By Kemberly Cook
I was a stripper; then I met Jesus
At 6 years old, I noticed things weren’t good at home. I saw my parents drink and fight a lot and wanted nothing more than for them to be saved.
I would go to my Mamaw’s house and tell her what was happening. She taught me how to pray and told me all about Jesus. She told me if I wanted my parents to change, all I needed to do was ask Jesus. I went to church as much as I could. I prayed for my parents at the altar, weeping and pleading with Jesus to make my parents stop drinking.
In 1996, at age 12, I was going to spend the night with a friend. Being young, I decided to fill my backpack with whatever I could, even though I was only spending one night. My friend and I headed down the road to her house. Then my dad called me back. He snatched the bag, dumped it, threw me into my room and began screaming that I was trying to run away as he beat me with a wooden walking stick.
That night I lay in bed crying to Jesus. My prayer went like this: “Lord send me to hell and let me fight Satan. Let me defeat him. If I can destroy him, then my parents will stop drinking and they won’t hurt me anymore.” I thought, “Kemberly, don’t you move, don’t breathe too much — just lay still so Jesus can hear your prayer more clearly.”
At some point I fell asleep and I woke up in a different place. I walked out of a black cave, took a step to the left, and standing in front of me was Satan. We just looked at each other. I didn’t speak or try to defeat him. Suddenly he raised his arms and vipers began slithering toward me. I turned and ran but I wasn’t afraid.
It was a dream I wouldn’t remember again until one night standing in a strip club while talking to a missionary.
A few years after the dream, I forgot about my relationship with Jesus. I was tired of praying and seeing no results. I gave up. When I was 15, my parents sold me into marriage in exchange for $3,000 and a camper. I ran away on our honeymoon night and moved in with friends. I married again, had two children and divorced by age 20. Then I became a stripper and danced for the next decade. I married again in 2007, had a son, and divorced in 2011.
I was a complete mess and bound in darkness when Jesus heard my cry. As I was managing a club in downtown Jackson one afternoon, five ladies walked into the foyer of the club. I didn’t want them entering because they didn’t belong in that kind of club. So I ran to meet them. They held out cupcakes and introduced themselves. They didn’t judge or preach at me. They simply said, “We’re your neighbors and wanted to meet you.”
I knew they were Christians because I felt like I was talking to my Mamaw again. That moment got me thinking about Jesus again. They came into the club for the next couple of years, sharing Jesus with me and many others. They always came shining His undeniable light and love. Eventually, I would be radically saved and set free.
In 2015, I married again. The same lady who had walked into what I dubbed the “devil’s playground” and shared the love of Jesus with me would stand beside her husband as he declared Adam and me husband and wife.
Jesus then revealed the meaning of the dream I’d had when I was 12. In the dream, I’d had to run through vipers. When I was a stripper, “Vyper” became my stage name. I had to run through that era of my life before defeating the enemy — by the blood of the Lamb and the word of my testimony. (Revelation 12:11)
Kemberly Cook lives in Pearl with her husband, Adam, and children Ben, Dani and Max. They attend The Pointe Church in Brandon, where Kemberly teaches the youth drama class. Kemberly works at All Star Forest Products in Jackson, where Jesus sent her after rescuing her from the clubs. In 2015, she and Jesus wrote her life story, “Anointed for The Night Shift.” She loves reading but her favorite thing to do is travel the world to share Jesus and her testimony.