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Spur-of-the-Moment Decision Changes Drug Dealer’s Life

“I had no identity. I just was searching and seeking for something. So, I just became a runner and started seeking elsewhere.”

Lisa Piscopo’s parents, who married before either were 20, were stressed, and seemed more concerned about making a living than caring for their daughter.    

“I remember they used to fight a lot. So I spent a lot of - a lot of my childhood alone. I was very confused. All I wanted was for them to love me.”

The birth of a sister and then a brother only widened the gap between Lisa and her parents. Being 6 years older, Lisa had to spend more time doing chores, cleaning the house and taking care of her siblings.

“I felt more of the help than I did a child. That was - that was - I just felt unloved. I just became angry and bitter.”

At 13, she started running away to friends’ homes, hiding out sometimes for days until her parents found her. They dealt with her behavior by putting Lisa in counseling at a juvenile detention center.

“And that made it even worse because I was so broken. The more they pushed, the more rebellious I got.”

That same year, Lisa finally ran away for good when she got on a bus to New York City. For several weeks, she hid out at the bus station, Panhandling and avoiding security and Police. That made her an easy target for the nicely dressed woman who frequented the bus station.

She would bring me stuff and she would always tell me about these great parties that she was coming from.

“I felt like she did care about me and she wanted to-to help me.”

With promise of safety and a place to stay, Lisa accepted the woman’s invitation to come home with her. But she had another motive – to groom Lisa into her and her boyfriend’s business… a high-end escort service.

“Your whole life is changing. You become a teenager, you're going through puberty and you're lost. So I was very naïve and vulnerable.”

At first Lisa didn’t work as an escort, instead helping out and learning the business. Within the first year, she met a New York City drug kingpin - who decided to take her on and teach her the drug business. Lisa began doing drugs herself, the loneliness of her past seemingly fading away in the addiction.

“I felt that I had a lot of power and I felt I had a lot of control. I think that the love that I was searching for, um I had numbed with the drugs.”

For the next 20 years, drug dealing, prostitution and addiction would command Lisa’s life. Her only attempt to take control of it coming at 21 when she spent a year in jail for drug possession. But she soon was running back into her old lifestyle.

“That addiction, um and that lifestyle and the whole power and money and control and cocaine and, it was just, it pulled me, it pulled me back. I had no idea who I was. Um, nobody loved me for me.”

Then, in 2003, at the age of 35, she was arrested and sentenced to 10 years in prison. This time, she knew something had to change.

“So when I was in that cold cell, I hit my knees and I just cried, and I wept. And I looked at everything that I had lost, all that can be replaced. What about my soul? What about me? I was broken. I was just - I was - I was done. I was done.”

Then, a memory Lisa had long since suppressed, came to the surface. Lisa was at church with her Mom.

“My mom's always loved God. And she took me to a Pentecostal church when I - right before I really started breaking bad. And they asked if anybody wanted to receive Christ as their savior. And I was like, ‘Me!’”

It had been a spur-of-the moment decision that was quickly forgotten.  But in this moment, it was enough to make Lisa realize Jesus was the only way to turn her life around. 

“I just knew that this was an opportunity for me to um become something more than what I had allowed myself to be in the past.”

She began attending church services in prison.

“And I would go every day out into what's called the yard would just look up at the sky and I would look at all the trees, and I would look at all the different things that now were so much different than I had ever seen them before. and I was looking to God. And I really truly believe that He started to speak to me inside. there was a change inside my being, in my soul, because of who God is. Even though I um - I had gone astray, I knew that He still loved me.”

Lisa committed to living her life for Christ. Now forgiven, she started seeing herself through God’s eyes.

“The freedom truly came knowing that there's a purpose now, that everything that I was looking for when I was a little girl, that purpose, that identity, I’ve realized through this whole process that the identity that I have now in who He says I am.”

After 5 years, Lisa was released on probation for good behavior. She got an honest job, knowing that her life would never be the same.

“I knew that God had a plan and a purpose for my life. I didn't know what it was, but I knew that I was not going back.”

Lisa mended her relationship with her parents, and today, she owns her own successful, online marketing business and is an ordained minister. She uses her testimony to point others to the saving power of a loving God.

“God filled me with his love. He filled me with something that I had been looking for my entire life that you can't get from a person, you can't get from drugs. The only place that will ever be filled inside of you, that void that's missing, it comes from the love of Christ and the Word of God.”

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