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Suffering Woman’s Unexpected Visitor Has Eternal Impact

Julie Blim - 700 Club Producer

“Just the guys, you know, drinking too much. You know, using a lot of language at times, and um, a couple times, you know, fights would break out,” Janie says.  

While other kids went to the playground and each other’s homes, young Janie Stratton spent most her time in a bar.

“My mother and father purchased a bar. There was no escaping it. There was no safety place that I could go.”

What she saw and heard was scary -- but didn’t compare to what she experienced.

“It was torment. Just pure torment. Because after the touching and playing and doing, then the intercourse came. And I was very confused to the point of – ‘What did I do?’” she remembers thinking.     

Janie was just two when a couple of family members - one male and one female - started molesting her. To keep her quiet, they threatened to hurt her. At age ten, Janie worked up the courage to tell someone she thought would help.

“And I even said, ‘They’re makin’ me do this,’ and he just wouldn’t hear of it. And he’s like, ‘I don’t even know what you’re talking about,’” Janie sadly recalls.  “ I just gave up. Because this one person was supposed to protect me. Was supposed to love me. He was supposed to keep me safe. And he failed me. I was thinking, ‘Should I kill myself?’”

As she got older, she couldn’t escape an overwhelming sense of shame.

“’Why am I here? What did I do to deserve this?,’ you know, ‘Why did this even happen to me?,’” she would ask.  “And at times I would just feel useless, worthless. Nobody could love me. Nobody would even like me after they know what has happened to me because I didn’t even like myself.”

After ten years, the abuse finally stopped when Janie was almost 12 -- not so the pain. As a teen she became promiscuous, started smoking pot, and drank to cope with the hurt. She also picked fights with kids at school to vent her anger, which later made her feel worse.

“You’re nothing. You’ll never measure up to anybody. You know, you are just trash,” she told herself.

Janie had a daughter when she was 17, and two years later, moved in with another boyfriend, Craig. The couple drank, abused drugs, and in time, had a son. They took their pain and anger out on each other, and one night Janie confronted Craig when he came home late and drunk.

“I’m up in his face and one thing led to another - it was on. So we went around a couple different times in the kitchen, blood slinging. And he hit me. But that night was the breaking point,” she clearly remembers.  

Later when he passed out, she took the kids and fled to extended family. They told Janie they could stay on one condition: that they go to church with them the next morning.

“And I was like, ‘Okay.’ When I walked in, I felt peace - like something was just taking this pain for a moment so I can think. I looked terrible, you know, because I was up all night. You know, my eyes are swollen, no makeup. And they still welcomed me. And it kind of scared me a little bit because I was like, ‘Are they for real? Are these people for real?,’” Janie wanted to know. 

One of those people was the pastor’s wife, who soon paid Janie a visit.

“And she did share, you know, the love of God and what He did on the cross. Because all of this was new.  I’d never heard about God, you know, taking the cross for me. And she’s like, ‘Do you want to receive him as your savior?  Yes. Yes,’ Janie said.’  I felt like I could breathe.”

That gave Janie the strength and courage to stop using drugs and alcohol. She later returned to Craig, and in time, he began to see a change in her.

(Craig)  “Like she would stand up more instead of just, you know, holding her head down.  And it was just a different glow about her, I guess. I had hit bottom myself with the drugs. But I didn’t know how to get out. And I’m like, ‘You know, there’s something here. There’s a change in her life, you know,’” Craig says.    

Three months later, Craig gave his life to Christ and he and Janie soon married. In the years to come, they studied God’s word together and looked to him for healing their anger and hurt.

“It was hard living the memories, having the nightmares,” Janie admits.  “I wanted, at times, to run back to use. How can something that I’ve never seen cleanse me, take this pain from me, restore me and just blossom me?”

Eventually she was able to confront and forgive her abusers, and decided not to press charges. It’s been more than 20 years since Janie came to Christ -- she can hardly believe the person she is today.

“Not sounding arrogant —I love myself! I do,” Janie exclaims.  “I am worthy because God says I am. And I didn’t cause any of my childhood stuff. Yes, I am lovable. Yes, I can love people. Yes, I can. And I will.”

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