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Embracing True Identity After Past of Agony

Growing up, Kim just wanted to know she was valued and loved by someone. but her father wasn’t around and life at home with her mother was unstable. By the time she started sixth grade, she had endured years of sexual abuse from two male relatives.  

“I was just in a lot of pain and not getting the help I needed. So, I then started acting out. I started getting in trouble. I started doing drugs. The next thing you know I was selling drugs. There was a big hole in my heart, I wanted to be loved by a man. I wanted my father’s attention. But it was even more devastating to me I think to know that I had a mother and she chose to not be a mother.”

Kim got pregnant at 16 and relied on a relative to help raise her daughter.  Meanwhile, she met a man who seemed to say all the right things…but she had stepped into a trap for human trafficking.  “One of the first things that he commented to me was ‘You are beautiful.’ Those were three words I never heard my entire life from people that were supposed to love me. And so, it literally only took the three words to draw me in closer to him.”

The man groomed her for three weeks, buying her nice things and making promises. Kim thought they were leaving for a vacation, when the man she called her boyfriend, took her to a different state, and forced her to work in a strip club.  The trafficker threatened Kim and told her not to contact her daughter, who was still in a relative’s custody. “He began to tell me things like ‘No one is looking for you. No one loves you. You have nowhere to go. If you go back home I know exactly where you’ll be at and I’ll find you and I’ll kill you.’  I began to feel that he’s right. And this is my new life and I just better accept it. My trafficker branded me, it was his name and I had to look at that for many years.”

By 25, Kim had been sold to five different pimps across several states. Eventually, she was able to escape. “When we were driving he jumped across pretty much to the back seat. He was beating me senselessly. He like, threw me out. And so I figured, you know what, either I’m going to try and run and live today or today he’s going to kill me and I’m going to die. I mustered up this courage and I started running, and I ended up hitch hiking.”

She got her daughter back. Then, she became involved with a drug dealer and had a second daughter with him. Kim thought about her life and wanted more for her two girls. she ended the relationship and took her children with her.  “I had told him I can’t do this anymore, this drug life. I just knew that I had two daughters and I needed to be around for them, not in a federal prison and so that’s what gave me the courage to leave.”

But, when her ex came to her new place causing trouble, she called the police. Once her report was complete, the officer gave her a card- - written on the back, was the name of a church. Broken and looking for hope Kim decided to attend Sunday service.  “I remember when I came they were in the DNA series and it was all about identity, who you are in Christ. If your mother and father abandon you how the Lord adopts you into his family. You are loved, you are valuable, you are accepted. They were talking about this love, a love that I had never known but I had wanted.”

Kim began studying the Bible, and kept coming back to church each Sunday. Then she opened her heart to receive God’s love. She said the salvation prayer and was baptized.  “Jesus made it real to me through His word. He’d spoke to me that day and he’d said you are free, you are clean, you are forgiven.”

As Kim embraced her true identity in Jesus, she says her life was transformed. She began to heal from her painful past.  

“What He did for me, was He sent people into my life that would show me his love. He would bring these motherly figures into my life that would love me and allow me to know what a healthy real love looks like, what a mother’s love looks like. I can be that for my girls.  I can give them the love, the affection, the attention and I can have the beautiful relationship and watch them blossom into these beautiful young women.”

Kim says when she realized God’s unconditional love she found her true identity and freedom. Today, she treasures spending time with her daughters and is an advocate for human trafficking victims.

“Now I know that my story has a purpose, so I went through all that I went through so God can use me to glorify His Kingdom. God is our Healer, he’s no respecter of persons. What He did for me, He’ll do for another, it’s just all about surrendering the heart.”

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