Hiding From Hurt in a Strip Club

“Having a good time getting high. I was having a good time drinking. I was having a good time being promiscuous. I was having a good time selling drugs. I made a lot of money - I mean, tons of money.”

Pleasure and power were all Verna cared about.  The reasons for her lifestyle choices go back to her childhood, when she was one of 14 kids.   

“I felt overlooked. And I was like searching for the love. Like I wanted the love and the validation from my mom and my dad. And my dad never said that I love you.”

At the hands of family members, Verna was molested as a little girl, and raped at age 14.   Though she told her parents, they decided to sweep it under the rug.

“I didn’t feel as though it was my fault. I just felt hurt. And betrayed. And abandoned. The hurt turned into rebellion, anger, violence.  I just became very –a person that didn’t take no stuff off of nobody. Especially a male.”

At 16, Verna started going to church again, hoping someone would love her.  Instead, she got pregnant by a young man there – and was shunned.       

“And they told me that I had to get married or I was going to die and go to Hell. I was like ‘Well I don’t even like the guy, you know. I’m pregnant, I just want to keep my baby.’”  

They married, but after a few years and another child, the marriage failed.  From Verna’s perspective, so had the church.  And God.  

“I said that I don’t want nothin’ to do with God.  I’m not going to church anymore. I don’t want to hear nothin’ about God, I don’t want to hear His name.  I don’t want to hear nothin’, I just don’t want to hear anything.”

For years Verna scraped by as a single mom…until a friend convinced her she could make money as a stripper.

“And being a mother with two kids, getting social service, food stamps and stuff like that, I said ‘100 dollars for dancing off of a 3-minute song?  I’m in.’”

In no time, she reasoned her way into a new career.

“I can feed my kids, you know.  I can pay my bills, I can buy all kind of clothes.  And different types of cars.  I can travel all over the world. So that thought went out the window that it was sleazy, it was disgusting, it flipped into I’m going to make a lot of money.”

And she did.  Over the next 13 years, Verna built a huge business as an exotic dancer, drug dealer, and madame, going by the name “Star.”  While it was all very lucrative, there was more in it for her than money.  

“Worth. It gave me a sense of worth later on.  Everywhere I went I had a lot of respect.  I mean, people knew me that I didn’t even know.”

And it met another need Verna carried from her painful childhood.  

“I think it was important because no one would be able to violate me.  With two guns on my hip, that also helped.”

Verna says she had pangs of guilt along the way, but they were easily subdued with drugs and alcohol.  She was enjoying it all, but by 2002, Verna started to sense God calling her out of it.  She tried to ignore His voice, until one night in the middle of a set.

“You’re at a strip party stripping, a bunch of men raining down 50’s over your head, 20’s, whatever.  And you trying to dance and trying to drop it like it’s hot.”

She says God told her to leave – right then.  Verna stopped dancing and ran to the bathroom.    

“And then the Lord spoke to me while I was sitting right there.  He told me to come out from among them. And be ye separated.”

But letting go of her lifestyle wasn’t as easy as she thought.

“The money.  I mean, because that was a lot of money. It was the worth too.”

Within weeks, the growing conviction Verna felt brought her to a crossroads.  She holed up in her house for six weeks, pouring over God’s word.  

“And then when I took responsibility, that’s when I said ‘Lord, I want You to come into my life. I repent of my sins and save me.’ Because the pride had me so I’m all right.  But I wasn’t all right. I was lost.”

Verna found over time that God was able to meet her deepest needs, in a way her past lifestyle never could.

“Sex couldn’t fill it.  Drugs couldn’t fill it.  Alcohol, money.  The only thing that could fill that void was the love of Jesus Christ.  And once I started embracing His love, all of those, those slowly dissipated.”

Verna is now an evangelist, and remarried.  She and Garland enjoy each other, her daughters and grandkids, and especially, sharing the truth of God with others.  

“I found my worth in Jesus Christ.  It’s in Him that I move and live and have my being.”

Mentioned in the Video


Right-click on a link below and choose "Save link as..." to save the file

High Definition - MP4
High Quality - MP4
Low Bandwidth - MP4
Audio Only - MP3