Tuesday, September 21, 2010

A Journey Some of Us have to take in this life

Dave’s Testimony:

Beloved--A Journey From Rejection To Acceptance

 

Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God?  Do not be deceived, neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, not adulterers, nor those who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.  And such were some of you, but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.

              1 Corinthians 6:9

 

That verse is my story, and it’s one of finding true love, acceptance, power and protection in the arms of Abba Father.  David in Hebrew means “beloved”.  My story is a journey of realizing that I am what my name says I am—beloved.

 

In the 60’s an unwanted pregnancy was looked upon with much scorn.  So I came into this world feeling rejection from mom, dad, grandparents, the rest of my family, and society.   Many say that I was an illegitimate child, but now I know that there is no such thing--only illegitimate parents.  My father never married my mom, and I have never met him.  Despite many efforts, Ray has chosen to continue to shut me out of his life.

 

Mom married my stepfather when I was 6 months old.  Walter was a Vietnam veteran who experienced the horrors of war.  He was also a physically abusive alcoholic.  As a child, I had to call the police after he pulled a knife on my mom and later smashed a hole in the hallway wall.  I felt that Walter rejected me and chose to focus his attention on my younger brother, his namesake.  My parents divorced when I was young, because of this, I never had a dad to play catch with or to run to when I needed protection.   

 

Mom was irresponsible and unpredictable in her love.  Her whole life was plagued with mental illness, with severe depressions and then bouts of mania.  Sometimes I wouldn’t hear from her for long periods of time, and then she would call many times a day.  Stability in my life came from my grandmother who lived 2 blocks away.  This strong-willed, kind and extremely generous woman not only raised me, but also provided for me financially and emotionally.

 

In school, I was painfully shy and reclusive.   Asthma and allergies kept me from gym class and sports. When teams were chosen, I was always picked last.  I felt rejection, and I also rejected myself with feelings of low self-esteem and self-hatred.    Finally, someone really paid attention to me.  Hal was a second cousin who sexually molested me at age 12. 

 

At the insistence of my devout grandmother, I was active in a liberal mainline church.  At age 15, I accepted Christ as my savior at an evangelistic seminar.  Although I still went to the same spiritually-dead church, I grew by reading Christian books and listening to Christian radio.  When it came time for college, I attended a conservative Christian school.  There I grew relationally with others and began my journey out of shyness.  My family could not afford a private school education for me, but God miraculously provided with work on campus and government grants.  I was able to graduate with only $2,000 in school loans. 

 

After graduation, I headed to Washington to pursue a career in politics and began attending a non-denominational church, where I was baptized.  I soon became aware of a growing same sex attraction that was becoming overwhelming, so I got involved in Regeneration, an ex-gay ministry.  My life was finally starting to click.  I became a support group leader and began a serious dating relationship with a girl named Karen.  At this point, I began to trust God not only as my savior, but also as Lord of my life.  I had a fantastic relationship with Him, others and myself.  I was on top of the world.

 

Then, my world came crashing down.  It seemed that every summer I was plagued by a persistent and deepening depression.  That year, it became so strong that I experienced extreme stress and panic attacks.  I lost my job, my girlfriend, and the peace I felt from God.  I remember crying out to God, yet the heavens were silent.  After seeking help from an incompetent counselor, I plunged into a suicidal depression.  I was obsessed with dying and going straight to hell.  I even began hallucinating.  A new counselor rescued me with medication and therapy.   Then, my deep depression was followed by an equally unrestrained manic phase.  I started many businesses, had grandiose ideas, and plunged head-first into the gay lifestyle.   My life was filled with anonymous sexual partners and hanging out at gay bars, beaches and bathhouses. 

 

I decided to seek acceptance from those who could relate to me best—other gays.   However, rejection, not acceptance, was what I felt the most.  I was rejected by those who were more muscular and handsome than I.  And, I rejected those who didn’t measure up in my eyes.  I allowed myself to be treated in ways I would never otherwise allow.  And, I treated others in ways I would never otherwise treat them.  All of this was based on looks.  For 7 years, I became a prodigal son with my “to hell with the world” attitude.  

 

I didn’t choose to be gay.  I believe the development of my same-sex attraction was rooted in a number of factors:  an absent father, abusive stepfather, domineering grandmother, passive grandfather, sensitive personality and sexual abuse.  These were things that happened to me.  However, there were things that I did to contribute to my problem.  I chose how to respond to what happened in my childhood.  I also chose to act on my same-sex attractions and discount the power of God’s grace in my life.  This choice to pursue the gay lifestyle not only endangered my physical life, but also my relational, emotional and spiritual life.  It also led to a life-dominating sexual addiction that would take years of pain and struggle to overcome. 

 

Father God lovingly, and persistently, pursued me.  And, in 2000, I started on my journey back home.  I returned to Regeneration and began to deal with my overwhelming sexual addiction as well as the roots of my same-sex attraction.  I also entered into an accountable relationship with a ministry leader and began attending and serving in a local church.  I was able to forgive my stepfather and begin a relationship with him and my brother.  That forgiveness allowed me to help reconcile my sister with her dad.  What a blessing it was to be able to take my 9 year-old nephew to see his grandfather for the first time!  Now my family has been restored.  For many years I prayed about my dad’s alcoholism.  Last year, he went to a treatment center and then regular AA meetings.  He has been sober for a year now.   I was also able to forgive my mother and the cousin who molested me. 

 

This journey to wholeness and holiness was not quick or painless, and many times I stumbled along the way, but Father God was always present.  I let go of quick, fleeting counterfeit “love” (lust and sex) and slowly developed true and lasting love through deep meaningful relationships with others and God.  I learned how to love others correctly and love myself again.  I have also learned to rely on God.  He has shown me through promises in His Word and through my experiences with Him, that He is faithful.  As I step out in faith, trusting His promises, I have seen that He will protect me, he will provide for me, and he will bless my efforts.   Most importantly, I have come to know what it means to have God as my father.  Growing up without a healthy father figure hindered my growth into masculinity.  Abba Father is healing many of these deficits.  He has shown Himself as a strong provider, protector and caring dad who adores me whether I perform or not.  As I learn to be loved by the “Father to the fatherless”, I am growing into the man He wants me to be.  As Abba lavishly meets my needs for love and acceptance, I am able to love Him and others correctly and abundantly.  My desire is that all of my purity, giving, serving, loving and sharing flows from this supply of limitless love and acceptance, for I am beloved.

 

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