’t wait to see what new journey’s college had in store for us. Little did I know, I was about to find out the true meaning of the word memories as well as the true meaning of a new journey.

The exact day after I graduated was the exact day my life as I knew it completely transformed and became a memory, as I was in for a new journey. 

All of a sudden my friends kept disappearing left and right. These weren’t just any friends either, these were my best friends that were supposed to be in my life the whole way through. Before I knew it I was literally left with no one. I couldn’t even begin to  fathom how my life could literally change in the matter of days. However I had yet to see the worst. I had a hard time accepting the change that was occurring in my life and refused to let it happen. I held on to everything and everyone but it was like the harder I held on the more things would fall apart. Eventually I found myself at rock bottom and realized these situations were doing more harm than good, if any good at all. At rock bottom the only place to look is up, and at that moment, January 2013, I learned to be completely dependent on my Anissa Ybaraa 2savior.

Although it may not sound like much, emotionally it was the toughest thing I have ever experienced. I started praying, attending church, talking to him through-out my day, and before I knew it I had developed an intimate relationship with Christ. It was then when I found out I had never known God despite my luke warm claims to be christian. It was then when I learned that “Jesus didn’t want to make minor changes in my life, he wanted to turn my life upside down. He didn’t want to do touch up work, he wanted to do a complete renovation, while I thought a little make-up, he thought makeover, and when I would’ve settled for being inspired by Jesus, he interfered instead.” Lastly, it was then when I stopped looking at my mess and started paying attention to the message behind the mess. I realized God refused to change my situation because it was my heart that was supposed to change. I refer to this point in my life as the weeding process, things that weren’t supposed to be in my life were being weeded out and making room for the things and people that did belong. However before those things could enter my life I remained in the in between stage, where God was teaching me to be alone with him and get to know him and who I was in him. Many may think that when someone makes the choice to live for God that it’s all easy and good sailing from there. I cannot stress enough that when I made that decision my life became twice as hard as it was before. I now thought twice about any action I ever made, I was now having to starve my flesh and feed my spirit. Even though it took everything I had to be strong, I realized despite how strong we try to be we still end up weak which is the very reason why we need Christ in our lives, and choosing to live for him was the best decision I have ever made in my life. “You were taught with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by it’s deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds, and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.” Ephesians 4:22-24. Because I am human, I am far from perfect and continue to fail God daily, but my heart is now in the right place. I feel like I was was given a second chance at life and given a new pair of eyes to see the world in a different perspective. I still don’t know what God’s intentions were for completely renovating my life but I do know “that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us” Romans 8. I am blessed that he granted me the opportunity to cheer for the University of Houston, in which I seize the opportunity to spread his word. It’s been exactly one year since I have made the choice to change the way I live my life. Looking back, at this stage in my life I have learned that I have never been so complete and rich. There are no amount of friends, materialistic items, or worldly matters that can compare to personally knowing God. “And to know this love that surpasses knowledge- that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God” Ephesians 3:19.


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