Instead of Despair, Hope!

by Fred

I knew I was in trouble.  I was pretending everything was fine, but I was in big trouble. Growing up in Vancouver without a father and being raised by a single mother, I found a profound gap in my life.  No matter how much my mother nurtured me and sacrificially loved me, this chunk was still missing.

All throughout high school I maintained good friends, good grades and a good attitude towards the world around me.  I participated in my churchs youth group and faithfully attended church.  I spent time with my family and had a strong relationship with my mother.  Yet I was totally empty.  Id never asked Jesus Christ to be Lord over my life and I was filled with a helplessness and despair which said: Youre all alone.  God doesnt care about you.  No one cares about you.

I was missing the identity that a father gives.  I was missing the affirmation that says: You are my son.  I love you and I am proud of you.  This created a wall between me and everyone around me.  In high school I started having a fascination for the males around me, which quickly turned into a sexual desire. Before I knew it, I had started to think about males in my life more and more often, until the thoughts became fantasies.  Soon I discovered pornography, and my thoughts and longings became more and more perverse.

The turmoil that I faced, having lost my identity as a man, led me to seek out friendships where I could assume the feminine position of nurturer, comforter and helper.  I went through high school and my first year of university without any solution, without any hope, without any answers.  I thought my family would judge and reject me if the truth ever came out, and I started to share my gay identity with my closer friends, and was accepted both in my school and with my youth group.

The turning point came during a two-week work crew program at a Christian camp when God miraculously removed the weights that were on my heart and called me into a relationship with Him.  He said: It is time to stop self-destructing.  Come to me, and I will make you whole.

The next year at school, I started my Christian walk, but I had serious issues.  I still knew in my heart that I was gay and that no amount of prayer could remove the shame and deep hurt.  In my distress, I tried many different avenues for a solution, including talking to friends and looking through the Bible only to find what I already knew: homosexuality is clearly sinful.

While on this despairing search, I found something that would change everything about this struggle in my life: Living Hope.  I still cant remember exactly what Google combination of Christianity and homosexuality brought up the website, but within half an hour I saw solid resources that explained things better than I ever could, and I signed up for an online forum.  Within a week, I was beginning to read and post, finding that I was not alone and that there was hope.  There was a possibility for change.

A year later, with the blessing of my family, I flew down to Dallas for Living Hopes Youth Retreat.  An unbelievable weekend of worship, teaching and fellowship reversed the mindset I had assumed in the past, and replaced it with one focus: Christ.

I returned to the forums with more zeal, also digging deeper into other books and resources I had heard about through Living Hope.  The next year, Living Hopes Youth Retreat again challenged me, causing me to grow in my faith and knowledge of who I am.

Over three years later, God has done an amazing work in me.  I am not who I used to be.  He has transformed me into a new creation. Instead of same-gender attractions, I have healthy friendships with men in my life, and a healthy attraction to the opposite sex.  I am engaged to the most amazing and beautiful woman, and will be married in three months!

Instead of despair, I have an overflowing hope and joy that affects everything I do.  God is alive in me and I know He is supplying for my every need.

Instead of a hole in my heart, I am learning what it means to be fathered by God.  My Heavenly Father”my Daddy”protects me and gives me my identity as His son who He is pleased with.

Instead of pornography, God has provided meaningful friendships where I can connect with men in healthy ways.

Instead of the enemys deceit, I have the truth of God and the Holy Spirits constant companionship.

Instead of a strangling web of sexual desire, I have freedom and peace.

Instead of rags and ruin, I have the riches of Gods kingdom.

Christ alone deserves all the glory and all the honour.  I was given an amazing gift by Him: freedom, a new life, and a new identity. At the same time, I honour Living Hope for the place it has in my life.  It gave me a community across the globe that I could talk with, pray with, cry with and grow with.  It gave me an opportunity to retreat from this world and hear about God in a way that revolutionized my thoughts about Him.  It gave me the knowledge I needed to defeat the enemy and seek healing in the dark places of my soul I thought would never recover.  Living Hope gave me the tools I needed in the times that I needed them the most. And for that, I honour Living Hope and rejoice in their meaningful service that has changed my life.  Christ used them more than any other to bring about this complete transformation in my life.

Praise be to God, who loves His children and is always faithful.