By: Kim Gardner
At age 36, Liberty Crouch feels like she’s already lived several lives.
Crouch recalls living in a sparsely-furnished apartment in Western North Carolina, broke and battling drug abuse when she noticed God’s voice.
“I was in a boarded-up apartment, paranoid and scared, and it was the first time I heard God’s voice say ‘forgiveness,’” Crouch said. “I knew it was God and I knew what it meant. I needed to forgive everyone who has ever hurt me and in turn, reach back and ask everyone I hurt to forgive me.”
For Crouch, that was a long list. Growing up in Florida, Crouch said she lived in turmoil most of her life, beginning with sexual abuse as a toddler. When her parents split, she moved to California- only to later be abandoned by her mother. Eventually, she moved back to Florida with her dad.
“(Mom) left for money, men and drugs,” Crouch said regarding her mom at the time. “My grandma (father’s mom) helped raise us. But there was abuse and abandonment and it impacted us all. I had to be ‘momma’ (to a brother and sister) so we didn’t really have time to be kids.”
Crouch said her dad took care of them as best he could, while battling demons of his own.
“By 12, I became uncontrollable. My mom and all the women on that side of the family had been labeled bipolar or had other medical diagnoses,” said Crouch. “At 12, my dad took me to a psychiatric hospital, where I was labeled bipolar. I stayed there for a while, was on lithium and spoke with counselors and that’s when I discovered memories of the (sexual) abuse.”
In and out of the hospital, Crouch said she wanted it all to end.
“I tried to kill myself at 13,” she said. “I took a bunch of aspirin and I used to cut myself at the time. There were deeper issues that needed to be dealt with.”
She now realizes what was missing. Reflecting on her past, Crouch said she needed Jesus in her life, but didn’t know how to get close to Him.
On her own at a young age, Crouch took refuge at her grandmother’s house.
“She’s awesome, and I know that now, but she had rules and boundaries and I rebelled against that,” Crouch said.
She starting smoking cigarettes and pot. She lost her virginity at 13.
“I thought I was a grown woman now,” she said. “I looked like it and I acted like it.”
At 15, Crouch became pregnant. She moved in with her boyfriend, and began a life plagued by domestic violence.
“I never had a positive male in my life,” she said. “I saw them as untrustworthy.”
Years later, the death of her granmother tipped the scales and Crouch descended back into the dark life of drugs, working as a stripper to maintain her lifestyle.
Eventually, she found herself on rock bottom, yet again. She reached out to her dad in Western North Carolina, and asked if she could come up for a fresh start. Unfortunately, her demons followed. Locked in a bathroom, with a bottle of booze and pack of smokes, Crouch started cutting herself. She recalls feeling worthless and alone. Family members called emergency responders and they broke down the bathroom door to get her the help she needed.
“When I got out of the hospital, my mom finally stood up to be my mom. She was stable and worked for a domestic violence agency,” said Crouch. “She really brought a reality to me, but I needed more. My mom did good with what she had to give, but you can’t expect something from someone if they don’t have it.”
Once again, Crouch fell back into a familiar pattern. She got hooked up with another drug user, started using meth and crack, and went back to work stripping to support her habbit.
“Meth is so evil. It’s the devil,” Crouch said. “It makes you a monster. In the meantime, I ended up losing my kids because I failed a drug test, and I thank God for that.”
It proved to be a blessing in disguise, marking another new beginning. Crouch was finally ready to walk away from a life of drugs and abuse. Alone in an apartment in December 2012, Crouch said she made a life-changing decision to listen to God’s voice and let go of the pain of her past. It changed her.
“I was given peace and I slept,” Crouch said. “Life just went uphill for me.”
She’s now active in church and Bible study. She said she has peace for the first time in her life.
“I was healed and delivered from hell,” Crouch said. “God put love in me. I just love people now. God saved my life so many times. God did not want me dead and he brought me to others to show what God can do.”