Lucretia Church: ''Jesus Changed Me'
By Michelle Wilson
The 700 Club
“I wanted to be just like all the other little girls. But I knew that I was different.”
Lucretia Church can smile now even as she thumbs through her childhood photos of a dark past. Lucretia was seven years old when her drug addicted step-father started molesting her.
Lucretia remembers, “He sat beside me and then the next thing you know he just started to pull up my dress. I didn’t know what he was doing or why he was doing it. But that’s when things really started to take a change for me.”
Four years later, when she was 11, Lucretia’s step-father began having sexual intercourse with her.
“He threatened, of course, that if I ever shared what he was doing with anybody that he would hurt me, he would hurt my mom and my sisters and brothers and my family,” says Lucretia.
Lucretia emotionally reflects as she holds a picture of her and her sisters, “I just wanted to protect them. Yes, my sisters. I just wanted to protect them.”
“And I can’t even really articulate the pain because it’s so deep that people that are being raped experience, because your-your-your innocence, your identity, who you are, all that is stripped away.”
The abuse occurred while Lucretia’s mother was at work nearly everyday. She learned to escape the emotional and physical pain by shutting down inside.
Lucretia recalls, “I would kind of go into another world when this would be happening to me. Like I didn’t exist. I would just be there. And then I remember just crawling up and balling up in a knot when it was all over and just say, ‘I just wish, I just wish I wasn’t me.’”
When Lucretia was a teenager she finally told her mother the secret. When her mother confronted her step-father he immediately denied it.
“And he said, ‘Why would you lie to your momma like that knowing I would never do anything to hurt any of y’all? Baby, I love you, baby. I love you.’
And I looked at my momma, she said, ‘Cretia, why would you lie? Why would you hurt me like that?’ And I said, ‘I don’t’ know, mom.’ I said, ‘I don’t know.’ I said, ‘I’m lying. I’m lying, mom.’”
Some time later Lucretia learned she was pregnant by her step-father. After the baby was born she left her daughter with her mother and ran away. Lucretia became a crack addict, and very promiscuous.
Lucretia says, “And so, when I wasn’t sleeping around with them, I was smoking crack or sometimes smoke, sleeping with them to get the crack.”
Lucretia continued to make lots of bad choices over the next four years which included a string of relationships with drug dealers who taught her how to deal drugs. She also had a second child.
Even though I was selling drugs and I didn’t even know that God was real, but I would pray to whatever was out there and say, ‘help me out of this. I don’t want to be like this.’”
One night, Lucretia and her drug dealing boyfriend were stopped by the police. Lucretia was arrested for having nearly 60 grams of crack cocaine in her possession. She was sentenced to 10 years in a minimum security federal prison. She was only 20 years old when she started serving her sentence.
Lucretia remembers, “I had mixed emotions. There was the ‘you’re going to be all right’ voice that I was hearing…but then it was the ‘here he’s free, and I wouldn’t have done any of that ‘if my stepdad wouldn’t have did what he did, I would be a different person. I would be a normal girl. I would go to college. I would have, you know, been pursuing my dreams. I would have had purpose. But now I am sitting here for ten years, my life is over. This is what and this is what I get!’ I was angry.”
Lucretia hit bottom and thought that suicide was the only solution. That’s when an inmate confronted her and told her there was someone who could take away all her pain.
“It was something about that day when she put her hand in my face and she said, ‘You don’t need to die. You need Jesus!’ And I couldn’t do nothing but say, ‘you’re right.’”
Lucretia went to the chapel service in prison. She then went up to pray.
Lucretia reflects, “I asked the Lord to come into my life and I asked him to take everything out of me that was wrong and to help me and to-to make me feel better. I didn’t know to call it ‘be healed.’ But I said, ‘to make me feel better. I want to be happy.’ And he did. He did exactly that. He came into my heart that day, filled me with the Holy Spirit, and I was on fire.’ And I chose that day to serve the lord for the rest of my life.”
She also began reading the bible.
“I got into that word and I found out that I was loved. I found out that my life had purpose. And I didn’t want to smile before then. But when I got in that word and I started seeing he said, that ‘I was made in his image and in his likeness.’ That meant that I was beautiful. I was happy. I was free. I was free and I began to sing about it. “
In prison, Lucretia became the worship and drama leader and God transformed her life. God also taught her how to forgive.
Lucretia says, “God does not want his children to hate. And I know that I should hate my step-daddy. I know, cause he deserved it for what he did to me. . But I said, ‘nobody is without hope.’ Jesus Christ died for everybody, even the child abuser.”
After Lucretia was released from prison she married. Today she and Jimmy are raising their three children. Lucretia is a recording artist and ministers all over the world and tells everyone she meets about the love of Jesus Christ.
Lucretia says, “My story is only triumphant because of Christ Jesus. Someone asked me one time, said, ‘Wow, you have changed. Prison has really changed you, I mean.’ And I looked at that person and I said, ‘no, prison is just a change of address,’ I said, ‘Jesus Christ has changed me.”
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