I remember when I worked in the strip club how I felt isolated. I didn’t want to tell people where I worked. I wish someone would have told me then that, no matter what, I am not alone, that I am loved exactly as I am, and I don't need to be ashamed. I also wish that I’d had other women with whom I could share my past. Women who'd walked in the same shoes and understood what most people in the “outside world” would never could. I wish someone had talked to me about how strange and complicated the transition from sex work into a different job would be, but that it’s not impossible. I wish I would have had someone help me through all the emotions that were bottled up.
This is what Beautiful and Loved does. We are here for you, exactly where you are, no strings attached, to listen and help you on your journey and connect you with the support you need.
Kjersti founder, outreach team
My parents divorced when I was 4 years old. After that my mom began drinking and partying in our home. When I was 5 I was sexually abused and continued to be exposed to adult sexual content, pornography, and neglect throughout my teenage years.
I learned to mask my emotions though partying, drinking and doing drugs, and having sex by the time I was 14. Somehow, those things made me stand out. Even though I was offensive through my rebellion, at least I was seen.
A week after my 18th birthday, I went to a strip club with a friend. The manager looked us up and down and said, "You girls could make a lot of money here." We never had a lot growing up and that was another reason I felt left out. I could finally have the things that I thought would make me equal.
At first I felt very successful. I had lots of money, attention, and power every time I hypnotized a customer with my body. I was using more and more drugs, loving the rockstar lifestyle. But underneath I was still insecure, unable to say no to people who crossed my boundaries, and retreated into isolation.
It was getting difficult to silence my discomfort in order to be a fantasy for everyone else. I tried more drugs, drinking more, sleeping with guys and girls, having one night stands.
One night, I went to see the Lion King with two friends. We were high on drugs. When Simba’s dad said, “Remember who you are,” I felt something I'd never experienced. God. He shatter my walls of protection and isolation and filled me with pure, nonjudgmental love. He spoke directly into my heart, saying to me, “Remember who I see in you. Remember the beautiful child you are to me. I love you just how you are. Come back to me.” Now, I know drugs were involved, but it doesn’t matter if you are walking down the street, sitting in your car, or tripping on mushrooms, when God speaks to you, you know it!
I realized in that moment that God had a purpose for me beyond anything I could dream.
He was showing me that He was always by my side and will walk with me, that I am extremely valuable to Him, beyond anything I could ever imagine.
A few weeks later, I quit working at the strip club and went back to school. I started reading a bible my stepmom had given to me and felt the words in that book wash me, transform me, guide me, make me whole in a way I had never in my life felt. I began to believe that I was capable. I just had to give myself a chance. I excelled in school and made the Dean’s list several times.
Eventually, I met a guy. I started to feel intimate feelings, perhaps for the first time, and that scared me. Even though I was changing inside, I still didn't have the tools to interact with other people on a personal level. To cope, I went back to using drugs and drinking. My new boyfriend and I started to party a lot and eventually we married. However, because I still hadn't dealt with feelings of abandonment or being taken advantage of in the strip club, I began to destroy that relationship. I had an affair. I left him. I actually ran from him. I was unable to deal with my feelings.
I went back to working in the strip club. It was what I knew; easy money and, in a way, it felt like freedom. It was familiar, I knew how the game worked. In a strip club, for me, there were no boundaries, so I didn't have to feel like I was letting anyone down. But, it didn't take long for me to remember how the men looked at me, how they could pick apart my body, how they thought that just because they were paying me they could say or do anything they wanted. I gave everything of myself and they wanted more than I could give. I was left feeling completely isolated again, defeated, lonely, lost.
I lost sight of God through all the partying. I longed for His love but didn't have a name for Him or know how to reach Him.
A few years later, in 2001, I got sober. I’m still sober today. Later, I met a strong, loving man who became my husband. We have two incredible children. Everything seemed to be going well, but I couldn't shake the feeling of loneliness. So, I began vigorously searching for God again. I practiced any religion or philosophy that I could; Hinduism, Paganism, Buddhism. I read tarot cards for many years and practiced the Law of Attraction. Peace was fleeting and I could never maintain that relationship with God that I once had.
Then, a friend of mine told me how Jesus had transformed his life. I didn't want to have anything to do with Christianity because it appeared to be a system of judgment and control. After several conversations with my friend, I realized I had tried way worse things than Christianity so, I asked Jesus into my heart. And once again, I heard that voice I’d been longing for. It didn’t happen that minute, but it practically happened overnight. God has now blessed me with the passion to go back into the strip clubs to share His message that all of us are loved, exactly as we are. He loved me when I was high on drugs everyday and working in a strip club just as much as He loves me today.
When I worked in the club, I didn’t want to tell people where I worked. I wish someone would have told me then that no matter what, I am not alone, that God loves me, that I am cherished beyond measure to Him, that I should'nt feel ashamed. I wish I would have known then that God would guide me and all I had to do was trust Him and follow His guidance. I also wish that I’d had other women with whom I could share my past. Women who had walked in the same shoes, who understood what most people in the “outside world” never could. I wish someone had talked to me about how strange and complicated the transition from sex work into a different job would be, but that it’s not impossible. I wish I would have had someone help me through all the emotions that were bottled up.
This is what Beautiful and Loved does. We're here for you, exactly where you are, no strings attached, to listen and walk beside you on your journey and connect you with the support you need.
You are not alone. God walks beside you. He lives in your heart where secrets can’t be hurt. Talk to Him. You are His daughter, His soldier, His hands and feet and eyes. Wherever you are, wherever you walk, God has an undying, unshakeable, always and forever powerful love for you.
You God’s beautiful, strong daughter.
You are loved exactly as you are right now. He has a purpose for you beyond your wildest dreams. You are His treasure.
"It will no longer be said to you, "Forsaken," Nor to your land will it any longer be said, "Desolate"; But you will be called, "My delight is in her," And your land, "Married"; For the LORD delights in you, And to Him your land will be married"
-Isaiah 62:4 (NASB)