Since the age of 15 (1979) I have struggled with being different (although I knew much earlier in life) that something was not quite right. But my true struggle with God began at the age of 15, after hearing from my Church and the rest of the world that being gay was a sin, and my destiny after death would be the lake fire of Hell.
I didn’t think much about it, until around the age of; I want to say 25. When I decided that if this was my destiny; and was no forgiveness that I might as well just enjoy myself while I was here. So the drinking, partying and what not took me to many low levels of disgust and depression. The non-support of a few family members at the time, and the whispers behind my back all through school, not to mention what I had been told by my church all while growing up, was a leader to the default in my life of going to HELL!!. I just wanted it to end, and on many occasions had thought that suicide was my best way out. Although God frowned upon suicide, I was going to hell anyhow right? So why not just end it myself.
At age 23, I got the chance to move to San Diego and I took it.. Had to get away from it all.
For 2 1/2 decades (25 years to be exact) I would call my best friend in the whole world at least twice a week. Mom. She knew my struggle, as we had gone through many struggles together, and Mom often told me that, “Jef… you are going to be just fine. I find it hard to believe that God would make you this way, as well as the countless others, if he was so against it.” I am sure that I drove her insane with my drama, (and usually I was inebriated with alcohol). But she stood by me and with me for all those years and re-assured me that all was okay.
I truly believe I was born this way. If you haven’t lived in my shoes you won’t understand. I am tired of hearing every day that this was my chosen lifestyle. I beg you to Stop!!!! Enough already!!! Why would we choose a lifestyle that was against god, made us loathe ourselves, to choose to be ridiculed for our entire life, and to always just want to die. Not A Chance in Hell.. so to say. Did you choose to be Heterosexual? No.. It was just the way you were born. As was I. Many scriptures reference that God knew us before we were even knit in our mother’s womb. He knew who we were, and who we were to become.
Psalm 139: 13-16
For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully & wonderfully made; your works are wonderful,
I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the
secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes say my unformed body: all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.
There has to be a reason for my existence as a gay man.. I had yet to find it.
For those 25 years, I had felt that God was not there, didn’t hear from me, and could care less what happened to me. The funny thing is, now that I have begun this beautiful walk with Jesus, I now realize that all those times I was crying out to God, “Why did you make me this way, just to send me to hell…. ” that Jesus was actually and continually tugging at my heart to come back to him. Jeremiah 31:3, “…Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with loving kindness have I drawn thee.”
In early 2009 the company that I was working for since 2004, had had enough of my foul mouth and my anger (which by the way had been going on since the age of 15) They realized that I needed help and gave me the choice to to see a Psychiatrist once a week (at their expense) to figure out why I was so hate filled; in order to fix the problem or lose my job. I reluctantly took their advice. About 6 or 7 sessions in, I had an epiphany that I didn’t need a Psychiatrist to help me. What I was missing in my life was God. So I stopped going.
Needless to say, after a drunken stooper one night and waking up hung over, I called my job and told them that I just couldn’t do it anymore and was resigning from my job… That is another story all together.. My job had become unbearable. The original office was shut down after 5 years. I was moved to another office, where I was responsible for three different jobs and 4 different managers all pulling me different directions for crap pay. It truly was hell on earth.
The good news; which I didn’t realize at the time, is that it was perfect timing. God had opened a door for me to work for myself, from home, doing the exact same job. I was making three times the money that I had been making with my previous company (which was barely enough to live on in California) and better yet.. I get to spend my days with those that gave me the most unconditional love, My dogs…
Sorry.. I know this is getting long here. Bear with my final thought for today…or if your tired at this point.. scroll down to the end..
Although it took me two more years to finally start seeking out churches; in late 2011 I sought out churches who were gay friendly and found one that I liked. The people were nice, but I didn’t really remember their names or vice versa. I got as involved with the church as I could, but the sermons & music was to say the least very uninspiring, not to mention that the constant stand up and sit down for music and the word was ridiculous and tiring. I did that for just about a year. During that time, I was continually asking God to bring Matt (my partner of 11 years at this time) back to Jesus. Matt finally decided to attend my church and didn’t like the church that I was attending AT ALL.
We had reluctantly attended a church years before while visiting his family in Ohio called the Vineyard Church which we actually enjoyed. Sermons were great and were actual life lessons on the true walk with Jesus. Not the legalistic rules and works that most churches teach that you have to follow in order to receive the glory of God. (I highly recommend you listen to the sermons from Vineyard Columbus at vineyardcolumbus.org).
Fast forward now to October of 2012… We both started attending the church at Coast Vineyard and we were quite surprised at how welcomed we were at this church from the very first day of attendance. It’s as if they knew who we were, who we are and didn’t care. And for the most part they still don’t care. In fact they have welcomed us even more. We have since started going to a home group bible study since Jan 2013, I volunteered to be on their welcome team, have gotten involved in their charity (BridgeofHopeSD.org) I dived all in and have gotten to know so many wonderful people. This church is so full of love, understanding and truly caring for each other that I am blown away.
The most beautiful thing about this whole story so far, is that I could not stop thinking about the next drink.. and it was a daily thing. (I am amazed that I didn’t die of Cirhosis). Once I started going to church, the need for that next drink and a cigarette just seemingly went away. Without even trying at all… Jesus had for the most part fixed it.
Psalm 30:2 O LORD my God, I called to you for help and you healed me.
I am far from being 100% healed. I still struggle with major issues and I do still fall. But through the grace and mercy of Jesus dying on the cross for my sins, and the shedding of his blood for me, for you, and the entire world, I will get thru it one day. Regardless, I am forgiven and finally set free of the baggage from my past or even my failings that may befall me in the future.
My favorite saying is, “1 cross + 3 nails = FORGIVEN”. Like it so much that I placed it on the back of my car, to pass the good news on to all those who see it and take it to heart. Not to mention that It makes me a better driver. Don’t flaunt it, if you can’t show others that you are a happy and anger free driver and follower of Jesus right?
At this point I know your saying.. get to the point already… Here it is…
We all need to agree to stop telling those whom are homosexual that it is a sin. All this does is turn them away from Jesus. Being homosexual is not the sin. The sin, just as it is for heterosexuals is a life of sex and promiscuity without marriage. Does that mean that gay marriage should be instituted? You decide.. I am not going there at this time in my walk with God.
If you would truly love those whom are gay, show them that you are a true and loving Christian without all the legalistic stuff thrown in; stop telling us that just being homosexual is a sin, and just be a good person in showing how awesome the walk with God is… don’t you think that more people in this world would be scratching at the door of Jesus for his love and forgiveness?
I kept wanting God to fix me first. The truth is that God does not expect you to be fixed before you start following him. He wants you to come into a relationship with him first, and then he will work his most beautiful miracles from within you. I found that I couldn’t work thru my sin, until I found Jesus again first. Once I started that walk, I could admit that I was a sinner, and thru the Grace of God he started healing me with no effort on my part. It just happened.
And today.. I know why god knit me in my mothers womb to be the gay man that I am today. To hear the word of God, and to give the good news to those whom live in my very shoes. That an eternal life with Jesus/God is not just for the heterosexuals, or those who claim to be perfect. It is for every single person whomever was and whomever is on this planet.
I pray that if you haven’t found God today, that you accept his free grace and mercy for you. That he truly did shed his blood and died for all of your sins yesterday, today, and tomorrow. All you have to do is believe.
Find a church that teaches the TRUE word of Jesus and you will start to experience an entire new life of freedom and true love. Don’t listen to everything you hear. God is not hate.. Jesus truly is fully love, fully forgiving, fully loves you just as you are.
The only sins God can’t forgive, is the one you won’t take to Him and not believing in his existence.
Ephesians 1:7, “In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;”
Proverbs 28:13, “He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy.”
1 John 1:9, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from ALL unrighteousness.”
Christ’s death on the cross was not just a symbol of God’s love for ‘good people’, but for those who were living in the world! John 3:16, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
This post is dedicated to my new wonderfully made friend, true follower of Jesus, my confidant, my healer and best gal pal…. Kindra Green. Whom I love, look up to and admire with all my heart and soul. Thanks for listening today and giving me a new look at the true nature of his love for me.