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By: Linda L. Schmidt
The Holy Spirit kept echoing in my heart to leave, to run, and return to Jesus. He would bring to mind scriptures I read years before. In His faithfulness, He opened my eyes to what the "GAY" life was really about.
I am the oldest daughter in a family of three children. My father seemed to have been hoping for a son because we shared hobbies that a son shares with his father. He was brusque and demanding in how I should get things done. Sometimes his intensity scared me. He was unable to affirm my femininity in any meaningful way. Yet, I needed his love so much that I tolerated his inappropriate expectations of me.
My father was a stern, introverted, domineering man. My mother was a socially outgoing, educated, idealistic woman. My parents taught me to maintain a hard work ethic, educational achievement, and manners. My father loved solitary, woodworking hobbies. My mother enjoyed picnics and Hollywood movies.
I first met Jesus when I was five or six years old. My family and I would watch movies like "The Robe," "Jesus of Nazareth" and "The Ten Commandments." Although I was young, I cried for His suffering from Gethesemane to Golgotha. My sense of awe from those biblical pictures remain indelibly etched on my memory.
At about 10 years old I began to sense that my home was not a safe haven. Always and adventurous little girl, I gravitated to the play activities that my parents forbade me to do. This made my father very angry since he was a strict disciplinarian. He demanded absolute obedience and whenever I disobeyed, he became tyrannical. I suffered beatings accompanied with his harsh reprimands
My parents' interactions with each other were at times explosive that usually ended with either my mother or my father leaving the house. My father was verbally abusive to my mother and she couldn't stand up to him. I vowed I would never be like her. As I began to identify who my parents were to me, I could see that there was something very wrong with their relationship.
It was at this age that I found some pornographic magazines in my father's car one day. I felt extremely hurt, disappointed and confused about my sexuality. I wondered if my father thought about me the same way he did of those women in the magazines.
The next time I met Jesus was during the years 1967 through 1969 when I was in vacation bible school. I memorized John 3:16 and other scripture verses. I felt safe with Jesus. I knew Jesus loved children. When I prayed, he gave me peace from whatever scared me. At the age of 10, I accepted Jesus into my heart.
Jesus spoke to my heart many times after that but I wasnt listening. I was a rebellious little girl. I was not in touch with my femininity at all. I was the typical "tom boy." I felt much more comfortable playing with boys than with girls. They were more challenging and daring than the girls.
All through my educational years, I was good in sports and received a lot of positive reinforcement from both male and female gym teachers. However, I seemed to crave the attention from my female coaches. Ever since I can remember, I had a deep longing for the attention of all my female teachers and would do anything to get it. I became increasingly restless and acted out in school.
As a child, I kept my fantasies hidden and they had no name. These daydreams were a pseudo-safe place for me to go in my mind with my emotions. By the time I was in fifth grade, my daydreams had become sexually oriented. School became a dichotomy: (divided) I had to go to school to learn but I couldnt remain attentive.
As I grew older, my father didn't take an active interest in my life. We shared only superficial conversations. We never talked about my life plans or secret dreams.
High school was an intimidating place with a lot more people. I met a new friend there, Ilene, on the girl's varsity softball team. She began to show an interest in me. Our new friendship elated me. We became best friends, discovered more new friends, alcohol and drugs.
One summer, Ilene came with my family and me on vacation. The night before we were to leave, Ilene slept over. We became sexually intimate that night. As we experienced this closeness, I felt an enormous weight come off my heart: an incredible, exhilarating sense of relief from all the years of hiding my feelings. The need to be loved was overwhelming. The feelings and fantasies now had a name: Gay. I am gay. I was fifteen years old. Ilene and I were lovers until my junior year of high school. When we broke up, the feelings of devastation were enormous. Keeping all these feelings inside of me became an intolerable existence. I cried out to God to help me not end my life. There seemed to be no way out of this steep gorge. To ease the pain, I stepped up my alcohol and dug intake.
Some days I thought I was losing my mind. I didnt know how to handle all this but I wouldn't dare say a word. I decided to bury the memories. I had thoughts of shooting heroin.
In college, I excelled in foreign language and English literature, but at times I was inattentive because of lust and fantasies. I met a new friend, Loretta, who happened to be taking the same classes I was that year. I noticed that Loretta was taking control of her academic life. Her life goals were solid and certain whereas mine seemed far less sure.
One Saturday night, Loretta and I were talking about the future. I said to her, "I don't think there is any life anywhere." She said, "Yes, there is." She sensed my despondency and asked me, "Linda, do you want to come to church with some friends and me tomorrow night? I said, "Sure, why not." I thought it was strange that a church service was at night but I agreed to go.
The following evening we arrived at this little tiny church. Inside, I was amazed by all the young people, in casual jeans, tee shirts, and sandals. The place was a-buzz with excitement. When they sang the old hymns, they sang from their toes. Something was radically different about this church. What was it these people had that I didnt have? They seemed so expectant, so happy!
The pastor started preaching from the Bible like I never heard the Bible before. The words from the Bible were stirring up buried wounds, memories and lost years.
Something broke inside; the love of God reached out and touched my heart. I could barely contain my tears.
I received an invitation to come forward to accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.
Right there, I knew I didn't need to hear more. Within seconds, I was walking down the aisle, fighting back the tears. I didnt know what would happen to me - it didnt matter. I wanted Jesus!
As I wept at the altar, I could feel the empty places, deep inside, being filled with His love. I asked Jesus Christ to forgive me, and I asked Him to make me be born again. I told Him that I wanted a new life with Him. I wanted to turn my back from everything that He didnt want for me. I knew my sins were real. Jesus Christ forgave me and redeemed me! Tears of joy flowed as I felt His hand on my life for the first time. I knew I was home: home with Jesus.
Becoming a Christian in September of 1979, at the age of 20, was the end of one long, lonely road and the beginning of a new road, a road to journey with Jesus. I was water baptized a short time after accepting Jesus as my Lord and Savior. However, being born from above didn't solve all my problems.
Old habits started flaring up. I started to lust after some of the women in the church.
At first I dismissed the sexual fantasies. It was dismaying to me when they became more frequent. Fellowship events became emotionally arduous. It frightened me to be with people who may discern the traces of my emotional fracture that lay just beneath the surface. I remember reading scriptures repeatedly to understand what God said about lust, sexual fantasy and fleshly desires. I thought I could pray my way to freedom but there was no Zap from heaven.
Despite my inner anguish, Gods hand was on my life. In the early 1980's, I began receiving newsletters from a few Christian ex-gay ministries around the United States.
These ministries were Christ-centered support groups for Christians who struggled with homosexuality. I hung on every word in those monthly publications.
My parents' marriage was slowly disintegrating. My father was making excuses for not coming home on weekends. He was having an affair with another woman. My mother wanted to try to save the marriage despite my urges to her to divorce him. I disliked my father for being unfaithful to my mother and breaking up our family. My mother repulsed me for not standing up to my father.
It seemed that God had abandoned me. How could He be all-powerful and let this happen to our family? Was He not a just god? My inner pain began manifesting itself in more lust and fantasy.
As the years progressed and life's stresses increased, and as the bumps and bruises got harder, my homosexual struggle and flourishing fantasy life became my escape. My grandmother was dying of cancer. She died in October of 1988. I was heartbroken. At about the same time, my parents' divorce was final.
In 1989 Jesus led me to Whosoever Will Ministry. This was a Christian support group for those Christians struggling with homosexuality and who want to stay out of the gay lifestyle. Here, one may share struggles in a Christ-centered, safe, secure place with other Christians who respect and care for each other.
Yet, there had been a chasm, a deep aching need for years that was indefinable in my life. There was an incident of molestation by an older male cousin and several occasions of childhood sexual games with other female children. These, along with family strife and dysfunction, caused so much hurt and confusion that I willfully harbored a double-minded heart toward my fleshly desires.
My faith declined to this wave of insatiable hunger for the attention of women. I was dishonest before Jesus and others in this area of my life. It didnt take long before the struggle became a stronghold to the point that something snapped in the summer of 1990.
I fell into lesbian relationships: two relationships, from 1990 to 1993 and another from 1994 to 1996. I knew these relationships were against Gods will, yet I threw myself into the gay life. It soon became a nightmare. With the combination of drugs and alcohol lowering my resistance, I couldnt resist and remove myself from these relationships.
During those years, the Holy Spirit kept echoing in my heart to leave, run and return to Jesus. He would bring to mind scriptures I read years before. In his faithfulness, Jesus opened my eyes to what the "gay" life was really about. I saw the inconsistencies in the gay lifestyle that werent adding up. I observed how many women entered in same-sex love relationships out of previous wounding, disappointment, and pain. Most of these women were in heavy denial about themselves and their past.
Through the ministry of the Holy Spirit, He spoke softly to me and began to show me who I am in Him. The lies I had embraced, fell away. He convicted me about the early vows I had taken against authority figures and myself. I began to see myself as He saw me. With His help, I found the resolve to leave the gay lifestyle behind and pursue my life in Jesus once again.
I returned to the Lord in November of 1996. I repented of my former active sin in the gay lifestyle and rededicated my life ENTIRELY to His Lordship. In contriteness, I brought as many specific sinful memories and thoughts as well as people I had hurt as I could remember to Jesus in prayer. I have shared my past struggles with others in my home church who have shown His love and support to me.
The Lord Jesus taught me many things during those dark years. He showed me that my identity is in Him and no other. What love my father could not give me, He will give me. (Jeremiah 31:3). The Holy Spirit convicted me of my need to forgive my parents, especially my father, or I may be stuck forever in bitterness and hatred (Mark 11:25).
I cried out to God to give me a new heart for my father and He has given me His compassion.
I can now call what I struggled with for what it really is - SIN, (John 16:8-11).
Those years that I was not walking with Jesus were because of rebellion, not wanting to be truly intimate with and trusting Him for my emotional needs. I learned that at times, trusting in Jesus has to be radical. (Esther 4:13, 14).
He has been calling me for a long time to deep closeness with Him where He can be my all in all. For years, I couldnt understand how to know Jesus intimately because I didnt know what intimacy was. Out of this darkness, He deepened my desire to know Him in a way I had only an inkling of. His love for me broke through the veiled restraints that blinded my vision of Him, (Proverbs 3:12).
Along my life journey, Jesus has been doing a marvelous deep work of regeneration in me as a gender being. With His guidance, I am becoming more secure in my gender identity. I can trust Him to show me what womanhood is through His eyes.
I have received much healing through the love and care of compassionate male authority figures, sisters, and friends in Christ, and through the high appreciation placed on women within Whosoever Will Ministry. I am confident that Jesus will help me to integrate the goodness of my femininity, for all that He meant it to be, and experience those inner realities.
I continue to attend Whosever Will Ministry support meetings as a mainstay of recovery. The Holy Spirit will truly make you "FREE AT LAST." "He shall teach you all things" and "He will guide you into all truth." (John 14:16, 16:13). Blessed be His name.