Never Will I Leave You or Forsake You
Never will I leave you or forsake you. - Hebrews 13:5
I clung to these words as I sought freedom from homosexuality when my lovers would leave me. I finally realized that for 13 years I had tried to fill a spiritual need in an emotional/sexual way, looking to women rather than to my Creator for purpose, security, and identity, and believing a lie about myself. Now I had come to a place of real truth from the Bible, and only through personal knowledge of the Lord was I able to begin to understand my real identity.
I was raised in a middle income Catholic family with one older sister. We didn't communicate, and I never felt like a part of the family. I felt very inferior to my sister and she excluded me from many of her activities. My mother was always taking me to doctors for various nervous habits and things like orthopedic shoes and braces. I got a negative sense of self out of all this, and fantasized every night that I could be a boy. I would slick my hair back and play with my father's clothes. Gradually, I realized something was wrong. I searched in the library and found, at the age of 12, the word, "lesbian". That was it! I foolishly accepted this as a peculiar reality, and continued with my intense desires and fantasies about other girls until the desire to be a male became so obsessive that I began to think of myself as one. I felt, as so many have in this condition, that I was a male inside a female body.
Being two years ahead of others in school added to my social immaturity and inferiority. At 13, I "fell in love" with a classmate, and it seemed mutual. I found later that the flirting, love letters and sex play were just a pastime in that all-girls school, and I was devastated.
At 16, I began full time work in a steno pool and "fell in love" with each of the 30 women in the office. Lonely, confused, and frustrated, I started drinking heavily and taking drugs after work. This helped me to feel more comfortable around others, but it also brought out the pain of being different, and I would go off alone and cry. Soon I quit and began to study psychology in an attempt to understand myself. I met a man who told me he was gay, and I was elated that I could finally express my feelings about women to someone who, would understand. He claimed that I was really "gay", and, since there was no one else to confirm, deny, or explain my same-sex feelings, I believed him and took this "gayness" into my identity at the age of 18.
He introduced me to the "gay" lifestyle where I met Donna in a bar and had my first sexual experience. Having my "gayness" confirmed was extremely upsetting. I couldn't understand it or accept it, but my "friends" told me, "once gay, always gay", so I escaped this painful news by going into acid trips, liquor and pills. I was on a constant search for sex, which I confused with love and caring. I became involved with several women at the same time, justifying myself as a "liberated female chauvinist".
Sex became my god, and I went around evangelizing in the name of sex, "liberating" others to experience the ultimate freedom of their sexuality, and encouraging them in their particular perversions. I really believed sex was the answer, and, though the four years my first lover and I had were extremely unstable and explosive, I demanded that she live with me. Our relationship became more abusive, and after 6 months, she left.
It was the first time in my life that I was really alone. I was in a new neighborhood, a new job, a depressing apartment, no friends, and alienated from my parents. I continued with drugs and the bars, picking up strangers and often waking up not knowing where I was or with whom. I went into pornography and had partners who were mentally ill, suicidal, or prostitutes. I accepted many lies about myself, but the biggest one was that I was happy!
Just as my previous isolation had led me to accept someone else's definition of my homosex-uality, the complete insulation of my life with only gay people led me to accept this very limited definition of my happiness. I was so entrapped in the life that something happened that many will find hard to understand. I became sexually involved with a backslidden Christian woman, though I had only wanted her friendship. She was the first person who really cared about the mess I was in, and I felt safe with her. Though we were lovers, she began teaching me values I had never known. After two years, I dropped her for someone prettier, but she knew it was right to break up and get right with the Lord, and that she had "planted a seed" of God's word.
Strange as it all sounds, I maintained a friendship with her and she continued to minister to me, showing me in the Bible that homosexuality is wrong. Before, I hadn't cared what anyone said about it being wrong, but the word of God really hit me, and I couldn't stop crying. "For the
word of God is living and active. Sharper than any two-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart." (Hebrews 4:12)
My lover didn't want to break up and attempted to show me "loopholes" in God's word, but it didn't work. Seeing the film, "The Late Great Planet Earth" really stirred me to seek the Lord, and I sent away for Bible courses. The more I understood, the more I saw that I would have to leave my lover. Other circumstances also pushed me toward God. I was raped, and soon after that, my mother died. I developed a severe thyroid condition, resulting in an emotional turmoil, and I had to quit my job to complete my Master's degree. My lover couldn't tolerate the family demands, my mood swings and the financial strain.
I decided to do the best thing for all concerned. I moved back home to help my father, finish my degree, let my ex-lover grow up, and leave the "gay" life. I started to see how the Lord had to take all these things from me so I could find my identity in Him. I got to know my father better and developed a more positive attitude toward men. The thyroid condition seemed to me to be an expression of all the pent-up feelings that stuck in my throat.
Things were beginning to make sense in the midst of crisis, but difficulties persisted. I was very self-conscious about my bulgy, puffy eyes from the thyroid, so my feelings of inferiority grew, making it difficult to maintain eye contact in my work. The acting-out of pathologies and free-emotion therapy at the psychiatric hospital where I worked became very threatening, and I defended myself by blocking out all emotions until I was numb. I felt ugly and totally out of touch with myself, so I found a therapist. Eventually, she asked me to live with her, and I couldn't believe how the relation-ship seemed to be turning sexual. I wondered if I would ever have a real friend and confidante.
Along came Alice. I was vulnerable and needy, and she was strong, supportive and loving. She had a few "gay" relationships, but she, like me, wanted to leave them all behind. I thought it was great to have a friend who wanted to pursue a "hetero" lifestyle. However, friendship, love and sex were very mixed up in my mind, and I couldn't seem to stop my contacts with other women. Since, in my self-rejection, I couldn't receive Alice's love on just an emotional basis, I sought it from others in sex. She tried to reach me and break through my emotional walls.
Satan then sidetracked our fragile friendship into an intense lover relationship. This made me feel stronger, and my male self-image emerged in full force. I became very controlling, she became more submissive, and we descended into a more perverse sex life. As my life strengthened, hers deteriorated into frequent job losses, evictions, suicide attempts and psychiatric hospitalizations.
She lost control, and became physically abusive to herself and me. I began to feel totally responsible for solving each crisis of hers; responsible for her life or death, like her god. I felt bound by her suicide attempts -- I wanted to leave, but they were real, and I was afraid. One day, after a fight, I wanted to go somewhere and found an ad for a meeting of Emotions Anonymous. Well, it was something to do, and little did I know that it was the beginning of my walk with God. It was the beginning of hope, and I had never dared to hope that things could be better. With the help of my "Higher Power"(God), I finally started to face myself, buried beneath layers of lies and defenses. It was such a relief not to have to depend on my poor, confused self to straighten the mess out.
So, that was what the Lord was all about! All I had to do was accept Him and trust in His ability to help as I handed things over to Him in prayer. I learned that He was a loving God, not a punishing one, and He knew what I needed.
The Lord sent me a beautiful Christian woman who said she would like to sponsor me. Working closely with me over several months, she helped me unravel the knots of my life. She helped me realize that the problems I projected out to the world were really inside of me. I saw that, with God's help, I could make things happen rather than have them happen to me. I had a choice, something I never believed before -- not just "once gay, always gay". I didn't have to be lonely, I could reach out to others, I could have feelings other than pain!
This was all wonderfully kaleidoscopic, and I needed help identifying the new feelings, but I felt alive! She invited me to her church, where it was refreshing to have solid fellowship and to see healthy marriages. I came to see my dilemma: I was Christian and still had "gay" feelings and didn't know what to do about it. My Christian friend was kind but firm in telling me I had to leave the relationship. I knew this was true, but so much pain was involved, I felt unable to do it. As I prayed for answers, the Lord showed me it was more painful to remain in it, but I still felt unable. After more prayer, I saw an ad about a conference of "ex-gay" ministries in Colorado in June, 1983, and I went.
Wow! The Lord had it all worked out -- the answers were here. In a week of seminars, I began to understand the whole homosexual condition in a scriptural way. The Lord knows the answers to such things -- He knows our needs and weaknesses and shows them to us in His word -- the last place I ever thought to look for answers. It was a real lift to see I wasn't the only one searching so hard for the answers, and there were so many others that had overcome the problem, some of them now married and having families.
Shortly after this, I went to LIFE ministry's meetings in Manhattan and found there the love, counsel, and support I needed to really make the change. I had a clear vision of myself breaking out of a large eggshell, and I knew it was from the Lord. This was the beginning of a new life; the eggshell of my homosexuality was cracked open. Since then, the Lord has been healing and restoring me. There hasn't been much temptation because the sex wasn't what I was looking for. I was looking for the love that I have now found in Jesus. He fills all the emptiness and needs, and He never disappoints me. After all the broken relationships, here is Someone who will never leave me or forsake me! For the first time in 17 years, I am able to be alone without the pain of loneliness.
God has truly "worked all things together for good for those who love Him..." (Romans 8:28). He led me to a career in counseling and has helped me use all the pain of my life to empathize with others and give them hope. "Praise to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, Who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God." (II Corinthians 1:3)
I write this testimony that it not only might speak to others, but as a personal note of gratitude to the Lord for setting me free through His love and truth. I praise Him that I am able to love and accept myself as He created me, a woman, and that in Him, I am a new creation!
Looking back now, it seems like another life. Over the seven years of celibate life, the Lord worked on my relationships to prepare me for marriage. A widowed cousin and I worked together, strengthening each other until we were ready to go out into the challenging world of singles. I grew weary of it and one day surrendered it all to God, fully accepting my singleness and deciding not to pursue meeting someone anymore.
As soon as I did that, I met John in the Music and Art Lovers Club I had joined. Our conversation flowed freely for a few hours and I knew it was special. I fully enjoyed being a woman as we dated for a few months, but I knew I had to tell him of my past, and wondered how I would do it. One night, I just told him, and ended by saying, "I don't know how this will affect you or our relationship, but all I know is -- even if I have to be alone, I'm just so glad to be out of that lifestyle." He kissed me gently and said, "I'm glad too", and in that moment, I felt a true touch of unconditional love.
We have been married four years now, and God has shown me so much about Himself through our marriage. It has been healing to have someone there for me and to finally feel that I am home. In addition, the Lord has been leading others to me who need healing like I did, and I give them encouragement, hope, and understanding. Though God knows our desire for a family of our own, for now I am nurturing and parenting the broken people He sends me.