Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Testimony Tuesday - Week Nine

Hello, sweet friends! Happy Tuesday! My husband and I are back from our birthday trip to NYC. I'm super excited to be back and to be sharing this new testimony with you all. When I first read it, it inspired and encouraged me greatly to boldly share the great love of Christ with everyone I know, especially those who don't believe, who are lost. I pray that it encourages you to do the same! Love others like Jesus loves them! Oh, and this testimony is written by a fellow blogger, Stephanie!
 
 
"I first declared myself gay in middle school. It was mostly to a small group of friends and a few teachers. I had always grown up with feelings and attractions that were for other women. After my best friend confessed her secret love for me, I made my own confession and we started secretly dating. A few of our peers found out, and they began to start rumors about us. That’s when the teasing and mocking started, and I realized what a harsh path I had started down. Some of my close female friends were afraid for me to even touch them. Growing up in the very conservative state of Texas, I was surrounded with very strong opponents to homosexuality. After I started dating my best friend, all the Christians I knew stopped talking to me. I don’t know their hearts, but they seemed to suddenly hate me because they were Christians and I was gay. Some of them actively spoke against me-others didn’t- but as a rule, I avoided them because I didn’t want conflict, I didn’t want their hatred, I just wanted to be loved. As I continued through school, I continued to experiment with my sexuality, and eventually decided during high school that I was not a lesbian, I was bisexual. I was mostly strongly attracted to other girls, but I was also beginning to notice the guys around me. It was at this point that I began to engage in really risky behaviors. I entered into a 3 year series of very serious relationships with both guys and girls and was involved very physically with each of them. I jumped from one self-destructive relationship to the next. I was desperately seeking love and never quite attaining it. I was struggling with depression. I was cutting myself often and contemplated suicide on a fairly regular basis. I was facing teasing, hatred, and non-acceptance for my chosen sexual orientation. It was a really dark time in my life for all of those reasons. Thankfully, God had not given up on me. In the middle of all of my depression, I turned to a friend of mine. He and I had known each other since elementary school, but had never been incredibly close. I don’t know if he really saw what I was going through and wanted to help, or if he was merely just a God-send, but he began to reach out to me. He made it a point to ask how I was doing and then truly listen. He heard all my pain, confusion, and struggles and still loved me. He became a constant friend in my life. Then I found out he was a Christian. It blew my mind. He truly cared, I knew he did, and yet he also knew who I really was. He never once judged me. He never once said I shouldn’t do what I was doing. He just accepted me.
Despite having found a true friend, my depression and cutting was getting worse. I was stuck in a downward spiral, and the day before Super Bowl Sunday in 2005, I made the decision to take my own life. God had another plan for my life. That fateful Saturday, my best friend called me and invited me to a Super Bowl party that was being held the next day at a pizza, video games and go-kart type of place. I decided to put off suicide and to go and say goodbye to him and a few other friends who would also be there. I showed up and we ate pizza and watched the game, but when halftime came they turned off the TV. I was quite upset. Then it got worse (or so I thought.) A retired super bowl player got up on stage and began to talk about his life. I suddenly realized that this event was sponsored by my friend’s church, and the guy up front was talking about Jesus. I was stuck in the middle of the crowd that had gathered and couldn’t leave, so I listened. The speaker began to tell about how he had gone through a serious bout of depression. He suddenly had my attention. He spoke about how he went through a series of relationships that didn’t satisfy; he had looked for love and couldn’t find it. He then went on to tell about his decision to kill himself. At this point I knew God was speaking to me. He had singled my heart out and was speaking directly to it through the man on the stage. After the speaker’s failed attempt to kill himself, he told about what had changed his mind: a friend told him about Jesus.
He learned that Jesus wanted a personal relationship with him; Jesus cared if he killed himself, and Jesus was the love he was looking for. That love changed his life. At that point I knew that I wanted Jesus. I needed that relationship as well. It was only by a miracle that I was there that day. At the end of his message, I was thirsty for Jesus and the speaker told us how to start a relationship with Him. All I had to do was understand that I sin and fall short of God’s glory. I can’t make it to heaven on my own, but God provided a solution. His son, Jesus, died to pay the penalty once and for all for my sins, the ways I fall short of God’s glory. I just needed to understand that and then express that to God and ask for Jesus’ death to count for my sins. As I stood up and prayed to God for probably one of the first times in my life, I felt something change. My burden of depression had been lightened. It was as though God said "I’ll take this for you."

God spiritually and physically saved my life that day, and many things changed. I grew happier and stopped cutting myself. My scars are completely healed now. That is truly miraculous. Despite all the change occurring in my life, one major struggle still remained I liked women more than I liked men. I began to get plugged in with the church that had held the Super Bowl event, but often found myself disagreeing with them on homosexuality. They were not all as tolerant as my best friend had been, and some of them were downright scared of anyone who wasnt heterosexual.
 
 
The school year ended, and I headed off to college. I had chosen to go to a university in Colorado mainly because I wanted to get far away and start over. I searched for a church when I got there, but didn’t find a good match until Super Bowl Sunday rolled around again the next February. During my first fall semester at university, I had met and fallen in love with a girl we will call Sarah. She and I both had a lot in common. We both were also active members of the LGBT. We began dating that fall and were still dating when I fell in love with a college ministry crowd called The Rock. Sarah didn’t go to church, so not a whole lot of people in the Rock knew about our relationship, but those who did never judged me. I was again surprised to find non-judging Christians. They loved me with Christ’s love, and I began to change. God slowly revealed His heart for relationships to me through their fellowship. He slowly showed me exactly what His design was for marriage. It’s meant to be a picture of the relationship between Christ and his Church; between God and ourselves. He designed us male and female with specific roles in that picture, His design. This spoke to me in a way that I had never seen before. Instead of the Bible telling me who not to like because it was wrong, God was showing me why He designed relationships to be between one man and one woman. He was showing me how we have perverted those relationships as a culture, how I was perverting that design by dating Sarah. All of these revelations began to tear deeply at my heart. Deep inside I realized that I wasn’t truly happy with the woman I was dating. I felt the tug at my heart every time we kissed. It wasn’t quite right. Something was eating at me because of her. I was seeking something more. The woman who was discipling me recommended I read through Romans 1, and that was when God really spoke to me. It became clear that the desire I had for a relationship with Sarah was really just a misplaced desire for God’s love. Through His truth, my heart was broken free of that captivity to sin, of years of living in perversion, and of a corrupted view of relationships. I broke up with Sarah that day amid tears of joy and pain.
Sarah and I are still friends ten years later (I was recently in her wedding to her long-term boyfriend!), but I am no longer gay or bisexual. It’s not because of therapy, it’s not because of my nature, it’s because I was made new from the inside out and was slowly transformed by Christ. It hasn’t been a simple road, and I will be honest- I still find myself occasionally attracted to other women, but I know that lifestyle will never satisfy me the way that Christ can satisfy me, and I am able to submit those thoughts to Christ.

I have also been married now for the past 4 years to the most loving, patient, kind, understanding man I could ever ask for. We met on the university campus in a computer lab when I tried to invite him to a church event and we accidentally ended up on our first date. I then turned him down 4 different times over the next 1.5 years before finally agreeing to "officially" date him in January of 2010, and we were married within the year. I am completely head over heels in love with him, and am experiencing a contentment and peace with the Lord that I never had when I was dating women. God has truly blessed my life because of my relationship with Christ and because a few Christians decided to love me boldly. I challenge you to also love boldly you just might save a life!"
 
Thank you, Stephanie for being open & honest and sharing your amazing testimony of God's great love!
 
Friends, if you want to share your testimony with the world, please email me at hotteaandtheemptyseat@gmail.com. I would love to share your story of God's greatness and redemption with my readers!
 

1 comment:

  1. What a powerful story! I wish more people would wake up and realize God's design for them. Hugs and prayer to you!

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