Testimonies : Testimonies

Looking for Love in All the Wrong Places

My life in the past few years has included a variety of changes that I once could never imagine taking place.

My problem with homosexuality began approximately forty years ago, when I was a teenager. Life was very difficult for me even then. My formative years were those of confusion, loneliness and parental psychological abuse. It seems that I could never measure up to my father’s expectations. There was an estrangement between the two of us that lasted all his earthly life. Anger, pain and bitterness grew inside of me, and I carried them silently wherever I went. My view of masculinity became distorted. I longed for friendship with other men, but deep down I always felt unable to relate with them in a normal sense.

What followed next were many years of lying, covering up and doing whatever I had to do to persist in this sin. It became very addictive and I couldn’t seem to live without it.

There was a void in me that never seemed to be filled. As a result, I seemed to be always “looking for love in all the wrong places.” My life became a nightmare. I was constantly and frantically searching for something that I seemed never quite able to find.

I thought it was all hopeless and eventually got to the point where I really dreaded waking up in the morning, knowing that all I was going to face that day was emptiness in my soul. At that time I didn’t fully realize that it was my separation from God that was the real source of most of my misery.

It was as I began to think about my relationship with God, that He did a wonderful thing for me. Several years ago as I thumbed through the pages of Philadelphia Magazine, I came across an advertisement for HARVEST USA. A few weeks later I called the number. Little did I know how this discovery and subsequent interaction was going to deeply affect my life. When I called, I was immediately struck by the friendliness of a caring and seemingly understanding voice on the other end. I knew that I had to visit the office and find out more. Through attendance at weekly meetings I began to draw on a strength that I never knew was available. The source of the strength is well explained in Philippians 4:13: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” That verse has been ringing true for me ever since. My view of myself and my masculinity began to change.

Through subsequent involvement with HARVEST USA, my relationship with the Lord has flourished and grown. I began to get involved with other Christian groups and get Christian counseling, which I needed. At long last my struggle was over, and the simplicity of it all astounds me.

But my life today is not easy by a long shot. Nor do I really expect it to be. There are still problems and I continue to live with enormous pressures. But there is a very discernable difference! I do not bear these things alone anymore, and I also realize that God will not allow me to be tempted beyond what I am able to bear. Living, no matter how difficult, makes so much more sense now that there is a clear direction to follow and wonderful goals to be achieved.

Jesus Christ is my focus and my salvation. Even though I once thought of myself as the lowest form of human life, I realize now that I am quite valuable. I can make choices based on the fact that I have as much to offer as any other man. I am accepted and loved in the truest sense. I am no longer separated from God, and He does not condemn me. This truth is actually simple but genuinely liberating to a person who has had to struggle with homosexuality nearly his whole life.

I thank God every day for the wonderful work of HARVEST USA and for making me a part of it. The fellowship, true caring and friendship along with the steady leading of God, have certainly opened my eyes so that nothing seems hopeless anymore. I am one person who has conquered this battle and lives in constant wonder at the healing power of Jesus Christ. I highly recommend Him for everyone!

Silent Sisterhood 

What I have been asked to share with you is not so much my story of how and why I came to Harvest USA, but rather what has happened to me since then. I will not pretend to have answers to many questions. This is a story of ‘work in progress,’ and how God ceaselessly and actively works in my life.

I came to Harvest USA because I was convicted that there was something very wrong in what wanted from people and women in particular. I remember the night I finally began to see the subtle differences in what was good and bad in my friendships. It was a New Year’s Eve party to which a certain few had been invited. As I sat there I was aware of, as if for the first time, the lingering, meaningful gazes, the exclusive conversations, and private jokes, the hand resting too long on a shoulder. I had the sensation of being sucking into something that was no longer alluring. Everything worked in this group by hints and insinuation; nothing was ever said openly; so nothing could be defined. I remember it being a long, long night. Next morning I spoke to someone who shared with me her New Year’s Eve. She talked about how she and her friends had come together and prepared a meal. Then during that meal they renewed their friendships and prayed for the coming year and what it would bring. I walked away from her, into another room – and cried. The openness and honesty of the events of her evening contrasted sharply with the complete lack on anything meaningful in mine, and this cut me to the bone.

The Silent Sisterhood to which I belonged required secrecy, and for maintaining the secret my reward was an aching hollowness that gnawed deeper and deeper into my soul. I was a living, breathing lie. I had spent a lifetime building a pleasant, inoffensive façade keeping all but a tiny few out. Now this façade was so thick that it seemed impossible to break through. This is testimony that God can pulverize even the thickest walls around our hearts.

If God says, “No, this not the lifestyle to which I call you,” then to what does He call me?  There has to be more to living than just not being gay anymore. For me Harvest USA is not just about walking along side men and women coming out of the homosexual and lesbian lifestyle. It is a mistake to think that when someone stops acting out the gay lifestyle that it ends there. In most cases all you’ve got is a celibate homosexual or lesbian who lives in an androgynous twilight world of simply knowing what they shouldn’t do. Having been there I found it’s a cold, comfortless place to be. Those who stop there find little to rejoice about; their hearts are rarely open or warm, their anger something to be avoided. So, as I came to know what I shouldn’t do, my heart cried out to God to know what He was calling me to be! There had to be more, my heart yearned too much for these deep changes to stop there. What was it? What was it I was tasting, glimpsing, that drew me to the cliff edge of choices, and to the realization that I had choices. It was in this place I first began to understand what it was to be a child of God – the child of a loving father.

Thought is sounds simple, to move from seeing myself as a child of God to being His daughter was a momentous step. I could easily have held on to the idea of being a child, seeing myself simply as a child – not even as a little girl, for the rest of my life and effectively never grown up. But God calls me to be His daughter, His beloved daughter, to grow into womanhood, capable of seeing and experiencing Him, people and life in a totally unique way through my femininity. He teaches me in Word and leads me to women in church, in groups, and in friendships who, as in the words of Proverbs 31, are clothed in strength and dignity, who do not fear the future because of Him and who speak with wisdom and faithful instruction. These women move freely and enjoy the respect and confidence of others and shatter my old notions of strength, independence and freedom. These women are interdependent, they do not see themselves as separate, and they are connected closely to others and enjoy it! The connection is neither smothering nor exclusive as I found in lesbianism, but springs from being present to one another even in the hard, raw times that God uses to shape His daughters.

I am at that point of my journey where I have begun to explore my femininity, this intrinsic part of me – and it is not without fear. I am often frightened by the newness of everything. In a world in which I have heard femininity described as a ragbag of discarded female values to be passed over in search of something better: allowing my life to be shaped by God through His gift of femininity is also frightening. But to expose myself to the refining fire of my Father, to feel the sharpness of His knife as He cuts deep into the shadowy corners of my soul is also to expose that fear for His attention so that He may deal with it. And I also know this, God sets me on a high cliff and there I feel the breath of God, it can burn like fire, searing through me and separating sinew from bone; and all the while as I come apart He reshapes me for His purpose, and all the while the protection of His love holds my feet firm in that place. Only God protects and gives safety as I look in things long buried and discarded and am willing to pick up and own as part of me.

From the safety of His protection I face the temptations to go back, to strive at being strong and independent, and consequently to being untouchable in the core of myself. For these temptations are still there, but in God’s love I no longer welcome them as old friends, but see them as the soul destroyers they are.

My femininity, my sexuality, my place as a daughter: these are all gems for the taking from my Father’s hands. How I will wear such precious gifts is something that only time can reveal. But as I look on these well-cut stones, their facets catch and reflect the light of my Father’s love. The luster of His promises never fades, they are promises more enduring than the hardest diamond. Promises worth dying for; and Christ died so that I might receive these gifts. To receive is something that was impossible for me not so long ago. There is beauty in this that I know I am just beginning to understand. God has lifted the curtain and I have glimpsed something wonderful – that promises more. I want to know, see and be more of what he is calling me to be. As He reveals more, I know this process will not end in this lifetime, but this a journey I want to make; I want to make it hoping and trusting always in Him, my loving Father.

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