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Wiped Clean from Ugly Past

Poverty. Hatred. Abuse. Just a few words that defined BJ Garret’s world in Tyler, Texas. BJ was eleven, when her mother began prostituting her just to pay the bills.

“I have very vivid memories of my mom physically having men come into my bedroom at night,” said BJ of her past, “and being told things like, ‘I've paid for you, you're going to lay there.’”

Even more tragic, the sexual abuse had started years earlier–with her father. 

“My dad doing things that no dad is supposed to do to his little girl. I had no healthy concept of love,” BJ admitted. “Love was very sexual to me. I just remember feeling very ugly, very alone, very, just - unwanted.”

BJ’s mother finally stopped prostituting her when BJ got pregnant by her boyfriend and had a baby girl when she was 15. But becoming a mom also gave BJ something else she needed.

“I wanted to be wanted. And having a baby fulfilled that,” BJ said confidently. “She was going to be perfect and lovely and love me unconditionally.”

After a few years experiencing her daughter’s love, BJ got pregnant again. But now with a new boyfriend, things were different.

“All he said was, ‘I don't want to be a dad.’ And I just thought there's no way I will ever let my child feel, even for a moment, the way I felt my whole life.” BJ continued, “I really thought I was doing the very best thing for my baby by having an abortion.”

But what she had convinced herself was a merciful decision, only brought more guilt and self-condemnation.  

“It was like just a little section of my heart was to never beat again,” she said soberly. “I was the dirty, ugly, gross, vile human that now put this ugly cherry on top by ending my own baby's life.”

At 19, BJ had another child, a son. Now a struggling mother of two, she decided there was only one way for her to make enough money. 

“I was mom by day and stripper-prostitute by night,” said BJ. “My body had been used my whole life to pay for things, but it was always forced upon me. Now I was in control. Every song, every dollar, every set, I just got more cold-hearted.”

Two years later at 21, BJ would get pregnant again, this time by a client. By then her heart had become so hardened, she ended the pregnancy.

“My heart was just an ice ball,” confessed BJ, “there was no sentimental emotion at all. I was so far removed from the reality of anything, especially that required emotion.”

A few years later BJ reconnected with a childhood friend at a wedding. Jay was loving and fun, much different than other men she had dated. It wasn’t long before, again, she got pregnant. 

“So when I found out that I was pregnant by this guy that I had genuinely fallen in love with. I just thought, ‘Wow, I blew it. It’s over,’” BJ shared. “I had the ugly cry going, and he’s like, ‘What is going on? What’s wrong?’ And I just kind of blurt out that I was pregnant. He starts jumping on our bed and hooping and hollering. And he’s like, ‘I’m gonna be a dad! I’m gonna be a dad!’”

The two married a week later. BJ stopped having sex with other men, only stripping when they needed the money. Then after moving to Bullard, Texas, BJ took a job at a tea shop owned by a Christian couple.

“They were loving and just normal people that loved Jesus,” BJ said of her new employers. “They began to love me and to pour into me; they didn’t know any of my past. And they finally invited me to church.”

Church seemed like a safe space so BJ began attending regularly. One night at an altar call, she prayed, asking for God’s forgiveness.

“Nobody else knew my ugly. Not my husband, not my coworkers, but I knew all of it. I knew every ugly thing.” BJ remembered her prayer saying, “I was just begging God to be real. And just begging Him to change me and to fix me and to forgive me.”

But in the days that followed, part of her still couldn’t let go of the guilt, anger, and self-loathing. That would change the day she was baptized. 

“I just always felt so dirty, so ugly, so gross, so vile – and now I’m clean,” BJ said with a smile. “It was like I could physically feel all of that ugly being washed away.”

In time BJ was able to accept God’s forgiveness. She also forgave her parents and even saw her husband Jay and her father give their lives to Christ. BJ now serves as the Executive Director of Christ-centered Abortion Recovery & Education, as she hopes that no child ever feels unwanted.

“And the reality is that I had never been unwanted,” she said cheerfully. “Love should never cost you anything. But real love cost Jesus everything, so that we could experience real love.”

To learn more about BJ or to check out the work she and her team do with C.A.R.E. Christ-centered Abortion Recovery & Education, check the links below!

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