Friday, July 27, 2012

I'm Christian and I struggle with Homosexuality


When I was born, I lived in Lawrence, MA with my parents and my sister. But when I was around the age of 2, they divorced and my sister and I were put into foster care.  We moved to my aunt’s home until I was about 5 and then into a family friend’s home until I turned 7. My sister and I were then adopted by a new family.

Rob is a real Christian man. He lives in Massachusetts and has written this story of his struggle with homosexuality and the gay lifestyle. He's gone through a lot but the Lord is faithful. Pass Robert's true life story on to anyone who can find encouragement in his words.
Throughout growing up, I always missed my dad though I barely knew him. I just had the desire to get to know him even though I never saw him except during visits that were scarce.  The last visit, I was told that I would never see my birth parents again and from that day on, I completely resented my adoptive mother because she had never had anything nice to say about my birth dad and I felt she was probably responsible for the decision.  Growing up, I never got along with her because she cared more for her house than for the people in it, namely myself.  She was always obsessed with how the house appeared and if the lawn wasn’t mowed or if the floor wasn’t swept, there she would be ready to flip out as soon as I got home from school.

My adoptive dad, all the while that this was going on, had never been anything except supportive of me in anything that I did.  I have always had respect for him and we have a great relationship. My adoptive mom and I, not so much.  When I started high school, I soon discovered that people started forming cliques and their own exclusive groups of friends, the typical jocks, cheerleaders, band kids, drama kids, goths, artsy people etc.  But there didn’t seem to be much interconnectivity between the groups unless a person was in the performing arts department because those were the kids who were also at all the football games performing the national anthem.  There was another group that also had friends in all of the social circles and it was the GSA (Gay straight alliance).

Since I always fought with my mom about everything from a spoon being in the sink to eating the last pop tart, I didn’t want to be home around her so I would stay after school and go to the GSA because the people were friendly and I felt like I belonged.  Since I grew up with my mom being angry about just about everything, I think that subconsciously, I viewed all women this way and since it wasn’t something I wanted anything to do with, I decided that maybe I should get to know guys instead. The only problem in my circumstance is that the guys I was getting to know were attracted to me and with my hormones developing and all, I slowly but surely became drawn to them. And because I didn’t have a loving mom, to my perception at the time, in my life, I never saw women as being attractive because as I said earlier on, a part of me just wanted nothing to do with them and as I went through puberty, that mindset in a way shaped my sexual desires as well. After all, why would I ever want to be intimate with someone who just yells at me all the time and makes me feel unwanted, unloved, unappreciated, stupid, and worthless?

Those were all things I felt at the time and none of the opposites.  And then I come to school everyday, get to hang out with these guys that pay attention to me, give me compliments, want to take me on dates, etc. It seemed like a no brainer to me.  I tried to date a girl in high school just to see how it would go but she ended up breaking up with me because she found someone she thought was more attractive because he had these things called muscles.  So the feeling of inadequacy was reinforced because now, even though the woman was nice, I wasn’t good enough for her.  When I was still in my freshman year of high school, I came out to my parents but they outright rejected it. Which I see as good now but at the time, I saw it as them rejecting me and I was filled with bitterness toward them. Because when my mom made me to feel stupid when I was younger, that came to mind and I thought she was just having a field day where she got to be right about everything yet again.  They dismissed it as a phase but to me, it wasn’t a phase, it was a part of me.

Though I never chose my attraction to men, I did choose my rejection of women because I felt they had rejected me as a whole. Growing up with donated clothing did a number on my self esteem as well and in my high school, the majority of girls dressed in nothing but the latest name brands and they were very picky about the guys they dated so, suffice it to say, I was not someone they ever noticed or were interested in.

About halfway through my junior year of high school, my parents sent me to a residential home in Vermont for troubled teens. The night before I left, I basically just cried myself to sleep because I felt so rejected by my parents who were supposed to love me regardless of whether I was straight or gay or whatever. But instead I felt like I was nothing more than a burden to them and they were basically taking a ten month vacation from me. But I’m glad that I went because I learned a lot about God while I was there and thought maybe if I just prayed enough, the gay would go away so to speak. It didn’t and I am still learning why but that I will share later on. After I graduated the residential program and then went on to graduate high school, I was eager to go to a Christian college. I figured, if I go to a Christian college, I can make Christian friends who can pray for me and then I can be straight and date a girl and get married and the excitement of that notion just took me over.

So I applied to a few Christian colleges in the area but they required loans in order to attend, loans that my mom didn’t feel like co signing for me, though she did for my sister.  Instead, I ended up attending central Christian college of the bible in Moberly, Missouri. While there, I was excited to make Christian friends who could support me in prayer and instead I found rumors about me throughout the campus, emails asking me for sex, the music professor disrespecting me in class and taking scripture out of context to do so, rejection by my peers because I was struggling with my sexuality, rescinded invitations of fellowship, lies, drama and it was high school all over again except worse.

After a year of school there, I was ready to just come home but my mom wouldn’t let me. She held the condition that I wasn’t welcome home unless I had a full time job with 40 hours a week waiting for me on the other side of the plane and I would also have to find my own way to get home. So for about a year I was on my own. While I was in school, I had worked at a video store like blockbuster videos and I met a guy named Jeff who happened to be gay. Since all the students at the school had already left for the summer and the school dorms were closed until the following fall semester, I had nowhere to turn for shelter.  So I called Jeff and asked if I could stay with him till I figured things out. He was fine with it but was not totally honest about his intentions. Jeff wanted a relationship and I was not interested in dating anyone at that time.

Jeff also drank a lot and when he came home drunk at night, I would basically need to hide because he raped me a couple of times. Being that he lived in a small town and seemed to know everyone, when he told me he knew the judge, I didn’t question him because he might have actually known the judge. If I said anything to an officer, I was afraid of what Jeff might do because I was alone on the other side of the country, and left by my mom to die as far as I was concerned. I ended up getting a job at the holiday inn express in Moberly and after that, Jeff wanted rent all of a sudden, which was fine with me because I felt like I should give him something in exchange for shelter anyway. The only problem was that he wanted my entire paycheck. So I was basically under his thumb financially and had to deal with his advances as well as his abuse until the fall when the students returned to the campus.  When they finally returned, my old roommate from my first semester was there so I called him and asked if I could crash at his dorm instead and explained my situation.

I moved most of my stuff out of Jeff’s house and when I got to the dorms, I thought of what I could do to get home. I ended up finding a job opportunity online at the campus and quit the holiday inn express so I could move home. Since I couldn’t take all my stuff with me due to not being able to afford the extra luggage fee, I sold my bass guitar, electric guitar, acoustic electric guitar and violin for enough to buy a plane ticket and my old roommate drove me to the airport later that week and I was home in a few hours.

When I got home, I barely spoke a word to my mom because of what I felt she had put me through. It felt like she was so unsupportive of me and I couldn’t tell her any of my experience because once again, she would just throw it in my face because I was always wrong no matter what. When I started work, I began as a part time stock worker at A&F at north shore mall in MA where I live. I ended up working there for 4 years but they let me go because my store became low volume so I applied to a jewelry shop and now I work for them. There is one major difference between now and when I worked at A&F as well as my whole experience so far.

That difference is now I follow Jesus.  While I was going through all of my tough experiences in Missouri as well as the issues I dealt with in high school, I was focusing on people, following after men and trying to fit in. I was trying to belong to groups of people to feel accepted. But God has recently been working on my heart and opening up my eyes and ears to things I never even thought about or overthought on.

I have been learning to never base my obedience to God on the actions of others. Others will fail, God will not and He has reasons for why certain things are good and why others are not and His reasons are good because He is good.  There have been times as I am sure there will be times later on in my life where I will come across people or situations that will be anything but easy to deal with such as a very negative person or a tragic situation that could shake a person to hopeless depression.  Whatever the case may be, it is crucial to keep my eyes focused on Jesus because when I am focused on Him and obedient to Him, that is when I will walk with strength regardless of the situation and He will show me how to do so.

I have also learned that feeling is not fact. While growing up, I faced a lot of loneliness and depression because I not only felt rejected by my family but also because I was afraid I was going to hell for my attractions. And if I found a guy, I couldn’t be with him anyway so there was no point and I was just sad, though I didn’t show it. Instead, I would use humor to cover it up. I let my emotions rule a lot of my life by the decisions I would make based on them.  Thankfully God has opened my eyes to that and He has changed my heart.

As far as my attraction to men is concerned, before it was a part of my identity that I claimed because I didn’t know my true identity is in Jesus. I am not gay; I am a man who is tempted with an attraction to other men. To the world, such a statement would be completely ridiculed. Because it is the truth. When a person accepts Jesus as their Lord and Savior, they die to the world and their earthly identity with it and they become a new creation as described in the New Testament (2 Corinthians 5:17). That means that all the temptations they faced no longer define them and are no longer their identity because now they are identified with Jesus. When a person’s temptations are realized as what they are, those temptations become just that, temptations. They can be resisted and when you resist the devil he will flee. If you recognize the enemy, you can fight if you have the right weaponry, which is the armor of God spoken of in Ephesians. A few verses that have been very encouraging to me have been Galatians 5:16, Isaiah 40:31 and Philippians 4:13. These verses talk about resisting the desires of the flesh, trusting in God for strength and remembering that our strength comes from Jesus and He gives us the ability to do all things in His strength, including resisting the devil.

As for pursuing heterosexuality, it’s not my priority anymore because I have come to understand that Jesus should be my focus, not a woman. However, it is not to say that I wouldn’t like to marry a woman but as it stands I just have no attraction and for this part of my life, I want to draw nearer to God and keep my focus on Him alone. If along my life journey, He puts a woman and I together, then wonderful but it is no longer my focus and that is so freeing to me to finally be able to say that I don’t need to be with a woman to please God because He loves me for me.

The goal isnt to be straight. The goal is to focus on Jesus. I've wasted a lot of time in my life trying to be straight and because that was my focus, I've failed miserably. I've been checking out youtube for some different perspectives on homosexuality and a constant theme I've noticed is that people try to change themselves and in effect get in God's way of changing them. This happens because they aren't focusing on God but rather on the belief that they aren't acceptable to God if they have temptations.

I think people don't realize that they are completely forgiven for their sins when they accept Jesus as their lord and savior. They base their life off feelings or their own ideas as to what makes a person worthy of forgiveness even though our salvation is a gift from God out of His great love for us.

I have been learning to have a heart of obedience and in doing so I am learning new things constantly though I still have much to learn. But I’m excited to do so and apply what knowledge God gives me.

Thank you for letting me share my story.  –Rob

If you would like to contact Rob with questions or thoughts, send him a message by clicking here or by responding to this post. Interested in further reading? Check out Homosexuality and the Christian (aff link) by Mark A. Yarhouse, PsyD.
Photo By: Philippe Put

CovenantEyes.com

4 comments:

  1. Jonathan & Rob,
    THANK YOU.
    I have been blessed by the two of you!

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  2. Thank you for writing this post, Rob. You did a fantastic job.

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  3. Thank you both for being so encouraging! Im proud to call you both my true family!

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  4. This was very encouraging. Thank you for sharing.

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