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Party Girl Finds Freedom In Love

Shaerica remembered, “I was the type of kid that would give you my crackers, I would give you my doll just to be my friend and play with me. But after you took that and you still didn't want to, it made me angry.”

Growing up, Shaerica never felt accepted by her classmates…or her own father.

She described, “There would be times where he'd say, ‘Well, you know I love you’ but to me love is an action word. Your actions don't show that you love me. They're cold.”

She did her best to earn her father’s affection, but eventually, she began believing she wasn’t pretty enough to love.

“I used to always question,” she shared, “‘God, why did you make me ugly? You must hate me.’ I never felt like I was worthy of anyone loving me.

In her teens, Shaerica made friends with a popular girl who taught her how to dress to get the older boys’ attention and even invited her to a party. Finally, she felt accepted…she never thought her friend would betray her.

“I feel like I’m fitting in,” she said. “I feel loved. I’m drinking. I even try little drugs and after that I don't remember anything that happened besides me waking up and knowing that I had been raped. The person that's supposed to be your friend, she takes what you went through, she was there, she let them do it to you and she started laughing about it, spreading rumors. I remember screaming at God saying, ‘Okay! Nobody loves me…So why do you want me here?’”

As the rumors spread, Shaerica fought back the only way she knew how.

She recalls, “It was like, ‘Okay, they say I slept with him, I'm going to do it to make it true.’ I didn't know my worth, I didn't care.”

Then, she fell for a boy who told her she was beautiful. They had two children by the time she graduated high school and married a few years later. That’s when the alcohol took over.

“Kids getting on my nerves,” she said, “get something to drink. Bills due? Get something to drink.”

But even alcohol couldn’t fix her marriage – every day, they fought, and every day, he seemed to love her less…and Shaerica felt betrayed again.

"I've been bamboozled again,” she described. “This is not the love that I'm looking for. But if I put on this short dress and little shorts, and I go to the club and I dance all provocative on the dance floor, the guys…are gonna tell me, ‘Hey momma…You're fine. Your sexy.’ So that's giving me a high. Somebody’s telling me what I want to hear.”

She continued drinking and partying till the following year when she discovered she was five months pregnant. She gave birth to her third daughter 2 ½ months early – the night they brought her home from the hospital, Shaerica reached her breaking point.

“We had this knock-out/blow-out fight,” she shared, “to the point where we were spitting on each other. We were kicking each other. It was awful. And I'll never forget. I went in the room. I was crying, and once again yelling at God and I said, ‘Okay. You've got me. What do you want?’ I was like, ‘You know what? I don't even care if we're together anymore. You know, I want my baby to live, but I just don't want to go to hell.’”

The next morning, she went to church. She liked the service, but wasn’t ready to change. So for the next year, she continued to party and attend church. Then, at one service, she says God spoke to her.

She remembered, “I was lifting my hands and trying to get into the song and that was the first time I heard his voice…‘Is this is what you give me?’ At first I thought I was crazy. I’m like, ‘Who said that?’ I'm looking at the preacher trying to see if he talking in the mic, talking to me. And I heard it again, ‘Is this what you give me?’ And I was like, ‘God, is this you talking to me?’ I felt so much heaviness and conviction all at once and I was like, ‘Okay, you can't keep doing this or this is going to send you to hell for real.’"

That same day, she stopped partying and started praying.

“I was like,” she said, “‘Okay, I don't know how to pray. But somebody told me it's just simply talking to you, so I'm just going to talk to you.’ And I would hear him speaking back to me. He was challenging me and telling me, ‘All this time you wanted to know why this and why that, I have purpose for you. And whether you want to believe it or not, I love you, I love you the way you are. I can change the things that are not great-- about you, but it's those things that are not great that I can use for my glory.’ I just was like, ‘He does love me, and nobody can ever compare to this.’”

As she began to see herself through God’s eyes, she was finally able to forgive all those who had hurt her. And since then, Shaerica has seen God restore her family – even her relationship with her father.

Today, she works fulltime as a nurse and, in her spare time, counsels women who have survived sexual assault. And she says it is all thanks to God’s love.

“Thou love thyself,” she shared, “even though that's not really a commandment, so don't (LAUGHS) – but I'm so big on it because if you can love yourself properly, you can truly do what the Bible says which is love your neighbor as you love yourself. You can't give people something you don't have. So I love myself. I love everything about me including my flaws…I refuse to live in bondage to un-forgiveness. I am free for real.”

 

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