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Lured by the Promise of Attention

“I wanted more money, but in my, in my heart I'm like, if I just had more attention from men that I would feel better about myself. And at 17 years old, that's when I made the decision to be, you know, to become a stripper.  And I remember, you know, putting on this sexy outfit and I felt good about myself.”

A teenager looking for love, Roxanne was allured by the attention of her audience. On stage, she hid behind a fearless persona.  “The whole room would cheer and the guys would yell.  This person that I created was really the person that I felt like at the time that I wanted to be, you know. Inside Roxanne was a really hurt, rejected girl.”

She says her father’s alcoholism, led to a strained and dysfunctional relationship.

“He also had these modeling agency, schools, just so he could have a lot of women around himself. And from a young age I remember my father would teach me how to like be sexy and do like sexy modeling.”

“And even though the things were distorted in my household, I loved to go to church. And my sister and myself would often take the city bus, just by ourselves as kids, just so we can go to church and youth group and stuff like that.”

When she was 15, her parents divorced.  She began experimenting with drugs and became involved with an abusive boyfriend.  At 17, she sought safety at a family friend’s house.  “I slept there one evening after my boyfriend was abusing me.  I woke up the next morning to the man of that house sexually abusing me.  So at this point of my life, like every guy that was close to my heart, or close to me in my life, abused me in some way.”

So, she turned to exotic dancing, for the attention of me and worked in various areas of the sex industry for nearly 5 years.

“I wanted to be a sex symbol. Then I started modeling in some male magazines and getting involved more in like the porn side of things.”

But somehow it was never enough.  “So here I am this young girl, I'm making lots of money, I'm getting lots of attention. But at the end of the day, when I would go home by myself at night and I'm back Roxanne, I felt like I was dying in myself. And I struggled with a lot of fear. I was afraid of being alone. I was afraid of men. I was afraid of my thoughts. I was afraid of dying.”

Over time, Roxanne’s anxiety increased and at 21 years old, she had frequent panic attacks.

“And I went into this crazy panic attack. And by panic attack I mean, my body would shake uncontrollably. I felt like my heart was going to pop out of my chest because it was beating so fast, and I felt like I couldn't breathe or think. And it's just like you have no control on your own body. It was very scary. And so, I thought to myself, I just need to go home."

That day she remembered hearing about God’s love as a child. Desperate for help, she returned home and found a church to attend.  “Immediately I felt the Father's loving arms when I was there, and it's like – it's like I just snuggled in. I knew I was home. I'm like, Lord, you know, you know. I've done so much, but I'm like none of that had anything to offer me. And here I am sitting in the father's arms, and I could feel His love and His acceptance, and I'm just like, "This is where I want to be. I don't want to be there, I want to be here."

In that moment, Roxanne was changed. And day by day God helped her heal.   

“So I gave my heart to Jesus. The next day I went back to the club that I was working at, at the time.  I cleared out my locker.  And I had a lot of support from people from the church that stood with me to help me get out of that really abusive relationship. A lot of the fear and depression, and the crazy thoughts and things that I used to struggle with, just kind of over time just slowly disappeared, as God would heal my heart. In my intimate time with Him and, reading the Bible and spending time in worship in healthy relationships with friends and people around me.”

While Roxanne began to grow as a Christian, she realized a passion for helping young people. She loves mentoring girls and serves as a director at a teen center in Phoenix, Arizona. She’s also active at her church and hosts a show called Wide Awake.

And for Roxanne, it’s God’s love that opened her eyes to a new, complete and beautiful identity.

“You know, the Bible says in Isaiah it says that, "His arm is not too short to save, and His ear is not too dull to hear." And that's exactly what I experienced. I experienced a God that can save. I'm very happy with the person that God created me to be and I found that in the love of Jesus, and the hope that He gave me.”

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