I believe God is a riveting, tender and inspiring story of faith, family, forgiveness and motherhood, told simply and with frankness. The author, Maritza Jiménez, is a courageous, loving and caring woman who submits to God, honors her husband and fiercely protects her family. She is a Mama Lioness who embodies the strength and power to nurture and fearlessly protect her offspring.
Doña Maritza grew up in the first half of the 20th century, during the socio-economic and political upheavals caused by one of Latin America’s most heinous and repressive dictators – Rafael Leonidas Trujillo Molina. From it, she emerges tall, poised and battle-tried to live her life, raise a family and become the remarkable woman she is today.
Her simple, yet profound narrative style tugs at your heartstrings and extracts tears, laughter and enragement as she recounts childhood, youth and adult events that shaped her life and the lives of her entire family. She, unknowingly, yet masterfully, describes and tackles social ills of the epoch in which she grew up. While taking responsibility for her actions and behavior, she raises her muffled voice against cultural mores that have historically and disproportionally overburdened women around the world. The significance of this remarkable literary contribution lays precisely in that, unaware that she is highlighting issues such as double behavioral standards, economic disadvantage, and unfair social treatment, she delves into telling us her life story with the transparency of a child. She generously assigns credit to anyone who, through her struggles, lent her a hand or gave her a word of encouragement. She holds no grudge against those who aggrieved her.
Childhood trauma-inducing experiences did not kill her spirit; family difficulties did not define her; and her husband’s own reality and sense of manhood did not break her. San was the love of her life, the father of her children, and the only man she biblically knew. Long after his passing, he remains her husband, who causes her to embrace eternal chastity.
The world of literature has been enriched with this bilingual (English and Spanish) publication written by an octogenarian American citizen who hailed from Santiago, Dominican Republic, to raise her six children in the United States of America. Hers is the story of an immigrant, who in her early twenties, unknowingly and involuntarily, came to live in Paterson, New Jersey, and never returned to her native country, as life determines destiny…irremediably.
Thank you, Doña Maritza for such an unprecedented gift, and the inspiration to say: I (too) believe God.
Néstor Montilla, Ph.D.
This past mother’s day, María Teresa, mi oldest daughter, presented me with a pretty journal book; one of those in which young girls write what happens in their lives every day. She told me that she and her sister Ingrid, thought it would be a good idea that I write my experiences in that journal. That I recount my life experiences and how I had overcome many of life’s obstacles and tragedies. How I had remained stable and fit through life’s many challenges. They were convinced that such an account would be of interest to my grandchildren and might even be of benefit to some.
I have read biographies, especially of important women I admire, but never thought of writing a book about my life. I did not know how to write a book. My daughter showed me how she had written a series of questions in the journal about my childhood, youth, marriage and other parts of my life. She told me all I had to do was answer those questions, honestly and in my own words, as if I was having a conversa- tion with someone. I did.
To my surprise, answering those questions was not easy and without incidence. The process of sharing information about my life caused me to remember many aspects of my childhood, youth and important moments in my life. Some things were pleasant to remember and others not so pleasant. I tried to be honest and fair when discussing sensitive issues. I was sincere in everything I shared and only withheld a few experiences I considered non apt to make public, as they would negatively affect other people.
My wish is that by reading this book my children would better understand who I am and the motives behind some decisions I have made. I wish that my grandchildren get to know aspects of me, they don’t know I have, and learn about things I have done, they would never suspect I am capable of doing. I hope that both, my children and grandchildren forgive mistakes I have made, and the ones I am not aware I have committed but caused them harm.
My greatest desire is that what I tell them in this book may serve as confirmation that, no matter the size or significance of life’s problems and difficulties, God has their backs! The Lord is faithful, always, even when we are not. He is never farther than a prayer away, and all they have to do is ask. He will grant them the desires of their hearts. His Word says it, and He does not lie. You can believe God.
I Believe God
Allow me to introduce myself…
My name is Maritza Jiménez. When I was born, my parents gave me the name Nilmia Maritza Peña Payero, but the clerk of the Justice of the Peace, where birth certificates are issued, heard Nilmia María and wrote it that way. I have always gone by Nilmia Maritza because that is the name my parents gave me. I am the oldest of eight children born to Conrado Peña Jiménez and Emilia Paulina Payero Moronta. I was born in Ojo de Agua, Ranchete, Dominican Republic. When I was one year-old, my parents moved to Santiago, to a barrio named La Joya. After living there for a few years, we moved to Pueblo Nuevo and later to Baracoa. I have five sisters, Nércida Trijidia, Zunilda Altagracia (Tani), Luz Pilar (Chiro), Carmen Milagros and Miriam Mercedes; and two brothers, Juan María Bianel (Papi), who passed away and Ro- lando Antonio.
While in the Dominican Republic, I lived in a few different places, Damajagua, Ojo de Agua, where I was born, and Ensanche Libertad, where we raised our children, and where we were living until my husband brought me to the United States in 1972. He brought me to live in Paterson, New Jersey. I have had only three addresses in the United States, all in Paterson, New Jersey: 30 Market Street, 221 Mill Street and 112 Wayne Avenue, where we finished raising our children, and I have lived most of my life.
I was married for 29 years to Santos Teodoro Jiménez, who passed away. We had six children, María Teresa, Rut Noemí (Luchy), Santos Teodoro (Santico), Juan Luis (Guanchy), who passed away, Ingrid Raquel, and Gabriel. I have 13 grandchildren, 8 great grandchildren and one great, great, grand- daughter, but they are all grandchildren to me. They call me Nana.
To get a copy of this book, contact the American Institute for Multicultural Studies via firstname.lastname@example.org.