Sex was the worst decision I ever made
Roxanne Bradey thought she was the coolest.
Entering High School, she was focused on how pretty she was and the attention she got from boys.
For a simple country girl who felt out of place years earlier in a private Christian elementary school, the popularity was intoxicating.
Roxanne was determined to lose her virginity as the next step in defining her identity.
Even though it went against everything her parents taught her. Even though she had pursued a relationship with Jesus from the age of 5.
I was like, “I'm going to do this. I'm going to do this. I'm going to do this,” Roxanne says of the conscious choice to rebel.
These labels were plastered on me, and they swallowed my life.
Buried in shame
After she had sex at 14, the social shame hit her immediately. Somehow, everybody in her high school knew.
Her peers’ flattering words were replaced with ugly slurs like “whore” and “slut.” And her social status was replaced with social isolation as parents refused to let their daughters hang out with her.
In one day — in one act — Roxanne’s carefree world came crashing down. Depression, anxiety, and hopelessness were sucked into the void left behind.
“These labels were plastered on me, and they swallowed my life,” Roxanne says. “I had battled this internal chaos of being suicidal, of having anxiety.”
Roxanne only knew one way to respond to the label of party girl: Own it.
When she thought about turning to Jesus, she was sure He wouldn’t take her back. That’s what people told her.
So Roxanne partied hard. She was promiscuous. She drank. She acted crazy.
“People fed off of it. People enjoyed it. People wanted to see it. So I just continued to do it to get approval from other people,” Roxanne says.
I was too much of a mess.
A girl gone wild
The inner turmoil wasn’t calmed by medication or counseling.
But her lifestyle, especially the sex, seemed to give her a sense of control.
The wild behavior continued throughout high school and stepped up at college, where there were no parents to answer to.
She only began to reconsider her path when she was hospitalized for exhaustion and dehydration in the waning months of her senior year.
At the time, she was attending a Bible study that a sorority sister had invited her to. So she began attending NewSpring Charleston regularly.
In a Sunday sermon at church, she heard the words “pack your bags and go,” and she knew that phrase — spoken for an entirely different purpose — was really meant for her.
Go home. It was the first time she felt God’s personal guidance in years.
So she completed her semester and returned to her hometown near Myrtle Beach.
But her sinful ways followed her there.
It was time for me to make a decision.
Broken and ashamed
Just as she did at college, Roxanne felt a yearning to reconnect with Jesus, but it wasn’t impacting her choices.
“I kind of had this feeling I was too much of a mess, and that I was going to have to clean it up before I even asked him for help,” she says.
When she felt most hopeless, ashamed, and alone, the hope of Jesus stepped in.
One night, after Bible study, sitting on the couch, she felt a holy fear that shook her to the core. God spoke to her heart again — this time, challenging her to make a choice.
“I knew that I was taking my life in one direction and that God was wanting to go another,” Roxanne says. “It was time for me to make a decision of whether or not I was going to follow Him.”
That moment of truth was immediately followed by a sense of God’s love and forgiveness.
“I said, ‘OK, God, you say you have peace, you have hope, you say you have abundant life. That's better than what I have got.'"
From that day, Roxanne’s actions began to line up with that heart of repentance.
For the next year, God gave her the strength to walk away from unhealthy relationships.
She focused solely on work, volunteering, attending church, and studying for a second degree in Christian counseling.
I knew God had a plan for me.
Restored and renewed
Day by day, Roxanne’s heart was healed, and she began to see herself the way Jesus saw her.
“I learned that I was a child of God. I learned that I was forgiven. I learned I was redeemed. I learned that I was a new creation,” she says. “All the things I had done, God had swept those all away.”
Instead of anxiety, she felt hope for the future. She discovered she didn’t need counseling or medication anymore.
“Now, with this confidence in Jesus, I knew God had a plan for me.”
Roxanne believes one of those plans is to use her counseling training to help girls like her. That burden lines up with a call to vocational ministry she heard at the age of 11.
Out of that confidence also came a willingness to date and eventually marry her husband, Chris, in August of 2017.
“He wasn't ashamed of my past,” she says. “He loved me for who God created me to be.”
Watch Roxanne explain how Jesus gave her a new identity and redeemed her pain.