My story is perhaps a bit different from many you might hear on a website like this, and although I’m not ready to go totally public, what I share here might serve as an encouragement to those who may be wondering where they fit. I was raised by two parents who loved me well, who were very devoted to one another and to my older brother and me. Although human, their example of kindness, integrity, commitment, and hope for the future continues to be a source of much strength and inspiration.
Like many who experience same sex attraction, I had the feeling from a young age of being “different” and out of synch with the larger world of male and female, of men and women. This caused deep loneliness that was only partially offset by the love around me, for I intuitively knew this “difference” would be a heavy burden and would cause me to have to make difficult choices. By this time I had begun to encounter the mysterious and irresistible presence of a much greater Love that called to me from the other side of eternity, that beckoned from the heavens for me to trust and to know He was and always would be present.
When my mother encountered Christ about a year later (my father’s journey took a bit longer), I first heard His name, and asked Jesus into my heart. I was then three years of age, and this introduction happened just in time because some great trials awaited me. In addition to the burden of feeling different, from the age of seven I suffered multiple instances of sexual molestation from outside of the family that amplified the loneliness and put me at great discomfort with my gender.
Throughout my teenage years I suffered mostly in isolation, though not entirely, as I was able to confide in my mother and know that she was praying for me and that both she and my father loved and believed in me, confident in my future. I did well in school and, though painfully shy and awkward, was reasonably well liked there, where I eagerly explored all areas of learning, particularly the sciences which were and remain my first love.
Toward the end of high school I began to be physically and romantically intimate with another high school girl. This lasted for several months until I realized I could not reconcile such a relationship with what I believe God has intended for sexual expression, that it only be between man and woman. Although I had no basis for knowing whether my feelings would ever change, I concluded that I could trust the One who created me and died for me, and in fact trust Him more than my own attractional tendencies.
In my twenties while attending college and grad school, I found some measure of rest and joy in the local church where I was able to work through the sexual abuse and again feel innocent and confident in relation to both men and women. My friendships were able to deepen and life became full as I entered my chosen profession as a scientist.
Around this time I also pursued healing support in groups focused specifically on serving those with same sex attractions. Groups such as Desert Stream and inspirational conferences such as by the late Exodus International connected me with others who were on a journey of trust in the destiny given not by human conceptions of sexual fulfillment but a vision of love reflecting God’s eternal image of male and female.
At the same time, I was faced with a dilemma, in that some twenty years after starting on this journey I saw no discernible signs of attraction towards the opposite sex, even after the most in-depth and transparent reckoning of any aspect of my past or personal background that might be blocking my path forward. I began to wonder if I had failed, or more fundamentally if I had not understood what was being asked of me. Many in my circle of friends were beginning to embrace a pro-gay interpretation of scripture in relation to sexuality, and I knew that I needed to follow my heart in asking questions that might lead me into unexpected territory.
And so I began a period of reflection, of questioning, of weighing the different schools of thought and most importantly listening for the voice of my True Love as He led me to take this step of faith. During that period, I encountered yet deeper currents of His love, in a territory that grew larger, more wild and more joyous. Out of that time of listening, it became clear that I had not heard amiss, but that I was exactly where He had wanted me to be. I had not misunderstood that same sex relations were not my destiny, but I had unintentionally taken on a human criteria of success as measured by whether there was a shift of attractions.
This was not an expectation He had imposed. All He had ever wanted was for me to love Him, to go to deep places of the heart with total openness of being transformed and becoming increasingly the woman He envisioned from before the beginning of time, growing into someone who could abide in the Eternal, who could embody His grace and patience and peace, who could live each moment to glorify the Creator who had given Himself to redeem mankind.
For the first time, I was truly free. The burden that had weighed so heavily upon me from the time I was a child lifted, and I experienced a joy and lightness of being I had never known. Although some in my circle of treasured others walking their respective journeys could not accept that I could be at peace with an ongoing attractional tendency and therefore dismissed me, it did not matter. My limbs were unbound and I could run forward with much greater confidence and exuberance, and I have never looked back.
What does the future hold? Often He does not reveal it to us as humans, and I am no exception. Whether I continue as I am or am surprised (as many have been) by falling in love with someone of the opposite sex, life is full and I am content. Although I experience attractions towards women, I identify it only as a tendency and something I experience, not the essential feature of who I am, namely a woman who abides in the love of God. Though a tendency that I do not act upon sexually, it has afforded me much as a vehicle through which I have drawn close to Christ. I trust how He works and I trust Him with my future.
We are not intended to walk this journey alone. We become by knowing and being known, in the lives we touch by being there and the lives through which we are touched. The “living stones” fit together into a place to belong. The choices we make matter because, whether in identifiable or subtle ways, they make a difference in the lives of others.
That’s where Hope for Wholeness comes in. It is a network of those who have chosen to entrust Christ with their sexuality and to support others in their journey. I am so glad that the network was officially launched in 2013 (the actual beginning goes back years earlier) to form a network of ministries so that persons who are struggling with same sex attraction and who desire support can find it with others walking in a similar direction.
The God Almighty whose signature is written in the galaxies, whose pen traces the swirls of nebula gases and DNA spirals, whose breath is in the expansion of stars and the lifting of tiny leaves in the wind, sees us and invites us to join Him in His song. This I do and pray others are also inspired as they recognize His voice calling from eternity.