The mission of Refuge for Women is to provide a safe and healing environment for women so that they can live a life in pursuit of the dreams, gifts, and talents that God has placed within them. Deanna, a 2012 graduate lives her life in a way that makes our mission statement come alive. Since completing our program, she has celebrated twelve years of sobriety, three years of marriage, and the completion of a master’s degree. Today Deanna is actively working towards her doctorate and finishing the book she began in 2012. She hopes to have her first book published by Refuge for Women’s Annual Gala this November.
Ever since Deanna was a teen people had mentioned to her that she should write a book. As Deanna was being reintegrated into everyday life outside of Refuge for Women, she deemed it a viable time to get started. One of the most beautiful outcomes of Deanna’s process in writing this book is allowing herself to dive into her past without avoidance. In doing this she was able to gain perspective and understanding for what led her into the selling of her body. Transitioning her thought patterns from “this is all my fault” to grieving the years of influences that led her and so many other women into a lifestyle of objectification, abuse, and shaming patterns. Deanna is a woman who stands confident and speaks to other women that God is in the business of working all things together for the good of those who love him. So, she thought, what if I could invite others into the mind of someone who chooses to sell her body for sex? And what if I could invite women into hope?
Jesus has been so faithful to bring this book through multiple substantial edits, bringing the skillful editors and publishers into Deanna’s life to administer guidance and feedback. She has seen the Lord draw people to invest not only into her book financially but also into her heart through encouragement. The process of writing this book has been enduring but it has not been short of glorious encounters with God. One of Deanna’s favorite stories to recount comes after a vulnerable moment with the Lord where she cried out “why do you put this stuff on my heart if I can’t do anything about it? You’re burdening me with huge visions that I am completely incapable of going forward with.” When Deanna made this heart cry, it came at a time when she did not have the financial provisions to move forward with editing. In the middle of this season, Deanna had a dream one night, where $5,000 had been deposited into her bank account. She woke up bantering with the Lord saying “don’t joke with me like this” but in just a short amount of time, a check came in the mail with the exact amount from her dream which gave her the grace to move forward to become a step closer to publishing. Deanna has testimony after testimony of the Lord showing up in mighty ways of provision and sustenance for the things, he has called her to.
Deanna was once a woman entering Refuge for Women, reading a story of someone wondering if she made it, wondering if a life that was so far gone just like hers ended with a she made it? Seven years later Deanna looks forward to supplying Refuge for Women with a story from one of their very first graduates who has found a life that is completely unrelated to the sex industry, she has found a life of fullness and freedom. She is eager for women to be filled with courage as they get to know that someone who stood where they stand years prior is living a life that is possible for them too. “For a dream to come true you must start with a dream. A lot of us don’t have dreams anymore. So, to see something come true you must first start with a dream.” Deanna hopes that more women will step into dreaming when they read her story knowing that a life full of hope and promise is awaiting them on the other side of a courageous yes to seeking help.