How Sunshine Became Jennifer

In middle school, I was bullied for being fat, and awkward. The children in school would torment me with chants, “On your march, get set, Turkey neck!” I started leaving school and going to a local sub shop. I would go back to school and eat my lunch in the bathroom. I learned how to eat for comfort, and avoid social situations. No wonder, today, I suffer from emotional eating and social anxiety. Eventually, I realized that I did not have to keep skipping school; I learned that I could skip home life as well.

As a runaway at the age of 12. I was promiscuous with men three times my age. I would use marijuana, alcohol, and eventually ecstasy. As I lived on the street, I sold my body, time, and soul for the love that I did not have for myself, or receive from my dad. My dad was never in the picture, as he suffers from alcoholism, drug addiction, and a host of other difficulties. He felt that the best way to protect me from his demons was to avoid me. His avoidance of me, made me think that something was “wrong” with me. My father’s rejection, coupled with the negative feedback I received from my peers caused me to believe that I had little value, was unacceptable, and had to work for approval.

About the age of 16, I went to JobCorps. I believed the lie that I was bisexual. I did not believe much in myself; hence my difficulty in finishing things. I left JobCorps once I earned my GED; however, I let before I could become a CNA. I came home, only to run away again, and be in a homosexual relationship for 4 years. My mother listened to me describe some of the mental and emotional symptoms that I was experiencing and took me to a professional where I was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder. I refused to believe that I had this disorder and continued to self-medicate, engage in criminal activity, and be promiscuous with whoever would have me.


At the age of 21, I began exotic dancing. I was introduced to cocaine at the age of 22. I was convicted that same year. During my prison sentence, something changed. I slowly realized that my name was not Sunshine, it was Jennifer. I began to understand that if I did not forfeit death to experience life, my jail cell would be my new home for life or the mental ward.

I was released from prison, March 25, 2009. Since then I have obtained my AA Degree in Human Services. I enter into Howard County Detention Center on a biweekly basis to minister to the women there; I facilitate the Celebrate Recovery program. With new confidence, I manage a blog, where I let my pain give God glory. I am a wife to an awesome husband. Our marriage was not a walk in the park. We have been married for 6 years but separated for 3 and half years. Today, my husband and I are committed to making the marriage work. My husband and our 5-year-old are growing in love together.

I have worked as a Case Worker for the past year with people with similar difficulties as I. Prior to that I was an Administrative Assistant at a homeless shelter. Currently, I am working on my Bachelor’s degree in Social Work and Psychology. I am learning to parent my son who is Autistic. God is my Redeemer, Healer, Keeper, and Way Maker. Due to my submission to God’s love and power, my life has never been the same.

I have been delivered from low self-esteem, people pleasing, drug addiction, cigarette addiction, homosexuality, lust, self-hatred, bitterness, self-loathing, approval addiction, and procrastination. Please follow me on as I make God smile, by releasing my pain to benefit those who are hurting. Ultimately, my life goal is to bring the unsaved to Jesus Christ.


5 Comments Add yours

  1. K Marie says:

    Thank you for sharing your testimony. That was very brave of you. It brings to mind a verse:
    “Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me. Then I will teach transgressors your ways, so that sinners will turn back to you.” Psalm 51:12-13 (NIV). Your experiences that have led you back to Christ are a demonstration of God’s great power, grace, and healing. In addition, you are now speaking and ministering to others; you are helping others who have similar struggles. Amen, sister. I will be praying for your ministry.
    K Marie

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Lady Jay says:

      Thanks sis! To God be the glory! My goal is to use my pain and trauma to draw others to Him. Be blessed!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Wonderful post. I know it is not easy to share such personal parts of one’s life but our testimony is a spiritual weapon because it tells the world what God has brought us through and has done for us. I have also posted my testimony on being a runaway. If you would like to read it you can find it here
    Thanks for being so transparent and sharing your story. God bless you and your loved ones.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Lady Jay says:

      God bless you Papberry! Thank you so much!


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