At age eighteen, I started working in the sex industry. At age nineteen, I was addicted to drugs and alcohol, making thousands of dollars a month, and completely dead to myself. I honestly didn’t care what happened to me anymore.
What I didn’t know then was that I was on the verge of an encounter with God that would change everything, but let’s rewind a few years so I can tell you how I got there. My story is not an easy one, but it has a really good ending so hang in there. He truly is a Healer to the brokenhearted (Psalm 147:3).
My early childhood was extremely normal and boring. I had a loving Christian family and always had more than enough. Despite this, I started becoming depressed and at age ten, told my mom I wanted to kill myself. Fast forward a few years and I was throwing up daily to make myself thinner and cutting myself trying to deal with the internal pain. A classmate raped me at the end of ninth grade, and I attempted suicide about a year later, crushed by the weight of self-hatred and shame.
My suicide attempt landed me in the intensive care unit where I was unconscious for two days. This started a long string of hospitalizations and medication trials. I spent over 100 days in locked psychiatric wards, lived in group homes, and even went to a bootcamp type program without any indoor shelter or running water. My doctors exhausted every option, including electric shock treatment which I had eleven times resulting in the loss of my short-term memory for a year and half. Although I wanted to get better, none of the treatment was working. I was lost in a sea of hopelessness and attempted suicide again at eighteen.
The outlook wasn’t good, and my doctors wanted me to permanently move into a group home, collect social security, and go through more shock treatment. I checked in with my group of friends to figure out a quick way to make cash and they suggested stripping, which quickly opened a door for me to enter the porn industry in Los Angeles.
The next three years were spent working in the commercial sex industry as a porn actress, stripper, and prostitute. During that time, I became addicted to drugs and alcohol. I was completely numb to myself, drinking twelve or more hours a day. I made hundreds of thousands of dollars by the time I was twenty-one and completely relied on alcohol and money to numb my pain.
“Despite my circumstances, God was right there.”
Despite my circumstances, God was right there, and He decided to radically encounter me and lead me on a two-year journey to my salvation. The first key He gave me was supernatural forgiveness for the person who had raped me and forgiveness towards myself. As I started encountering God’s presence, it became clear to me that I needed to leave my job at the strip club and quit drinking in order to follow Him down the path further. First, I quit dancing, then six months later, drinking. Shortly after that, I quit prescription pills and smoking cigarettes. It soon became clear that I could no longer sleep with my boyfriend of two years when God visited me right before we were about to have sex.
As a new Christian, God taught me how to walk in a lifestyle of purity, including abstinence from sex, viewing porn, masturbation, alcohol, drugs, and unhealthy relationships. “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me” (Psalm 51:10). This was my prayer on a daily basis as a new believer and someone recovering from life in the sex industry. It was God who was cleaning my heart and renewing a right spirit within me. I didn’t have any of the answers. During this time, I just partnered with His presence and trusted him to transform my life.
The depression started lifting. He replaced my hopelessness with joy. I cried tears of joy everyday for a whole year because of the new life I was tasting. The joy of the Lord truly was my strength (Nehemiah 8:10). I became fully surrendered and desperate for more of Him. With no resources or job skills, I learned how to trust God for each meal and each place to sleep. The more I changed, the more it showed up in tangible ways. My actions were different, my character was transforming, and wanting to make things right with the people I hurt was a natural next step. For me, trust and healing was a long process that was worth the effort and wait.
“With no resources or job skills, I learned how to trust God for each meal and each place to sleep.”
My desperation for God led me to chase Him to the west coast where I met my husband of six years. We now chase God together with our two kids. Today, I have been sober and out of the industry for 8 years. I don’t take any medication, and I have an unshakeable peace. God has done more than I could have ever imagined, asked for, or dreamed of (Ephesians 3:20). I enjoy all the fruit the Spirit has borne in my life and many describe me as a Proverbs 31 woman: “Her worth is far above rubies. The heart of her husband safely trusts her… Strength and honor are her clothing; She shall rejoice in time to come.”
Besides my family and my health, one of my greatest gifts is the ability to mentor other women seeking sobriety and purity. I’m forever grateful to Him for the deep sense of joy and peace I have today and for the freedom to share my story as a message of hope with others. I am confident that if He can save and heal someone like me, then it is possible for Him to heal anyone. His grace is enough.
-Maggie, 31, California