I didn’t discover how alluring, enticing and attractive women were to me until I was a young woman in a difficult and painful marriage. I wasn’t prepared to act on my desires because, for one, I didn’t know how to find others like myself and, for another, I was far too afraid to make the first move. When, a few years later, I returned to the God I had loved growing up, I tried to shove my desires and fantasies aside but often, when I was alone and unhappy, I embraced the comfort they gave.
For two decades I lived like this, the burden of my secret weighing heavily. I persevered in my marriage, stayed home to raise our children and was very involved in church. I wanted freedom from the power my thoughts had over me but, no matter how much I determined to ignore them, they towered over me, threatening to consume.
There was never any particular person in mind. The women were nameless and faceless until an online friend, lonely like me, who freely told me how much she appreciated my friendship, became the object of my desire. I was shocked, scared and horrified. What did this mean? Who was I? What was I?
Sorrowful that I had dishonoured God in this way, there was part of me that wanted more. I had wakened a dozing dragon that I longed to both ride through the skies and stab through the heart. Which would I choose—to pursue the desires that now gnawed at me, clamouring to be loosed, refusing to be ignored and begging to be given full reign or God, who demands obedience, faithfulness and purity?
Because of a series of events, I found myself confessing to the Christian Internet community to which my friend and I belonged. I expected anger, righteous indignation and ostracization and, while some of that happened, the love, acceptance and appreciation of the courage it took to speak up, blew me away. It was this outpouring of love, the encouragement and the coming alongside in support, which enabled me to choose God.
Choosing God, however, does not guarantee that all temptation will cease or be resisted. On the contrary, it often multiplies. Nor does choosing God result in immediate and sustained joy. For me, the decision was merely the first step on a switch-backed road up a steep mountain.
Yet God has been good. He kept me surrounded by those who lovingly brought me back to the road when I wandered, who shone the light ahead of me when it was too dark for me to see and who, by their example, showed that obedience is not only possible, it is replete with joy, blessing and fulfillment. Walking with Jesus is an adventure. No other lover can compare. He calls the Church his bride and, in the role of Besotted Groom, he woos us, loves us and continues to pursue us even when we rebelliously turn our back on him. Who can compare? Why would anyone want anything or anyone else? I am grateful he waited patiently for me and that he continues to be patient as I continue the journey.
Perhaps you are someone who is struggling with choice. You want to follow God but you don’t know how. You may be someone who knows very little about Christianity or you may have been a Christian all your life, hiding your secret sin in fear that, if others knew, you’d be rejected and castigated. I want to encourage you to know that your past doesn’t matter to God. He accepts each of us as we are. He is the Changer, the Renewer, the Miracle Worker, not us.
Searching for Love is the story of how God has done this for me. It is the story of facing same-sex attraction, wanting to deal with it in a God-honouring way and the tensions that result. It is more than that. What I hope to do is emphasise God’s grace and mercy and the awesome ways he has been present, changing me. I realize it seems like a vicious, never-ending cycle. I fall, God picks me up. I fall, God picks me up. What kind of story is that? Shouldn’t it be that, once God comes into a person’s life, the line that depicts the graph of their spiritual journey becomes a straight, smooth incline? My journey has been anything but smooth and straight. It has been more like the graph of the stock market over the past 90 years—up and down, up and down in repetitiously jagged lines. However, if you look closely, and all financial people are eager to point this out to their clients, the base line is gradually rising. Even though, in the short term, it looks like there is no progress, there really is great improvement. This describes my journey and one of the things I want people to realize. Far too many get discouraged because once again, despite all their efforts to the contrary, they fall. How often can one come back to God and ask forgiveness? How long before his tolerance runs out? Most people give up in despair, say it is impossible to live a holy life and stop trying. I want to give hope. I want to show, through my life, that there is hope; that God is full of immeasurable, unending love, compassion and grace.
The temptation is to give up, but we can allow God to use our experiences to change us and to grow us into the people he wants us to be, one fall, one victory at a time. We don’t need to stay defeated. This is what I hope my story will show.