Beauty For Ashes By Stacy Pope

  • Beauty For Ashes  By Stacy Pope

StacyStacy’s Story

Countless times I have written this, my testimony, only to fall again. I have swept my hurt under the rug in order to function while refusing to seek true healing. However, as my desire deepens to know God, I allow true healing to flow giving God room to heal my life. I have not arrived, but I am breaking the cycle.

At an early age, I knew something was different about me-I was attracted to girls. I dressed like and played with the boys trying to become one of them. I hid my body so that my appearance, my clothes, and hair – everything about me reflected this. Looking boyish wasn’t enough; I wanted to be a boy as I felt God made a mistake when He made me a girl. Often, family members asked me if I was gay. Oh me? NEVER! One day my biological father even told that he would make me have a sex change if I didn’t “straighten up!”

To be gay or lesbian in the small town where I grew up would be the unthinkable, which made me bury this confusion further. I was adopted and strongly felt that I did not fit in with my family. In my mind I was the outcast or black sheep. I had red hair and freckles and was often teased for my looks. My trust in males quickly became distorted after being sexually molested by a male family member. It wasn’t until my junior year in high school that I grew tired of the name calling and tried to be more like a girl, at least on the outside. As I grew older, even throughout college, my friends and family continued to question me.

Being brought up with strong Christian beliefs, I would run to God then create this disguise for others to see. I was sure that what I needed was to become more and more feminine! I found that wearing makeup and dressing and acting more feminine only created an even greater internal conflict. It was sometimes unbearable. Still in my mask, I began dating and dreaming of marriage and children. Meeting my man of God, whom I had been praying for, became my motivation for getting over this internal conflict in my life. Much to my disappointment, meeting, falling in love, and marrying this man never made the conflict go away.

Having a “normal” life, working, and being mom to two precious boys once again proved to be a disguise. Almost 7 years into our marriage, after years of pushing something down that needed to be dealt with, the inner conflict erupted. In tears, I shared this unbearable secret from my past with my husband. I just could not hide or fight it any longer. I gave him many options of ending the marriage, but he declined them all.

Later, as my feelings grew stronger for women, he began to get concerned about the toll this was taking on our marriage. Countless times, I repeated the same cycle. The fact that our marriage survived is a miracle in itself. My husband knew that God had brought us together and that He would bring us through this even though I was not convinced yet.

Behind his back, I still tried to deal with this on my own, looking for answers on the Internet. What started out as an attempt to get information gave me worldly insight on all that I had fought for so long, and the temptation was incredible. Late at night, after my family was in bed, I began exploring. Chat rooms, email, and online meetings gave way to numerous affairs. My husband knew something was wrong, but our problems had grown so that neither of us cared at this point. I threw myself into work and into this new lifestyle. I went to gay bars and parties; a whole new world had been opened to me. I finally felt free, like I belonged and was accepted for who I thought I really was. I had found the real me.

I lived for the night! I was a mom by day and someone completely different at night. It was as if the night actually hid my new lifestyle and began taking control over me, even throughout the day.

I met several women, in search of this person I had longed for all my life. I found her – one in particular that I fell in love with, and I made what was once an internal conflict now external, and chose her over my family. We were together for almost 3 years before my night life started catching up with me.

Drinking slowly became my escape from this pressure that consumed my everyday motions. Even in my dreams while I tried to sleep at night I began to feel that there was no escape. Becoming two different people was killing me on the inside. Here I had found and fallen in love with this woman I had always secretly dreamed about, and more and more we wanted to be together, but how? My life was out of control. Where could I go, who could I talk too? No one seemed to understand. But just like before, God had not given up on me. He brought a friend into my life that I began to trust. She loved me unconditionally, yet would disagree in love to all that I told her. For once in my life I was developing a healthy, close friendship with another woman. I could tell her everything and yet she always called me the next day to pray for me. I still was not shaken.

Watching what were once strong Christian values disappear before my eyes, I slowly became a ticking bomb. My closest friends, my family, and my lover knew something was wrong as I pushed them farther and farther away. During this time my partner was also ready for more commitment and wanted me to choose. There were times I would rather have killed myself than to deal with pressure and the choice I now faced. There seemed to be no relief. At times I would be so happy and on top of the world, yet other times I would find myself just weeping before God and everyone around me, an unraveling basket case. I could barely get out of bed each day and put one foot in front of the other. How could I have grown up feeling like this from childhood? I knew I was hurting my family, but what was so wrong with this new me? I began to question my Christianity and whether or not I was actually born this way. None of it made any sense to me. I was on a mission-a mission that almost destroyed my life, marriage, my family, and me. I concluded that either I was going to kill this in me, or it was going to kill me.

In desperate need of help, once again, I fell back on my face before God. No more secrets! Something had to give. I started looking over the Internet again for help. Amazingly, I found there were so many others like me. I began ordering books, CDs, anything on same-sex attraction. Facing this fear and learning that I was not the only one in world like this became encouraging! With my unconditional friend cheering me on with prayer and support, God was restoring my confidence in Him and in myself.

Proverbs 18:24 says, “A friend sticks closer that a brother.” I now had two such friends. All these transpiring events began to bless me and open my eyes that something else was at work here in me. My friend and I drove 5 hours to the Upstate for a meeting at Hope for Wholeness that began to turn my life around. She sat there as I wept before these strangers and poured my heart out to ask them for help. McKrae encouraged me and showed me even more painful steps that I needed to take to get my life and my family back.

Now with new friends, a witness beside me, my best friend, to help hold me accountable, God began to move in my life! All the uncertainty and fear I had carried since childhood began to disappear. This deep dark secret was coming out yet my friends and family loved me through my pain. Next was the decision to return home to my family and my husband and walk out this healing journey. It has been a steep climb and I begin every day knowing that God created me, and I am His and He is mine. Change? YES, it is possible. I am going to leave it all to Him that created me.

I did not choose to have same-sex attractions, but I did choose to act on my feelings and longings opening a huge door to sin that flooded my life and family. To say they are completely gone is irrelevant, but I can honestly say I am not controlled by those feelings any longer. I am determined to drive out this giant that has lived IN MY LAND for so long.

Today, I look back and am just amazed at where I have come. Now, I see myself through the eyes of the One who created me and concentrate on my relationship with Him as He speaks to me through His word. I have learned a lot about the roots of same-sex attraction and have come to terms as to why I had such strong tendencies. With this knowledge the days get easier and easier. I am glad I asked for help. “Ask and you shall receive, seek and you shall find.” Although, sometimes I have not been in a place where I have been willing to receive the answer-it is available for me. Jesus said, “You shall know the truth and the TRUTH will set you Free.” I long to keep my heart pointed in the right direction and to find the true me that God made me to be.

God has blessed me with so much unconditional love through this journey. He is truly faithful! Day by day He is restoring the years “that the locust have eaten.” I love my husband more than ever, daily learning to turn it ALL over to God. I am not where I want to be but I am not where I used to be. Day by day God is bringing beauty from the ashes.

A thousand times I’ve failed, still your mercy remains-should I stumble again, still I’m caught in your grace. From the Inside Out (Hillsong)

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