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!

25 comments:

AJ said...

MR thanks for sharing your testimony and life story! I pray someday I can find peace with myself no matter Gods plan for me whether He wants me to remain single and celibate or to someday get married to a woman.

Anyways this is a really powerful testimony and a great inspiration to me.

-AJ

MR said...

AJ,

Thanks for the encouragement!

I re-wrote this recently, so I just re-posted it here. Do you (or other readers) have any comments about other things I should include or ways this needs to be re-worded?

JMG said...

I think your testimony is perfect, Marshall.

Jeff S. said...

What a wonderful post! Thanks for sharing your story. Can you post a link to this in our group?

Daniel said...

Thanks for sharing your story. God is faithful isn't he!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the encouragement!

Anonymous said...

Hey i am having a problem.
I am also someone who is having the same problem. I am a man who is having SSA. For the past year, I have been suffering from depression. I have been depressed because all my life I have been called gay and i never wanted to be. And around this time last year, It hit me that i might have to live with this for the rest of my life and I am never going to have a wife and kids. I am never going to have someone physically special in my life. It has been leaving me a feeling of worthlessness and hopelessness which is what is causing my depression. For the past six months I have been praying and reading the bible hoping it will go away. I just want it to go away. How could i be happy knowing that I might have to live with SSA? How could i be happy when everyday i am always hearing some type of gay crack joke which makes me feel like a freak because i am gay? it hurts cause i really don't see the point of why there is such thing as gay. What is the purpose? Thoughts like "God doesn't love you" come into my head and i don't know what to do. What should I do?

Anonymous said...

It's been over two months since the last comment, but that last story just stirred something up in my spirit. I hope you didn't give up, man! I am praying for you that God might give you joy that exeeds mere feelings or moods, but comes from His Spirit. Please don't give up hope!
I myself am still in the process of being changed by God and Him dealing with my SSA and porn addiction, so I don't really have any wise advice, but God healed me from my depression and I am sure he wants the same healing for you. Don't be fooled - no man OR woman can give you such love, closeness and relationship as your Dad God! He is the one who cares for you the most and knows exactly what you need and has all of it prepared for you! Remember that 'Those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength'! Just wait and when He makes His move you'll be amazed!
I am also praying for reliable Christians in your life that you would be able to ask for help. God made us members of the same body for a reason - you're not meant to go through this alone!
Don't be discouraged, brother, stand firm in His strength.
Praying for you,
Marcin

MR said...

Marcin,

It's good to hear from you ! I'm glad God is so much at work in you.

Oh no, I have not given up! God continues to help me, and He continues to use my Christian friends to help too. I am in this battle for the long term, not the short term. There is no way I could do this apart from the loving, joyful relationship God has with me!

Marcin said...

That's quite awesome, MR.
I just recently stumbled upon your blog and it is a very powerful encouragement in my own struggle.
But I was actually referring to the previous comment of that distressed fellow, who wrote about his depression. I hope he's doing fine...
Still, I'm encouraged to see a person as dedicated to his relationship with our God as you and such a great testimony of His power.
God bless!

Anonymous said...

Hi,
These posts about your struggle and Gods love in this issue have been really encouraging. Thank you.
I’m a girl who has recently been down about my own SSA. I keep mulling things over in my mind about how I could be this way. What has happened in my life to get me to this point? I think there are particular things that make me more inclined this way… I’m never sure how much weight to give these things though.
I told a friend about my struggle and she was awesome. I knew i could tell her and i wouldn't be judged and that she wouldn't say well you were born that way and you can't change. This was an incredible release for me. I wasn’t in it alone anymore. I had tried to tell people before but they had brushed it off as a passing thing. They didn’t know how to deal with that kind of issue. I don’t blame them. It is huge and if you are young and straight you may have never thought it was possible. But I am grateful that God in his great mercy has provided me with someone I can talk to about it and not be alone in it.
I think there is hope for people with SSA. There are things we can understand about ourselves and new behaviours and thinking patterns we can learn about trust in the most basic way. In dealing with this i have already seen the wonderful mercy of God in my life. He has kept me from acting on me desire and he keeps pointing me to his son.
I love Jesus so much that even I, in my disgusting sinful state, can be forgiven.
Jesus is amazing!

Anonymous said...

Thank you, MR, for posting this! Though I do not struggle with SSA, this has brought my own lack of faith in God to light for other sins. Thank you for showing His light through this and for standing with Him even through pain. God bless!

MR said...

Anonymous, thanks. I hope to help people to see that I can keep following Jesus only because He is actually that good, that He is actually worth it all!

The same motivation applies whatever sin or distraction gets in your way.

MJ said...

Wow. I'm amazed by God's amazing grace! I'm struck.. Many can understand me.. I know and believe that this will cause transformation to take place in me by the Spirit! I was really out for reading articles about this condition! And i praise our Lord for leading me in the right places.
I'm also a Sunday school kid then.. SSA attacked me when I was still in my grade school.. Now I'm currently in my struggle but with the victory assured in the end in Jesus' Name! The power and courage are always available by the Spirit! Now, i just really need christian mentors to help me get through with this.. I know you can help.. To God be thee glory!

MJ said...

http://executableoutlines.com/hom/hom_06.htm

MR said...

MJ,

Good to hear from you! God can help you resist these temptations and follow Him instead. Jesus Christ is better than everything He asks us to give up.

Please email me at matt13446 at yahoo dot com. I would be glad to talk more.

anonymous said...

God always loves you and never gives up on you.

Brandon said...

I read your story a long time back, but didn't comment. I read it again just now and thought of something worth saying.

You are a great inspiration and a blessing to many. :)

Anonymous said...

hi, i dont know if anyone will read this, but im a 20yo boy who has been struggling with this ever since im 14. When i was little i used to cry a lot because my father it me and insult me all the time, he even convinced my older cousins to do the same. They used to call me gay all the time, and i was always telling myself that when i grew up i will have the most beautiful wife and many kids whom i will love with all my heart and never make them suffer the same as i had to, but when i turned 14 or 15 i saw my dream breaking down as i realized i liked boys.
Even all that i decided not to give up on my dream and had girlfriends, but none of those relationships worked or either i hurt them or i hurt my seltf. I didnt want to be honest with myself because i though that if i accepted that, that will mean i will going to be SSA for the rest of my life.
When i was 18 i met a boy who after a month of spending a lot of time together told me he loved me, and i couldnt say it back, so he was hurt and started to push me away, after that i carried on denying the fact i was SSA.
This summer at a chirstian camp where i work i met this other boy with whom i ended up beig really close for months, i even went to his house to spend a month. God saved me from kissing him or even doing something more, but i knew i loved him.
When i left his house i started feeling so bad for all that has been happening in my life, i dont know when i gave up on my dream.
Two or three weeks ago i discovered David and Jonathan´s love story, and how God was between them, but i dont know how i got to this point, i feel like my faith is gone and dont know what to do anymore.

could i get any advice? my name is Alex.

Anonymous said...

Hey Alex, I completely know where you're coming from. I am a 19 year old guy who is also dealing with SSA, and it is something that has started since I was like 13 or so. I had crushes on girls but as time went on I realized I looked at guys in a different way. Watching obscene material on the Internet didn't help either. I feel disgusted whenever I fall prey into the act of masturbating with homosexual pornography. Loving another man is not a sin but if it leads one to commit such repulsive acts it is best to walk away from the situation. I feel torn apart because these desires are really strong but I do not want to disappoint God and I will continue to fight it until I can claim victory. I will be praying for you so that one day we can be happy with God in His kingdom.

Anonymous said...

I also gave my heart back to god and traded my "homosexuality" for "the glory of the lord." God spoke to my mother as he did the virgin mary before I was born and told her that she would have a son and to name him Andrew. He confirmed it within the same moment. I have also been proficied and called to the ministry a long time before I ever had any kind of homosexual urges. I knew in my heart that god had called me to win over souls by the musical gifts that he had bestowed upon me. But I also knew that homosexuality was never in the blue prints for the life that god had planned for me. I had to become free from homosexuality to fulfill the calling of my life. I went as far as acting on my ssa and had a partner for a long time that I thought would be forever by my side. But the thing about god's grace is that if you give him your life and you put him first before everything else, he will fill those empty voids in your life and like myself he will forgive you. Not only will he forgive you, he will make your life whole and you will prosper in him. My god is a powerful god and I will live every day of the rest of my life serving him. He freed me from homosexuality and just like he said, he is using me for his glory. I give him the praise for setting me free and if I touch one life by my testimony I will praise god for everything I've been through. I love every one of you and god bless.

Nissa Annakindt said...

Hi, I see the blog hasn't been active in a while. I'm a woman with same-sex attraction, now Catholic and committed to a celibate, prayerful lifestyle. And happier than I've ever been in my life even though I've got troubles (I have Asperger Syndrome, and am on disability).

I have a blog dealing with these issues called Domine Non Sum Dignus which is at http://dominenonsumdignus2.blogspot.com/ and I invite you to visit it.

May God bless you all.

Nissa

duane said...

I struggled for 34 years and I'm still got tbe victory

Anonymous said...

I need help im a gay man and i realy hate my self im hoping there is a god as i cant take this anymore i feel sick in my self for who i am pls somone help me

MR said...

Anonymous, I am sure I understand some of what you are going through because I probably went through it myself! You or anyone can feel free to email me at matt13446@yahoo.com