by John, 24
The Hope House is a discipleship program where sexually broken guys are seeking a deeper relationship with God. I applied to live at the Hope House because, somewhere deep down, I recognized I couldn’t remain in control of my life much longer. I once lived in the gay lifestyle and, though it was spiritually and physically harmful to me, returning to this stomach-ulcer-of-a-life was still a large desire in my heart. In 2010, the Lord called me out of the “lifestyle” and brought me to Living Hope. A few months later the Holy Spirit made colossal changes in my heart, calling me into a relationship with Him, and a few months after that I found myself applying to live at the Hope House.
Living at the Hope House has been a great experience. However, when I look at the person who moved into the Hope House 15 months ago, I see someone trying to control God’s grace. “If I live at the Hope House then God will save me from living in the gay lifestyle again.” I clearly misunderstood the idea of wanting a deeper relationship with Christ, and completely overlooked the condition of my heart in every other aspect of my life. Scratch my heart and it would reveal a boy struggling with porn and masturbation, clueless about who God says he is as a man, and what his worth is as a man. In addition, you would see a boy grasping onto the memories of unhealthy relationships of his past and idolizing them. Even deeper was an easily overwhelmed new Christian, scared and confused about how to surrender his past, and how to walk forward with his Heavenly Father as a man. I entered the Hope House a bigger mess than I was willing to admit or reveal.
Moving into the Hope House was a huge shock and struggle at first. Clear boundaries, required weekly Bible studies, meeting weekly with Ricky, daily journals and accountability 24/7 from the other guys living at the House, and honesty and vulnerability were the norm! These were all overwhelming and many times unwanted. In spite of being unwanted, these boundaries are what make living at the House conducive for pointing our broken hearts to the Gospel.
Our weekly bible studies have been particularly great for my growth. These studies consistently showed me that seeking my flesh, idolizing relationships, and seeking acceptance from others to fulfill me was sin. In fact, anything that does not come from God is meaningless! God desires to be in a deep relationship with me; I needed to stop running from Him and start trusting in who He says He is. It was in the Bible studies that my walls came tumbling down and the condition of my heart was revealed to me.
Through the difficulties of living a life surrendered to God, I have come to realize that I am not master, redeemer, judge, or savior. But I am a LOVED child of God. This has begun to break down idols of old unhealthy relationships and the lie that my masculinity is defined by the world and not by God. I am now leading the Hope House, which is something I never thought I would or could do. Living at the Hope House has allowed the Lord to redeem my heart. I am now assured that whenever temptation arises, no matter how strong, I can fully rely on my Lord now and forever.