by Amanda, 24
Homosexuality. That was a word that was never uttered in my family or church growing up. That was the ultimate sin. The forbidden fruit. The sin they kick you out of church for. I’ll never forget my reaction to the first time someone asking me if I was a lesbian. People had called me dyke behind my back or just “one of the guys,” but no one had ever had the guts to ask. I remember I was so defensive and quickly said “NO!” with a disgusted look on my face.
“How dare she ask me that! Doesn’t she know it’s the worst sin?”
After all, I’m a Christian. I would never even flirt with the idea that I may be a lesbian, to the point that I didn’t even like to hug girls because someone might think I was gay.
I was on the basketball team in high school and that ran my life. My team was about the only people with whom I would hang out. My team was my life. And my team was my first personal interaction with homosexuality. My team had a lesbian couple. I, being the “good” Christian, thought that was disgusting. How could someone do that? I didn’t want to admit to myself at the time that I was jealous, but I was. I was jealous of the closeness they felt for each other and the way they would always watch out for each other. I was jealous of their seemingly intimate relationship.
Then I went to college, a Christian college mind you. My first year I felt so right with God and was thrilled that I was making life long Christian friends. It was a little while later that I began a hard fall to any and all sin: Drinking, hooking up, drugs, anything I could do and not feel too bad when I went to church on Sunday. I gained many close friends who did the same thing — act one way Saturday night, feel bad about it on Sunday, then hit repeat for the next weekend. I was up and down with God my whole college career, mostly down, but put off a good façade that the Lord and I had a good relationship. I was even a spiritual leader for my sorority while still so deep in my sin.
While soaking in my sin and embracing my fleshly desires I was presented with a new desire, or really a chance to play out a desire. I suddenly, literally over night fell in a relationship with another woman. It was what I had been secretly desiring for so long: the intimate relationship, the undivided attention, the constant physical pleasure, someone seeing me as special, someone telling me I was beautiful, and someone who needed me.
I had always desired these things and sought them out in others, but never found them.
“But homosexuality is the sin!” I thought to myself, but it truly felt so right. Soon I began the justification, and the pleading with God to tell me this sin was ok. I began to seek out answers from other spiritual leaders in the hope they would tell me homosexuality was ok. I began to systematically turn the Truth of God into a lie, justifying what feels good and what I knew was right.
My girlfriend very quickly became my idol. I went to her for everything. She then very quickly had all control over me. What I ate, what I wore, what I did for fun, who I hung out with, how and when I studied, what I said, how I reacted to specific situations, almost every aspect of my life revolved around her and what she thought. I was trapped and I didn’t even know it.
The whole period of our relationship was a battle with the Lord. Since she was also a Christian we prayed a lot about our relationship and this “true love” we thought we had. There was never a time we both were not questioning if our relationship was sinful. There was always a part of me that was scared of how far I was turning away from God.
With summer coming we knew we wouldn’t see each other. We decided to end the relationship. I did see her a few times in the next year. Each time I crossed sexual boundaries with her even though we were not in a “relationship.” I was still wrapped up in the attention I got from her and the physical aspect of the relationship. Though she didn’t treat me well, she was still willing to have sex with me so I put up with the mistreatment. It was pathetic.
After that relationship it opened the doors to all women and began to see women in a different light. I began to see woman as attractive, as sex objects and as a challenge. I tried to go to God, begging Him to take this attraction away, but the attractions wouldn’t stop.
I was sharing this story with a friend one night after church and she told me about Living Hope. I checked out the website, read a few articles and thought “I’m not gay why do I need this?” After months of my friend bugging me, I decided to check LHM out. I had no idea what I was in for and what God had planed for me.
After I met with D’Ann the first time I thought my brain was going to explode. All of these things suddenly clicked as to why I sought all those things in woman. It was not because I was gay or weird or totally messed up. I had no idea how the relationships in the past could impact the relationships I have in the present and in the future. I had no idea how broken I was.
After my first night at group I was blown away. I wasn’t the only screwed up person out there! These people are just like me — broken and seeking the Lord. The group was so accepting of me and their ability to be so vulnerable and open about their lives was something I had never experienced. After the next few weeks, I felt a sense of panic as I wondered if I’m going to have to be vulnerable both to them and with God. This was something I did not want to do. I was fine with putting a band-aid on my wounds to cover them up so I wouldn’t have to look at them. That was easy for me. I knew how to be tough and not deal with things; I had done it all my life. But God had other plans.
My heart began to soften as I slowly learned how to be vulnerable, to process everything I had gone through and to let the Lord come in and tear down the many walls I had built up in regards to relationships with women, but in all areas of sin.
It was the second or third group I had been to when Ricky started a Hosea series. I knew then that God had specifically led me to LHM. Hosea is one of my favorite books in the Bible and as soon as Ricky told us we were doing Hosea, I knew this journey was going to be rough, but bring life-altering healing. Throughout this series and in meetings with D’Ann, I began to realize the seriousness of my sin, both past and current. I saw how I belittled my own sin and the sins of others. I began to realize how much God loves me, like really loves me. I realized He loves me so much He’s willing to open those wounds and dig deeper, through the pain, so He can completely heal the infection it was causing.
The Lord has opened my eyes to my past and in His timing revealed things that need healing, things I have pushed so far down inside me I have forgotten them. Asking the Lord to reveal the things in my past is definitely not something I wanted to do. In fact, it wasn’t even something I knew needed to be done. That’s how thick and strong my walls were, no one was going to get in there. Living Hope gave me a safe place to start peeling away those layers and breaking down those walls. Through the Lord and Living Hope I have come to terms with the fact that I am not my sin or my past, I am the Lord’s.
The other women at group as well as those on the forums are an encouragement like no other. As a person who has a hard time putting my feelings into words, I benefit immensely from their processing and stories of healing. LHM has become a group of people I can relate to, a group of people who are just as broken as I am and not afraid to put themselves out there and be vulnerable. I am not alone. The feedback and encouragement that goes on at LHM is so very obviously God-breathed. His work in these women and in myself blows my mind on a daily basis.
The Lord still has a lot of work to do in this broken soul. He has softened my heart so much I now get emotional thinking about the Cross and what it means — not just to me and my wickedness, but to everyone, even the girl and the struggle that tore me to pieces. I am returning to the Lord, so He may heal my torn heart and bind up my wounds. –Hosea 6:1