Desperation Brought This Couple Together
Will says, “Trying to get high, smoking a lot of weed. It was just about, “Okay, Will needs to have a good time, ‘cause Will needs to numb this pain.”
Ranae adds, “Totally thirsty for unconditional love and no one wants anything to do with me. I had no self worth at all.”
Will was an addict who couldn’t relieve his guilt. Ranae was a Hollywood cast-off desperate for someone to love. Both came to la looking for a fresh start; their desperation brought them together.
Ranae was adopted and raised in a broken home. As the only Middle Eastern girl in small-town Kentucky, she never felt like she belonged.
Ranae remembers, “Everyone was blonde, blue eyes, had dimples, had like little button noses, like just looked like little Britney Spears' everywhere, okay? I felt like I had to just be beautiful, and I felt like I wasn't beautiful at all. I told myself, ‘As long as you have a banging hot body, you're set. It doesn’t matter if people love you because you can get that void filled by sleeping with somebody. I just felt like sex can fix everything.”
Will was a different story. He was a pastor’s son, had a loving family, and was a devoted Christian. He started preaching at thirteen, earning the admiration of those around him. But by college, it was more about the attention than the message.
Will says, “My relationship with God was really dwindling because I was strictly going through the motions. The kudos and the recognition feels good. Being able to brag to my buddies that, ‘Oh, yeah, I got invited to go here. Yep, going out of town again, you know, sorry, I can’t hang out.’”
Then, Will got a job that boosted his ego even more as a store model at Abercrombie and Fitch.
Will says, “Everybody there loved me, loved the way I looked, loved the way I dressed, loved the way I talked. I mean, everything was just, ‘Will is awesome.’ And all it was, was pride.”
Will started pulling away from his church, and eventually left the ministry to work in in the fashion industry. As for Ranae, she had moved to Hollywood with dreams of becoming an actress. Within a few months, she starred in a national commercial with Jessica Simpson, booked guest spots on Desperate Housewives and Ugly Betty, and even received a personal invitation to the Playboy mansion.
Ranae remembers, “I had basically gotten everything I ever wanted handed to me, but I still wasn't happy. I just wanted some kind of unconditional love. I wanted someone who just found me to be the most amazing person in the world.”
It was then she started dating a well-known actor, and moved in with him. But it was not the fairytale she had been hoping for.
Ranae says, “He cheated on me. He would go drink and do drugs and end up in the hospital and then call me from the hospital and say I drove him to do that. But I just wanted to be loved so bad I didn't care.”
Meanwhile, Will signed with an agency in New York City and was modeling for Armani, Puma, Bloomingdales, Emporia, and Gucci.
Will says, “I felt like I had arrived. People were awesome. I loved them. They loved me.”
But success came with comprises, and a growing sense of guilt he couldn’t shake.
“I was doing all these things that were wrong, going against everything I was taught,” says Will. “I was willing to sleep with whoever. I was willing to do any kind of drugs. I still had these moments where I felt like it was just me and God in the room and He was just, ‘What are you doing? What are you doing, Will?’”
While Will’s career flourished, Ranae’s was about to crash. A sex-tape she made with her boyfriend was leaked to the tabloids, destroying her professional and personal life.
Ranae admits, “It was my idea to make the tape, it was my decision to make that, but I was doing it to try to fix our relationship and try to like help somebody like love me. And it like ruined my life. I couldn’t get a job at this point. No guy wanted to be with me at all.”
That is until she met will. After having a falling out with a designer, Will headed to LA hoping to re-start his career. The night he arrived, he met Ranae at a party. It was a perfect fit – he needed a place to stay, and she needed someone to love.
Ranae says, “He's willing to live with me. He's willing to be with me. So I'll just put up with the fact that he does drugs because who else am I going to get that loves me.”
But the drugs Will used to numb his guilt were costing him his career. After three months, he had no money, no work, and no one to turn to…accept God.
Will says, “I just said, ‘God, I’m done. I don’t know if you still love me. I don’t know if you still have something for me. I just know that I can’t continue doing what I’m doing right now.’”
He started attending a local church, then, a month later, Will was finally ready to come back to God.
Will says, “I remember going up to the altar and praying. ‘As much effort and energy that I exerted for myself, that’s exactly how much I want to give back to you. You’re my Heavenly Father and I’m like a prodigal son.’”
Gradually, Will stopped using drugs. But Ranae noticed that wasn’t the only thing different about him.
Ranae recalls, “He started to have a lot softer heart, he started to not be so angry, he started to be kinder with me.”
Then, he did something that made Ranae’s heart stop.
Ranae says, “He said ‘We're not going to live together anymore. AND we're not going to sleep together.’ And I was like, ‘No! No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no. No dude. Like no. If you stop sleeping with me, you'll want nothing to do with me. Trust me, I know.’”
“And he's like, ‘Look, I'm going to show you that we will still date, we will still be together, I will still be faithful to you.’ And he like still called me. He still like took me out on dates and he really showed me like what true unconditional love was, of like you don't have to sleep with somebody, you don’t have to live with them, you can be faithful to them. That was just like a total depiction of Jesus, like he really showed me God.
A few months later, Ranae gave her life to Christ. Two years later, she married Will. It was then she realized that God had given her the love she had always wanted.
Ranae says, “Genesis 50:20, what evil was planned against me, God used for good. And it's just like really cool. Cause that's something like only He could do.”
In 2015, they launched the Night Shepherd, an organization that provides legitimate resources and personal support to those working in the entertainment industry. Together, they share how God fully redeemed their lives.
Ranae concludes, “I have found my identity in the Lord, that he made me perfect and every flaw and every freckle and everything is perfect in his eyes.”
Will adds, “There’s no room for pride and God. And God says, ‘It’s not about your works. It’s about what I’ve done. It’s not about your accomplishment, but it is what I have set for you.’ And His awesome plan is better than anything that you could ever come up with.”