Tag Archives: grace

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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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

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.