From the very beginning of my life, as far as I can remember, I knew I was different. Being born into a dysfunctional family of 12, and having parents of different races was hard. We were very poor and didn't have much to live on. My mother stayed busy helping my older brothers and sisters with their issues. She never had time for me. I felt like she didn't even notice me. I thought, “Why was I born into a family who didn't care about anyone or anything?”
At the age of seven my life began and ended at the same time. I went to spend the night at my sister’s house and as I fell asleep I woke up to my sister’s boyfriend molesting me. That night would change my whole life forever. I felt like I couldn't tell anyone and I thought it was my fault. That little girl who enjoyed playing outside was gone. I would never be the same.
I had behavioral problems at school and I didn't get along with others. I started taking medication at a young age. At the age of nine I got so depressed that I was sent to the children’s psych ward. At that point in my life, I was already out of control. I was convinced nobody would understand. Throughout the rest of my childhood I continued to be molested and abused by others. What hurts the most is that my parents failed to protect me again and again. Everywhere I turned there was somebody there to hurt me.
I started to self-mutilate. Punishing myself made me feel like I had some control over my life. Most of the time when things got hard I was just ready to end things. Many times I either ran away or attempted suicide. Looking over the course of my life I can see that God delivered me from many situations that could have easily led to my death.
At age 18 my sister introduced me to prostitution. I had believed that I was not capable of getting or keeping a job because of my emotional instability. Prostitution seemed like an easy way to make money, and at first I enjoyed feeling like somebody wanted me. My alcohol and drug use became more intense as time went by. I felt like I needed it to continue to get through the work. I felt bad about what I was doing even though I liked the attention I was getting. Everyday seemed harder to carry on.
More than anything I longed to get what I did not receive as a child—love, protection, and belonging. I was angry when I didn’t get what I needed. I looked to men and friendships to fill these needs rather than to God who can fill all of these needs and much more. I was broken and full of shame. I couldn’t even look at myself in the mirror. My life began to change when I became pregnant. I struggled to find a safe place to stay for me and my soon to be baby boy. I was going to be a mother, and I just knew I was finally going to be happy and complete. But I soon found out that being a single mom isn’t easy. My son’s father didn’t want to have anything to do with the baby, and at three months pregnant I moved in with another guy who I thought I loved and would marry. I wanted my son to have a father, so I endured domestic violence while I was pregnant. My son, Jordy Neymar, was born August 11, 2011. After his birth the abuse got worse and I finally was fed up enough to leave. When I left God, began to use my unplanned pregnancy to change me for the better, and continues to use it to this day.
The one thing my mother did right was she always had us in church growing up. I knew of God, but I didn’t have a relationship with Him. After leaving the abusive relationship I was stuck. I had nowhere to go that would be safe for my son and me. I called a friend, Kelly who I had known through church growing up, and she offered for Jordy and I to move to Memphis to stay with her and her husband, Justin.
In Memphis I continued to struggle with believing I was worthless and that I didn’t belong. Kelly helped me find help through The A Way Out Program. Through counseling and IOP classes I realized I was lost and I prayed for Christ to forgive me and come into my life. I began a personal relationship with Him, and began to really grow and mature. Everything was different.
I have found that God can provide everything I need, but didn’t get as a child. Now I know that I do not have to punish myself for my shortcomings because Jesus has already paid the price for my sins and I am fully forgiven. I am learning how to be a healthy person so I can be a good mother to Jordy. Jesus showed me that I am worth more than what I had ever thought and that I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. My past abuse does not have to define me, and I have a choice to never return to my old life, but look forward to my new life in Christ.
Through The A Way Out Program I have begun a process of healing and God has sent some strong Christian women that I trust to love me well and to model what it should look like to follow Christ. I know I still have a lot to learn, but I am in a safe place where I can receive the help I need. I know that there will be hard days ahead; still I praise God for the changes that He is making in my life.