I believe that God has placed me in the perfect family for what I need. I’m the sixth of thirteen children, and my older siblings and parents demonstrated Christ to me at a young age.
My earliest memory is from when I was about six years old. I distinctly remember walking from the upstairs through to the kitchen. While I was walking through the living room I was interrupted when all of my thoughts came together. I remember realizing that my parents were good people. They were good people, and I wanted to be a good person. What made them good was Jesus – they were a reflection of him. So I wanted to have Jesus in me, too. I also had all of the sermons and Sunday School lessons I had heard growing up come together in my mind. God created the world, but my sin separated me from him. So Jesus came and died for my sins. I believed that Jesus died for me. So I stopped right there in the living room, fell to my knees, and asked him to save me from hell, be the Lord of my life, and make me a good person.
I didn’t know the first thing about the Lordship of Jesus at six years old. All I knew at that point was that I was safe from hell. From six until thirteen I didn’t pursue God any further. At that age I didn’t care about anything except for Legos, The Lord of the Rings, and Star Wars. I became so apathetic, I didn’t even care if I would live or die.
At thirteen, I was diagnosed with a benign brain tumor at the base of my brain. It was life threatening, even though it was not cancerous. Going into the hospital for emergency surgery, I didn’t care what the outcome would be. For me, to die was gain, but what did it mean to live? What was the point of my life, I wondered? I was indifferent about my life.
But my parents were not indifferent. They cared about the outcome, and my siblings and parents prayed constantly for those five days in the hospital that I would be saved. My church family in the local congregation was also praying for me. The Church literally around the world was praying for me to live. They cared about me, and God answered their prayers. I lived. [Obviously]
I learned a great many things from that experience. These are three of the main things I learned:
First, I learned that God is living and active, and that he interacts with this world today. He intervenes and performs miracles in our time. God did not just make the world, send his son into the world to save it, and then leave us to it. He is still active today.
Second, I learned that God is relational. He heard the cry of his people, and he responded by answering their prayers. He has relationships with my family. He has relationships with the church.
Third, and most personally, I learned that God has a purpose for my life. Else, why did he keep me alive? He saved me, and he cared that I should live.
From that point forward, I have been striving to know God personally. I have been seeking to know what his purpose is in my life, and to fulfill it with his help.
Today I am not apathetic. No one would accuse me of being indifferent about life. My mom told me that while I was recovering from the brain surgery I was almost impossible to live with. My passion for pursuing God’s purpose was so strong, so immediately, that I was annoying everyone around me. She tells me that I was accusing everyone of being passive, and not doing their all to pursue God. I don’t remember doing that, but I believe it’s true.
Anyways, at that point I also began to struggle against my own sinful desires. Before I hadn’t cared about them, and so never fought against them.
Some of my friends and family members are worried about me sharing this part of my testimony. They worry that I will be so overwhelmed with questions, comments, and calls to particular ministries after sharing that I will not be able to come just as I am to worship God in community. I don’t expect that to happen. What I do expect – and hope will happen – is that you will all be comfortable asking me questions before service, after service, over coffee at All That & A Bag of Chips, or over the phone or by e-mail. I look forward to discussing your questions with you in those places and at those times.
A year before my brain surgery, I first experienced sexual desires.
I remember that I was looking on the internet at posters of New Zealand and other lovely landscapes. [Remember, I pretty much only cared about The Lord of the Rings.] While looking at posters, I stumbled upon an image of two men, halfway dressed, in an erotic pose. And I was sexually aroused by that image.
I have been tempted with exclusively same-sex sexual desires ever since.
I only have a short time left to share, and I just introduced a huge number of questions, which I don’t have time to answer. There are a few questions which I will try to address today. I have also written a blog which I posted just before speaking. It goes more in-depth than my testimony. I will happily provide you with the link to that. If you have more questions, don’t be afraid to ask.
The first thing I want to say is that to act on these desires would be sin. I have been kept by God by his grace. I am still a virgin, despite temptations to act out sexual lust against other people.
Another thing I want to make clear is that I don’t believe seeing that image caused me to struggle with same-sex attraction. Neither did my parents nor any other person cause this in my life. I can’t say what specifically gave rise to these temptations, but I know that Satan is responsible. Our enemy is responsible for every distortion that tries to destroy what God has made.
I also want to make a comment on language. I will tell you that “I am tempted with same-sex sexual desires,” I will say that “I struggle with same-sex sexual attraction.” These terms are a mouthful, but I am very intentional about the use of these words instead of describing myself with terms like “homosexual” or “gay.” The important point is that same-sex attraction is something I am tempted with, it is never something that I am. My identity is in Christ Jesus. From the moment I believed in Jesus Christ at six years old I was given the right to become a child of God. [John 1:12] I have been saved by grace through faith. [Ephesians 2:8] I am no longer a slave, I am a child of God. [Galatians 4:7]
I am a new creation. [2 Corinthians 5:17] And yet my flesh still wants to do the things that I do not want to do. [Romans 7:19-20] My spirit and my flesh are in conflict, and I am struggling against the desires of the flesh to walk by the Spirit. [Galatians 5:16]
I am not telling you about my struggle with same-sex sexual attraction to ask you to fix me, either. The work of Christ on the cross is powerful unto my salvation. [Romans 1:16] I have accepted a call to live a celibate life. It is possible to live without sex, after all, Jesus did. But it is not possible to live – at least, it’s not possible to live well – without intimacy.
Jesus tells his followers that they must deny themselves, take up their cross, and follow him. [Matthew 16:24] Every follower of Christ has a cross. My cross may be different from yours, but our obligation is the same. I will deny myself, take up my cross, and follow Christ.
But bearing this cross is difficult. And I want to ask for your help to bear it. I believe that God has put me in the perfect family for what I need. He has given me my amazing biological family – and he used that family to reveal himself to me. He has also put me in the family of God in the church. Each Christian is part of my family in Christ.
Galatians 6:2 says to bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. You can help me bear my burden by being my friends, my brothers, my sisters, and my mothers in Christ. I am asking you to help me pursue God’s purpose in my life as a family.
The goal for my life is to walk out the purpose that God has called me to. For me, that has meant pursuing a legal career, and becoming an attorney at law. I believe that God has called me to make a difference in the legal and political climate of our culture.
During my education, God also opened my heart to the suffering caused by abortion. I have been devoted to ending abortion – the greatest destruction of humanity in my lifetime – for almost eight years. God has used me to make a difference in people’s lives which I don’t even know about. What I do know is that God has saved people from death because I was willing to speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves. I also know that by declaring the truth in love, women and men have heard the gospel of Jesus Christ and have prayed with me to receive forgiveness and salvation through Christ. I am currently looking for work where I can use my legal knowledge to serve Jesus, who is the giver of life.
I am pursuing life and godliness.