Category Archives: My Story

My Story – Matthew Karchner

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Matthew Karchner
Ministry URL: ​
Formerly Identified as Gay, Now Identifies as Disciple of Jesus, Received Healing through Jesus

I Sold My Soul to “The god of This World”

I sold my soul to “the god of this world”. He had the face of an angel. He said I could have it all. I traded the truth for lies. I followed my deceitful heart. I was crowned prince, dressed in Burberry and flown to New York, Los Angeles and Miami. The house music was spellbinding. I chatted up celebrities. I was ushered to the front of long lines and through the doors of exclusive clubs.

On September 11, 2001, I woke up out of a drunken stupor and turned on the TV. Immediately I started crying. It reminded me that the Lord is coming back in judgment (Matthew 24:37-39). Having no peace, I was terrified.

For work, I moved from Pittsburgh to Boston to Washington, DC and then back to Pittsburgh. My gay life peaked in the bigger cities and then slowed down in Pittsburgh where gay life was less distracting. I was alone with my thoughts.

Cursing and screaming at my family, I had pushed away those who would not actively endorse my lifestyle. One day on Facebook, Christians tried to tell me that I needed to repent. I viciously attacked them. I hated the church.
In my mind, my dog was all I had left. One night, I took him to the roof of my high-rise apartment building. He jumped to his death. In deep depression and heavily self-medicated, I also dreamed of jumping off the roof.

Over time, my fantasy world became a nightmare. It seemed like almost every time I entered a gay bar, I heard of yet another suicide or overdose. Sometimes we did not know for sure what happened, just that another person was gone.

More sin seemed to temporarily decrease the severity of depression. I competed against my personal records. Each trip was intended to outdo the prior. So I planned a trip to San Francisco for my birthday (1/1/2010). Idea was to “airlift” myself out of depression. From designer scarfs, boots and watches to irreplaceable vintage finds, everything that was important to me was packed into one suitcase. “The Castro ain’t ready for this, honey! She’s fierce!” Albeit jokingly, I often referred to myself and other males as “she”.

My self-worth was tied to youth, sex appeal and fashion sense- as best displayed through themed outfits. On the plane, charm earned free drinks. Airport taxi van stopped facing downward on a signature San Francisco slope. From outside the cab, I reached back inside to pay the driver. His fingers yanked the bill, as the van door slammed shut and the taxi sped away with my bag! I stood there catatonic. Everything was gone. I felt naked.

In my mind, the challenge was remarkably clear: “Who are you now (without your ‘things’)?” To a friend, I referred to the energy behind this challenge as, “The universe”. I had lingered far from the Lord I knew as a child to follow my heart.

I had a choice to make- fight or go home? In the morning, I gathered essentials at a thrift store. I did choose to fight. But on that trip, I also took risks that indicated the desperation I was feeling.

Disappointed because I had not found anyone to take back to the hotel on my birthday, I was walking back from a club when strangers invited me into a house for seafood. They treated me like family. Unusual things were happening often.

Back home, I got a puppy who looked just like Snoopy. I let few people get close to me but loved that dog. When I was a little boy, my mom hand-painted my bedroom wall with a Snoopy scene. It seemed like someone was trying to take my mind back to childhood- maybe when things were simpler and more innocent. One day, we came inside from playing. Snoopy stopped in front of a mirror, looked at himself for a few seconds and wagged his tail. I hated myself. But that day, I got the impression that it was ok to like myself.

From relationships to casual sex, everything I tried ended in failure and misery. I was fed up with gay life and had stopped taking it seriously. I had no respect for gay men and had a score to settle with them as a collective. I was enslaved to lust, bitter toward the gay world, bitter toward the church. I was proven wrong but did not want to admit it. I was at the end of myself. Frustrated and depressed, I was bleeding internally from stomach ulcers and having heart palpitations from cocaine use. Youth was fading, and my days were numbered. Where do we go from here?

Beginning prior to the financial crisis in 2007, I had been intimately involved in integrations related to bank acquisitions. Occasionally I recalled being taught of the end times Bible prophecy of “One world bank”. End times prophecy scared me. Without substances, I could not sleep at night. I had no peace.

On May 28, 2010, a young guy I had met online was coming from New Jersey by train to spend the weekend with me. This type of thing was my norm. After work, I was preparing with sit-ups on my filthy apartment floor next to a dirty ash tray. Living a fantasy, I tried to present myself well in public. Up and down… up and down… there was a tightness in my chest. Reminders of end times prophecies, such as ‘earthquakes in diverse places’ (Matthew 24), streamed through my head. The war over the soul of a man was underway, and Satan would not let go without a fight. He spoke lies. I knew that the Lord is coming back in judgment and that I was not ready. But liberation required surrender. I had a choice to make.

Suddenly I said ‘Ok’ or ‘Yes’ and surrendered to Jesus. It was like hollering, “Uncle!” I am not sure if I said it aloud or in my spirit. Literally I felt the burden lift from me. First thing I did was to stand up and look at myself in the mirror. I saw a genuine smile that did not require assistance from alcohol, drugs or sex. As remembered from childhood, I later prayed the sinner’s prayer on my knees at the side of the bed to make my decision official. I felt like a lump of bones that had been beaten for years. I could finally sleep without substances. Jesus had given me what the Bible calls “the peace that passes understanding”.

Jesus brought revolution to my life that day. Did I follow Him perfectly afterwards? No. A much anticipated international trip was planned two weeks from that point. Although I considered cancelling, I went. Through heavy turbulence on the return flight, I was filled with fear. I ultimately repented and started over. He later would reveal my identity in Him and the enduring satisfaction that comes with following Jesus. Praise the Lord for His grace, mercy and abundant life in Him.

Following my deceitful heart led me off a cliff. Jesus guides down a narrow, difficult path that leads to eternal life (John 10:10). Today I walk by faith and not by sight. His Word says that man and woman should be together, not man and man (1 Corinthians 6:9-10). Today I trust Jesus for a wife.

“So if the Son sets you free, you shall be free indeed.” – John 8:36

This story was submitted from MY VOICE / MY STORY form on Voice of the Voiceless (

My Story – Susan Takata

Voice of the Voiceless amplifies the voices of transformed lives. Submit your story today!

Susan Takata, Voice of the Voiceless Advisory Board Member
Experience: Formerly Identified as Transgender, Now Identifies as Disciple of Jesus, Received Healing through Jesus

The Good Journey

Did anybody know that something was about to be put on the plate on this pastor of a large church that is totally new & unexpected? It was just a regular Friday night for most of the gang going to Friday night Live at Christian Life Assembly. This was the day that Steve was to make his appearance more firm. He began the ascent to the alter of the church to make this grand proclamation “I have an announcement to make” he remarked with some trepidation “some things are going to change in my life…..Susan will not be around anymore but you can call me Steve now. They are going to begin to prepare me for the change immediately.”

It was in the early 90’s. I had already been battling this for over 25 years. I as Susan tried everything to find a solution to the fact that My inner identity didn’t match the exterior. Since toddlerhood I identified myself (if not to the outside world but at least in my inner self) as “I am a boy” . The television affirmed that idea (I like GI Joes, Hot Wheels, etc)., the Japanese culture showed me I am not a female. In the Japanese lingo I took on the male pronouns. The early sexual molestations helped me to reject my feminine identity because I was not safe and the femininity drew negative attention. My mother was perplexed at this kid who doesn’t quite make it as a girl. Quite often she was so irritated that I was a different type of girl that she would really let me know she was disappointed. She did not know that I was raped at 10 yrs old (March 11, 1974 by a serial rapist who later went on to kill children) after several years of othermolestations. A soul is a glass jar and rape completely crushes it through breaking of boundaries. My 30 years addiction (starting at 12) to pornography reinforced my identity as a male. Everything that was negative or caused me pain was happening because I didn’t have a penis. Everything happened because I’m a girl.

Much shame of failing to be an acceptable girl led to several acting out on how I will commit suicide began in toddlerhood. This did not ease the pain. I have a love for music and play instruments so I identified so much with all male bands and their lyrics further helped me in my deception to myself. ….. (Cecillia, you’re breaking my heart……..) Do you see what I mean. So since I was a rocker hiding my gender confusion wasn’t that hard….. heck I didn’t even have to cut my hair. I was a rocker. I tried dating but that didn’t fulfill. I was a heterosexual male so dating lesbians was out of the question. The Lord kept putting Christian people in my life who wanted to date me, mostly men So I sermized that perhaps happiness would come if I became thinner to attract women.. Yes, that’s it. So I would exercise and just eat vegetables. A still small voice would say “Come to me and I will give you rest”. I would say I have no time. When I have time I will talk to You.

In July 1980, I was admitted to Vancouver General Hospital – 16 years old, 5’4.5” ….I went from 140 lbs to 95 lbs. I had pleurisy with tuberculosis and was racked in pain….breathing was like having a pinched nerve in both my lungs. My lungs and brain would say “we need to breathe now” ; I would think, “is that really necessary?” Why is this happening? “You asked me to give you time” poked that familiar voice I was so ignoring “well kid, you have it” It was the voice of the One who really wanted me to know He is with me, who really loves me. “Do you remember what you said? I do.” Oh bother, do I ever. I couldn’t get away from that promise. The Radio just Christian…. My housekeeper in the room I was placed in (Isolation Room) a Christian talking, smiling, talking. I couldn’t get away. So I gave my heart to Him. Early recollections of me (in my mind a boy) sitting in the summer sun, reading my bible (cause I was not allowed visitors or go to school) listening to the radio and Keith Green and Petra. Still thinking I’m a boy but the Lord slowly chipping away at me. Praying was difficult because when I closed my eyes I would see that boy I was praying.

In the Bible much of the echoes of my mother saying “if you were a male you could do this or that”. “You are part of the Sons of God”, etc. The women in the Bible were not as accepted. I kept reading about being a son of God. Many references of blessings of being sons of Israel and the curse of the women. After a couple of months I was able to go back to school and some family friends invited me to church.I was totally immersed in ministry….. keep myself busy…. God will love me for what I do…. He is my saviour…. He loves me…. If I love Him I will do……. If I do I don’t have to think. This hatred of my female self will disappear. A few years later the hatred never stopped but I was able to hide because I was busy. Then things came to an end…. I had been deceived by some ministries I was involved in. I left the church . I had much shame and anger…..losing a church… being lied to by a ministry. Seeing a solution to something that street ministry wasn’t addressing for homeless kids and trying to be the answer for that (and being rejected by ministry due to lack of following protocol). I soon left the church.

But the Lord never stopped calling me. And why did I never get the operation done at that time? He had me hooked up with trans people who wanted to date me and they tried to convince me to stay a female…. While I was trying to do the same to them. The relationships never really went too far because…. Deep in my heart I really loved those people and if I really loved those people I would want the best for them ….and that is…… a relationship with Jesus Christ. I couldn’t really get past the knowledge that the very people I cared about the most I would be short changing if I got into a serious relationship with them. Also, as I thought I was a heterosexual male I couldn’t fathom having a relationship with a lesbian….I must interject here…. Some of the most wounded people in the lifestyle aren’t the ones who went into it full bore…many didn’t act out as much but the condemnation felt from the church, but more damaging, is the often decades of self beating they have done is deep and not easy to identify or dig out… is often cloaked. I often find it easier for a Christian who got out of the lifestyle after conversion easier to get healing than for a Christian who struggled with SSA for years in the church but not acting out too much because they still think that going into the lifestyle would be better…it’s the unknown temptation. I went to The local Lesbian club to have some sort of community….I was accepted as long as I stay a female (apparently I was quite a catch because many came up to me to proposition me) but the moment I got my operation I was told I’d have to hit the road. All around me I heard of stories of people being dishonest to those they married and their spouses later finding out they had been lied to. Women who had become men but never disclosed it to their partners until too late.

After a few years I started to be open to coming back to Jesus. I got a job as a Psychiatric Care aid. And as a twist of fate it became part of my job to pray to God whom I wasn’t even talking to (that is another part of my life to talk about another time). Every night whether I’m working or not two patients would be waiting at the door to ask me to help them pray to God for their families. Well, later my heart started to soften. And once again I began asking the Lord to talk to me even if I do call myself Steven. Praying was hard because I saw that picture as a boy even as I was praying I praying as Steven. I felt that it’s ok.

I decided to go back to church and a mormon family brought me to christian life assembly which is a pentecostal church. Then things got harder…. The devil fought hard to stop me. So as I began to give up I decided to go to my doctor to help me with my gender identity. I remember her saying “You’ve already been fighting hard for a long time….I’m going to give my consent for the operation cause I believe you have already fulfilled some of the requirements. You will just have to get a couple of more signatures which I don’t think will be hard and start attending the Gender Dysphoria Clinic at Vancouver General Hospital.”

It was the following week that my grand announcement was made in front of the congregation of the Young Adults group. To say that I was blessed would be an understatement. Many who have done this had met up with hostility and anger. I was embraced with love by those who loved me already and I think a sense of finally understanding me by those who couldn’t give me the time of day. I went to a ex-gay support group but I was more masculine than most of the guys there and being a normal straight male I never considered myself lesbian….. so needless to say I did not feel welcome nor did I fit in. But I decided to stick with it and seek help for myself even though I was alienated.

From early on I was aware that it isn’t necessary to have gone through my experience to be the ones to help me through this. I also was aware of many of false assumptions I was making about what it means to be a female. The lies that I believed from early childhood began to unravel. The first ones were of what we believe as who are better women…. Or evaluations of women. The lies I believed about myself. I became friends with another trans person (female who thought she was a male). I saw she was making a horrid mistake; “She’s not very good at this” quipped the inner voice”Maybe I can help her see this”. Little did I know that she had an inner voice telling her the same thing. Every time I would comment on a male aspect she’s not good at, the Lord would say “And you’re better at it?’ Going to gay porno movies weren’t that much better, when to lesbians were at it I’d say “two women? That’s disgusting” Ahem… Would be the voice behind me.

My small group leaders in this organization were not from the lifestyle but that worked to my benefit. The realization of the commonality of problems disengaged much of the power that those problems had on me. Many of my problems weren’t just specific to transgender people.

I cannot tell you how important community of the fellowship of the saints is. We must resolve…. Getting relationships in this lifestyle took time and people disappointed us. The community called the Church deserve the same amount of patience. At first there will be times of loneliness because just like us…. People in the church have also had been hurt and need time to trust. My Pastor had a heart to heart talk with me and was incredibly open…. He really wanted to know why I felt the way I did and was candid and honest with me. I told him how I felt like such a failure comparing to him and that I wanted to be him. He told me how he admired me…. That was liberating. I had a counsellor who didn’t have any experience with helping trans people or any homosexuals. But whatever he did I looked forward to our bi-weekly appointments even though it took me two hours to get to his office. Whatever he was doing he kept me wanting to come back for more….I later was told that he made sure to set aside a couple of hours before our appointment to ask God what He wanted to do because he didn’t know what to do. I had a friend who said though this hurts her that she would be willing to go clothes shopping with me for more men’s clothing. I had three men friends named Greg who got together with me daily and included me in their activities…. Each of course had their own unique set of problems (one sickness, one divorce with kids, one trouble with the law) and Paul who was just weird. We got together for coffee daily and just talked and prayed. They took me to the beach where they let me point out women they could date. I had a lady friend involved in kids ministry who refused to let me not be in ministry while she chipped away at Steve to find Susan.

Most churches I found would rather not admit that they have to refer people somewhere else cause they don’t have the knowledge.

One problem, it was a ministry for homosexuals… I never saw myself as gay because all straight men like women. I saw myself as a normal male. Thankfully the director completely understood where I was coming from but she encouraged me to go anyways. I am grateful. A word of wisdom she gave me when I made my own problem (I made it known I did not belong there because I’m not gay – which did not make me any friends)…. You’re not here to make friends…. You’re here for healing. This gave me the freedom to be myself and low…. I began making friends.

I am going into details about the basics/foundations of how my healing journey started because if you can have this to start with your journey is off to a firm start. Another Chance Ministries was the beginning of dealing with the root issues of false beliefs, generational false beliefs and causes of my beliefs, trauma, etc. What was once a minute by minute struggle is now a distant memory. But it was a memory.

As time went on I finally overcame my pornography issue. Porn can be a subliminal effort to piece together the shattered person and also a symptom to seek the true meaning of love. Because of the rape I was shattered and my soul needed to get away and the chemicals released in my brain by watching gave me a moment of exhilaration. Much healing was expedited when I refused to self medicate and allow God to heal. Self medication for me came out in waves and took on many forms. 1) Pornography (see above), 2) Masturbation and fantasy, 3) hatred of female self, 4) weight gain – building a wall around me to not let people in or attract attention, and 4) anger. Whoa…..anger? Really? Yes, anger. Anger releases chemicals in your brain that affect your body. 5) Tylenol 3’s. It was during this time that I was being exposed to going back to Classic Christianity and knowing the true Father Heart of God. Everywhere I looked God was telling me how much He loves me as I am. The last time I was about to attempt suicide I came off the ledge went into a restaurant where I heard the voice of God using Rod Stewart to tell me “Have I Told You Lately That I Love You” I had just gotten off the ledge that I felt so much at peace to jump off of before remembering I had a phone call to return. I called, not mentioning anything to the person on the other end of the line, came back to the ledge where my nerve left me to jump off that edge. Psalms 139 was brought to me in the form of a pro-life pamphlet where there were pics of different stages of fetal development adjacent to scriptural verses. The Lord would say “That was what you looked like. I tickled your feet then and you kicked your mom when I did that”.

There was a time when I had to come to terms with being a disappointment to my mother. The Lord replaced those feelings by letting me know He was there and replaced her feelings with how He felt about me at that time. Slowly the feelings of rejection of the female were replaced with acceptance and agreement with the Father and later went to loving that female self as He did because I had to agree with Him since His is the only opinion that isn’t tainted.

(NKJV) 12 For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known.

2Cor 3:18. (NKJV) 18 But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.

This story was submitted from MY VOICE / MY STORY form on Voice of the Voiceless (

My Story – Daren Mehl

Voice of the Voiceless amplifies the voices of transformed lives. Submit your story today!

Daren Mehl, President, Voice of the Voiceless
Personal URL:
Experiences: Formerly Identified as Gay, Now Identifies as Disciple of Jesus, Received Healing through Jesus

The journey from my mind to my heart took time, but has been the best journey of my life. Although I became a Christian in high school, I was living with wounds that I couldn’t even identify then. It didn’t matter because, for the most part, I had a relatively strong support system. I had a good friend Jesse who, with his mother, had befriended me and helped me to receive Jesus as Lord. As a new Christian, I believed wholeheartedly in Jesus and I wanted to follow him.

Throughout the time of living closeted and open in the gay lifestyle Jesse remained a loyal friend and is one of the miracles in my life. He continued our friendship regardless of my lifestyle choices and he chose to love me through the journey I was on. He would occasionally call me and ask me how God was doing in my life, how the Holy Spirit was working through me, how I was walking out the purposes of God in my life. Of course Jesse knew I was called to be an evangelist and share the gospel but chose for a time to live in the gay lifestyle instead. Of course Jesse knew I was in conflict deep down inside and had buried it. Jesse knew all this and believed for me, interceding for me, that my purpose would not be lost in my choice to live in a gay lifestyle. Jesse always, in the loving way I attribute to Jesus, encouraged my identity as a Christian.

Shortly after the day I graduated from high school, my step-mother, with whom I had had many conflicts, told me that I had to leave home or she would. I felt rejected, especially by my dad, who did not try to persuade my step-mother to let me stay at home while I attended a nearby college.

This is when a Christian family lived the gospel for me. The George family entered my life. Knowing I struggled with homosexuality was not a problem for them. They opened their house to me. I got to live as a roommate with their son. I felt as though I was adopted into their family. They were diligent to disciple me in our shared faith. Their son became a close accountability partner and friend. They demonstrated real Christian living through a dedicated commitment to a healthy family dynamic based on faith which would become a model for how I would one day lead my family.

I shared my struggles about same sex attraction with the George family and they lovingly supported me and my relationship with Jesus through regular prayer and counseling. We focused on holiness, wisdom and understanding of God’s plan for my life. They loved me through my journey. A foundation of encouragement for who I am in Christ that would last through my forthcoming struggle to find my identity.

I began to explore and attempt to understand the same-sex attractions I had been ignoring to this point by doing research on sexuality on the internet, chatting with gay men, reading stories of gay Christian life and the perspectives they had about scriptures related to homosexuality, and looking at gay porn. My family, the George family, and most of my Christian friends were unaware of my exploration as I kept it away from them out of a false fear of rejection.

During the 3 ½ years I lived with the Georges, I had an opportunity to work in volunteer ministry. Whenever I could, I traveled across the Midwest with an evangelist, Mr. Bassett and his family. My job was to help Mr. Basset with setting up his product table which had CD and DVD’s of his sermons, record his sermons and edit them, manage the offering, pretty much the administration work so he could just focus on people and preaching. I had the opportunity to preach during offering as well as the opportunity to be a main speaker on a mission trip to Trinidad. During the onset of my ministry however, I began to act out on my attractions to the same sex.

One time, I invited a gay friend I was hooking up with to go to feed the poor and witness for Jesus with the Bassett family’s evangelism ministry. After the second time I brought him however, the Basset family invited me over for dinner and sat me down and said, “Daren, you are like a son to us. We know that you struggle with homosexuality. Are you living this lifestyle?” I felt the conviction of God like a lightning bolt. In no uncertain terms I was told that I had to choose Jesus and denounce the gay lifestyle if I was to continue in their ministry. I loved and trusted this man and his family and came clean about what was going on. I “came out” to them and admitted I was going to bars and getting drunk as well as hooking up with guys afterward. Mr. Bassett told me in a loving way that I had to stop living a gay lifestyle if I were to assist him but to live as Scripture teaches. So, I did. I wanted to share Jesus more than I wanted to get drunk and hook up with guys. I quit drinking, quit going to the gay bars, quit hooking up with men.

I eventually moved out of the George family home. I continued to work for the Lord by helping Mr. Bassett. At the end of 3 ½ years, however, the preacher decided that he needed to work in a permanent location in order to give his family stability. In my journey, this ended a chapter of ministry work for me as well, although I thought another ministry opportunity presented itself.

My living arrangement soon changed. I had a close ‘Gay Christian’ friend who broke up with his partner and needed someone to rent part of his house. I thought I would come along side my struggling friend and move in with him and be his house mate. My thinking was that I could somehow influence my friend to drop the ‘gay’ from his identity by showing him how I lived for the Lord, how I gave up the gay lifestyle for Jesus. This kind of thinking that I could influence him based on my own efforts to be straight when I hadn’t dealt with my brokenness was like falling down, head first, on a steep slippery slope. Becoming his house mate changed the trajectory of my journey.

One late evening at the gay dance club my house mate left me on the dance floor to get himself a drink. While he was gone a hot guy took interest in me and moved in. While dancing with me he immediately became physical and that piqued my interest- my guilty interest. My house mate returned and introduced himself to my new dance partner, not as my boyfriend as was the script went to keep guys off me, but as my house mate. My house mate was clearly excited for me that this hot guy was interested in me. Several drinks later, lots of dancing with this hot guy all over me, the night began to wind down and I wasn’t sure where I was headed. My new found dance buddy engaged his charm and asked if I wanted to come to his place and hang out. I knew what that meant, and in my drunken stupor I was eager to take him up on the offer, but deep down I knew it wasn’t the right choice. I attempted to dodge the hookup offer by half-heartedly suggesting that my car was my house mate’s only ride home and so I would have to pass. A lame “Thanks but no thanks” attempt. My house mate quickly chimed in, seeming almost excited for me, that he would get a cab ride home and to not worry about him. That was all that it took for me to say “Okay, let’s go to your place and hang out.” My new friend drove us to his place. Unfortunately, we didn’t just hang out and talk for a few hours while I sobered up as I foolishly thought we would. Instead we had sex and I fell asleep in his arms. My journey took a turn toward internal conflict.

I have now compromised my faith and allowed myself to once again be physical with a man. I’ve fallen off the end of the slippery slope, off the cliff of my convictions. It was only a matter of weeks before we broke off and I found another guy to be my sex partner. This new found freedom to sleep with men was not going to be challenged for years to come. Even though I was going to gay clubs now and hooking up with guys, my desire to serve Jesus was still alive and close to my heart, although it was now buried. A small flickering flame hidden in the closet. My journey is not at an end but is about to take a turn toward God.

A couple years of loving me through conversations and frienship, Jesse invited me to go to the International House of Prayer (IHOP) in Kansas City, Missouri. On a whim, I took him up on it. I told my boyfriend of 2+ years it was just going to be a weekend church conference – for lack of better explanation- and I would be back in no time. International House of Prayer (IHOP) has a 24x7x356 prayer and worship service. It is a ministry center where Christians can go to meditate, pray, worship, and seek God in sober solitude. It is a sanctuary of holiness and peace. It was here that Jesse worked with me to pray that God would reveal his purpose for me.

I confessed I was lost in my struggle against same sex attraction. I told him it wasn’t fair that I had to go through life struggling against lust for men. It was his response that opened my eyes – like a scene where the clouds part, doves fly past you, the sunlight beams down, and angels sing a melodic song. He said that even though he is married, he is tempted with lust for other women. The Jesse that I equated to Jesus, who I though had it all together and couldn’t be tempted in any way, just admitted that he also is tempted with lust, but just with women instead of men. He told me he isn’t defined by the temptation to lust after women, that God gives him Grace to overcome the temptation. For me it became a moment of clarity. It’s just temptation. It’s not who I am. The temptation of same sex attraction doesn’t define me and I don’t have to give into it. If God gives Jesse the grace so he can live victorious over lust, then I know that God loves me as well and would give me that grace to live holy too.

Jesse then brought me to the next important question. He asked me if I believed that God wanted me to live sin free, to not live in the gay lifestyle. My answer was an emphatic “Yes!” I quickly rebounded from that excitement with fear and pain. I was in a 2+ year relationship with a man I deeply loved and cared for and couldn’t imagine life without. As my Christian ethic was getting the best of me, I told Jesse that I am “committed” in this relationship. I’m sure heavenly wisdom descended on Jesse at this point when he suggested we give that issue to God. I prayed to God that if He really did want me to be straight, that being gay really is a sin, that He needed to solve the quandary I was in- that God had to address my relationship with my boyfriend.

Confessing I wanted out of the gay lifestyle wasn’t enough for Jesse. Jesse then asked me a final question. He asked me to tell him what woman I would want to marry. Being a bit surprised that he assumed there was a woman in my circle of gay friends that would even come close to marriage quality, I thought about it a second. Then I realized there was a woman that I was quite interested in being close friends with, and if I wasn’t gay, I would be interested in dating or even marrying. I had just never thought of our relationship in that context. I told Jesse, “If God wants me to be straight and not gay, and that I should get married, I would want to marry Rhoda.”

Little did I know God was more interested in my life than Jesse and would answer immediately.

When I returned from IHOP I received devastating news. My boyfriend decided to break up with me. No explanation. I was heartbroken over it, and furious at God for what I knew was His plan. I spent the next 2 years rebelling against what God was doing in me.

Of course, it’s hard to run from God. Even in my rebellion God had the path laid out for me. After our 18 month lease was up with my ex-boyfriend we parted our ways. Yes, that’s right, I had just moved in and had to live with my ex-boyfriend for 18 months. That was my punishment. The only mercy was that we had separate rooms.

I acted out my frustration by hooking up with guys and continuing to build gay friendships and looking for peace in all the wrong places. All the time Rhoda was there as a friend, hanging out with me, helping me through the struggle of being single, being lonely, struggling with my Christian faith and sexuality. The thought of marrying her was tucked back behind my priority of dealing with losing my boyfriend.

I ended up in my own place and Rhoda visited more often. Even though I had a regular on-the-side guy for physical attention, I found myself becoming emotionally attracted to Rhoda.

One evening two worlds collided. My journey started to get complicated. I had double booked Rhoda and the guy-on-the-side. Not wanting to cancel on either of them for fear of offense, I decided to give in and just have them both over. The dinner included small talk, and as Rhoda’s boisterous character came out things really lightened up and became enjoyable. As we transitioned to watching the show, Rhoda grabbed the chair and me and the guy took the couch but set apart. I was too afraid to cuddle him in front of her and he took note. Things were clearly going to be different tonight. Little did I know this scene was a juxtaposition that God had setup to make something much more evident to me.

Normally the evening would end with the guy and me going to my room for the evening. But tonight Rhoda was here. Now what? I would have to pick who I was going to ask to go home. Either Rhoda goes home and I have a great night with the guy, or the guy goes home and our relationship is over. There it was. I could barely pay attention to the show. The suspense of how the evening would end was tearing me up. It hit me in a surreal way. I looked at Rhoda for a while as she was facing the TV and in line of my sight. I realized that I want Rhoda more than I want to have sex with this guy. I want Rhoda more than I want to be in a gay relationship. I want to date Rhoda. How on earth? Inconceivable! What the heck just happened? After the episode was done my guy-on-the-side stood up and said, “well, what a great night. I think it’s time for me to go home.” That was the last time I saw him. Thank God it happened that way.

Rhoda and I ended up falling in love, and when I proposed she said yes, despite everything she knew about my past and where I was in my struggle with my sexuality. I told her that I could be faithful to her, and I meant it. After we got married God directed us to a new home church. Our faith grew in this church and God brought a man into my life. God’s plan for this man was for him to be an example of a godly man, to be a spiritual brother and friend, to be one who would come along side and encourage me in my faith journey to discover the identity God had intended for me. Our relationship becomes a David and Jonathan story. My journey takes on a new truth.

Jimmy had been hired as a grounds person and a technology tech problem solver for our church. I had been a volunteer on the core team managing the technology before Jimmy joined. Together, over several years, we had developed a very strong bond working technology projects and seeking Jesus together. We prayed together regularly, at least once a week, and we shared our everyday struggles with all kinds of issues. Jimmy and I thought of each other as accountability partners and spiritual brothers. We would pray for each other whenever we were struggling in our spiritual lives and in our everyday weaknesses, be it issues with anger, pride, jealousy, lust, bitterness, un-forgiveness, etc. When we would pray we would look to scripture for guidance. His support was crucial to helping me remain strong in my marriage, to be a humble servant leader to my wife Rhoda.

Rhoda became pregnant which was part of our dream to build a family. Life was good. I was true to her for seven years before I ultimately fell to sin due to sexual brokenness neither of us had addressed. I had been away on a business trip when temptation overcame me on the last day of the trip and I cheated on Rhoda by being intimate with a man. Not a good experience in my journey.

When I told Jimmy about what had happened, it was because I trusted him completely. That trust overcame the fear of losing him as a friend. We had been correcting and encouraging each other in love in Christ for so long, that I knew deep down I could reveal anything to him, including cheating on my wife. We had a spiritual brotherhood and love for each other which drove a determination to hold each accountable to the purpose of God in our lives. Together we prayed over this issue.

Our approach in accountability, friendship, brotherhood, was that we wanted to be like Jesus. For the years we practiced accountability, we discussed sins including lying, anger, and lust. We would then pray about the promises and commands of Scripture regarding purity and holiness. Now that I had cheated on my wife, things got serious.

The book A Covenant with my Eyes by Bob Sorge (See My Book List) gave us a concrete way to deal with temptation. Jimmy and I agreed to keep an eye covenant with God. This meant that if we saw someone whom we found attractive, we would not look again. This is the scripture basis for that covenant. “I have made a covenant with my eyes; why then should I look upon a young woman?” Job 31:1. With this covenant I was able to reconcile with my wife and begin the rewiring of my brain to end the battle over lust.

Visit Job 31 Ministries The Wretched and Wrecked Podcast where I was interviewed and shared more about my journey.

But the battle Jimmy was helping me with nearly ended just as I got the eye covenant in place. The enemy tried to break me away from our friendship by using a horrible fear against me. I felt like I was about to hit a dead end in my journey.

A couple years earlier Jimmy had begun regularly going to the gym. By this point his efforts were beginning to manifest in a strong and defined body. I became afraid I would become attracted to him and the enemy would steal the pure and intimate brotherhood I had formed with him. I did not want to lose my friendship with Jimmy and so I wanted to beat the temptation to the punch. I did not want to lust over my spiritual brother. With humility and honesty, I shared my fear with Jimmy. We discussed the issue at length and prayed over it. Over the next couple days God revealed to me that I had been feeling inferior to men who were muscular because I wasn’t and that I had been made fun of for it. Well defined and muscular kind of men were the types of men who were tempting for me to lust over. God gave Jimmy the answer to how to help me get over this brokenness, although I wasn’t sure what to make of it. With the Eye Covenant in place for both of us, God is about to move us both into a new chapter.

Jimmy told me that I should work out with him. When I told him that the gym was a place I avoided because of the problem of temptation, he told me that I should still work out but keep faith in my Eye Covenant. Even with the eye covenant, I was a bit afraid. I often kept my eyes laser focused on Jimmy so I wouldn’t look elsewhere. I eventually became more comfortable with the gym as I was looking lean and seeing results myself. My self-confidence and masculine identity was being healed. I had power over my image and Jimmy was there encouraging me and helping me work out. The male affirmation of my masculine identity added to my confidence in who God created me to be. This confidence gave me a sense of masculinity that I had not felt before. I felt like any of the other guys at the gym, a guy who was out to look and feel healthy, masculine and handsome.

Jimmy had told me about a book that could help me. It was called Wild at Heart by John Eldrich. Frequently I would be at the gym doing my hour workout on the elliptical and I would listen to an audio version of the book. The more I listened to the book, the more I found myself tearing up. The book evoked memories of which I had been repressing for most of my life. It was like looking at a train wreck. I didn’t like what I was seeing, but I couldn’t help it. The longer I listened to the book, the more I visualized past experiences. It got so bad that I ended up leaving the gym and bawling my eyes out in the car.

One of the memories that came into play was a scene from my freshman year. I had felt pretty good about myself and my masculinity when one of the girls at school agreed to go to a dance with me. I remember feeling so awesome that I was going out with a girl and that everyone would know about it. I walked over to the girls house on the night of the dance and waited in the den and played Nintendo.

When my date and two of her friends came downstairs, I was immediately confronted by all three of them. “We’re going by ourselves,” they said. I dropped the Nintendo handset as they literally cornered me, pushing me down to where I was sitting with my back against the wall. As they were doing this, they were saying, “Did you really think that any girl would go out with you?” “You’re nothing but a queer.” “No girl would go out with you!”

I remember running all the way home. When I got home, I fell into the arms of my step-mother. Her comforting words were, “Go to your room. I don’t want to listen to this.” From that moment on, I looked at girls and women in a totally different light.

My journey of healing continued. Another memory that God brought to my attention for healing while listening to Wild at Heart was a vivid replay of a confrontation with my step-mother. I was 16 years old and my step-mother was out-of-control mad at me. She was yelling, and she also cornered me. “You’re good for nothing. You can’t do anything right. You’re stupid. You’ll never amount to anything,” she yelled. I was righteously indignant, and I said, “Shut up!” I pushed her away, and she said, “You can’t talk to me like that.” She commanded, “Go to your room. Wait until your father comes home!” I couldn’t wait for my dad to come home so I could tell him how mean, cruel and verbally abusive she had been to me. When my dad approached me, however, he told me, “You had no right to talk to your stepmother like that. You have to respect her.” That day, my masculinity died. I realized then and there that there that I was worthless. My mom had left me, my step-mom hated me, girls had ridiculed me, (I perceived that all women reject me) and now my dad had chosen to defend his wife instead of protecting me and stopping her verbal abuse against my character.

The book Wild at Heart had explained that men are supposed to go through life as the biblical David did. Men go through stages in life as being cowboys, warriors, lovers, king, and then sage. I learned that I had never been a warrior, I was still a cowboy. I had never fought for anything, not even for my own pride. I had been repeatedly told by my dad, “If someone punches you, don’t punch back. Don’t get into any trouble. Avoid confrontations.” So, I just took all of the physical and verbal abuse that came my way. Dad’s advice, though perhaps the “high road” was not instilling manly power in me, but robbing it from me.

Throughout this journey, I continued to share with Jimmy what the Lord was doing for me on the inside. We looked upon this release of emotions as a type of healing.

Jimmy continued being what he had always been towards me, a Christian man who held me as an equal and a friend, a man who was vulnerable enough to show me a man’s complete range of emotions. By being real and transparent to me, Jimmy modeled righteous anger, something I had never felt able to do. He modeled manly weeping about his grief for losses he had experienced. This affirmed me for having cried in the car. He modeled manly love for a brother with manly agapé-type hugs that reached down into the depths of my needy man-soul. He gave me the physical brotherly affection that I had craved as a child and teen. He affirmed by body image which returned my dignity to me. He modeled for me what it meant to be a husband, father, a strong man, and a godly man. I knew that my role was to serve and protect my wife and children. In short, he modeled what it was to be fully male.

As I look back on my transformation journey, I know that the Lord placed Jesse and his mother, the George family, the Bassett family, Jimmy and Rhoda into my life for a purpose. They were the helpers I would need to accept God’s Fatherly love for me. I love upon Jesse and Jimmy as my super-hero servants. Because Jesse, Jimmy and I relied on the Lord to lead us on our journeys to Him, I know now that my relationship with God is as his son, his real son. I not only believe this intellectually, I live it. My masculinity finds itself in my very thoughts, in my words and in my actions. I have been given grace over same-sex attraction as they no longer have power over me. That stronghold has been loosened by the working of the Holy Spirit and made powerless by God’s grace. I praise God who has healed me of my brokenness and brought me to the heights of gender self-actualization.

This portion of my testimony was presented in Achieving Heterosexuality by Marie Davidson, M.Ed.

This story was submitted from MY VOICE / MY STORY form on Voice of the Voiceless (