People assume any girl that has the chutzpah to model for Playboy must be pretty confident in her own skin.
The truth is, I can’t remember a time when I didn’t struggle with deep insecurity and self-loathing. Me working for Playboy was the result of covering those deep wounds with the wrong kind of attention. But, when your soul is desperate, it will grasp at anything, no matter how low the bar is.
It’s been decades since I was that frightened, scantily clad gal who allowed the shallow nod of men attempt to fill the deep chasm within.
In fact, about a decade ago I discovered The One whom made my heart soar with joy, vision and purpose. My depression lifted along with that sinking feeling of never being good enough. All that nonsense was gently smothered by the presence of God’s unconditional love.
I basked in this place of deep healing and total acceptance, desiring to simply stay there…always. Anyone who ventures with God will admit, the journey is filled with unexpected delight, but comfort is never promised.
When my mentor, Lauren, invited me to a woman’s retreat at Bethel church in Redding California, my heart skipped a million beats.
Although I desired the company of these incredible women, past rejections from toxic friendships kept me paralyzed. If there was anything my life as a stripper and Playboy model taught me, it was females couldn’t be trusted.
God wanted to heal this deep wound, but I had to be willing to walk untrodden paths. Saying yes to that trip was its own battle; a huge milestone in learning true intimacy with women (who could be trusted) and intimacy with God. Incredible things played out because fear didn’t rule my actions. I went despite the fear.
But, God didn’t stop there. He gifted me a profound prophetic encounter with student ministers, Bella Vixey and Lani Leauanae. Both said God wanted me to step outside of my comfort zone; to emerge from the shadows and let God use my face to shine His light, something the Enemy tainted and twisted for many years. This was truly incredible because neither of these women knew me or my story prior to attending this trip!
They continued to explain what I already knew. “You’ve been hidden in the secret place where God has been restoring and building your true identity in Him. But, you can’t stay there because He’s ready to release you. Get ready!”
These two women sang over me, prayed and prophesied for over an hour. Deeper levels of fear, hiding, insecurity and self-loathing broke off. It felt as if some kind of surgery happened to my soul. I walked out of that room with a fresh perspective but I must admit, the introvert within was clenching at the thought of what God would have me do. As you can guess, I’m not a fan of surprises and that’s usually God’s modus operandi.
I’m saying all of this because a month ago, a little after my forty sixth birthday, my husband approached me about entering a contest called, “Over Forty and Fabulous”.
The idea of doing something like this was way outside my comfort zone.
I heard the faint hiss of familiar whispers, “Who does she think she is?”
My heart fluttered in retreat as I instantly snapped, “I can’t do that!”
Ah…how tricky the Enemy is. He always whispers in a way to keep you stuck in a loop that will forever go nowhere.
I remembered the words of life uttered from the lips of those Bethel prophets. Beauty was the word they continually repeated over me. New Beauty is the magazine sponsoring the contest…I couldn’t help but wonder, could this be my next step? And how would I know unless I tried?
My husband interrupted my thoughts, “The Enemy elevated you when you weren’t saved. Why wouldn’t God bless you now that your heart is bent on serving Him?”
It’s been my dream to publish Abba’s Heart, my intimate conversations with God, which is a 365 page devotional. This contest, with its winnings would more than provide for that.
I’m saying all of this because I don’t know what God is doing or how He’s going to do it, but I know in this season, with this contest, He has already broken off fear of man, hiding and deep isolation off of me.
I have a sneaking suspicion I wasn’t created to shrink back into the shadows, apologize for my existence and just slave away on my keyboard…alone. Although this book was birthed in isolation, what kind of joy comes from accomplishing this without support? I’ve done that. For years. One thing life has taught me is, I’m not really living the dream if no one else is dreaming with me.
I may have had a late start, but I’m excited to see how God is going to make up for all those lost years!