It was a Friday night when I pulled into the gentlemen’s club where I worked as an exotic dancer. Like many other nights, before the start of a shift, I would sit in my car and contemplate whether I should go in or drive away. I sat there for several minutes deeply conflicted. Searching for every reason not to go in and just feeling dreadful. After coming to the conclusion that there was no other choice (because expenses were high and rent was due), I turned off the engine. Even from the parking lot, I could hear the music blaring inside the club. My heart pounded inside my chest as panic and anxiety took hold of me. In that moment, I desperately prayed: “Dear God, I hate this place! I hate doing this. I have no strength to do this anymore. Could you please protect me and help me find a way out? Thank you, God, for listening. Amen.”
A sense of peace washed over me like a summer sunrise. I had never prayed like that and it was my first heartfelt cry out to the Lord. As I got out of the car, somehow, in my heart, I knew Jesus had listened and was with me. He had plans to not only rescue me from that dark and degrading place but His will was to completely remake me.
Days after that night, I decided not to work weekends anymore. (The thought of another bachelor party sickened me.) I had started looking for a church and was soon attending services. Although I felt completely out of place at church, there was a comfort there that I had been longing for. As the worship music played, tears of joy trickled down my face. I knew I was experiencing God’s love for the first time.
One Sunday, a greeter handed me a flyer for a women’s event. Initially, I didn’t think that I would go, but when the day arrived, God’s gentle, faint voice encouraged me. Arriving at the event, I chose an empty table. It had a pink tablecloth with permanent markers and name tags. After I scribbled down my name, more women entered the room and filled up the tables. To my surprise, some sat at my table. While we were making introductions, I observed attentively. Doubts raced through my mind and I was filled with thoughts of condemnation.
The small talk was excruciating and I wondered, How can I tell anyone that I take my clothes off to make a living? Within seconds, the enemy convinced me that I was despicable and that no one would even remotely relate to my struggles. I believed the enemy’s lies that I didn’t belong at that women’s gathering and that I needed to run. I politely excused myself to use the bathroom but ultimately I went straight for the exit doors. Holding back tears, I got to my car and sobbed uncontrollably. I felt unlovable and helpless, and I gave into believing that I would never get out of the adult entertainment industry.
Weeks later, while working at the club again, I walked out of the dressing room to find four women sitting in a corner across from the main stage. I asked another dancer, “Do you know who those women are?”
“Oh, them,” she responded. “They’ve been coming here for a few weeks now.”
“Do you know why they’re here?” I asked curiously.
“They say they’re with God or something,” she said. Then she told me to just ignore them, though they did give out favor bags — which isn’t exactly a tip, but it’s still better than nothing. That night, I walked past them every time I left the stage. I was careful to not make eye contact or even look in their direction. The following week, they were back again. Only this time, after getting off stage, I felt a faint inclination to slow down when walking by them. The sweetest voice stopped me and asked if I would like a bag she had made for me. Bewildered and appreciative, I took the white paper gift bag and shyly thanked her. Later, in the dressing room, I pulled a book from the gift bag.
The cover of that book? It read Bible. And, well, the rest is history. Because, just as with all stories in the Bible, mine, too, is the story of God leaving the ninety-nine to find the one lost in the wilderness. Jesus is a pursuer — He pursued me relentlessly and He will pursue you too.
He will go anywhere to pursue you, even to the most unlikely of places. For me, He found and met me where I was — a gentlemen’s club. Sometime after that first night I was ministered to, I went back to church and gave my life to Christ. I left the adult entertainment industry and devoted my life to Jesus, not minding what it would look like or where it would take me.
He rescued, remade, and restored me — and I know He can remake you, too.
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.
2 Corinthians 5:17 (ESV)