On October 14th (yes, the day after the marathon), I spoke at a church north of Boston as part of their series on the book of Revelation (the text for the day was Revelation 2:18-29). It was a slightly different version of my testimony, focusing on the importance of purity and embracing weakness, and I thought I’d share it here.
I was born prematurely in May of 1975. I spent my early months, isolated in an incubator, as premature babies were not touched or held. Those first months seemed to set the tone for the rest of my life. I have distinct memories of songs and stories that scared me as a child. I’d zero in on themes of abandonment with great fear, sure that at any moment, I would be alone.
I began experimenting sexually with girls at a young age. As a high school freshman, I began a physical relationship with my female best friend. I looked up “homosexuality” in a health book. The book said that if you had attractions for someone of the same gender, then you were gay. I remember thinking, “There it is, in black and white. I am a homosexual.”
For the next decade, I had several long-term and short-term relationships with women. I was not happy. At age 22, I found myself at music school in Boston. It was there I started learning more about Jesus. Christians seemed to start coming out of nowhere to share about His love. They never took it upon themselves to say that I should not be a lesbian. Like everyone else, I was a sinner in need of Jesus in my life. My sexual behavior was only one of many indications of this need.
My life spiraled out of control in many areas, not only my sexual identity, as I also had an eating disorder and a struggle with self-injury. A friend gave me a CD by a passionate Christian artist. His voice sang of a friend who was always there, a friend who would give everything for him. That friend is Jesus. In the midst of that song, I cried out to God saying, “I want what he has!” God, in His great mercy, met me on that day in January of 1999.
I had one more lesbian relationship after Jesus became Lord of my life. I felt stuck. Was it really even possible to break free of the chains that still held my life in so many ways, and give myself fully to my relationship with Jesus Christ? I eventually said yes to God after my girlfriend broke up with me.
Some days were a moment-by-moment practice of surrender. I went to a Christian counselor who helped me transform my life and my thoughts. God made it clear that I was to share my story. His power, perfected in my weakness, is also perfected when I boast in those weaknesses. I eventually married. And yet, purity is still a daily embrace, a moment-by-moment decision.
That is not to say I still struggle with same-sex attraction at the level of intensity I did 12.5 years ago when I finally surrendered my sexuality to God. I don’t. But every day, I’m faced with the same choice as all of you, no matter what you struggle with. It’s a choice as to whether or not I will trust God in the face of uncertainty. And those times where I don’t choose to trust, I find myself longing to trust in other things, whether it be food or envy and greed.
The lyrics of a song have gripped my heart recently:
He’s coming for a pure bride.What are you doing when no one is watching? Children get your hearts right. God’s coming for a pure bride!
Just the magnitude of His holiness inspires me to choose Him, to make the right choice when no one’s watching, even if no one besides God would ever know. Today, I do not obey God out of a place of fear, or a worry that His feelings for me are somehow as fickle as mine often are. I obey God out of a deep, deep place of love, respect and complete abandon to the God who spared no expense to rescue me.
He’s coming for a pure bride.