June 9th, 2007 was my birthday. I was alone, hungover, and felt as though someone had ripped my heart out. The woman I had been living with for three years had broken up with me.
In the midst of my pain and despair, I felt led to read a bible. These words from Romans struck me: “For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will hardly die for a righteous man; though perhaps for the good man someone would dare even to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:6-8)
God spoke to me through this and I found myself on my face crying out to Him to save me from my sins! When I got up, I knew my heart of stone was gone and that He gave me a heart of flesh. A heart that longed to please Him, one that didn’t want to be with the woman that just a month before ended our relationship (or any other woman for that matter). I was overflowing with gratefulness for all He went through on the Cross, taking the wrath of the Father that I knew was due to me.
That day God redeemed me from what I always thought was central to who I am, the lesbian identity I took on around the age of 15. Allowing God to transform and free me from this false identity has been a complicated and difficult journey. But one I wouldn’t trade for anything. This experience caused me to lean on the power of the cross and know His great love for me in a very personal way.
A dark and hard season followed this time of grace. I was a leader in my church and dealing with very intense, almost constant feelings of same sex attraction. Finding help for this struggle was very difficult. It was hard to fight the intense lies constantly bombarding my mind, lies that said, “this is just who you are, go with it.”
The culture didn’t help much. Although I knew what God’s Word said about homosexuality, I saw friends in the church left and right start to become gay affirming, twisting the scriptures to suit their distorted desires.
The battle for my soul was real and honestly, I didn’t know how I was going to survive for much longer. I was afraid of walking away from the One that had won my heart. During this time, I also felt a call to ministry in the area of helping those with unwanted same sex attraction.
That call led me to leave my home in Montana and move to Kansas City to be an intern at Desert Stream Ministries. Here I went through the Living Waters program and the Living Waters Leadership Training. During this time Jesus began to restore to me what the locust had destroyed (Joel 2:25). He began to show me places in my heart I never knew existed.
Growing up, I experienced emotional neglect and deprivation from my mother. She was often paralyzed by severe mental illness, and God showed me how this had affected me more than I knew. My perception was that I was bad and I believed that to be woman is bad, to be weak and a victim. Subconsciously I disavowed my own femininity. During Living Waters the Lord began to meet me during the times of prayer ministry. He began to come and give me what I needed, affirming that my needs are good, a gift from Him.
Through the faithful love and affirmation of the Body of Christ, God began to show me aspects of who He made me to be as a woman. I felt my heart coming alive in new ways. I found myself desiring to be more feminine in my appearance. But most significant for me, for the first time I felt that I belonged in the world of women as a woman. I can now enjoy my sisters and see what is good and beautiful in them. I no longer want or need to latch onto them in unhealthy ways. I feel secure in who I am as woman.
As a staff member at DSM, I long to see the Church make a home for those struggling in the area of their identity! I have the privilege of walking alongside others and fighting for them, just as others fought for me! In order to do this I know I must stay near the cross and continue to walk in vulnerability with trusted brothers and sisters. I glory in my weakness and rejoice in being a fragile vessel that is powerful because of the One that lives in me. (2 Corinthians 4:7)