Abused to Stripper to RCIA

God is alive my friends; He is truly alive! Today, I fight Him with love is honored to have a guest writer. Below is her inspiring story. May the Father bless her always. And I thank her for her vulnerability and candor.

I want to share my story because other people’s stories encouraged me when I was struggling with doubt and fear. I know from experience those dark moments feel so overwhelming. A big part of the battle is feeling like you’re the only one who is going through it and that no one else can relate or understand. It’s one of Satan’s many lies that alienates us from God’s love.

Made in His Image is such an amazing way for women to unite and to gain strength in a safe and Christian community. Maura asked me to share my story today and I can tell you that I was very excited to do so, because through sharing, those who struggle with the same battles can offer one another hope.

At a very young age of 8, a family member sexually abused me, then a friend, then my father’s friend, soccer coach and so on and so forth. I also discovered a relative’s porn stash when I was about 9 years old and became somewhat fixated and fascinated by it all. And so my addiction to pornography began.

Abuse seemed to just be something that happened to me and though a part of me knew that something was wrong it wasn’t till I left home for college that the damage that it had caused started to surface its ugly head. I realized that those things that had happened to me where wrong and that I probably should talk to someone about it. But I thought, “I’m strong, I can do it, it wasn’t that bad.” And shoved it all down again.  Which just made things worse. In order to rid myself of the pain and loneliness, instead of seeking God, I sought out promiscuous relationships with men desperately wanting to fill the void inside of me that just kept getting bigger. When I was stressed I watched porn and when I felt empty I would binge drink and seek out comfort in one-night stands. Twice I ended drinking so much that I awoke in the hospital. Once I awoke after passing out at a party with some stranger taking advantage of me. I was put on academic probation as I was hardly putting any time into my schoolwork. I struggled with bulimia and anorexia and worked out way more than what would be considered healthy. I was like a speeding car without brakes nearing a cliff. I lied often to cover up my faults and lived this false image of a confident social butterfly, an empowered woman who could have sex without strings attached, as a woman who didn’t need help from anyone. But boy did I ever! But still I didn’t seek help. It had to come to the end of myself.

I never had much money and in attempts to live the lifestyle many of my friends lived I accumulated a lot of debt and was in dire need. One of my friends had a job as a stripper and she talked about it all the time and it wasn’t long before I considered doing the same. I became so desperate, that one evening I drove to that tired looking building, its windows covered in black with several cars parked out front in a grungy alley way. I auditioned and started working that night.  I can’t describe the darkness and emptiness I felt at that point in my life. All those bad choices that I had made, I kept running away from, never owning them or excepting help. I started sleeping with my Bible under my pillow as I became so afraid of the person I’d become. I felt so numb and the things that should have bother me no longer bothered me. It felt as if I’d lost my conscience. I contemplated taking my life but the only thing that kept me from doing so was the pain that it might cause my family. One night after two weeks of working at that horrible place I fell flat on my face in my room and cried for what seemed like hours. And then this incredible peace flooded over me. I prayed like I’d never prayed before and asked for God to help me straighten out my life. I asked for help. And He answered. It wasn’t easy at first, as most of my friends at the time encouraged the lifestyle I had been living. But I started pursuing God and He kept bringing amazing Christians in my life that expressed His love to me. He filled up that void with His love and joy.

It’s been six years since then and let me tell you, looking back at that time seems so surreal! The few close friends that I’ve shared my past with are in disbelief that I had acted in such a way. But let that be hope for you. People can change, and through God’s help and His love I was able to. It wasn’t an instant change.  It was many steps of backtracking and falling and backtracking and falling and reaching out to God and others for help. I still have moments of weakness that I have to battle with prayer and times where I feel doubt and fear that I am this awful person. But no, God has fearfully and wonderfully made me in His Image! He loves me, as I am His child, His heir!  I know at times that darkness just seems impossible to penetrate with light, but with God all things are possible. It just takes that first step and it gets easier with each step forward that we take. No pain or suffering that you’ve experienced is too great or too small. Jesus can heal you. He came into this world to heal the sick, to comfort the poor and to love the sinner.

I’m still on a journey of recovering and healing. I am still learning of God’s love for me. I started attending RCIA this fall and continue to read and discover more about God. I’ve always felt drawn to Saint Mary Magdalene and I pray for her intercession as I continue down this walk in faith that God. I know He is forming me into the woman He created me to be. So please, take hope, no matter what you’re facing, God can renew and revive you. He is our source of life.

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