It was 1994. I was 15 years old when the epiphany hit me that times were changing and I was eventually going to have a socially acceptable problem.
This sudden awareness started the clock on a grueling battle for my sexuality. I was conscious of the fact that I was different from the other girls at the age of five, and I had lived silently through ten years of gender confusion and attraction to women by age fifteen. I wanted desperately to be “over it” by the time it was going to be acceptable, even normal, to be gay.
I’ve always been conscious of God.
My Baptist upbringing made me aware of my need to be able to give an account for all the decisions that added up to the story of my life. Sometimes a burst of Scripture and the fear of God were strong enough to keep me in check. But, for most of my story, I just didn’t feel like I was in control of the pen.
Years before I shared my struggle or had a single conversation about it, I knew the way I felt toward women was not only different, but wrong. Deep down. Instinctively, I hid it. Like Adam and Eve, in the garden, when they got it wrong. It was not the topic of sermons or conversations in the early 90’s; it was still foreign at best, if not taboo. No one influenced me to fight these feelings because no one knew. It was the voice of God alone that spoke to my heart and persuaded me to fight for my identity.
From childhood, I wanted a husband and a family. I didn’t want to die in the arms of a woman at the age of sixty-four. Or forty-whatever. It wasn’t about shame before men, it was about honor before God. I couldn’t look God in the eye someday and tell Him I had tried to honor Him in every way He’d asked of me if I had given up easily when it came to this.
So I fought. Hard.
In my early teens, I told my youth minister’s wife. In my later teens, I fell in love. Deeply. After being caught, her mother allowed me to choose: I could tell my parents in the next twenty-four hours, or she would. I couldn’t let them hear it from anyone but me so I confessed my struggle to my very broken-hearted parents.
On a Sunday, I told them I had to move to make a new start, and I was gone by Wednesday. It ripped gaping holes in all of our hearts. It’s not the way you’re supposed to leave home, but I didn’t know what else to do. Unsure what to do with myself, I followed up on some previously abandoned plans and went to Bible school in Dallas. After one semester, I dropped out and checked myself into a live-in Christian counseling center for people fighting homosexuality. I found out the program was inactive after I moved in, and after a year there, I got so lonely that I left and let go of the fight for a time.
Ready to pick myself back up again I enrolled in art school in an honest pursuit of a web design career, but found myself swimming in temptation and unable to concentrate. I dropped out of art school to run away from another relationship that was forming, and moved to Austin where I enrolled in a school of ministry. A few years later, I found myself in trouble again, and had to step down from ministry. My teens and twenties were marked with cycles of victory and defeat, joy and pain.
Homosexuality is not a tender enemy.
But, I’m thankful for the affliction because it made a warrior and a lover of me.
For my entire twenty-three year search, I was never alone. When I made the decision to reach for help, people loved me. They prayed, listened, cried, and held me. They believed the best was coming and waited tirelessly for the seeds of life to bear fruit in my soul. By patient love they demonstrated my Father’s heart. The best of them never violated my will, created forceful situations, made rules for me to follow, rushed me to conclusions, or prescribed remedies. They gave me no reason to mistrust God by their own leadership styles. They didn’t make my sin any bigger than theirs. They didn’t freak out when I fell. They just spoke truth, and waited with me until I could see God. Because that’s the promise for the pure in heart. They see God.
During my struggle, I was at times almost overwhelmed by a relentless, internal pressure to make a decision that would define me in the long term. I contemplated “coming out,” not because I was suddenly proud of it, but because I was tired of fighting… particularly after a failure. I was exhausted and humiliated. I wanted to disappear; not confess to loss again. Pride’s temptation to turn struggle into statement, wrong into right, was intense. In these moments, depression weighed heavily on me. Vision for life faded in and out, like a boxer reeling from blows to the head. But I just wouldn’t lay down on the mat and quit. It felt too much like making a deal with the devil. I knew the pressure to come out was a demand for my agreement with darkness, and would turn my heart to enmity with God.
At some point, the most important lesson of my struggle became revelation to me:
I don’t have to make an enemy of God just because I’m not quite like Him yet.
I learned that more than angering Him, my failures broke His heart. I learned in order to please Him, my heart only needed to be in agreement with His. And to make agreement, I only had to yield my pride to His love.
I learned this: the entire battle… all these years… had simply been about my agreement. Profoundly simple, it was this revelation that removed the pressure to define myself as gay or straight, and gave me the freedom to be in process. It made it OK to fight.
I began to see that each time I made decisions toward truth, there was a positive energy around it, unlike the negative energy that would have me come out.
Rather than giving in to get relief, I was rising up to grasp hope.
Sometimes I agreed with God about my sexuality because He is Lord, and love is a choice, and that is all. My emotions were left out of the equation so many times because I had to believe either my feelings were lying to me or God was. I purposed in my heart to honor God’s design no matter how it felt, for a very, very long time. I could feel in the waiting that Life was at work in me. Hope was at work in me.
There was never a pinnacle moment when I knew, “I’m not gay anymore. I feel different.” My liberation was unceremonious. Freedom matured in me through a process, from the seeds of truth that God planted and people watered along the way. It wasn’t one decision I made not to be gay, there were many. Like Proverbs 4:18 says, “… the path of the righteous is like the light of dawn, that shines brighter and brighter until the full day.”
When dawn first breaks light is distinct from darkness
—but its brightening from morning to noon happens in indiscernible progression. Yet noon is undeniably brighter than the dawn. In the same way I can say with confidence today that I am free.
I am a testimony that homosexuality can be a choice. It was a fight, but it was worth every tear I cried and every drop of blood Jesus shed. We won this thing together. It was a fight for honor. For dignity. For agreement. Out of that agreement comes the power that overtakes the impossible, and if you’re struggling with this, I’m here to tell you…
It’s OK to fight.
Read more in Christy’s follow-up article “How My Same-Sex Attraction Was Ended”