Loved.

                                      

                                   Valued.

Sarah's Story

Growing up, I was not raised in a Christian home. Occasionally my dad would read Bible stories to my brother and I. So I always kinda knew who Jesus was and what he did for me. I just did not know how to have a personal relationship with him. I was a pretty happy child until the one night that would change my entire path in life. At the young age of 12, I was sexually abused by a family member. I just remember the shame that came over me, and, little by little, I began to withdraw from everyone. I was sexually active by age 13; I was pregnant by age 14 and had an abortion. I was pregnant again by 16 with my Jr. high/high school boyfriend. We decided to keep the baby even though my parents wanted me to have another abortion. I just could not bear going through that pain and loss again. I thought by having this baby it would make me happy and complete and make my boyfriend love me more. So, we kept the baby. My parents then went through a divorce, and my dad moved out. My mom was out partying all the time and just could not give us the time we needed. I decided to move in with the father of my baby and his family. I ended up dropping out of high school because I could not juggle raising a child and school at the same time. So there I was, 16 years old with a child, living with my boyfriend and his family. I had no car and no job. The fighting between my boyfriend and I was getting worse. He started using drugs, dealing drugs, and hanging out with a violent crowd. He would party almost every night and come home drunk with hickeys on his neck. He then became abusive physically… I would have black eyes, I suffered from a chipped tailbone, and bloody ears from him punching me constantly in the ear and on the side of my head. I grew angry and bitter with my life… I was broken and scarred.


Finally I got fed up with him, and I packed my bags and my daughter’s bags and moved in with my mom. I got a job at the company where my mom worked, and I was excited to finally start being able to take care of myself and my daughter. Probably about my second year working there, I began to get involved in another relationship. This time it was with a woman. She would always bring me gifts, take me on nice trips, buy me jewelry. I had never experienced that before. I was so broken from my past that I was instantly sucked into this relationship. I eventually moved in with her. So, I went from one dysfunctional relationship to another one. We began to argue all the time, and my partner would attempt suicide because she thought I would leave her. I felt guilty that if I left she would kill herself, so I stayed, hoping it would get better. It didn’t… I then became depressed, suffered from anxiety and panic attacks. I believe I had a by the age of 22 years old.  I couldn't get myself out of bed.  I began to party a lot and drink heavily.  I ended up moving out of my partner's house and was staying from friend to friend's houses.  I eventually lost my job from being irresponsible and missing work.  So, there I was even more broken than I was before.


My daughter was now 4 years old, and we were living with my girlfriend who was in the dancing industry. She had told me about a contest they were doing that night at her club… and the first-place winner would win five hundred dollars. I was desperate for money, and I needed it quick. So, at that time it did not seem like a big deal for me to take my clothes off for money. I entered the contest and I won first place. Five hundred in cash in a matter of thirty minutes! That was too easy… I thought.  I began working at these clubs, hoping that I would make enough money to get my own apartment. That wasn’t the case. I was addicted to the fast lifestyle… the cocaine, the money, the sugar daddy’s, the drug-dealer boyfriends… you name it. That lifestyle owned me and turned into the darkest moments of my life. I wasn’t nearly the mom that I should have been. I was losing everything, and I knew if I did not change, I would either lose my baby girl or die because of the reckless lifestyle I had been living.


I remember coming home one night from working at the club, and my baby girl was sound asleep… I remember how innocent and sweet she looked. I was her everything, I thought to myself… I was all she had… and I had failed her. I could not bear the thought of my sweetheart living the same lifestyle I had been living. I needed to change… I just didn’t know how. I remembered the bible stories my dad used to read to my brother and I, and how he told us about Jesus and what he did for me. I figured I had tried everything else in life and nothing fulfilled me. ‘What do I have to lose?’ I thought. So that night I surrendered my life to the Lord… I got down on my knees and asked him to change me. It’s kind of funny now that I think about it… I did not know what I wanted to do in life–all I knew is that I wanted to be different and have a career where I was respected. I remember asking God if I could wear business suits instead of taking my clothes off for money. I was tired of being portrayed as a dumb blonde with big boobs.


It was 2003 when I accepted God in my life. I didn’t wake up the next morning completely changed and high on life… it took time. I needed to heal from all my past hurts and brokenness. I began to waitress at Hooters. I figured I wasn’t dancing anymore, so it was a good start. My dad had bought me a bible at that time. The first book of the bible I ever read was the book of Proverbs. It made me think about so many things in this life being so meaningless and that everything I was searching for was like chasing the wind. It began to change my whole mindset. As time went on, God began to put the most amazing people into my life. One woman was a Christian who worked with my dad. She came over to the house and made dinner for my family and gave me a card with my name and a scripture on it. The scripture read, “But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles” …that was my hope. I held onto those words and tied them around my heart. The next day this woman called me and said the Lord had put me on her heart and she wanted to pick me up and spend the day with me. She did not know anything about my childhood past and what had happened to me, but she began to minister to me and tell me that I needed to forgive that person who hurt me when I was young. Immediately, tears streamed down my eyes. I was wondering how she knew… I never told anyone. She told me how important it is to forgive because that is how I can begin to heal. I trusted her, and she prayed with me, and I began the process of forgiving every person who had ever hurt me.


I was ready to start a new life, but I needed help. I remember asking my dad if he would help me get back into school, but his response was, ‘no,’ because he did not believe I would follow through and that it would be a waste of his money. I was discouraged again and ended up moving in with my ex-girlfriend. Then I was approached by a girlfriend of mine who was working for a couple doing Real Estate… They were looking for someone to hire to sit open houses for them. She had suggested that I go in for an interview. The first time I met this couple I was wearing a low-cut shirt with huge hoop earings… that was normal for me. Not once did this couple judge me. They looked at me with love and kindness. They hired me for the job… but nicely suggested what I should wear on my first day on the job. This couple always invited me over for dinner and to hang out. I trusted this couple and began to open up to them and tell them about my life and my situation. I wasn’t happy, and I knew this woman I went back to was not faithful to me. One day they asked for me and my daughter to move in with them. They offered to put me through Real Estate school and gave me a car to drive. I took a leap of faith and moved in with them, and I never looked back. This couple were believers in the Lord… they took me and my daughter to church, they believed in me when I didn’t believe in myself. From that moment on, God has shown himself faithful to me and my family as I’ve shown myself faithful to him. He has given me a Godly husband, a beautiful son and restored my life. I now can say that I wear business suits… ha! And, I am a successful Real Estate agent. To God be all the glory…I know I could have not done it without him. So thankful. Now God has put it on my heart to reach out to hurting women so that he can bring the same healing and restoration to their lives!