Font Size » Large | SmallBy Jasmine L. Dees Bloodied and beaten beyond recognition, I gingerly and painfully inched my way across broken glass, crawling through a window into the cold night air to freedom. The man whom I had thought I would be with forever had decided to show me that forever was not what he had in mind. Thinking I was dead, he had tired of punching me and was so high on drugs he had collapsed on top of me. Unable to see out of my right eye, I crawled to the nearest payphone to call for help. How did I get to this place? I wondered. Jasmine on her first birthday.A sweet, bubbly little girl, I had begun life in the inner city of North Toledo, Ohio. Nonetheless, the light I possessed then eventually grew dim in the overwhelming shadows of unspeakable pain, ultimately shattering my high hopes and big dreams. Living in a broken family with years of unresolved issues, unaddressed pain, and unhealed trauma, my mother worked at creating good memories, most of which were made in the kitchen. This is where I acquired my love of cooking. But those fleeting moments of joy would be interrupted when my dad came home. I watched as he wrestled with wells of depression and anger. His inability to cope with his emotions led to a drinking and heroin addiction. When the high wore off, the anger turned into abusive rage towards my mom and, inconceivably, sexual abuse towards me. I felt worthless, confused, unprotected, and ashamed. RELATED: “Not Forgotten” Like so many other children, school became an escape from my tumultuous home life. Despite the turmoil I experienced on a daily basis, I excelled academically and also participated in choir. I embraced the love and attention of my teachers, but that triggered resentment from my peers, which led to jealousy and severe bullying. The emotional trauma of being constantly bullied drove me to join a gang for safety. Subsequently, high school arrived with a new set of challenges that included becoming a teenage mom twice, with my first child arriving when I was just sixteen years old. Added to the daunting task of my being a child raising children, both of my sons were diagnosed with health conditions; yet by God’s grace, I still managed to provide for and care for my sons. After witnessing the fear and control that bound my mother to a life of misery, I yearned to break free from that environment and create a life of freedom for my family. Nonetheless, after graduating from high school I found myself in the same chains due to a series of unhealthy and dangerous relationships like the one that left me so badly beaten. I was living day to day, trying to do my best with what I had when I experienced an encounter that would alter my life’s course. I met a woman doing outreach at the apartment complex where I lived. She invited me and several others to church. One by one the others turned down the offer, but when she locked eyes with me she declared, “I know you know the Lord.” Jasmine with her mom and brothers.In that moment I gained a mentor. This lady began to disciple me. She took me to church, taught me about the ministry of praise dancing, and simply loved on me. Her care, concern, and servant’s heart made an incredible impact on me and gave me the courage to witness to other women. In fact the atmosphere of the whole apartment complex shifted. Eventually my mentor’s family moved out of state to expand their ministry. She invited me to relocate and serve with them; however, my devotion to my mother led me to remain in Toledo. I eventually met and married a pastor’s son. After joining his family’s church, I was delighted to become involved in ministry, but it was short-lived and collectively the family fell into a backslidden state and my marriage descended just as quickly. After enduring years of infidelity and abuse, I became a divorcee, a single mother who was broken and lost. Yet in the midst of one of my many seasons of despair, I had a compelling desire to help and reach out to other women who like me were in need of love and support. Although I launched and attempted to develop an outreach ministry, the blows continued until it all came to a halt. Jasmine also caters, having gotten her love of baking from her mother. I was through with life. I decided, like many times before, that death was better than life as I knew it. But as I sat in my bathroom contemplating my options of using a gun or a deadly combination of pills, I heard a knock at the door. It was then I knew that even at your lowest, you’re never out of the reach of God because on the other side of the door was my cousin Jewel, whom I hadn’t seen in fifteen years. Jasmine, now happily married to Al.God led Jewel to my door that day and her heart, faith, encouragement, and love brought me back to the feet of Jesus and ushered in a new season and a renewed sense of purpose. After I shared my vision to help women who may be hurting and suffering in silence, Jewel encouraged me to pick it up again, and she partnered with me to relaunch the ministry that began years earlier. We named it Anointed Angels. When people encounter me, few tend to truly understand where my passion comes from, but upon uniting with an Open Bible church in Toledo, Ohio, called CityLight, I met a lovely couple, George and Sarah Williams, the church’s pastors. They encouraged me in my calling, hosted Anointed Angel’s Empowerment sessions, and helped me to grow deeper in my spiritual walk. I’ve learned over the years that the trials and pain that I experienced through rape, molestation, physical abuse, kidnapping, bullying, jealousy, and being a teenage mother were the result of the level of fear the enemy had towards me. I understand that the battle for my mind, body, and spirit originated because of the measure of anointing, power, purpose, and potential that lies within me. Ecclesiastes 3:11 (KJV) says, “He hath made everything beautiful in his time.” Giving full credit to the Creator, I have been purified by fiery trials, my sorrows have turned to joy, my ashes exchanged for a garment of praise, and what others experience through me is indeed exceptionally beautiful. With arms wide open and a heart for all of humanity, I have made an impact on lives near and far. I want everyone to know that God can transform your pain into purpose if you place it in His hands. Jasmine poses with her three youngest sons: (left to right) Breon, Bralin, Jasmine, and Kai. Her oldest son, Naje (inset), is away at college. Jasmine L. Dees is the founder of Anointed Angels Outreach Ministries and a member of CityLight Church in Toledo, Ohio. She is happily married to Al, an amazing husband who loves and sacrifices for his family “without measure.” You may follow Anointed Angels Outreach Ministries on Facebook @anointedangelstol.