Tag Archives: god

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.

angel

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.

wolf

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!

grace

I’m Waiting… (but not really)

Image

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!

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.

Popping Cherries

I couldn’t believe she was doing it. I couldn’t believe I was going to go and see her.  I wondered who else I might see there.  I wondered what it would be like.  I wondered if our relationship as friends would change after I saw her completely unclothed dancing on stage.  I wondered why she wanted me to come.  

It was the middle of the day, in the middle of the week.  My friend from High School was with me. After parking our car we hurriedly walked the busy downtown streets, checking over our shoulders before sliding in through the door.   The sun shone bright outside, but inside the smoke was thick, it was night.

We asked for her.  She looked stunning.  

“I’m on stage next.  Sit over there.”  pointing to two seats in front of the empty stage.

We sat.  “I can’t believe we are going to see her naked!”  We nervously snickered to each other.  I felt no guilt.  She came on stage, she was beautiful, she danced, she smiled.  She was completely nude with one ankle resting on my shoulder.  She was comfortable.  We were comfortable.  This was beautiful, this was fun.  Oh, and she just made more money in one hour, than I made in one week working four jobs.  

The owner smiled at me.  “You’re cute.  When are you going to start working here?”

We looked at each other, giggled and blushed, and headed out.

Driving back we discussed what we saw.  Our consciences did not bother us, we felt nothing was wrong.  We were surprised that is was not as big of a deal as we had thought.  She was smart to do it.  We paid money to get into clubs and dance.  She was getting paid to have a great time.  If God had a problem with it, he would have made us feel guilty.  We did not feel guilty.  We will definitely go again!