Where does your story start?

I have never imagined that this is what I will be doing, publicly, after all these years of silence. But I want to do this to encourage people, that no matter who you are and what you’ve done, you do have hope. I was born and raised in Ukraine. My first memory is a feeling of freedom, and fascination with nature. So complex and beautiful. I was very curious child, I was explorer. I had no boundaries and no curfew. Now I know it was neglect and I was growing up an orphan with living parents. My grandparents volunteered to take me in for few years when I was about 6 years old. My grandma was strict but kind. I had discipline and chores in her house. We traveled together and they allowed me to speak freely, always encouraging to form my own thoughts and opinions. I played chess with my grandpa and learned how to read and write. By the time I went to school I was way advanced. Up to grade 7 I had a glorious life. I was competitive swimmer; I sang in the choir and traveled around performing with my group. I was straight A student. And I wanted to be a police officer. 

My parents struggled in their marriage. Became an alcoholic and lost well paid jobs. For outstanding bills government turned off our electricity and hot water. My home was infested with mold, cockroaches and mice. We struggled and starved in poverty. My home was always full of strangers and I was raped numerous times. My family and authorities didn’t protect me. I harbour hate and resentment against the world.  I started drinking. When I thought It couldn’t get worse, I woke up with severe abdominal pain. My mother dropped me off and abandoned me at the hospital. I was in labour. One month before my 15 birthday I’ve delivered a baby girl. I didn’t know I was pregnant and didn’t know who her father was.  She had health complications and had to stay in the hospital but for this to happen I had to refuse my parental rights. I felt guilt and shame abandoning my baby. She passed away 3 month later. I borrowed some money and bought her casket and a lot at the cemetery. I felt I owed her proper burial. People were getting ready to celebrate New Year and my friends were digging hole in frozen ground for me to bury my daughter. I was broken.

I’ve never experienced pain so deep, so powerful, so destructing. Grief was overwhelming. I couldn’t breath and had chest pain. I couldn’t sleep-thoughts and visions of me seeing her born and burying her were like a non-stop movie in my brain. I punished myself for her death. I was desperate and in despair. I needed to shut this down. Booze wasn’t working anymore. I had to drink until I blacked out. Most of the time I woke up in the hospital or a stranger’s house raped and beaten. I started using heavy drugs. I tried heroin for the first time and was hooked. I was out from 8-12 hours and life sped up. Days became month, month became years.  My life had simple purpose: get money, get high, check out for a while and start again.  

3 years later I was tired of this lifestyle. I saw people dying around me like flies, getting killed or went to jail. I knew it must be more to my life than this. I wanted to quit drugs. My friend hooked me up with a rich lady who offered me a job. I aggreged egger to escape. I don’t remember the plane ride, and going through customs is a complete blur. I remember I woke up and heard the Muslim call to prayer Allah Akbar. It was very hot I was wearing plaid shirt and winter booth. I was sweating because drugs wore off and I felt sick. Many people don’t quit because of it. Imaging having the worst stomach flu and labour pains for a week. Sometimes body cannot stand it and shot down organs, and people die from it. I recovered. I’ve discovered that I was in foreign country… and that I’ve been sold into human trafficking. I’ve never had a victim’s attitude. I thought how I can survive this. And it was huge upgrade for me. I wasn’t raped or beaten, I had bodyguard and I made money. I bought gold and diamonds, fancy clothes and gourmet food and tons of …ecstasy. 

My bodyguard shared Gospel with me and when my grandpa had a heart attack, he took me to Jerusalem to pray to God at the Wailing Wall, or Western Wall, in Jerusalem. I knew I didn’t deserve God’s attention, but God heard and answer my prayer in miraculous way. He saved my grandpa’s life. I decided to go home. I had enough money saved to start new life. One of my bodyguard cheated me out of all my possessions and my aunt stole and spent all my money. I was furious. In my absence heroin swallowed my city. I turn to familiar. I became right hand of the number one drug dealer in my city. I had unlimited amount of drugs, money and influence. I realized that I would end up in the cemetery because my dose had no limit. I decided to quit and leave my city. 

I came to Canada and ended up on cocaine, crack and tons of alcohol. Ended up living in shelter, then rented small room in the house and started my new life. I was poor and hungry again, but I was determined to make something out of my life. I went to ESL class and started learning English from level 0. It was like kindergarten with old people. I was embarrassed and self-conscious, I felt stupid. My friend found for me 1-year cosmetology government credit course for new comers.  I went to apply, and receptionist told me that I wouldn’t pass the test because my level of English is way too low. I was angry inside.  “Who do you think you are!” I thought. But I asked her for the forms saying:” If I fail at least I’ve tried”. I got a job at Canada’s Wonderland, my bus ride was 1 ½ hours one way. I got a library card and was reading novels. I had a small dictionary with me, and I would find the definitions of words I didn’t know. After 3 months, I wrote the test. From 100 people 30 were chosen and I was one of them. I finished my course with 96% average mark and passed my licence exam (2 hours, 200 questions) with 72% from first try. 

Then I met a Christian boy who madly fall in love with me. We dated for a while, then moved in together and our baby girl was born. I thought if I would have love, family and home, I would finally have peace.  I was “clean” and for the first time understood how bad my anxiety and panic attacks really were. I turned to food and in a year, I was 10 sizes up.  I tried to be a good wife and mother, but I was failing.  I had no experience and no support. I was lonely and so alone. I had this script playing in my head like broken record: that I am awful mother, I am imposter. That my baby would die like my firstborn (all those feelings and visions were back). I thought my boyfriend would kick me out and I will end up on drugs and will die on the streets. I end up in emergency numerous times with panic attacks and my postpartum depression went undiagnosed…I suffered. 

Until one day, my boyfriend told me that I am not in control. That my baby belonged to God and He is in control of her life. It took a heavy burden away from me. I trusted that God knows what He is doing. In the beginning, I went to church only to impress my boyfriend’s family. Then at ALPHA course, I gave my life to Christ. After praying Prayer of Salvation, I felt like grace and forgiveness filled my body. I felt peace, the void inside was filled with God’s love. Same year we got married I got baptized and led four of my family members to Christ. Then I got pregnant with twins.  I prayed to God to change me. I am still in the process, but I am so much better than before. I know my God will never leave me, never forsake me, and never give up on me. No matter how good or bad I am, He loves me all the same. And His mercy for me renews every morning. How do I know? It’s in the Bible! 37No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, kneither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:37-39

I love being a mom. I’ve learned so much about myself and God through relationship with my kids. So now I have 3 kids, I owned hair salon, I got my driving licence, I have black belt Tae Kwon Do, I am a Wellness Advocate for dōTERRA  essential oils company, I’ve published my book called Miraculous, that you can get through my website  https://loveandbloved.com/   

I am a church member and on the meal committee. Love supporting people with food. I am activist for children in crisis and victims of human trafficking. I partner up with Fight4Freedom and Victory House to raise awareness and support women in need. I am not saying this to you to brag. I want you to see the transformation. This is a purpose driven life full of passion and compassion. This is one of my favourite verses, it’s actually more than that, this is my core values. “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.”1 Corinthians 13:4-8 NIV

Where does your story start?


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I am Lena Cebula. I am wife and mother of three beautiful children. I am drug addiction and human trafficking survivor. Today I am Christian, social justice advocate, blogger, professional public speaker and host of Love&BLoved Podcast. I am sharing the Good News of God’s love and creating awareness about the reality of human sex trafficking. I am an author of spiritual autobiography called 'Miraculous: my journey from hell to heaven,' you can get it through Amazon Please read and invite others who need to hear stories of forgiveness and second chances. Portion of proceeds goes to Fight4freedom. We fight against sex trafficking and support the work of outreach, education, prevention, awareness and survivor care. www.fight4freedom.ca