Ateba Crocker: Coming Alive in Christ
By Michelle Wilson
The 700 Club
Ateba Crocker had no idea that her life would make the front page of her local newspaper. The story broke after she had lived for two years as a professional escort in the sex industry.
“I never thought of myself as a prostitute, because I wasn’t out on the streets like the other prostitutes making twenty dollars a pop, jumping in somebody’s car here and there,” Ateba said. “I was an escort. I was a high-class somebody.”
Ateba’s painful past had pushed her toward a life of promiscuity. Her father began to abuse her when she was nine years old.
“I remember him pulling back the covers. I remember being really scared, and I remember he climbed into the bed with me,” Ateba said.
To avoid the abuse, Ateba often slept with her sister. At other times, she tied a jump rope around the door knobs to lock her father out of her room. Her parents eventually divorced, and she moved with her mother and sisters to another state.
When Ateba was 14, she started dating and having sex. She also had two abortions.
“I began to just give my body away, drink and have sex. That was my teen life,” Ateba said.
At 19, Ateba got pregnant for the third time. Two times during that pregnancy Ateba tried to kill herself.
“I had a baby on the inside of me, but I still had no hope. I didn’t know how to love the baby,” Ateba said.
Both times, someone saved her. Ateba gave birth to her son, but the boy’s father wasn’t around to help. She struggled to support herself and her son, and she was desperate. Ateba signed on with an escort service. The same day she got her first call.
“At that time the state that I was in, I really didn’t care about myself. I was having sex with people anyway. I just wasn’t getting paid for it. So I thought to myself, 'I really need this money. I am going to stay and see what happens,'” Ateba said.
Ateba started bringing home $1,000 for just two or three evenings of work. The alcohol numbed the emotional pain and the guilt, but Ateba knew that with every client she was dying a little more on the inside.
“I was just dead on the inside, and now you can begin to see the deadness just begin to come out on the outward in my appearance," Ateba said. “This time I drank all throughout the day and night. Alcohol was really bad for me.”
Two years after her first escort, Ateba met her final client.
“I think in that hotel that day I felt like an animal. I felt like someone that was just a piece of meat that you could take a bite out of and just throw it away,” Ateba said. “I just remember at that point just looking up to the ceiling and saying, ‘God please help me.’ That’s all I said. After the man was finished, I got up, put my clothes on and I left. I just knew something about that time was different. It wasn’t right. It was dirty.”
The next day Ateba was driving with her son when she heard him say, “Mommy, I want to be a meacher.”
What he meant by that was preacher.
“At that point I remember thinking in my head, ‘How can I teach my son how to be a preacher if I am a prostitute?'” Ateba said. “He wanted to know about a God that I didn’t know anything about.”
That night Ateba made the decision to go to church. There she began to learn about a loving God who could totally set her free.
“He was talking about how Lazarus was dead and how this man Jesus Christ came and rose him and brought him alive again,” Ateba said. “I remember thinking, ‘I know that I am not in a coffin, and I know that I’m not dead like Lazarus. But something in me is dead – emotionally and spiritually,’ and I connected with Lazarus that day.”
Ateba made her way to the front of the church.
“This man put his hand on my shoulder and he said, ‘Stop, I’ll pray with you. You want to pray?’ I said, 'Yes. I want what Lazarus had. I want to come alive.'”
“He prayed with me, and then something happened on the inside of my heart. It touched me. I was no longer dead. I was alive. I could see all the pain, and I could feel all the hurt and all the past things that happened. I could feel and I just remember falling on my knees and just crying. It was so many years of pain bottled up the inside that it was like a volcano that just erupted,” Ateba said.
“I made a decision that day to serve Jesus Christ; to serve this man that brought me alive, to serve this man that helped me to feel – feel something that I had never felt before,” Ateba said.
In the months that followed, Ateba read the Bible and attended a Christian 12-step program.
“I really began to develop a relationship with God. That was awesome, because through that relationship I began to see myself not the way my earthly father saw me, but through the eyes of my Heavenly Father,” Ateba said.
Ateba then got her first real job! Four years later, she married Tyrone, and today they have a beautiful family. Ateba has completed a Master degree, and she teaches at a prestigious university. She also published her first book titled Rescued, where she shares her life story about God’s grace that set her free. Ateba has even been able to forgive her father.
“Jesus Christ healed me. My life was shattered, and He put every piece back together again. He washed me off. He cleaned me up. He purified my heart, softened me to be a woman again, gave me value, restored me, then called me 'Jewel,'” Ateba said. Can God change your life?
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