Merari Rodriguez earned the nickname “the Black Widow.”
“The black widow lures her mate and after she’s done, she kills him,” Merari says in a 700 Club video. “And that’s exactly what I was doing.”
Her father left when she was just 6, and her mom was working many jobs. Merari was always with a babysitter, who happened to be married to a police officer. The cop exploited little Merari for a year.
“The words he would speak to me were so controlling. I remember him putting such fear in me,” she remembers. “The message he was telling me pretty much was that I belonged to him. I felt like it was my fault. The hatred for myself began to build.”
Her mother eventually picked up on the activity and intervened to put a stop to it. But when Merari was 11 years old, a family friend took advantage of her. Her mother confronted him with Merari present, and the man opened the Bible in front of them, put his hand on top and swore to his innocence.
When Merari saw his total lack of fear or respect for God, she assumed, “God does not exist.”
“I decided right there that I would never want to hear in my life of God or the name of God — ever,” she recalls with tears.
She started to act out of rebellion by drinking, smoking, skipping school.
Merari also encountered many abusive relationships and had three kids while she was still a teenager.
“I felt like I had become a label,” she says. “I felt like I had written all over myself: ‘I’m fatherless, I’m alone, and I have no protection so come and hurt me, use me, and abuse me.”
When Merari was 18 she thought she found the answer through witchcraft and Goth subculture.
“They seemed so together and always talking about power and how you could now have the power to control someone else,” she says. “All of my life I was controlled. Now I wanted to control those around me.”
She was baptized into witchcraft and given a special name, the Black Widow.
Merari began casting spells to control people around her. Now she felt like she could protect herself.
She continued in the occult, but when the other witches wanted to initiate her children, Merari drew the line. She moved out of town and wanted a fresh start. She thought she had moved on, but at home one night she had a hair-raising vision.
“I see this beast just standing in a yard and it was a form of a lion, but he was awful-looking,” Merari says. “And I look and he opens his mouth and I noticed someone is in his mouth, and so I yell out ‘Oh my God, help! He’s got someone in his mouth!’ and when he turned the person right before he’s going to swallow, I looked and I saw it was me.
“And I saw myself and he began to squeeze, and I could hear my bones cracking and I could hear myself gasping for air and blood just gush out of my mouth,” she remembers.
Then she heard a different voice, one that she didn’t recognize but wasn’t one to stir fear. It was soothing.
“Merari, I’ve been calling you for a long time,” the voice beckoned. “If you don’t come to me now, he’s going to kill you.”
Somehow she knew the voice belonged to God. She asked for time, but God spoke a soft word to her that melted her heart.
“Daughter,” He said.
She fell to the floor crying out: “God, Lord, Please don’t let me die. I receive You. I don’t know You and I’m sorry. But thank you for showing me where I was.”
And she woke up.
She knew that she had the most incredible encounter with her Creator.
Merari surrendered he life to Christ right then as her Lord and Savior and was born again. She felt “clean,” something she’d never felt before.
“If He called me ‘Daughter,’ then He was my Father,” she says. “I never heard a man say, ‘Daughter.’”
With the help of a friend, Merari found a church and was baptized.
She now travels overseas and helps share the Good News of Jesus Christ and mentors young women like herself and points them to God. She’s married and her kids are grown.
Shannon McIntyre studies at the Lighthouse Christian Academy in Los Angeles.