From House of Ill Repute to House of God
I certainly didn’t choose life as a stripper because of its glamour. My path to that occupation was a series of choices driven by a deep wound in my heart that became calloused and hardened by rage. Neglected at a very young age by my drug-abusing parents, I was left to fend for myself even regarding basic necessities such as food and clothing. My freedom did allow me to wander my way into the homes of several neighborhood families where Christian moms fed and loved me and let me hang around all day to play. Moved by guilt from my resulting questions about God, my mom occasionally took me to church to learn more.
The Harvest of HateAt age thirteen, my past caught up with me. I began to hate my mother for not protecting me and for allowing me to endure so much as a little girl. I rebelled and began to pursue a self-driven life – I did whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted. Having lost all respect for my mother, how could I retain any respect for myself?
As a turbulent sixteen-year-old, I dropped out of school and started dancing for money in strip clubs. My bitterness toward men twisted into hate and hardness toward myself. I intentionally used my body to make money and to control men. Twice I was arrested for prostitution.
When my beloved grandmother became terminally ill, a deep sense of shame overcame me. I pictured my grandmother in heaven seeing the truth of my disgraceful life. My aversion to my own choices left me empty and depressed.
Just when I could have used a hero, he came into my life, and I moved into his apartment. But he was no knight in shining armor. Shortly after he was thrown into jail for his own poor choices, I discovered I was pregnant.
Hope for a Better LifeAs I faced my pregnancy, I questioned the real meaning of life. Determined to give my child a chance at a better, happier life, I began to listen to the counsel of a Christian couple I had met. Through the example and words of Jim and Brenda, I realized that a better life for my child would require a relationship with God – and that such a relationship was impossible while I had no moral basis to stand before Him. Could I make a 180-degree turn and change my life?
On a Sunday morning a short time later, I informed my friends that I was ready to commit my life to God and to accept the gift Jesus gave me in dying for me. That morning, I prayed the sinner’s prayer, telling God I was in need of His forgiveness and a new direction for my life.
I spent several days just dealing with my past and the things I had experienced. Several more days were spent asking forgiveness as my past choices and actions came flooding into my mind. The end result was a peace and sense of forgiveness and wholeness I had never imagined could be mine. I clung to God’s promises “As far as the east is from the west, so far have I removed your transgressions,” and “Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be white as snow.” God had taken me from the gutter to being a daughter of the King.
Grace Breaks ThroughTranslating my newfound faith into action, I quit my dancing job. I also realized I could no longer live off of the drug money he had set up for me. When he asked how I would survive, I responded that God would provide. I trusted in God, and He came through for me.
The first breakthrough I experienced was reconciliation with my mother. I telephoned her and asked forgiveness for my rebellion; my mother in turn asked forgiveness for her neglect. Our relationship bloomed into a good friendship over the coming months with my mother often accompanying me to doctor visits and grocery shopping. Both my mother and his gave me a little money here and there but not enough to live.
With no marketable skills and no education, I felt totally incapable but knew I needed to find a job. Once again, I saw God’s hand at work on my behalf. Through a lead from some friends at church, I landed a telephone sales position at a small company. God blessed me with immediate success and consistently high sales. I recognized God’s trustworthy care and provision for me.
Under God's WingEight months into my pregnancy, I was faced with the death of my mother in a boating accident. Preparing me for my upcoming role as a mother, God placed me in the home of Nick and Lori (another couple from my church), where I first saw a godly marriage and family modeled on a daily basis.
I was getting ready to be a mother, but I was also soon to become a bride. My fiance was released from jail, having had his own encounter with God while there. The two of us were soon married and began building our family together with the leading and provision of God.