Have you ever been desperately searching for something? As you hunt, you’re certain it exists, you’ve seen it before, but you’re not sure where it is. There’s a frantic desire in your searching; where did you misplace it? That was the narrative of my life before God.
The first five years of my life took place in a very unstable environment. This crucial time in my development took place in an abusive environment, something that would have a lasting effect on my life. My father was an alcoholic who looked in crystal balls to gain insight into my mother’s “cheating ways.” In a fit of rage, he would always return home and abuse my mother and my brother.
When I was five years old, my mother left my father and we moved to New York to start our new lives. My mother was, and still is, a beautiful example of Jesus and church soon became a big part of my life. I was on the worship team, in the dance ministry, and volunteered wherever I could, but as I got older, I learned that a real relationship with God was not dependent upon how many ministries I joined.
Although I was involved in church, in the back of my mind, I always knew that I was NOT going to get married. Because of the example my parents’ marriage provided me, I didn’t even want to date a man. Marriage was something I was going to have no part of.
Then I began hearing society’s view on my sexuality: if I wasn’t attracted to men, it must be because I was attracted to women. I was 12 years old and torn between what the world was telling me and what I had believed in my whole life. An internal battle began and, in just a year, society’s views on my life and my sexual preference won.
I started to live a secret life at the age of 13. I knew I could not tell my mom or my Christian friends that I was dating girls. I was sure there was no way they would understand. The weight of carrying this secret began to take a toll on me. It was unbearable. I felt utterly empty, unsure why my father couldn’t love me the way I needed to be loved. I was falling apart all the while maintaining the perfect cover. I started making my way down a long, dark road.
I began drinking and smoking, sneaking out to parties, and going to gay clubs. To make matters more complicated, I had church boyfriends and school boyfriends to keep my friends and family from finding out the truth. I was sleeping with guys and girls, and drinking until I would sometimes black out, yet the pain in my heart persisted.
I was searching for a love that no club, no drink, no weed, no person could give me. I was looking to fill a void that none of these things were created to fill. I was angry, disrespectful, a liar, and a snake. I would go to sleep each night crying, wondering why I couldn’t feel love and happiness. I was lost and insecure.
Although I cannot remember the message that was preached or the songs that the worship team sang, I can remember the day that changed my life forever. A guest pastor came to speak at my church and invited our youth to visit Youth Explosion at Christ Tabernacle. I went along just to hang out with my friends and occupy my time, but God had me right where He wanted me.
At the end of the night, the pastor did an altar call. I remember having my head down and my eyes closed, when I suddenly felt a rush of wind. It felt as if someone was wrapping their arms around me. What an overwhelming feeling! Though I tried my best, I could not control my emotions and began sobbing. I ran to the altar where a young lady met me and prayed for me. She spoke life over me and prayed so specifically to my situation that I knew it was God speaking to me. I felt the love of God in that moment and I knew that it was what I had been searching for all this time. I felt safe and I felt whole.
I left that service knowing I wanted to change but I could not do it in my own strength. I made Christ Tabernacle my home church and was assigned a mentor, named Katie, who was a living representation of God. She simply listened to me and loved me. She did not judge me when I told her about my slip-ups or comment when I cursed in our conversations. She did not shove verses down my throat or force me to listen to sermons; she simply loved on me. It was through her love that I experienced the love of Christ in a greater way.
These were the first steps down the long road of recovery.
Did I still struggle with sexual thoughts and lust? Yes!
Did I still have the desire to be with girls? Yes!
Did I sometimes think that I could not go on anymore? YES!
But I learned very quickly that I could not change in my own strength. The moment that I surrendered my pain and emotions to God, was the moment He exchanged my sorrow for joy, my pain for peace, and my brokenness for wholeness in Him.
I am a new creation because of God, and because of his servants (my mom included) who loved me through it all. If you had told me 10 years ago that I would be married with a son, and doing everything in my power to be used as God’s vessel, I would have laughed at you (and maybe even spat in your face).
I am forever grateful that God calls the most unequipped and loves on the unlovable. I am grateful for his everlasting love and grace that has been extended toward me.
How has God changed your life? How has he changed how you see yourself?
We want to hear your story (even if it's still in process) of victory in Christ!