A Dancer's Story

I wasn’t sure how to start this or what to say… But, the one word that I keep hearing is testimony.

“We are not saved to be “channels only,” but to be sons and daughters of God. We are not turned into spiritual mediums, but into spiritual messengers; the message must be part of ourselves.” – My Utmost for His Highest

What I once thought of as shameful and disqualifying has become my testimony… Around 1996, a friend and I made the decision to become exotic dancers. Men would be paying ME for a dancing seduction fantasy. That was a big deal for me… I’d spent four years of high school being teased and bullied… I felt unattractive and awkward. I was also broke and breaking.

“And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night. And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.”
– Revelation 12:10-11

My first night was strange. I’d been raised in the church and felt very out of place. There was a dancer, Purple Chocolate, that walked casually through the club completely naked. I was shocked. I had no idea of what I was getting into.

Several months into my new job, I had become accustomed to watching other dancers have sex on stage, during private parties. Nothing was shocking. On my off time, I went to other strip clubs, just to watch . One even had a boxing night for the dancers. At one point, I only went by my stage name…everywhere!

My attraction to stripping wasn’t necessarily the money. I was hooked on the power . For the first time, I felt desired…and I was being paid and not made fun of. I began to use my body as a weapon of seduction and I was just getting started.

“Amazing grace how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me… I once was lost but now I’m found was blind but now I see… ”

“…but it takes the heart broken by conviction of sin, and baptized by the Holy Ghost, and crumpled into the purpose of God before the life becomes the sacrament of its message.”
My Utmost for His Highest

Soon after I began dancing, I started dating a male stripper. On my off nights, I would go with him to the “Ladies Night” at different clubs and watch him dance. I was getting in deeper . He ( Sexual Healer (stage name)) thought it would be a good idea to bring in female strippers to the dance for the guys. He offered me the chance to make extra money and be with him. I was excited.

I was drifting further and further away from my church upbringing… During the day, I worked as a phone sex operator. Once again, the power over men felt amazing. I wasn’t the ugly, weird girl that everyone made fun of. I was seduction. My personality changed, my clothes changed. My spirit changed. I changed.

Long after I’d given up dancing, the effects on my spirit remained. I joined the military a few years later , as an escape and an attempt to straighten out the mess that I’d created. By now , I fully understood that men responded to seduction and military men were no different. I knew all the right words and what to do. Be the fantasy. Create a reality.

I have said to corruption, Thou [art] my father: to the worm, [Thou art] my mother, and my sister. And where [is] now my hope? as for my hope, who shall see it? They shall go down to the bars of the pit, when [our] rest together [is] in the dust.

Job 17:14-16 KJV In my mind and spirit God was done with me and I with Him.

For fun, at my first duty station, I suggested strip clubs. Even when we went to regular nightclubs, I made sure to dress and dance suggestively. It was still a big part of who I thought I was. One year, my company went to Bangkok, Thailand. Thailand had no rules. We went straight to the red light district. There were women , performing in the clubs, that were doing unspeakable , demeaning, and mind numbing things. The one thing that they all had in common was a blank stare…there was no emotion… Believing that I was helping, I made sure to tell my friends to leave big tips… I had no clue what I was participating in.

I have since learned that enemy of our souls can do so much more when we believe that we are defined by our behavior and choices. Whether you are stripper or a CEO, rich or poor – when your identity lies in what society sees, what you see, what people are saying… then, you are defined by the rulers of this fallen world ….

As I wandered further away from God, I stopped praying and refused to believe that He would EVER want to hear me. I would look in the mirror and think to myself , ” God doesn’t want to hear your voice… You are disgusting, you’re going to hell anyway….why would He listen to you?” I felt hopeless and lost…

And I will bring the blind by a way [that] they knew not; I will lead them in paths [that] they have not known: I will make darkness light before them, and crooked things straight. These things will I do unto them, and not forsake them.

Isaiah 42:16

In 2003, I met the man that would become my husband. I hadn’t planned on settling down or anything like it. I also met a wonderful Christian woman that , after her initial distaste for me, invited me to church. God was moving…reaching out…pursuing me. There were many challenges ahead, some of them tragic, but God delivered me.

I am no longer defined
By all the wreckage behind
The one who makes all things new
Has proven it’s true
Just take a look at my life
-Matthew West

Heal my heart and make it clean
Open up my eyes to the things unseen
Show me how to love like you have loved me
Break my heart for what breaks yours
Everything I am for Your kingdom’s cause
– Hosanna in the Highest : Hillsong

Tonight was outreach. It’s amazing how , almost 20 years later, I’m back in strip clubs. This time , I am there for God…for His kingdom’s cause.

So many times, the girls express how surprised they are that “church ladies” would venture into the clubs…I don’t know what is sadder , the girls in the clubs or the condemnation ( from Christians) about the girls in the clubs… “Show me how to love like you have loved me.”

Not only did God love me, forgive me, pursue me, and show me grace and mercy…He redeemed me and is allowing me to use my past as testimony of His love.

“I’ve tasted and seen of the sweetest of loves
Where my heart becomes free and my shame is undone
Your presence, Lord…
-Kari Jobe

I had a praying grandmother…a godly, God loving, God fearing grandmother. When she found out what I was doing, her response was, ” So, they tell me that you shake your shimmy for the men folk.” There was no condemnation, no how could you, why would you…just love and prayer. That unconditional love and prayer was worth more than any lecture…

1 Corinthians 4:20 For the kingdom of God [is] not in word, but in power. What will ye? shall I come unto you with a rod, or in love, and [in] the spirit of meekness?

Glory to God, that almost 20 years later my life has changed …. God is the center of my life and has blessed me with a fantastic husband, family, and group of friends. I homeschool attend a Christian co-op and participate in a weekly Bible study.

God never ceases to amaze me…He did not give up on me or condemn me…He loved me…His Son died for me….

Lamentations 3:22 [It is of] the LORD’S mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not.

Recently, my daughter lost a tooth and likes handstitched gifts…so I made her a tooth buddy…When I was done, I sat and thought about how God can make a stripper into a felt stitching homeschool mom!

Romans 5:8 “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”

Romans 8:38-39 “For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, 39 Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”