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Domestic Abuse Drives Muslim to Pray to a New God

"Our family was very, very strict, Muslims. We believed in making prayer five times a day. We believed in the five pillars of Islam. My father was very serious about us studying the Quran and us knowing what it says." Listen! It was demanded of her as a child when Misha heard the Koran read aloud. Misha obeyed because she wanted to please Allah, and not anger her father.

"I was very proud to wear my headdress and my khimars, even as a child. I felt very superior when I wore it." But, despite his religious fervor, Misha's father was physically and sexually abusive. "My mom was so helpless. She had no one to help her. One time I saw my mom and dad fight each other, and she took his weights, and she would throw weights at him to fight him back. It was a very violent upbringing. I remember one time laying next to my sister and my father as he sexually abused her. It was so painful. This was my normal."

The perversion and violence in her home made Misha question Allah's power and care.

"I really began to doubt Allah a lot felt an urge to pray and ask God to help them. I don't know why I said that I just asked: 'God, please help my sisters so they won't get beat by him no more.' And I remember crying and I remember praying that prayer." The next night police pounded on their door and arrested Misha's father.  He was charged with robbery and attempted murder and sentenced to 10 years in prison.  To Misha, it was a sign. "That one prayer that changed my life, I kept praying that way because I knew God would answer."

To get help from other relatives, Misha's mother, her daughters and young son moved to New York City.  However, there was never enough money to support them. So, in her early teens Misha shed her khimar and her dignity to help pay for her family's food and rent. "I started stripping when I was 15 years old. My mom did not have any idea. And it was fast, and it was easy, and I needed that money. I stopped believing at all – at all didn't care about any God, any Allah, I was living fast, and I was loving it."

Two years after Misha's father was paroled, he died. Misha followed her mother and sisters to Alabama, where they had relocated.  Still in high school, she met Larry and fell in love.  After graduation, they married. "There was a genuineness about him. There was realness. I think he filled that void that I really wanted that – someone to love me."

At times Misha went to church with Larry's family.

"People were worshipping together, men and women together (and) being raised as a Muslim, not having men and women together, I thought it was strange. Misha wasn't excited about church, but rather a secret relationship. She left Larry and committed adultery with an older man. 

"I saw my father be promiscuous, and I thought it was okay, while he was married, so I figured, you know, 'why not? Why not?'"

Misha and Larry got back together to try and work through the betrayal. Larry's cousin started posting sermons on her Facebook page about Jesus. One day in her car Misha stopped and listened to a post that overwhelmed her. "I know that I was out. And that day my soul was saved because in the prayer she was saying: 'Surrender, say it. Surrender. I surrender.' 'And, I kept telling Jesus 'I surrender. I surrender. I surrender. I surrender, Jesus.' It was like a fear washed over me, not like a fear that I was scared of the dark, but a fear that was heavy, and I felt all over me. And I surrendered to him that day; fully, totally. Because I said it with my mouth, with my heart, with my mind, I meant it."

Immediately, Misha felt deep sorrow for those she'd harmed, especially Larry and forgiveness towards those who had wounded her. "It added more pain in my heart to see Larry in pain, to see Larry hurting the way I made him hurt. And I actually looked at it, and I said, 'I caused this.' He told me to pray for them. Everybody who offended me or everybody who did anything to me. He told me to pray for them, let them go."

All Misha's desires and priorities changed too. "I started to want and desire His Word. I was reading the Bible more and more. I was in the Word more and more. I was hungry.

But now, because I take the Word, and I apply the Word to my life, to my family, to those around me to the children I minister to, that's the difference. We have peace, we have love, and I remember the Lord always told me, 'I will never allow violence to be mentioned of in your land ever again.' And there's no more violence."

"Jesus gave me something that I never had. He was the father. He is Abba, Abba Father. He was the father I was seeking from other men, even in the strip club; he was the father that I was seeking. He was a good, good father that I desperately wanted to meet, and I needed."

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