My childhood probably wasn’t very unusual, and it certainly wasn’t terrible. My dad worked to support my mom and four children, of which I am the only girl. He was also an alcoholic, drinking with his co-worker “buddies” while on the road working, sometimes for two- to three-week intervals. He would come home and continue his drinking, sometimes railing at my mother about her deficiencies, accusing her of things that he was actually doing, and this behavior, thankfully, rarely ended in physical abuse but always with verbal abuse. Both of my parents loved me, but neither was equipped to really know how to love and affirm their only little girl. I found that my affirmation and acceptance were more readily available by being athletic and making good grades. I learned to excel at both, preferring being a typical “tomboy” to being a little girl. My dad worked hard to meet our physical needs, but he was ill-equipped to meet our emotional needs. My mother lived in such fear of displeasing my dad that she was ill-equipped to meet our emotional needs as well. But she did try to meet our spiritual needs by taking us to church.
Early on as a child, I felt a difference in my walk with the Lord. Most times I would sit with my mom so I could listen to what was being said instead of being distracted by passing notes and the whispering of my friends. But with this difference, I had yet another noticeable difference that separated me from all girls in general. Early on in life, I realized that I had attractions for other girls. Of course, like most little girls, I had my boyfriends throughout elementary school, but that was just something I did thinking it was normal to do so. This “phase” I thought I was going through did not pass as I assumed it would. When a guy was interested in me, I put up a huge wall and assumed that every guy who was interested wanted ONE thing, and I wasn’t going there. So throughout my teenage years, I neither had a boyfriend nor desired one. But I was fantasizing about girls/women excessively. Though most of my fantasies were not sexual in nature, I could dream of being a guy having girlfriends and all the things I assumed every girl would want in a man. I was so unhappy with being a girl and had such disdain for who I was. I thought to dream about being someone else—a guy, no less—was the only way to make me fit in, to make me “right.” I never considered myself gay or lesbian because I felt my thoughts were innocent enough—I never did anything to pursue my attractions toward females, so, therefore, I wasn’t gay. In my thought life I was a guy, so that would not make me gay. Maybe this was a way to justify my thoughts, but it worked. This struggle from my earliest remembrance as a child would follow me for 33 years.
My first same-sex relationship happened my senior year in high school. When I went to college, I was more exposed to lesbianism than I had ever even imagined. Until that point, I thought I was the ONLY person who struggled with same-sex attractions and feelings. I was wrong. I finally didn’t feel so weird or different. I didn’t fit in with my campus ministry group of “straight” girls, and I didn’t fit in with lesbians on campus either. I could not find a balance in trying to walk two lines, and I could not find peace. Much of my inner conflict was likely the result of my own convictions. I was so confused and torn between emotions and spiritual conviction. Then my world came crashing down when one of my brothers “outed” me to my parents while I was in college. But I chose my girlfriend and the life I was living over my parents’ wishes. This choice only added more shame, guilt, and confusion to my life. I really wanted to make the right choice, but I chose emotions over conviction. I wanted to have the “right” feelings for both sexes, but I was in an emotional and spiritual battle. My convictions kept on being suppressed and ignored. And those convictions only persisted and became even stronger as I continued in relationships with women.
The last and longest of all my relationships lasted six years. By this time I had almost embraced the gay lifestyle because I figured I would never change no matter how hard I prayed. I struggled spiritually,obviously because of my convictions. I had a storm inside my heart that no one else knew but me, and I felt lonely and all alone. I thought most of it was discontentment with myself because the relationships lacked what I wanted or needed. I was searching for that happiness, peace, and joy that I thought I could find in the “right” person. But my problem was that I was looking at the wrong people. That happiness, peace, and joy could only be found in one person, Jesus. And that became real to me in August 2004.
After ending my six-year relationship, I realized that I was “looking for love in all the wrong places, looking for love in too many faces” as the old Johnny Lee song goes. I came to a place of desolation and brokenness in my life. I was completely empty inside. It had everything to do with my running from the Lord all these years trying to find in other people and things what He freely offers. For so many years I was so scared of what I was going to have to give up and do if I followed the Lord that I walked away from Him trying to find my own happiness and joy…and do it MY way. Well, MY way was wrong, empty, and not what He desired at all. I finally gave my life to Jesus and asked Him to help me. I asked him to help me find wholeness and my purpose. I needed healing and restoration from the same-sex attractions and pursuits that I’d had all these years. So after 15 years of actively living as a lesbian, the Lord worked a miracle in my life. He transformed my life, replaced wrong, lustful, habitual thoughts with pure ones; replaced desires for same-sex intimacy with natural, God-ordained ones; and gave me a testimony so I could reach other women who are dealing with those same struggles. I am blessed now more than ever because I know in my heart I am in His Will and am living the life He intended…a life more abundant (John 10:10). Joel 2:25 says that “the Lord will replace and restore for you the years the locusts have eaten.” That is so true—all those years I “lost” trying to live MY way and pursue avenues that were not intended by God have been replaced by wonderful, godly relationships with other men and women, including a strong, godly woman who is my best friend and partner in ministry, Kim Broadhead. I have a supportive, loving church family, and I have also had areas of my relationships restored with my own family. The Lord brought me to Hope for Wholeness in 2005 to partner with them in ministering as the Women’s Leader to women and girls who want help and support in overcoming their struggles. Sometimes I wish I wouldn’t have made the choices I made but God has turned it around and given me hope. He dusted off the old me and gave me a new life in Him that is better than I could have imagined! What a blessing.