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Drug Overdose Reveals Overwhelming Love

Shannon Woodland - 700 Club Producer
Danielle Thompson - 700 Club Producer

A time long remembered – the night 6-year-old Mindy’s father took her from the only person she felt loved her.

“All night long I cried for my grandmother, and it was pretty traumatic for me because I felt like she was my mom.”  

Four years had passed since Mindy and her two sisters moved in with their grandmother, after their real mother walked out.  Now that her dad remarried, they would be living with him, his new wife, and her three children.  Neither her dad nor stepmother had time for Mindy.  

She said, “I was feeling very rejected and abandoned growing up and being in that family. I just wanted to be loved unconditionally.  I wanted somebody to really love me and spend time with me. And I wanted times to be with my dad.”  

She was also suffering from depression.

“I had a lack of identity. I felt like my mom didn't want me. I felt like I really didn’t fit in with my family.  My dad was never there.  I just felt worthless.  I felt like I didn't have any worth.  I felt like I just wasn't good enough,” said Mindy.

At 11 years old she took some pills she found in the medicine cabinet, in the first of many failed suicide attempts.  

“I really wanted to die.  I didn't really know what the pills were going to do to me to be honest with you. And I would just take as many of them as I thought I needed to die.”

At one point she was prescribed medication, but it didn’t help.  As a teenager she turned to drugs and alcohol.

“I didn't care anymore really,” said Mindy.  “I felt like I was numbing myself from all the pain and all the hurt and feeling rejected and worthless.”

“I started rebelling.  I started trying to find my value and my self-worth in the attention of men.  I was getting attention that I thought that I wanted.”  

Wanting to escape her home life, Mindy got a fast-food job at 16.  She was working when someone she knew told her that being a stripper could be her ticket out.

Mindy said, “She pulls up in her red convertible Corvette, she says, "how would like to go from making $4.90 an hour to $490 a day?"  "Man, that would be awesome."

She ran away from home, dropped out of school, and used a fake ID to get a job dancing at a club.  She had money and independence from her parents, but it came at a cost: her dignity.    

“There were times when I would feel like "man, this isn't right.  But if I do just enough drugs and alcohol, I could kind of drown out my conscience so that I could do it. And it becomes the norm for you.”

Pregnant at 17, Mindy gave up drugs and dancing temporarily.  But as a single mom, she felt stripping was her only option.

“I needed a job where I could pay somebody to watch my child, and be able to spend as much time with my kid as I could and be able to afford to take him to go do things, and that was a trap for me,” said Mindy.  

In her 20’s, she met and married Lance, and they had two daughters.  Again, she felt the money she made stripping provided the home life she’d always desired.  

She said, “Family was a real big thing with me. So I wanted to make my own family be the type of family that I never had.”

Even then, she couldn’t escape the overpowering sense of shame, or the drugs she used to cover it.

Then a friend started telling Mindy about God, and invited her to a church small group.

“I don’t know what it was.  It was a joy and a peace that they had, they had light, and I didn't understand why I felt so uncomfortable.    I wondered if they know where I work?”   

Mindy saw hope, but believed she had to fix herself for God to accept her.

“I just felt like, you know, ‘eventually I'll grow out of this stuff.  Eventually, you know, I'll be religious. He'll be happy with me.’ That’s what it looked like for me to have a relationship with God. If I just could be good enough He would accept me.”

But she continued doing drugs and dancing. One night at a friend’s house, Mindy overdosed and felt like she was dying.  

“I remember laying there and I felt my spirit just being ripped away from my body, and I realized I wasn't even in my body anymore,” said Mindy.

At first Mindy feared she was about to face God’s judgment.  Instead, she felt overwhelmed by his love.  

“I just remember just feeling that love, it was so amazing that I would have left everything at that moment to be where God is.”

So Mindy quit her job and for the next two years tried to get her life straight, to be acceptable to God.  Then at a special church service, she finally heard that God wanted her, just as she was.

“Me and my son that night, we walked up there and I started weeping, I started crying,” said Mindy. “I knew that if God could save me that it would be in my best interest to surrender my life to Him."  And that's what I did that night.”   

Mindy stopped using drugs and alcohol, and started growing in her relationship with Jesus.  

“I started getting so excited because I already started changing and that shame started going away.  The more I started seeing Jesus, the more than I started liking who I am,” said Mindy. “I no longer started looking to other things to validate me, to the world to define me.  The approval of the world, my parents approved of me or they didn't because I knew that God did. His love completely transformed me.”   

Soon after, her husband Lance accepted Christ as well.  Today, Mindy returns often to the streets of New Orleans – not to work, but to share the love of God.  She knows first hand how that love changed her.

“When Jesus steps in it's almost like the people that looked at you and thought you were one way and they see you, it's like they have a respect for the new creation. I don't have to sit there and earn it and prove myself to them. They know that it's genuine.  They can feel it.  So I don't have to explain myself.  They're just like "wow!  I know Jesus is real!"

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