Dayna was a prostitute and stripper who worked in
the sex-industry porn movies. But everything began to change one evening when a man with the light walked into the strip club.
This is her account of what happened.
“Dayna Lovelady: From The Clubs to the Cross,” by Audra Smith, CBN.com.
Dayna Lovelady grew up in Detroit’s inner city. The violence of the neighborhood streets often hit home.
“As a child growing up in Detriot, there were a lot of difficulties,” said Dayna. “I also had a lot of family members who were addicts, from alcoholics to people who were on drugs. I saw that as the norm.”
Dayna searched for an escape from the chaos around her. She found it in school. She was a straight A student and a classically trained musician. But Dayna lived a double life.
“My other escape was alcohol, sex, and partying,” Dayna said. “I was very young when I started that process. I didn’t grow up in the church. To me, God was very far away. God was not personal. He was a God that sat up high and He looked down low, but He wasn’t a God that was going to sit down low with me.”
When she finished high school, Dayna earned a music scholarship to Tennessee State University. But when the semester started, Dayna found it difficult to pay for her living expenses. She decided to take a friend’s suggestion and work in the modeling industry.
“I talked to a friend of mine who told me about a guy who had a dance company if I wanted more money.” Dayna said. “And I found out that it wasn’t modern dance. It wasn’t tap dance. It was actually exotic dancing. But I said ‘I do need that money’ and so I decided to go ahead and do it. The very first night I danced I made about $1,500 and to be very young and make that amount of money… was pretty interesting.”
After a short time as a stripper, Dayna was drawn deeper into the sex industry. “I found out if you had sex, you would make more money,” Dayna said. “So I started having sex for money as well. And I was a typical streetwalker. I was a college girl doing this and had a pretty high GPA, had a scholarship, and was a classically trained musician. I really had two sides to me.”
By her second year in college, Dayna was tired of the sex industry, but couldn’t see a way out.
“I saw a lot of broken people,” Dayna said. “I saw a lot of women who really didn’t see any other way out. There were many cases where people would say to me ‘You just don’t belong here.’ I felt for a long period of time that I didn’t belong there. But they would say, ‘You seem different.’”
“There was one specific instance that I remember vividly,” Dayna said. “There was a man that came into the club and I remember the light that seemed to be around him on the outside. As he came into the very dark club, the light stayed with him. And he walked directly up to me and he looked at me and said, ‘You’re not supposed to be here.’ And he walked back out.”
Several months after her encounter, Dayna quit dancing and never returned to the industry. But, unfortunately, more trials were ahead. Dayna was diagnosed with severe cervical disease.
“During that time that I was going through the sickness,” Dayna said. “I was in and out of the hospital, going back and forth to the emergency rooms, and surgeries. As I started thinking more about the possibility of death, I really started to evaluate my life and the things I was going through. Also, my hair started to fall out. I started to look at myself differently.”
In desperation, Dayna found a childhood Bible she had hardly ever read.
“I came across a scripture that says our beauty shouldn’t come from the outward adornment such as braided hair, fancy jewelry and clothes,” Dayna said. “But it should come from the inner and quiet spirit that God doesn’t despise. So during that time, I realized that it wasn’t about how my hair looked. It wasn’t about the jewelry I wore. But it was about the inner spirit of what God was saying.”
“I do remember sitting there with the Bible,” Dayna said. “and saying ‘I want Jesus to be real to me. I want to know this Jesus the Bible is talking about.’ I just remember from that time, it didn’t mean that the problems all went away, but I had a new sense of hope. I had a sense of ‘I’m not living just to please people. I’m not living to make money. I’m not living to get a degree. I’m living with something more meaningful.’ I knew that there was a new story starting to be written by God in my life.”
After she graduated in the spring of 2005, Dayna went on to work at one of CBN’s Prayer Centers and was completely healed of her illness. She’s also a freelance writer and has earned her master’s degree. Today, she shares her story at every opportunity.
“Jesus is my everything,” Dayna said. “He is my Friend. He is my Counselor. He is my Savior. He is my Guide. The fact that Jesus died for me is so very personal for me, that He would do that for someone like me; somebody who was a prostitute, somebody who was a stripper. I would say to any person that is in a predicament like I was, is that Jesus died for your sins as well. He can do the same thing for them, no matter what their sin, no matter what their mistakes have been. God still loves them and He can clean their slates. He can give them a brand new beginning.”