How the Church Turns Good Girls Into Strippers – Modesty

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“Men have very sick and perverted minds. You could never even imagine the dirty thoughts that go through their mind.”  This was the message we were saturated with daily. Clothing that was not even close to sexy was forbidden due to the lustful nature of men. We were lectured about modesty and the sick minds of men on a daily basis. Of course the intention was to protect us from the perverted nature of males, and to encourage us not to dress or act seductively.

It intensified as I grew older – as my body became a more womanly. As a strict pastor’s daughter I would never even dream of being allowed to wear what was considered “normal.”  Heaven forbid any of us church girls show up in anything fitted, nothing less than over-sized and baggy.

This happens with many young girls in Christian communities. Parents and church leaders become so consumed with preaching modesty that they fail to realize the identity they are labeling their young ladies with. Sex sex sex. A man looks at you and thinks sex. Beauty = sex object.  You look pretty = evil seductress. A boy wants to take you on a nice date, rather than asking to court you? The only thing he could be after is sex. Our fathers, pastors, and youth pastors even admit to us the terrible motives they had before getting married – warning us to stay away from men like themselves.

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Instead of focusing on how to live your life to the fullest as a beautiful woman of God, females are shamed, talked about as an object for sexual desire, and hidden away from the world’s lustful desires. After daily lectures on modesty – we see our value to men the way we are taught: purely as a sex object.

With our minds trained that our only worth to men is of sexual nature, we begin to think that the only way men will love us is to fulfill the sexual desire that they have for us.  Forget the idea that a man could ever love a beautiful Proverbs 31 woman – clothed in beautiful purple.

There is definitely something to be said about wearing modest attire. We are instructed to clothe ourselves appropriately in the Bible, and to act wholesomely – it specifically warns about the seductress. Let’s face it, men do have a high sex drive, and we don’t need to be flaunting our assets shamelessly in their face. In Isaiah God specifically warns those that are “flirting with their eyes, strutting along with swaying hips, with ornaments images (1)jingling on their ankles.” He goes on to actually curse these flirting women! As Christian women we need to have a level of modesty – WHILE BEING GODLY AND BEAUTIFUL. The last thing we should be doing is shaming beautiful young women while they are turning into women. Young women want to achieve, succeed, and be the best that they can be!!!

Daughters will never be able to comprehend the power of men’s sexual desires, but don’t label your daughters as sex objects – they might just embrace the label you give them, and be the best seductress they can be!! This is how the church turned me into a stripper.

We Once Were Many Things

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I share my rugged past often not because I am proud of it, because I’m not. I don’t do it because it defines me, because it doesn’t. There is also no nostalgia, I would never want to go back. I do it because Paul did it.
The Apostle Paul was one if the earliest Christians. He is one of the reasons that a fresh new faith spread all over the ancient world and became what it is today. But before he was a dynamic speaker, writer, and professor of Jesus, he was a madman. His mission was to stamp out the new Christian faith and he took to it with zeal. He arrested and imprisoned followers of what was then only known as “The Way”. He hunted them down, tore families apart, and watched approvingly as they were murdered in cold blood.
Following a dramatic meeting with the risen Jesus…

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A Stripper in Sheep’s Clothing – The Enigma

letting-go2I was a virgin. You could say I was a late bloomer. I did not lose my virginity until I was 18 – which of course was still too soon, but that is a totally different topic. I began dancing when I was 18, before I had lost my virginity. I was a virgin, a stripper, a pastor’s daughter, and a Christian – naked and on stage. I was an enigma.

I found myself endeavoring to be the best. I have always been competitive, whether it be in sports, work, or other friendly competitions. I like to be the best. Stripping was no exception. I wanted to be the best stripper in the joint. I wanted people to come from far away just to see the amazing Jezebelle.  I needed to be the one everyone wanted to get a dance from before they left, have customers waiting for me, be the one that everyone is waiting for while they close down the club. I was willing to invest almost whatever I needed to in order to make that happen.

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I was never rebellious, I was a shy good girl at heart. I guarded myself from the things that I thought would make a negative on me, but I compromised on the little things that I thought would help me get a little bit ahead. Outside of the club when I wasn’t working, I would spend my nights drinking heavily, and dancing on bars and stages at dance clubs. I would make out with a handful of men per night, usually anywhere  from ten to twenty five men and a few women per night. I was a tease, protecting my virginity. I received oral sex frequently, but never gave any – feeling justified that I was not a slut because I was still a virgin, and never “gave any favors.”  I would go home with guys and go to after parties that I had no business being at. I wanted to be able to hang on to the idea I had of myself as a good girl. I endeavored to have all the fun that I could while still hanging on to what I thought were good and acceptable morals. The game in my head was to stay a good girl, but to do JUST enough to be accepted in the groups that I thought were important to get in with to be successful.

I wanted to have the outward image of a bad girl, but keep the good girl I was taught to value and protect. I was basically the opposite of a wolf in sheep’s clothing.  I was a sheep in wolf’s clothing. I knew I could be eaten alive if anyone made the discovery.

The crazy thing is; as you grow and mature, you begin to become yourself – care less about what people think of you, and more about what actually matters. For me, there were a few very drastic events that took place in my life, that brought me back to what I valued. These events shook me to the core – back to the things that mattered. Down the road when I was ready to embrace what was most important to me, I was so used to wearing the wolf’s clothing that parts of it, had become a part of me. Returning to the flock was much harder. I had lost a lot of my sheep identity. The enigma was, that when I finally wanted to discard the disguise of a bad girl and return to the innocence I once had – it was gone.

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When my word was flipped upside down and I was ready to return to the flock of sheep, they looked at me like a wolf. I had become a wolf in many ways. Those last few “good” values that I had hung on to for so long had been thrown to the wayside ages ago. I deceived myself telling myself that I was still a “good girl” – the game being comparison – I could always find someone worse. I began as a “good girl” with the disguise of a “bad girl” and warped into the opposite: a “bad girl” trying to play the role of a “good girl.”

In 1 Corinthians 15:33 Paul says “Do not be deceived ‘Evil company corrupts good habits.'”  Basically, if you play with fire, you will get burned – I definitely have my third degree burns. Thanks be to God there is a healer. He tells us “I did not come to call the righteous.” The labels “good girl” and “bad girl” are completely irrelevant to God. Redemption and grace – grace like rain.

“We all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others.

But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God,not of works, lest anyone should boast.” (Ephesians 2:3-9)

This sheep and wolf thing is just too complicated for all of us. It gets so out of control. We can let go of it, I am no longer a sheep, a wolf, a bad girl, or a good girl. It’s much simpler now. I’m simply a sinner saved by grace. That is my identity. I speak the language of a stripper, a hurt girl, and many others, but God views me as His, as His beautiful daughter – just like His beautiful Son – and with that same purity. My chains are gone. I have been set free!

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Kyle

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YES!!!! Kyle came to see me again!! I was a people person, I generally had fun talking to and getting to know new people all night long, every night was a good night. On the nights Kyle came, that was an extra good night. Many of the girls had regulars at the club that thought they were their boyfriend. I would always feel bad for the poor idiots. In they would come looking for their goddess “girlfriend” night after night. Some would come bearing gifts, designer clothes, flowers, chocolates, you name it. The girls loved these men. Many would take down their phone number so they could notify them of when they would be working, or call them in if they were having a slow night. These brainless boys really thought they were their boyfriends. I always thought it was odd that they didn’t catch on when their “girlfriend” didn’t want to hang out outside the club. I could never bring myself to do that. Requiring someone to pay to spend time with you is one thing, to make them think you care about them when you are really just using them for money – I couldn’t do that.

These desperate men are usually just the way you would imagine them, they look like the kind of guys that would have to pay for a female to talk to them. Don’t get me wrong, then strip clubs have many gorgeous, fun men in them, there for  a good time, but then there are the regulars that have no one else to talk to, and although this sounds so cruel, no one ever wondered why. Those regulars were the ones that fell into these imaginary relationships, the ones that would  pay dance prices just for a conversation with one of the beauties.

Enter Kyle. Kyle was a few years older than me, he was handsome, so attractive, a sweet gentleman with a good job. He came in more and more frequently. First he came with his friends, and then he began showing up alone. He would always spend a few hundred, tip well, get me a drink, and then chat a while.

You can tell when you have chemistry with someone just by giving them a dance. Kyle and I had chemistry. He smelled good. I would loved when Kyle would come to see me. He would ask me out almost every time he saw me, I would turn him down every time.

It was the end of June. This time was different. He told me he wasn’t coming back to see me. He wouldn’t come unless I spent the 4th of July with him. His family was having a bbq and he wanted me to meet them. Everything about him was perfect. Too perfect. He would treat me like a princess, I would end up bored, feeling penned up. I chose to stay with my controlling jobless boyfriend.

Maybe there was a part of us that was exactly the same. Kyle chose a girl he would have to pay to spend time with, one that didn’t give him the attention he deserved without a ridiculous amount of money spent. I chose someone that would never measure up. We both deserved better. We both sought after less than we deserved.

I never saw my Kyle again.

*All names have been changed in this blog including mine – except for Kyle’s.

I’m Waiting… (but not really)

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Waiting.  I hate it so much.  Whatever the outcome may be I want to know NOW.  I find myself refreshing my email constantly, running to the mailbox, and checking the screen on my phone just to make sure that I haven’t missed the bit of news I have been anticipating.  Really waiting for anything can be enough to make me go almost insane.  I find myself constantly preaching to myself via my own self talk; “Jacob waited.  Jacob waited for SEVEN years to marry the love of his life.  SEVEN YEARS!!  …and then he had to wait ANOTHER seven!  So really, time to work on that patience girlfriend!”  I have these conversations quite frequently not only with myself but also with some of the close ones in my life as they go through their seasons of waiting, whether it be for that new job, a solution to a problem they have, or whatever the case is, I preach Jacob to them.

Jacobs waiting has always blown my mind.  Four-teen years is quite frankly too long for me to wait.  However, I was recently given a new perspective that made four-teen years seem like, well like it did to Jacob; like a day.  We always hear “It’s not the destination, it’s the journey.”  I usually just roll my eyes, smile, and nod then  I hear these remarks.  That’s absolutely ridiculous.  I don’t care how I get there, as long as I get there, so therefore the journey is absolutely irrelevant for the most part. – ha

Then there’s Joseph.  He was take captive wrongfully at around 17 years of age.  He was then sold off to an Egyptian, and wrongfully accused, and imprisoned for a crime he did not commit.  It wasn’t until approximately 20 years after Joseph was sold by his brothers that he was used by God to save a nation.  Joseph kept close to God during his wait.  Today we could expect to hear things come out of his mouth such as “I don’t deserve this, why would God do this to me? why do bad things happen to good people?” or my absolute least favorite “I’m mad at God.”  Joseph was blessed with grace as he kept God as his rock during these trials.  God did not leave Joseph hanging for 20 years, he prepared him for what was to come.  Joseph was able to tell of a deadly famine that would come, and ultimately save a nation.  In the words of Joseph himself after his brothers apologize he tells them what they have meant for evil God has meant for good.  It may appear that Joseph waited twenty years for God to use him, but he didn’t wait, he prepared, drew closer to God, became a recognized man of God even inside the prison.

Well twenty years definitely makes four-teen seem a little less.  …but what about eighty years?  Well that one seems to take the cake.  Eighty years of waiting????  Enter Moses.  Leading God’s people to the promised land.  Why did God not let his biological family raise him?  It wasn’t fair that his brother and sister got to grow up in the constant care and nurturing of their natural parents.  Why would God do this to Moses?  How could an innocent little baby deserve to be taken away from his loving mother?  He hadn’t done anything wrong!  Moses waited (prepared) eighty years to lead God’s people to the promised land, and then died before he could enter himself.  Moses had his share of doubts and questions, but he still kept close to the Father.  When I think of Moses I think of a man whose face shone from seeing God, a burning bush, the parting of the Red Sea, and the Ten Commandments.  Even these mighty men had their moments of weakness, but ultimately when we turn our faces upward God is glorified, and we are used.

My challenge to you, is to stop waiting.  Get out of the depth of despair, and look upward!  Stop waiting and start preparing.  Maybe you don’t have the answers, and maybe you don’t know why you of all people were chosen to go through certain trials, but guess what!?  God has a plan!  ”For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.  I will be found by you,” declares the Lord.”  Turn your face upward, press on!!  For what man has meant for evil, God has meant for good.  Embrace it, embrace Him, stop waiting, and PREPARE yourself for great things!

Cover Me

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I loved our locker room.  It was raw, it was sexy, it was dirty.  Not what one would expect.  All of us were so open about our flaws, our passions, and our opinions.  Judgement free zone?  Absolutely not, but we were allowed to not care about the judgements.  We all had minor flaws, but we were cover up artists that worked together.  I miss the camaraderie  of women.  There was the cliques, the gossip, and the drama, but it was all out in the open, and we could openly roll our eyes at each others foolishness.  Although I pretty much got along with everyone, there were always the girls I was closest to.  Those girls were there for the money, improving their life, looking good and working the customers hard.  The other girls were there because they didn’t have any other choice.  Most were addicts.  They were there because they couldn’t get a job, they needed another fix, or they didn’t know how to get out of it once they were sucked in.

Few girls in fact, didn’t get sucked in.  Jade was beautiful, intelligent, and as classy as a stripper comes.  She was just there to get some extra money to pay her school bills.  Harley had just finished school, she was just working at the club until she found a job in her field.  Skylar… well, Skylar was sweet, shy and beautiful.  She had been working there for over ten years!  Surely none of us nice girls would ever stay that long.

The managers were like little con artists.  They were there for the money.  Skylar would never leave, she was told every day that she wouldn’t make it outside the club.  These men lured young girls in with the glitter and flashy lights, and then crushed their dreams of making it in the real world as best they could.  No girl could get a job if they didn’t pass a drug test.  It started out as something they would do just at the club, and then of course turn into a habit.  Harley, Skylar, and Jade are all still at the club.  They are all snorting lines, and they will most likely never leave.

Some girls do get out, but when they leave they take with them their habits.  Usually girls leave because they get fired for stealing, they are too messed up to work there anymore, or they get fired because they are not making any money, just sitting upstairs getting high.

I was different.  I was covered.  I never understood the appeal the girls had to the drugs, to the prostitution, and to the long term stripper life.  I was covered.  I understood the pull and the draw, but in the most part those things repulsed me.  I was covered from that life.  I giggled with my friends as they got high, but I was not interested in participating, I was just there for the money, I was covered.  Managers would mentally abuse women all the time to get what they wanted, but to me they were sweet, kind, respectful, and protective.  I was covered.  I got to the point where I thought I was invincible, or immune to the addictions that were constantly dangled before my eyes, but really  I wasn’t, I was just as vulnerable as any of the others, the difference was, I was covered.

Psalm 91:3&4

3Surely he will save you

from the fowler’s snare

and from the deadly pestilence.

4He will cover you with his feathers,

and under his wings you will find refuge;

his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.

Click to listen to “cover me”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g1pgqOvLKh4

The Double Life

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I spun around on stage, I was facing one customer, and turned to the next – there he was.  He looked just like I remembered him, he hadn’t changed much at all.  I began the crazy crush at the age of six years old.  Luke went to my Sunday School class.  He was the youngest of three.  To the left of Luke was his older brother Calvin, and then the oldest brother Nate.  It was not a meeting I had foreseen.  I couldn’t figure out who was more shocked, them or me.  We spent over ten years growing up together, memorizing catechisms, sleeping through youth group, singing at old folk’s homes, and messing around on Sundays after the service.  Now, I was naked, and they were paying for the show.  What were these nice guys doing here?  Why did they come?  Don’t they know how inappropriate this place is?

The minute I walked through the doors at the strip club I became a confident, sexy, powerful, and naughty.  I was Jezebelle, and no one could shake that.   Everybody either wanted to be me, or to be with me, and if they didn’t then they were crazy.  I had it all.  I didn’t have a single flaw, I wasn’t afraid to show everybody everything.  I was the invincible Jezebelle.  But, underneath all the makeup, was a shy little good girl.  When I walked out the doors, I suddenly cared what people thought.  I didn’t have the disclaimer of “Jezebelle,”  I was just Joy, flawed, struggling, searching Joy.  I LOVED being Jezebelle for the freedom it gave me.  I didn’t have to answer to anyone, I wasn’t judged by anyone, I was accepted, I didn’t fall short of expectations, and everyone loved me.

What interested me, was it seemed as though Jezebelle was not the only one that found her freedom in the club.  Many men came in and were freed at the door as well.  It was like there was a coat and baggage check.  Everyone left their baggage at the door, their work troubles, their relationship woes, along with every bit of judgement.  And so did women.  Gay women as well as straight women.  Women that were usually prudes, lowered their morals after slithering past the baggage check.

When I saw Luke, Calvin, and Nate, they carried some of my baggage with them, a little bit of Joy was revealed and a little less Jezebelle was present.  I greeted them after my stage set, kissed them goodbye, and headed to a different floor.  In reality I was there for some of the same reasons as my customers.  Joy was too responsible for me.  The best thing about Jezebelle was that she carried no baggage.  She was freedom.  

Bachelors Strippers and Hookers – What Really Happens

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Patrick was sweet, shy, handsome, and very quiet.  He smiled, blushed, and protested.  He was in love with a woman that he couldn’t wait to marry.  He was steadfast, loyal, and true.  He wanted nothing to do with anyone but his bride.  His future father-in-law was there – the Father of the Bride.  His future brother-in-laws were there – the protective and overbearing brothers of the bride. 

Of course Patrick’s fiance was aware of what was going on.  The guys were taking him out for his last harrah as a single man.  He would get a few dances from some lovely ladies, look, but not touch, and then go back to his waiting bride.  If the bride became jealous she would be deemed crazy.  There was nothing to be jealous about.  Nothing would happen.

The previous paragraph is the world most women live in.  However, then there’s what really happens.  What they guys don’t talk about.  Taken right out of section 8, part B, of paragraph 6 of Guy Code:  “Before a guy gets married, when taken out by his friends, he is allowed as much sexual intercourse as he would like, and then after he is fully satisfied, he must be pushed to engage in even more fukery before ending the night.  Fathers are sworn to secrecy from their daughters, and brothers from their sisters.  Any man that considers himself a friend of the groom must endeavor to hire anyone they are able to find, to have sex with the groom, and to orally stimulate him.  No one is to ever breathe a word to any woman.”

And this is the code of conduct which hundreds of “faithful” partners engage in.  The truest, most loyal of all, get a free pass on the night of their bachelor party.  Men you would expect to be horrified at the idea find themselves customers of strip club hookers.

I spotted sweet Patrick and his party.   I knew what they were looking for, but decided to make some quick money before they found what they wanted.  I took Patrick to a private room.  We talked as I danced on his lap topless.  I asked him about his fiance.  He gazed at me enjoying what he saw.  Patrick talked so lovingly about his girl.  He was smitten in love with her.  I collected my money and bid the party farewell.  While Patrick and I were busy one of his boys had found what they were looking for.  

Patrick took the condom from his friend’s outstretched hand, and boarded the elevator heading up to the third floor.  Jewel held his hand flirting with him before delivering everything that was had been arranged and promised.  Patrick had his last harrah with a hooker before standing before God and his wife he next morning.  But there was nothing unique about Patrick.  Every bachelor did the same thing.

Like a Stripper in Church… Yeah, Just Like It

We all laughed a bit as we continued to tease her.  She was an outcast, not as cool as the rest of us.  We were loitering in the halls, sneaking vending machine purchases that our parents forbade, lest we break the Sabbath day.  She looked like she was about to cry. 

“You guys are so mean!  And especially you two!”  She pointed right at my sister and me.  “You guys are the Pastor’s daughter’s!  You are supposed to be nice!”

My sister and I had just participated in mild bullying only by observation, but with the position of a “Pastor’s Daughter” hanging over our head, the expectation was always much more severe.  We set expectations for behaviors of others, with our own good behavior.  Our lives were looked at as a good example, what other children in the church would be held to.  When we were allowed to get our ears pierced, the rest of the girls showed up their ears pierced.  Our good manners and ability to maturely interact with adults was the bar that the other parents felt pressured to have their children live up to.

I lived in the spotlight.  Every move was judged.  My father stopped in the middle of sermons to correct the way I was sitting in front of the whole congregation.  When we had even mediocre behavior we were judged and talked about endlessly.  When visiting other churches, upon learning my last name, the tone and posture of the conversation would change instantly.  

As a pastor’s daughter, if I wasn’t the female Jesus, church members started throwing stones.  I grew to the point of clinging to a fake perfection, dodging the stones and flashing fake religion.  It was intense.

On the flip side of my experience, when the church had “really bad” visitors stopping by, they were viewed as some sort of hero, for giving God a shot at their lives.  They were met with open arms and forgiveness, and then paraded around for the rest of the world to see how accepting the church was.

I was kicked out of my parent’s home at the age of 18.  I began to visit some churches that were outside of our circle, less strict.  I would get done with my weekend job of stripping, throw some clothes on, and head to church.  Going straight from a strip club into a church service, I was met with open arms.  I transitioned from the highest expectation to the lowest.  No one knew where I was coming from; whether it be from a pastor’s family, or the strip club, but I dressed a bit closer to the later.  I was able to feel the embrace.  

Jesus tell us that He did not come to call the righteous in Luke 5:32.  In some cases the church has taken that to such an extreme that we have abandoned those that silently stumble and struggle right before our eyes.  Recently when meeting with a client, I answered his question of when I was saved.  I told him I was saved at the age of 14.  He chuckled, and then asked me when I fell away.  I then took my turn chuckling and proceeded to answer that question.  This client has no idea of my past, but there is definitely a pattern with the second generation Christians today.  It seems as though  our second generation Christians tolerate the church for as long as they can before rebelling and then hopefully experiencing the grace that scoops them into the arms of Jesus after hitting rock bottom.

What if we started to recognize the abundant grace that is given to those that don’t fall to the wayside?  What kind of grace is more amazing than the grace of a steady walk with the Savior?  How about the grace that keeps you by the Almighty’s side, and does let your foot stumble.  So my friends, as you reach out to the sinners, to the sick, and to the needy, look to those standing right next to you.  Praise God for picking me up from my glaring darkness, and praise God for granting others the grace to avert the darkness.