by Wendy, 49
2001 was a watershed year for me. Long before that year, I felt that I was gay. In fact, for a long time I believed I’d been born gay. Sometime between 1999 to 2001 I read a Christian book that challenged my assumptions. Despite living in a lesbian relationship, I decided to call Living Hope Ministries in February of 2001. They connected me to Sue Bohlin, a member of the board of directors. She ended up inviting me to visit her church and it was there that I met and came to believe in Jesus.
At the age of 33, I decided to leave my ex, our four homes, and our dogs to start with Christ. I got baptized, and eventually the church helped me to move out of my partner’s home. I was in a really great church that accepted and loved me and helped me grow. I had never felt so accepted in my life. It took me almost seven years to get financially on my feet because leaving my partner was both metaphorically and literally costly. But, by the grace of God, I was able to work my way through about $80,000 worth of debt.
Unfortunately, this amazing church that I loved split in 2007. God had done great things for me there, but after the split I struggled to even want to go to church. I tried several churches, but none worked out well for me. When I would go, I felt like an outcast. Amidst all the rejection and judgment, one lady, a small group leader, made it her project to accept me. She always wanted to do everything with me, and be with me all the time.
Eventually, around 2010, this friend and I fell into a sinful relationship. It was very emotional for me as this woman had come to know me very well and knew how to push all my buttons. I wanted to leave and quit our sinful behavior immediately, and she would agree with me that as followers of Christ this was behavior we should stop. We’d agree to walk in purity…and then we would fall into sinful patterns again as soon as we would see each other.
I wanted help being obedient because I really did, and do, believe the verse from Isaiah 1:18-20 that says, “If you are willing to be obedient, you will eat from the best of the land.” So, I came back to Living Hope Ministries to get the help and accountability I needed to break free from this emotional entanglement. The women of Living Hope helped me realize that I needed to completely cut off all contact with this other woman. It was very painful, but I knew this was exactly what I needed to do if I wanted to break free from her.
Things were going well and I continued walking with LHM…until last summer when I contacted this other woman again. I had been doing so well that I reopened the door on this old relationship. I did not heed the working of Paul: “So the one who thinks he is standing firm should be careful not to fall” (1 Cor 10:12). I struggled for months with the idea of having and wanting her in my life. During that time, God kept asking me, “Do you love Me? Do you love Me? Do you love Me?”
One of the great mercies during this time of great struggle was that I was able to come to Living Hope…
God kept making it clear to me that I could not love two masters (Matthew 6:24). Either I would love her and come to hate Him, or I’d love Him and come to hate even the concept of her being a false god in my heart. It took me over six months to work through these feelings, and it was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do, but I realized that the only way for me to stay pure from sin and idolatry was to flee from the possibility of her. As Isaiah says, “No one walking in crooked paths will know peace” (Isa 59:8).
In all this, God has been full of mercy and goodness to me. One of the great mercies during this time of great struggle was that I was able to come to Living Hope for face-to-face support and forum membership. God is loving and merciful, kind and generous. He is the best thing in life. He is full of Life and there is nowhere else we can go for True Life, He has the Words of Life (John 6:68). Nothing and nobody compares to Him.
Living Hope stuck with me in this whole experience through its in-house ministry and its online forums. If you lose your soul, you will lose the most valuable thing you have. (Mark 8:36, 37). I am grateful for the people here that stuck with me and prayed for me and still hung in with me even when I went through a difficult struggle.