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Hiding From Hurt in a Strip Club

Verna loved the power, prestige, and money that came with being a stripper and a drug dealer. Having silenced her conscience with drugs and alcohol, she was surprised to encounter God. Read Transcript


I was having a good time, getting high.

I was having a good time drinking.

I was having a good time being promiscuous, selling drugs.

I made a lot of money.

I mean, tons of money.

NARRATOR: Pleasure and power were all

that Verna Masden cared about.

The reasons for her lifestyle choices

go back to her childhood, when she was one of 14 kids.

I felt overlooked.

I was like, searching for the love, like I wanted

that love and the validation from my mom and my dad,

and my dad never said that I love you.

NARRATOR: 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.

A person didn't take no stuff off

of nobody, especially a male.

NARRATOR: 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 I had to get married,

or I was going to die and go to Hell.

And I was like, well, I don't even like the guy, you know?

I know I'm pregnant.

I just wanna keep my baby.

NARRATOR: 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 nothing to do with God,

and I never went to church anymore.

And I don't wanna hear nothing about God,

I don't want to hear His name, I don't want to hear nothing.

I just don't want anything.

For years Verna scraped by as a single mom,

until a friend convinced her she could make money as a stripper.

Being a mother with two kids, getting

social service, food stamps, and stuff like that,

I said, $100 to dance over a three minute song?

I'm in.

NARRATOR: In no time she reasoned her way

into a new career.

I can feed my kids, I can pay my bills.

I can buy all kind of clothes, and different types of cars.

I could travel all over the world.

So that thought went out the window, that it was sleazy,

it was disgusting.

It flipped into, I'm gonna make a lot of money.

NARRATOR: And she did.

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.

NARRATOR: 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, you know, that also helped.

NARRATOR: 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,

bunch of men raining down 50's over your head, 20's, whatever,

and you're trying to dance, and trying

to drop it like it's hot.

NARRATOR: 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.

NARRATOR: But letting go of her lifestyle

wasn't as easy as she thought.

The money, because that was a lot of money.

There was the worth, too.

NARRATOR: Within weeks, the growing conviction Verna felt

brought her to a crossroads.

She holed up in her house for six weeks,

poring over God's word.

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.

NARRATOR: 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 that other stuff slowly dissipated.

NARRATOR: 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.

And I found my worht in Jesus Christ.

It's in Him that I move, and live, and have my pay.

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