Tomasa Guglielmi: Looking for Love
By Kara Lavengood
The 700 Club
CBN.com - “I always had bruises on my cheeks, on my arms. I felt at the time like it was wrong, like, ‘How could he do that to me? Why would he hurt me? Why would he make me cry?’ But I just let it happen. I thought that my love would change him.”
Tomasa Guglielmi fell in love young, and she fell hard. She was just 14 years old when she met her high school sweetheart. “It was my first boyfriend. My first love. He was just giving me love, giving me attention. And that’s something that I yearned for.”
By the time Tomasa was sixteen, she and her boyfriend were sexually active. But that wasn’t Tomasa’s only secret. She also hid her boyfriend’s anger. “He started being really controlling and, you know, ‘You’re the only girl for me.’ and ‘If I can’t have you, nobody else can have you.’ I thought I loved him and thought, ‘This is just a phase. He’ll stop doing what he’s doing.’”
But she couldn’t change him, and the abuse didn’t stop. “My mom told him, ‘You’re not allowed to come over here.’ He was upset, and one day he came to my house in his car, and he came knocking at the door.”
When she came outside, he kidnapped her. “He just grabbed me and threw me in the car and he took off crazy. And I remember screaming and crying and trying to get out of the car. And he held my body in and held me by the hair. And said, ‘You’re going to die tonight.’, and ‘If I can’t have you, nobody can have you.’”
She managed to jump from the car and run home. He was arrested and sent to jail. “I was glad to be done with it.”
But when he got out of prison and contacted her, Tomasa got sucked back into the relationship. “I thought maybe he had changed. Everything was all good in the beginning. He wasn’t being abusive and we were having fun. He was being perfect.”
They married when Tomasa was 21. But just one year later, the abuse started again. “I just had to do whatever he said. Now it was kind of worse because I was his wife now. So I really belonged to him. He wanted me to look like a Barbie doll. I had a breast augmentation. I was having plastic surgeries. He wanted me to be what he wanted, not what I wanted.”
Even with all the changes, her husband still wasn’t satisfied. He had a new request. He wanted her to strip. I’m thinking, ‘What? I had never even been to a strip club.’ I was hurt because I thought that if you love somebody, why would you want someone else to see their body. I was always wanting to please him.”
So she started stripping. “I was just afraid of him. I kept telling him I didn’t want to do it. I was embarrassed and I didn’t want to show my body. I was really scared and nervous.”
She also began drinking. “I hated doing what I was doing, and the alcohol made me not care. It made me not think about what I was doing.”
And at home, the abuse only got worse. Finally, she’d had enough. “I got so freaked out that I was like, ‘Oh my God! What if he accidentally kills me?’ And I just said, ‘I got to get out. I got to get out of here.’”
Tomasa left her husband and two years later, their divorce was final. “I just felt like I got married, and I thought that marriage was so sacred.”
Tomasa managed to hold down a regular job for a while, and did some modeling on the side, but eventually went back to stripping for easy money. “Society was telling me, ‘You’re beautiful. Sex sells. Use your body. Use your face. Use what you’ve got.’”
Tomasa hated who she’d become. “I said, ‘I’m tired this life and I’m tired of dancing. I hate my life.’ And I just cried out to God and I said, ‘Please, get me out of this situation.’”
A few days later, Tomasa met a young actor named Noel at a modeling event in Vegas. The two started a long-distance relationship. After a few weeks of talking, Noel called her up and made a confession. “He said, ‘I’ve always had a struggle with God. I want to get my life together. I want to be happy and I want to serve God, but I know it’s hard. I don’t know if I can do it by myself.’ And he said, ‘I’m going to this seminar. It’s a Christian seminar. Do you think that maybe you would want to go?’”
Tomasa went with Noel. She heard a woman share her testimony of coming to Christ and leaving her job as a stripper. “The girl came up to me and she said God told her to come to me and talk to me. And that’s when I knew like this was God. And I just remember crying and saying, ‘You know, this is time. I need to give my life to God. I need to stop doing what I’m doing.’ That’s the day that I got saved.”
“After that, I couldn’t go back to dancing. Since being saved, I never went back to anything. God healed me overnight.”
Noel also accepted Christ as his savior during the seminar. Just one month later, he proposed to Tomasa. Today they are married and serving God together.
“I always felt like I was alone. I always felt lonely. Now being saved, God said, ‘You’re never alone. I was always right there.’ God wants to be the one to fill our cup. He wants to be the one that we cry out to. I cried out to God and said, ‘Help me, I can’t do it anymore. I need a way out. Show me.’ And He did. You know, and I’m glad He did it when He did it.”
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