Beloved--A Journey From Rejection To Acceptance
Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the
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 and shame. 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 to meet him, 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
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. Allergies and asthma 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. He was an older 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
After graduation, I headed to
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 but I felt that 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 the prodigal son with my “to hell with the world” attitude.
I didn’t choose to have homosexual feelings. I believe the development of my same-sex attraction was rooted in a number of factors: an absent father, abusive stepfather, strong-willed 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. And, I 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 also able to forgive my mother and the cousin who molested me.
Gradually, I was able to forgive my stepfather (a man I hated for over 20 years) and begin a relationship with him and my brother. Now we don’t see each other without an “I love you” and a hug. 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. In 2009, he went to a treatment center and then regular AA meetings and he has been sober ever since. He even visits other veterans who are dealing with post-traumatic stress disorder and alcoholism. A few years ago, I learned that he had always wanted to adopt me and my mom wouldn’t let him (which caused a lot of friction in their marriage). After waiting around for him to initiate the adoption discussion, I decided to bring it up. I feel that this is a way to publicly acknowledge the healing that has taken place in our relationship and it’s a way for me to honor him and him to honor me. So on my upcoming birthday, I will be formally adopted.
The same day I contacted my step-father about adoption, I also decided to try (once again) to reach out to my biological father, so I sent him this testimony. A week later I had a strong prompting to pray for him, and I did for three days. A month later, he called me and we talked for almost two hours. I told him that I didn’t want anything from him, but I had a gift for him. I thought that he was stuffing the emotions of guilt and shame since I was born. I said that I would like to meet him and my family, but would wait until he was ready. I haven’t heard back from him yet, but think that I will be travelling to
My journey to wholeness and holiness has not been 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.