WATCH: Preacher’s Daughter Finds Jesus After Going Off the Deep End


Janie Burkett was raised in a quiet town in Oklahoma. She was a pastor’s daughter with a happy childhood and loving family.

“We had a great church,” Janie said. “I always knew I was going to do something big for God. I loved Jesus so much.”

But when Janie was 10 years old, her parents separated.

“We were busy, busy with God,” Janie said. “They were busy helping other people but they forgot about themselves. The vision that I had of God began to switch. That He is a judgmental God. The vision of God was “If you are a loving God, then why do you let such bad things happen to good people?”

A few months later, Janie’s parents reconciled. They decided to travel full-time as evangelists but Janie hated her new life on the road.

“My childhood from that point on was hard because everything that I had known was crumbling,” Janie said. “I began to comfort eat. It was the one thing that would be there when everybody else left. I was 200 pounds at 15, 16 years old.”

At the age of 15, while her parents were preaching at a revival, Janie was raped by a boy her age. For years, she kept it a secret.

“For a long time, I took the blame of it, that it was my fault,” Janie said, “and I hated myself. I was raped when I was fat, so I just wanted to get rid of it. I wanted to get rid of it, so I think that is where most of the bulimia started.”

After five years on the road, Janie’s family settled down in a small Texas town. Janie plunged into the party life.

“I began to get in with the wrong crowd,” Janie said. “Then when I took my first hit of cocaine at 17 is when it was ‘over the top.’ The whole insecurity faded. And, this is what caught me with the drugs, because it completely took away the reality of what I thought about myself. But, as soon as the high faded off the insecurity came right back. So, I was hooked, my first hit and I was hooked.”

While her drug use was rising, Janie’s weight was plummeting.

“When I would look in the mirror and I was 110 pounds I was like, I have got to get thinner,” Janie said. “The only way I am going to be loved is if I am really, really, really thin. The more dope I can do, the thinner I can get. The more I throw up, the thinner I can get.”

Soon, Janie found a new way to take drugs; the needle.

“I had like a $300 a day or $400 a day habit,” Janie said. So then you start selling dope, then you start doing forgery, you start doing organized crime. It wasn’t a party life anymore, it was a way of survival”

Janie’s family was grieved over her addictions, but their efforts to pull her out were futile.

“They would try to do as much as they could to pour Jesus into me the time that I would be home,” Janie said. “They would put on Christian worship music when I would come home and I would clean up for a day, and there I’d go. I can remember my dad being in the driveway with tears pouring down his face because he knew he wouldn’t see me again for months.”

By the age of 22, Janie was a high profile drug dealer with 17 warrants out for her arrest.

“They had set my bond at 1.5 million dollars,” Janie said. “Like, 1.5 million dollars”

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SOURCE: The 700 Club
Audra Smith Haney

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