[guestpost]Tasha Sanders’ testimony is an amazing example of how the Lord can bring radical transformation into the lives of those who call on Him. Read about how He took a broken little girl and used her mess to give her a message of His glory.[/guestpost]
My mom got pregnant with me when she was 15 so most of my early childhood was spent living with my maw-maw or with my mom and her current boyfriend. We bounced around a lot. When I was six, I was molested by my mom’s boyfriend, and that changed how I felt about myself.
I felt ashamed, dirty, and bad. I was a very skinny kid, with wild curly hair, and not particularly pretty. I always felt and looked awkward. No one ever talked about my father in my family and when I would ask who he was my maw-maw would tell me he was a drunk and a bad man so I didn’t really bring him up a lot. I would go to school, and hear little girls talk about their daddies, and I remember thinking I wish I lived in a family with both my mom and dad, but I knew that fairy tale wasn’t in the cards for me. Both my grandmother and mother suffered from bi- polar disorder, and although I didn’t know that at the time I definitely knew our lives were very much a series of highs and lows. My mother was very beautiful and had such a big heart. She loved everyone, and even though our lives were crazy when I was little I knew my mother loved me. She always made me feel important when I felt so insignificant to the rest of the world. Because of the chaos I always tried to control things around me. Even as a small child I struggled with being OCD. The older I got the worse it got. When I was 7 my mom took my little brother Trey, and moved to Mobile, AL to marry a man from there. I adored my little brother and was extremely protective of him and I remember being so heart broken when they moved. I stayed behind to live with my grandmother.
By the time I was 12, I was very much out of control and having behavior problems at school. Also, I had been diagnosed with a learning disability so school was always a struggle. The summer before my 6th grade year I moved in with my mom’s older brother and his wife, my aunt Kathy and uncle Glen. I was excited about moving in with them they had a son my age and their home was loving and stable. They welcomed me and treated me like a daughter, but I already had such a poor self image and already had so much anger and hate in my heart I rejected their love and it wasn’t long before I was causing drama and chaos in their home. By the time I was an early teen I was smoking, drinking, sneaking out having sex with boys, just completely out of control. I grew up in the “bible belt” so I had always heard of Jesus but felt like Jesus would never love a girl like me. My aunt Kathy tried her best to pour love into me. She found out how passionate I was about dance so she enrolled me into ballet, jazz, and other dance classes. Turns out I was pretty good and for awhile I practiced all the time and had I stuck with it my life would had turned out different.
By the time I was 18, I was pregnant and wanted my child to have a different life than me so me and my baby’s father got married. We had my son Austin and for the first time in my whole life I felt true unconditional love. I adored my baby boy. When Austin was 6 wks old, I enrolled in cosmetology school. I graduated and started working in a salon. My husband and I spent the next 3 years raising our son.
Slowly but surely the drugs came back in my life and took over and I self destructed. I got divorced and eventually lost custody of my son. By the time I was 21, I had developed a horrific herion addiction and started working at a strip club Not long after that I went to rehab for my addiction. It was just the first of many rehabs. Then when I was 23 I met a guy who was a drug addict, career criminal , and more of a manipulator then me ( if that’s possible). Together we were a complete nightmare causing havoc on everyone that came in contact with us. Most of our relationship we spent together committing crimes from state to state. I worked a lot in the sex industry, strip clubs and escort services.
In the midst of this nightmare, I became pregnant again. I knew I didn’t want to bring this baby into the world addicted to drugs. I moved to my mom’s in Mobile and tried hard to detox from herion. Because of the severity of my addiction, I couldn’t just quit cold turkey because the doctor was scared the detox would be too harsh and I would lose the baby so they put me on methadone. While pregnant I had to attend all these classes explaining how my baby would be born addicted to opiates and the withdrawals my baby would go through. The guilt was overwhelming. What kind of mother lets their child be born addicted to drugs?? Things seemed pretty hopeless. My baby boy was born and the doctors did all these tests on him and miraculously somehow my baby boy was born with no methadone in his system and did not suffer any withdrawals. I named him Gentry. He was perfect and beautiful, and for the first time in a long time I felt love and had hope. Gentry’s dad was in prison when he was born, but he got out when Gentry was a year old. Gentry’s dad convinced me to bring Gentry to Memphis, TN He said he wanted us to be a real family. We were going to be clean and not return to our lifestyle of crime. We were going to live a normal life and raise our baby together. Gentry’s dad had a way of making me feel like the most important girl in the world. He convinced me that I was the love of his life and that he couldn’t live without me and Gentry. I wanted so bad to believe him. I packed my baby up and we moved backed to Memphis. This devastated my mom, because even though I didn’t see it at the time my mom knew I was walking back into the arms of a sociopath.
It wasn’t long before we were getting high and doing all the crimes again, but this time our little boy was along for the ride. That nightmare ended when we were arrested and sentenced to 5 years in prison. My boys were 6 and 18 months old when i went to prison. I didn’t see my boys again until they were 6 and 12. You would think that prison would have changed me for the better,but it did not. I came out with a hardened heart, very angry and had a hard time adjusting to the free world. Plus with all the felonies I had it was really hard finding a job. Eventually I met another guy that was just as broken as me and we spent the next 6 years together drunk and or high. In 2011, my mother died and that sent me spiraling completely out of control!!! I hated myself! I hated GOD! I hated everyone and everything!
In July 2012, I checked myself into a faith based rehab in Mobile,AL. There I saw all these girls that were happy and talking about what all Jesus was doing in their lives and I was super skeptical. I was so consumed with hate and fear, but underneath all that I desperately wanted what these girls had. These girls were getting their family’s back and getting to see their babies. They were walking around singing about Jesus and you could see the joy all over them. It was a trip for sure. One night after a church service I went into the chapel and kneeled before this big cross. I closed my eyes and I started to talk to Jesus for the first time since I was a little girl. I told HIM if he was really real and that if HE could really change me then HE needed to come on with it because I was dying down here!! I told Jesus that if HE could come in my heart and really love me then to please do it. I felt the presence of GOD come over me; it was so thick it felt like a blanket of peace. I knelt on that floor for a very long time and I cried real tears for a long time. My heart was pierced that night and I cried for the little girl I used to be and the broken woman she had become. I heard the Holy Spirit tell me that through my whole painful life that he had been there with me and that the lord spared my life many ,many times because He knew that one day I would share the gospel with many. I didn’t know what my life would be like when I got off the floor, but I knew I would never be the same.
Today I am married to the most wonderful man that loves the Lord. He’s my best friend, and has shown me what a real man that loves Jesus looks like.. After years of being apart,my beautiful son Austin, now lives with me and God has completely restored our relationship. I’m the founder of Women of the Well a ministry that shares the beautiful love story of the gospel to girls that work in the sex industry, and I’m an advocate against sex trafficking.
[shareable cite=”Tasha Sanders”]My heart was pierced that night and I cried for the little girl I used to be and the broken woman she had become.[/shareable]
For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you an unexpected end.- Jeremiah 29:11