Never before had I disclosed my secret to anyone. I certainly didn’t intend to do so when I went to talk to the associate pastor of the church I’d been attending. I sought him out because I was having nightmares. We weren’t in our session for more than ten minutes when I said, “I have a lover, and she is a girl.” Did I just say that?
As the shame of what I had just disclosed washed over me, I looked to him to give me something – I didn’t know what – but something to ease the pain, the confusion and the loneliness. After a few moments, he said, “I’m really surprised. You are so feminine and attractive; I never would have known.” A mix of thoughts and feelings flooded my brain from his response. I felt everything from the pride of having fooled him (and everyone) to wondering if he even heard what I just said.
This secret sin that I had been carrying for over seven years was finally loosed, finally voiced to another person. . .a pastor, no less. He listened as I shared about how our relationship began, about how much we loved each other and about how tormented I was with these feelings that I did not want. His response to me were words I will never forget. “You should consider yourself lucky, Christy. Many people never find someone who truly loves them.”
HUH?? That was not what I expected. I don’t know what I was expecting, but it wasn’t that. I left that conversation feeling even more confused than ever. Was it okay to stay in this relationship because at least I’m loved? How could a pastor tell me that it was okay? My soul did not want what I was living, but it felt like I had no choice. So, back to the secret, back to the shame I went. It was another seven years of struggling and hiding before I really grew desperate.
I was now 28 years old. To be openly honest with people about my sexuality was not an option that I could live with, because in my heart, I knew it was wrong. My life was a fake, even to me. Which was real? Was it the life where I spent time with my family, whom I loved, but had to keep at a distance? Or was it the life where I had a girlfriend, but had to keep her hidden?
The years of lies upon lies to cover up all of the lies was taking its toll. The pressure became unbearable, and nothing seemed real to me except the shame
For months I thought about suicide. The reality that I could never be truly intimate with ANYONE in the way that my soul longed for drove me to my knees before God. He was my last option. “Okay God, if You are real, You have to change me. If You can’t, then I refuse to go on living this way.”
Eventually, I ended the relationship with my girlfriend and started attending church regularly. While being involved in the church was really good for me, I found that I was still very alone. My secret past and struggle still tormented me. I was fearful to talk to a pastor because of my experience seven years earlier. What if I shared and was told it was okay? I couldn’t risk that. I know now looking back, that it was the Holy Spirit leading me in a different direction.
One day, I walked into the Christian bookstore across the street from my church and bought an autobiography about a man who was set free from the bondage of his homosexuality. What hope this brought me! Through this little book, I discovered that there was a Christian program not too far from my home where I could receive prayer, support and healing. Eventually, I contacted the leader of this group, filled out an application and took the next step in my healing journey.
The journey was long and difficult, but it was worth it. Through God’s grace and mercy, I learned how to open my honest heart to Jesus. He taught me what it is to have a relationship with Him, and I learned how to receive His love for me.
Jesus broke me free of the bondage that held me for almost 30 years. I am free to live the truthful, joyful and fulfilled life that I always wanted, the life God always desired for me to live. Since 1998 I have had the privilege of being in ministry work providing Christians a safe place to be honest about their relational and sexual struggles. . .a place where Jesus provides healing from brokenness and hope for a future.