"I was just tired. I was so tired of my life. I was so tired of hurting..."
In an I Am Second video, Karen Green describes how she turned herself in to the police on prostitution charges.
"Do you have a warrant for my arrest?" she asked the woman there, and the woman laughed, saying there was no warrant. Karen insisted, "It's there, the warrant's there", and sat and waited until it was found.
"Thank you Lord," she breathed when it was.
She told God, "I can't even see the time they're talking about, 25 to life; but God, whatever you do, I don't want to go back out there the same way I came in here."
Karen's pain can be traced back to when her next-door neighbor, whose care she was left in while her mother worked, asked her a question. "Won't you let me touch you?" he said. After he did, he gave Karen a note and she went to the store up the road to buy some candy.
By the time she was 13 Karen had a child. Her mother was angry; angry Karen had gotten pregnant and angry her new boyfriend was making passes at her daughter instead of her. "She dismissed me," Karen recalls, and she was left to fend for herself and her son.
She entered an abusive relationship with a man whom she thought would be able to take care of her and her son. "He hit me, he held guns to my head," she says. "Sure, he took care of us. But it came at a big price."
Karen continued to sell her body on the streets like she had for the first time when she was only a little girl.
"One guy took me in and he fed me drugs," she says. "Crack cocaine. And my son was seeing all of this..."
She shakes her head and wipes her cheeks clear of trails of tears. "I was very angry. I was sick of everything. It really didn't matter."
"I needed money to survive, and this was the way I lived my life. The way I got my food, the way I paid my rent," she says.
"It just had gotten so bad."
She says she did not know anything else but to go to the streets, and her only concern was that her son had something to eat and somewhere to sleep.
She was miserable. She remembers going to get drugs and doing them on her bed. She remembers selling her body to man after man, all the while praying "God, please help me."
Then she would pick up the drugs and continue to use. Until the day she handed herself over to the police and conceded to a prison sentence.
"God, whatever you do, I don't want to go back out there the same way I came in here," she prayed.
"Please help me."
She says that was when her life began to change. That was when she surrendered, because she didn't know what else to do.
"They had church [in the prison]," she says, and scoffs, "Church. I don't do church. But just to get out of the dorm with all those women, I went to church."
She began to hear what the pastor was saying, about how hardships are like covers that cloud and darken our spirits, our souls, and how God lifts those covers and sets us free. "What happens is your soul begins to get light," Karen says. "You begin to gain strength, and you can live."
Karen knew that was happening to her soul, and she thanked the Lord.
"And I knew I had to change, but I didn't know how to change," she says.
"God, through His word, began to teach me how to change."
"He changed my life."
Karen has founded Haven of Love Ministry where she works towards healing and restoration of those trapped in the cycles of self-destruction that physical abuse, mental abuse, and drug addiction could cause. The son who once saw her do crack cocaine with a man has grown and is now a pastor in Kansas City.
She has dedicated her life to telling people about God, who healed her heart and transformed her mind, body and soul. Transformed her life. •