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Turning a Past of Horror to a Future of Success

Kim remembers, “There was raw sewage on the floor, toilets didn't work. We had no running water, no beds. No refrigerator, stove.”

For years, Kim Zulkowski and her 12 siblings suffered the abuse of neglect. For them, foraging through garbage for food was a normal way of life.

Kim recalls, “All you had to do was clean off the ants and bugs and dirt and that's what we ate. We were always hungry.”

But even more damaging was the sexual abuse that started when Kim was three when a family member sold her for sex in exchange for drugs or food.

Kim says, “When I looked in the mirror I saw nothing. I didn't know I had a right to my own body. I placed myself somewhere else. one of those places was a field of dandelions. I could not feel or hear what was happening to me physically at that time. I started cutting private areas of my body. I thought if they saw that there was blood there that they would be scared off. I was wrong.”

Finally, when Kim was 8, social services discovered their living conditions and neglect and removed her and her siblings from the home. They were placed in separate foster homes.

Kim remembers, “The day I was removed and placed in foster care that was the hardest day of my life. I could take the sexual abuse. I could not take being separated from my brothers and sisters.”

Over the next six years, Kim would be placed in different foster homes where she was sexually and physically abused. Then when she was 14, she went to live with her Christian grandmother, Margie Ree Harris, who began taking her to church.

Kim shares, “The first thing that she told me was that ‘I love you.’ I had never heard those words before in my life. She taught me that I was worth something. That God is preparing me for something great. And she would always say, ‘You gonna be somebody after while.’”

But Kim still rejected the God her grandmother served.

Kim says, “Because I was hurt and I needed revenge and I needed to be avenged.”

One day, she took a walk and passed a church where she heard a hymn being sung that really touched Kim’s heart.

Kim recalls, “She was singing this song about an anchor and that anchor being a solid rock. ‘I need that. I need an anchor.’ If Jesus is the answer, I needed to know him.”

Kim began praying to God.

Kim says, ‘”I know you don't know who I am, because if you knew who I was you probably wouldn’t have let all these things happen that happened to me. But I hope you want to know me, because I want to know you.’ I just started to ask Him to show me how to find Jesus.”

At 16, Kim was emancipated. Now an adult, she started working to provide for herself and her siblings. But there was one thing she couldn’t escape…memories of the abuse from her past.

Kim says, “I began to really wish death on them. I thought that they deserved to die.”

At 17, Kim met a Christian man named Alan. As they began dating, he started taking her to church with him. That’s when she learned how to find Jesus.

Kim shares, “The abuse happened to me, but I sinned. I lie. I had hatred, animosity. I was in need of a Savior.”

Kim surrendered her life to Christ and was baptized. As Kim’s relationship with God grew so did her understanding of her need to forgive her abusers.

Kim shares, “None of my abusers have ever come to me and asked me for forgiveness. They don't need to. I forgave them because God forgave me.”

When Kim was 19, Kim and Alan married. She graduated from college with a degree in social work and business administration. She wanted to provide safe homes for children so she became a foster care mother. Kim and Alan are also parents to their three biological children.

Kim says, “When I see my children experience the type of love that I never did growing up it brings me amazing joy and it definitely brings me healing.”

Kim is also an award-winning writer and movie producer. She’s best known for her film honoring the spiritual legacy of her late grandmother - starring Loretta Devine - called “Grandma’s House.”

Kim shares, “In order to truly heal from an abusive past, you have to have a Savior. You have to be able to cling to the solid rock. God will never fail you. The purpose of it all, was for me to come out of that giving God the glory and knowing that no matter what happens in life, God can bring you through it.”

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