When some people give their testimony, they talk about all the difficulties that get resolved the instant they give their life to Christ. My story is quite different. God put me through the fire of refining so my sin would come to surface making me recognize it for the ugliness it really is. Only after seeing this can I see Jesus as brightly as I see him now.
I was born into what I thought was a normal Christian family. Every Sunday morning we went to church. I liked God but I didn’t like church. When I was four, I accidently cracked the pastor’s boy’s tooth with a yoyo while his family were over at our house for dinner. I remember it sent shockwaves of fear through my father and he punished me severely even though at the time I didn’t fully understand.
Primary school was a challenge for me. I wasn’t like the other boys. I was short for my age, underweight, and not great at sports. I didn’t admit this to myself at the time but inside I was deeply wounded and angry. Throughout my early years at school I never really felt like I was one of the boys. The school was a good Christian school though, and every day we read from the Bible. One day on the bus home from school I decided to believe the message for myself.
When I was twelve, I started to notice something different about me. Instead of feeling attracted to girls, I started feeling attracted to my friends. I had no idea why. One of my strongest memories from this time was when one of my friends and I decided to get naked and watch TV in the downstairs area of his home. Even though there was no physical contact, I remember clearly the strong deep emotions. Just being naked with one of my friends made me feel comfortable, loved, valued and accepted. It just felt right.
High school was brutal. Mum’s anger from her past abuse started to rise to the surface. She became almost sociopathic and would scream at me for hours on end for no apparent reason. This happened all the way through high school. When I was fifteen I was baptized. When I was seventeen I came out to myself as gay but I decided to keep following the Lord. That same year mum started drinking and getting violent. When I told people about what was happening they didn’t believe me. Yet in all this, God was my refuge.
I completed high school and went on to university. I wanted to be a music teacher so I studied music, then teaching. The teaching segment put me under a tremendous amount of pressure. At the school I was allocated the children were horrible. I’d get treated like trash when I was at school and treated like trash at home. I cried a lot. My life was horrible.
One day after teaching, I felt so low, I didn’t care anymore. I just wanted to feel good about something in life. I was so tired of feeling pain and feeling nothing. I remembered how good it felt being naked with my friends when I was twelve. I was desperate to relive that which I had experienced, desperate to feel loved and accepted, and in a moment of foolishness and weakness, I opened my laptop and looked up naked teen boy selfies. Afterwards I felt so horrible I just blanked it all out of my mind. As far as I was concerned, it never happened.
The following year everything in life fell apart. For a couple of years prior, my dad had been having a secret relationship with a teen boy from the church and now someone had found out. That same day, my parents split up and I cut myself off from dad. For days I felt sick because of the shock and the stress that it all put me under. Everything was too much. It was also at this time I decided to move out. As the months went by I fell into depression. I was in total darkness. I felt cursed by God. There were many nights where I would lie awake; completely immobilized because of fear. It was hard to believe this was all happening to me.
One evening I was sitting in my car parked in the church car park after attending a midweek evening service at the church. I reached the very end of everything I was able to bear. I cried out “God I hate everything! I hate my family! I hate being gay! I hate Christians who don’t understand my pain! But most of all God…I hate you!” Then I picked up my knife. I decided the only thing I could do was to kill myself by stabbing myself in the heart. But even that wouldn’t be enough. I wanted to get back at God and kill as many Christians as I could before killing myself.
Suddenly the presence of God filled my car and everything became still. Never before had I experienced anything like this. I was so afraid I couldn’t move or speak. But at the same time I felt like God loved me for who I am, not for who I was trying to be. When the presence faded, I drove home perplexed at what had just happened.
From this point onward, things were different. I was still trying to make sense of what had just happened. My sexuality didn’t change, but deep down I felt loved. Why else would God save me? Very slowly I was learning how to trust Him for everything.
At the end of the following year, I completed my teaching qualification and started working as a casual teacher at the local high school. I was good as a teacher, and the school gave me plenty of work. I loved my students too, but I felt conflicted inside. Every day I was fighting a secret battle to keep the darkness at bay.
Six months later, it all came crashing down. One of the mums from church noticed I was a little too physical as a Sunday school teacher. Later that afternoon she phoned up and told me that I was no longer welcome at her house. As soon as I hung up the phone, all the strong emotions hit me all at once. I remember looking at my hands. They looked like the claws of a monster. In my deep anguish and confusion I took myself to the hospital. I told them everything but I didn’t receive any support whatsoever.
This set in motion a systematic process that locked me out of everything even remotely relating to working with children. I knew this would happen, but it still hurt. I felt so low. I had no job, no dignity, no support, and nowhere to go. Only in part did my pastor seem to understand the horror I was going through. Then when I thought it couldn’t get any worse, I received a false accusation in the mail from the Office of the Children’s Guardian.
Feeling overwhelmed, I got in my car and drove. All I wanted to do now was drink as much vodka as I could and gas myself in my car. In hindsight I definitely would have, but since God had already saved my life previously, I decided to keep trusting Him. I thought if God could get me through one sexuality crisis then he could get me through another.
After a series of letters to the Children’s Guardian, the false accusation was dropped. But this negligence cut deep. Maybe someone had it in for me. For the next couple of years I was in emotional turbulence. By the grace of God things have become a lot more settled. Through this entire process God has shown himself to be unimaginably faithful and kind.
My story isn’t over yet. But I look forward with great anticipation as to what the future holds. My goal is to glorify God through sharing my story. The blood of Jesus really can wash away even the darkest of stains. This is incredibly good news for people like me. Hallelujah!
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