I grew up in a certain denomination, but never truly knew God.
At the age of 13, I had my first serious relationship. Before that, I had boyfriends here and there, but there wasn’t any real commitment. I stayed with the same guy for 3 years, but he cheated on me several times. I became traumatized, I thought I was ugly and felt very insecure, so I decided to become a different person. I ended the relationship and stopped going to that church. I started to wear revealing clothes and sleeping around with a bunch of guys. I wanted to call people’s attention; I wanted to be considered the most beautiful girl in the room. I thought that if everyone found me beautiful, then my boyfriend would appreciate me and wouldn’t betray me.
So, I gradually turned into a vulgar person, doing the wrong things to fill the void I had inside. I was drinking every day, having relations with more and more men and, eventually, with women as well.
At the age of 17, I started another serious relationship with a guy who introduced me to drugs (marijuana and cocaine). I also began smoking cigarettes. Each day that passed, I dug myself into a deeper whole. I joined a gym and started taking anabolic steroids to get the body of a “video vixen”.
When that relationship ended, I was very frustrated with men and decided to play with their feelings just like they played with mine. I became a selfish person; I only dated people with money. I started going out everyday and became very aggressive. Whenever somebody said something I didn’t agree with, I’d be ready to fight them. The truth behind this was that I wanted to show off and draw attention to myself.
Inside, I suffered a lot because this wasn’t the life I wanted for myself. I often cried myself to sleep at night, I felt very alone. I acted like a depraved person. In my neighborhood, everyone badmouthed me; I was a horrible influence to others. My family was ashamed of me.
Deep down, I had the desire to know THIS God I heard so much about, but I didn’t have the strength to turn away from sin. My mother lived in another city, so I was on my own. There was no one to stop me and I did what ever I felt like doing. I came home whenever I wanted to; I practically lived in the streets, at parties, in bars…
Until one day, I decided to leave everything behind and move in with my mother. I grabbed my things and went, but the devil didn’t let me go that easily. He knew my dream was to be a backup dancer in a Brazilian funk group. A week after I was at my mother’s house, I received a call offering me a job as a backup dancer.
I dropped everything and went back to my old ways. That’s when I hit rock bottom. I achieved my dream of being a dancer, but the void was still there. I was still frustrated, depressed and full of traumas from the past. Until, I dropped everything and went to live with my mother again.
Once there, I gave my life to Jesus. I wanted to change. I asked God to give me a chance to know Him better, and He did just that. This was when I came to the Universal Church. I was delivered from all the traumas, received the Spirit of God and today I am a new Monique. When I had an encounter with God, the void I felt was filled by the Holy Spirit.
A family called YPG (the Church’s youth group) welcomed me with open arms. I found true friendship. This was also where I met my husband and now our goal is to help young people who are lost like I was one day.