Deanna wanted to model or become an actress. She basically wanted to do anything where someone would notice her. Growing up with an alcoholic and suicidal mom who used sex as a weapon for manipulation, she learned early on the extreme ways it would take to be noticed and perhaps one day even be loved. She entered into statewide bikini competitions and modeled lingerie in local restaurants and that’s where she met him.
At 18 years old and already an addict and alcoholic, a man sat at a table in the restaurant with free shots of alcohol and asked if she wanted to model for local ads. Only within weeks, more alcohol and drugs were being provided, more money was being offered, and she was asked how far she would go to maintain this life. It wasn’t long before he put her up in a hotel and sent one person after another every half an hour into her room. She reached a point where she would shove her head into a pillow and cry, as they continued with what they came for. Some nights she would lock them out and hide until they would go away.
Getting caught up in the drug scene and with the wrong side of the law, she was offered a way out. A way to do what she was already doing, but this man said he will now make her a star. Having no dignity or self-worth anymore, this seemed the logical next step. He sent to her to California to perform in porn movies and magazines. She was already familiar with porn because her mom would show her the movies her parents watched when she was 5 years old. Deanna knew in first grade that she would grow up to be just like those girls her mom showed her. Now was her chance to make a name for herself. However, she ended up on more drugs, in hospitals from the physical damage from the intensity, and taking antibiotics regularly to counteract the diseases being passed around. She still thought well maybe this it. “This is how I will become known.”
The beautiful reality is that in the midst of all of this, she was known by God. He hadn’t missed her or overlooked her. And while he didn’t purpose any of the pain or suffering in Deanna’s life, He was able to work though it.
After ten years trying to make her way back out of the porn industry, the praise and attention earned was more addicting than the drugs. And where the porn industry would tell her she was too far in to get out, God was continuing to pursue her. Now, as she describes it, her life is a “passionate thank you” to God.
Deanna is now thirteen years sober, nine years removed from the sex industry, and is married to a wonderful man she met at seminary.
What We Chat About
- Having discernment of when to share the sacred parts of your story and when to hold back
- Cultivating Authentic Relationships
- Allowing your whole life to be a ministry
- Sharing your faith in relationship and planting seeds of faith
- Walking out your faith without trying to pretend your past doesn’t exist
Why It Matters
You may not caught up in the sex trade, but you may find yourself struggling to leave an addiction or a sinful area of your life. Or, maybe the Lord has rescued you from something already. Deanna’s story and the witness of her life and ministry will encourage you to share your story with faithfulness and discernment. She’ll encourage you to tune your ear to the voice of God above all else.
Moreover, Deanna will remind you of the urgency for each of us to share our faith. More than allowing your “pain to become your platform”, her story will urge you to allow your redemption to build the platform of Jesus. She’ll encourage you to allow God to work through the uniqueness of who you are and what He’s done in your life to draw people to Him.
How To Learn More
Deanna has recently published her book, Purchased: Leaving the Sex Trade. In a world that speaks out against human trafficking and excuses buying and selling those who are there by choice, this book will uncover the detailed life of a girl who allowed herself to be sold. Choice is not a simple matter when the choice is derived from decades of compounding trauma and addictions. She hopes to educate culture in a way that encourages us to stop buying sex in all forms and to instead honor one another as a whole being. This is not an easy read, but it’s an honest one that depicts chaos that leads to selling one’s self. If there is hope for her, no one is too far gone.
You can find Deanna’s book on Amazon.
You can also connect with Deanna online through email at firstname.lastname@example.org
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Until next week, I hope you’ll lead like Jesus.
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