As a little child growing up there were five children in our household along with my mother and my father. I have some fond memories, and some not-so, of growing into the man that I have grown into today, as to be expected. When I was older, in my teenage years, my mother told me that as a child I used to stand in the window crying for my dad to come home. I only learned later in life that he was out having additional relationships outside of his and my mother’s marriage. I was the fourth child to be born. My mother described me as a child looking for my dad, crying and asking where he was, needing that attention from him, and later on in life realizing I had been neglected. I have three other siblings outside of my dad and mother’s marriage, which was the reason why he was never home during the time when I needed the affirmation and attention from him. As a child I was very, very shy, except around relatives. I spent a lot of weekends and nights at my grandmother’s home on my dad’s side of the family, and there is where I experienced a male relative touching me in ways that I didn’t understand, but I knew inside of myself that it was wrong. I loved my grandmother, but did not like it when my cousin was there. I remember him babysitting us at younger ages sometimes, but nothing ever happened then. He would always tell me if I told anyone that I would be the one who would get into trouble, and as a child I believed him and thought that I had done something wrong, so for years, even all the way up to my adulthood, I never spoke a word about it, mostly due to shame. After a certain age I realized that it wasn’t I who did anything wrong, but due to the shame, embarrassment and false guilt that was heaped upon me, I just never spoke about it to anyone, yet going through life carrying this thing around mentally and emotionally as if I had committed this deed.

The very same thing happened with an older female relative on my mother’s side of the family, who would babysit us before we would leave for school. She, too, would touch me in ways that was not right, and she had me touch her in ways that I knew was wrong. I was not myself when I was around these individuals, and did not want to do those things, but again I was told that I would get in trouble if I said anything about the situation. I remember my younger brother and her younger sisters being there in the house and she would make them stay in the living room, while I was called to the bedroom to do things that I didn’t even understand at that moment in life. Then I would come out to my brother and other cousins, who were asking what were you both doing, and she made me tell them that it was a secret.

Growing up from a grade-schooler into my teenage years of middle school and high school, I always felt this same sex attraction but never acted upon it for fear of being made fun of, even though I’ve had my share of that. Again I was very shy, and that shell did not begin to break until I got into sports, which gave me more self-confidence. I ran track and field which I was very good at, and for which I received a lot of recognition and awards. It wasn’t until then that I began to develop more and more healthy friendships with guys.

My mother has always raised my family in a Pentecostal denomination, for which I am so grateful, because I cannot imagine my life now without the experience and relationship that I have with the Godhead. It’s funny sometimes how our natural relationships affect our spiritual relationships when it should be the opposite. My early relationship with my natural father was not close. Though he was present in the home and not abusive, the lack of my relationship with him affected my perception of my relationship to my Heavenly Father. Even to this day I still have things to overcome inside when it comes down to my perception of my Heavenly Father and how He sees me. For years my self-worth because of same-sex attractions (SSA) made me think that my Heavenly Father didn’t love me like someone who doesn’t deal with SSA, that I’m the only one who struggles with this, and everyone else would receive a blessing before I would when it comes down to the Father of Lights handing out blessings and healings. I would perceive (key word) my natural father do things that looked to me as if my brother or sisters received attention from him before I would. So when it comes to prayer life and worship, I have no problem going to Jesus, His only begotten Son, or to the Holy Ghost with praying and worshiping in the Spirit. I prayed to the Father not asking for much because I didn’t think He paid that much attention to me. Today I can say that my relationship with my Spiritual Father is 100% better than I when I started out, as well as my natural father. Which make sense to me is that the spiritual aspect should overflow over into my natural relationships. With more knowledge of my Heavenly Father and what all He has done and is doing for me, my relationship with Him has grown stronger.

I had never talked to anyone about my SSA when I was growing up, or about what I felt inside. Being introduced to pornographic magazines during my teenage years, sexual deeds which did not involve another person became a habit that I practiced several times a week. Later in life, I started dating the mother of my children and before we got married, I spoke with my pastor about my SSA, and I was encouraged to speak to my wife-to-be about my struggle. I sat her down one evening and told her that I have same-sex attraction but, from the look on her face, I know that she did not comprehend everything that I was saying. Married, with three children, over the years, we had several issues come up. Our marriage was failing due to bad communication. We had been to several counseling sessions, but we later divorced. My ex-wife always seems to think that the SSA was the reason we had so many problems. In several of our counseling sessions, our counselor, co-pastor, or whom it may have been, always advised that there were issues that were causing the marriage to fail outside of the SSA, and that it is not the cause of this marriage failure. At that point in my life, I had not acted upon my attractions to men. We went through a nasty divorce, during which my ex-wife tried to use my struggle against me in court. She lied, telling her attorney that she found me in bed with another man, and that I had molested my four-year-old son. For a month I could only see him for an hour at a time, supervised by child protective services. They wanted to see how he responded to me. I was required to take a lie detector test, which I passed because I wasn’t guilty. There was much prayer and help from my Lord. I immediately was able to see my son again after the test. Unfortunately, there was information about me and my ex-wife spread amongst church members, bad and good—private, which should have never been told regarding our relationship.

I did have a sexual encounter with someone after my divorce–someone whom I did not know prior to my split, but then showed up in our support group one day. The truth came out about our dealings and we moved on from there.

Prior to our relationship ending, my ex-wife did search out a ministry called CrossOver that was a support for people who dealt with SSA. I started attending and have been helped there for over 10 years. In 2008, the ministry became Abba’s Delight. It was a relief to me that finally someone understood where I was speaking from when I talked about issues with SSA. I have dealt with years of talking to counselors that could only touch the surface because they never walked emotionally, mentally or physically where I have. Needless to say, the ministry has been a great help in overcoming SSA and accountability issues. Along with group, I have fellow men from my own congregation for accountability purposes as well, who have been there for me, and have been an encouragement.

My weapons of warfare that help me out tremendously are staying in church and fellowship, the public anointing and blessing from the LORD, and learning more and more of Him. I have a prayer and study life at home, and I memorize and quote the Word of God.

Philippians 1:6 Being confident of this very thing, that He which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.

Philippians 4:13 I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.

Romans 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose.

Galatians 2:20-21 I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh, I live by the faith in the Son of God, who loved me, and gave Himself for me.

I Peter 4:12-14 12 Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you:13 But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.14 If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified.

Isaiah 41:10 Fear thou not; for I am with thee; be not dismayed; for I am thy God; I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of My righteousness.