Saturday, October 9, 2010

My Story - God's help and gay desires

I am a Christian man, over 40 years old, and single. God has given me great joy in Him and I would not trade my life for anyone else’s. I became a Christian as a child and have sought to follow Jesus since then. I have never been married and I have experienced same-sex attraction (SSA), otherwise known as homosexual desire, since I was 12. By God’s grace I have never acted on it with anyone else. I can’t take any credit for the limits to my sin, though. I don’t have a strong will, I have a strong God! Also, thankfully I have had the compassionate help of Christian straight male friends.

My parents, especially my father, were Christians before I was born and raised me in a Christian environment. We went to a Bible-believing church in Orlando, Florida. Yes, I grew up in the “Bible belt”. I was about nine years old when I understood the Good News of Jesus Christ for the first time. I knew I was a sinner destined for hell and my only hope was what Jesus did on the cross to pay for my sin. By God’s grace I believed and prayed for God to save me. I was motivated to pray, read the Bible, and learn all I could about Christianity. I could see that my father had a living, joyful relationship with God. He would often sing songs of worship out loud to God when he was driving or working around the house. When things went wrong, Dad prayed. Seeing God answer his prayers left a very deep impression on me. If he turned to God for his help, so would I!

Things went well until our family left our church after an argument with the leaders. We were not in any church for several years, my father worked long hours, and I became emotionally isolated from my mother. I was in a public school and had little Christian fellowship. Then came the darkest years of my life. I was 12 years old, in 7th grade, and entering puberty. To my absolute horror, I found myself attracted to guys. I knew about homosexuality from the typical pre-teen boys’ taunts aimed at effeminate guys. I knew I did NOT want those taunts aimed at me, so I kept my mouth shut. Even though I was a Christian, I turned away from God, deciding I was gay and wanting to act on it some day.

In 8th grade I shared several classes with a guy who befriended me. We hung out often at lunch and talked a lot after school waiting for the bus. He talked about sex, complimented me on my appearance, and dropped hints on being gay. I never admitted my desires for guys and I did not get his hints at the time. Looking back, I believe God kept me from understanding his hints and flirting. You see, that guy was then actively gay and has now become a famous gay activist / blogger!

That same year I had a Christian teacher who called me to repentance, seeing that I was not walking with God and was deeply troubled. I do not believe she ever knew about my struggles with same-sex attraction, but she prayed for me and kept encouraging me to turn to God. I did start praying again and listening to recordings of Christian messages my father had around the house. I praise God that He brought me to repentance and renewed faith. I turned away from my decision to act on my SSA, and even felt a lessening of the desire.

In high school I sought out God and Christian fellowship. I joined a church with a huge (300+) youth group, which was helpful, but I still could not regularly talk to anyone about my SSA. In college, I roomed with my brother and discovered that he was having sex with guys. He wouldn’t do it when I was there, but I definitely had to answer my share of late-night phone calls from guys asking for sex. I moved out of there and lived with Christian guys. A few years later my brother moved in with me after he was sick with HIV / AIDS. I took care of him and actually saw him take his last breath as he was dying…..

Soon after college I moved to the suburbs of Washington, DC. I joined Covenant Life Church, where I have been for over 20 years, except for 2 years I lived in San Diego. God has given me friends in the church who have helped me through my temptations and made life so fulfilling.

Lately I have been seeing something of the beauty of who God is and I know I want to give everything I possibly can to pursue Him. I want no more of my former half-hearted cautious approach to life! By His grace I have repented and instead have given of my time, money, and energy like never before. To the glory of God I want as much eternal fruit and treasure in heaven as possible. I have taken risks, befriending people with serious problems of drug addiction and sexual sin. I have prayed for them, shared with them what God had done for me, and served them. Some of them have repented and believed, and God has given me the privilege of seeing the beauty of His work in changing their hearts! It really is “breathtaking” to use John Piper’s words. I know and deeply feel that God really is worth far more than whatever pain or loss I have in this life. He really is like the treasure in the field in Matt 13:44 that is worth gladly giving EVERYTHING for. I want to continue to devote my life to pursuing God and helping others do the same!