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Do-Over: How God Turned a 30-Year Mess Into a Message

Born out of wedlock, Joanna felt she forced her parents into a family they wouldn't have chosen otherwise. She grew hungry for love and attention until she found exactly who she needed in the midst of her messy life. Read Transcript


I was spending my private time online in the chat rooms

and meeting these men and inviting them into my bed,

into my heart, and living this secret life on my own.

And yet during the day, I was holding down a full time job

and was very responsible, and came across

as someone who really had it all together.

NARRATOR: Joanna grew up believing she was unwanted.

Born out of wedlock, she felt she forced her parents

into a marriage and a family they

wouldn't have chosen otherwise.

The pregnancy was accidental.

And I just translated that into meaning that I

hadn't been really wanted.

It just kind of reinforced that message

that my presence here was sort of a mistake,

that I was an accident.

I really just wanted to be wanted.

I wanted to know that someone had wanted me.

NARRATOR: She longed for acceptance

and rushed into a marriage when she was 21.

But over the years, Joanna and her husband grew apart.

She noticed he was spending more time on the computer.

After 11 years of marriage, she discovered

he was involved in a relationship

with a woman he met through an online chat room.

I confronted him at that point and asked him

who he had been talking to and what did she mean to him?

And I remember he told me she was his new best friend.

And that just devastated me.

I had been married to him for 11 years.

And I thought I was his best friend.

And he was talking to someone 3,000 miles away

who was his new best friend.

And it was happening under our roof

while I was in the next bedroom.

And it just killed me.

NARRATOR: Joanna and her husband divorced.

Both angry and curious about what

had drawn her husband away from her,

she created an online account.

The chat room conversations were casual at first,

but became sexually explicit over time.

It was like being a kid in a candy store,

having access to all these men who seemed far more interesting

than my first husband had been.

And they were interested in me.

They were interested in what I had to say.

NARRATOR: Joanna became addicted to the attention.

I started to get hungry for that,

and was really looking forward to just feeling like that

again, because I had felt so unwanted and kind of tossed

away and rejected.

I didn't necessarily want to get healthier, get better

and recover from the divorce.

I really just wanted to feel good all the time.

NARRATOR: The conversations led to in-person meetings, and then

sexual encounters.

I really believed at that point in time

that my only real value to men was as a sexual object.

I even nicknamed myself the queen of the one night stand.

I knew deep down inside how empty I was.

And if someone got too close and got to know me really well,

they would see that emptiness.

NARRATOR: For seven years, Joanna

lived a secret life of promiscuity and online

addiction.

In 2007, she met a man who was a Christian

and began attending church with him.

It was then she was faced with a choice.

He eventually told me that he was

interested in being with someone who shared his faith.

And I certainly wasn't that woman at that time,

but I wanted to be with him.

I remember that night, praying as best I knew how,

and having a conversation with God

and telling him that I wanted him to make me

into the kind of woman that the gentleman I was dating

said he wanted to be with.

I had no idea, really what I was asking for.

NARRATOR: The next time she attended church, something was

different.

Everything they said seemed to make sense.

And it was almost like God was just

giving me these insights and these revelations

just one right after the other.

And I realized I wanted to do things God's way.

I realized all of a sudden that I was

tired of doing things my way.

I wanted to know what the Gospel meant.

I wanted to know what it meant to be saved.

NARRATOR: Joanna met with a pastor who shared the Gospel

message with her.

I went home after that meeting.

I read through the Scriptures that the pastor had given me.

I turned around, got on my knees next to my bed,

and just started to confess, confess a lifetime of sin.

I confessed my addiction.

I confessed all the sexual sin, the years of sleeping around,

and the tears came.

And there was just sobbing and just, I'm sorry, God.

God met me there.

God met me in that mess and He lifted that burden.

And He forgave me.

And I remember feeling happy, happy like I had never been.

I felt giddy, almost, and physically lighter,

like I was just completely unburdened from all of that.

NARRATOR: Joanna surrendered her life to Christ

and was delivered from her online addiction

and promiscuity.

And while the relationship with the Christian man

eventually ended, the acceptance she found in Christ

has been there ever since.

Today she shares her story through her book, "Do-Over,"

a testament to the love that changed her life.

And now I know without a doubt,

I know that God wants me.

I know that I was wanted from the beginning of time by Him,

and that I am loved by Him.

Literally, I heard, you are a treasure.

And it was only because of the fact

that He had created me, to have value just because I was here,

because the God of the universe knit me together,

because He said I was fearfully and wonderfully made,

and because He had plans and purposes for my life

from the very beginning of time.

There are no accidents and there are no mistakes.

And I am living proof that that's true.

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