Overcomer’s Stories

26 04, 2017

Redeemed by Bryan

April 26th, 2017|Overcomer's Stories|0 Comments|

I realized that I was same-sex attracted when I was about 13, but I did not know the term SSA back then. I looked at porn magazines and later when I was in my 20’s I viewed porn videos and went to a local xxx rated bookstore and movie house.

I got saved when I was 14 and lived a Christian life. Since I became a Christian I prayed for the Lord to take away my attractions to guys, but that never happened. I was expecting the Lord to instantly just take away those desires.

I told my parents that I thought I was gay when I was 23, but at that time I had not acted out on those attractions, so they said they did not think I was gay because I had not had sex with a man. I was supposed to talk with my pastor during that time, but I was too afraid to talk to him or anyone else. I eventually did talk to my Mom’s psychiatrist, but he did not know how to help me. We never talked about it again after that, which was 1982.

My mom passed away in 2002 and my Dad remarried in 2003. My stepmom passed away in November 2015. It wasn’t until October 2016 that I told my Dad that I still deal with unwanted SSA.
I started acting out when I was about 25 or 26. I had mostly anonymous encounters at a local bookstore and movie house.

I acted out during the first 23 years of my marriage and then on January 21, 2013 I confessed the adultery and the SSA to my wife under the stress of having kept my secret for decades. I contacted one of the pastors at church who referred me to Focus on the Family, which eventually led me to Daniel Mingo and Abba’s Delight. My wife and I met with Daniel after which I joined the Overcomers support group and began lay counseling with Daniel. My wife and I counseled with a pastor for about a year. My wife attended the Abba’s Delight Family & Friends support for a time, but later decided to stop.

My wife and I both attended the Hope For Wholeness (HFW) Conference 2015, which was a miracle provision from the Lord. I will tell you the story about that at another time.

The two years following my confession to my wife were quite rough-going. I lived with the possibility hanging over my head that my wife would divorce me at any minute. Then my wife had a vision during communion at the conference. She saw me lying on a rock sobbing because she had divorced me. She saw herself standing in front of a house with a white picket fence and a neatly manicured yard. The Lord told her that she could divorce me, that she would have what she saw in the vision, and would have peace and joy. But the Lord also told her if she stayed with me she would have fulfillment, ministry, and chaos, which He said she would not have if she divorced me. We were not sure exactly where the chaos fit in. She made the decision that night to stay with me, having previously gone back and forth whether or not she was going to divorce me. We also attended the 2016 HFW Conference.

We are currently just taking life one day at a time. I still have same sex attractions, but I have not acted out nor looked at porn in many years. My wife has gone thru all of the stages of grief that they say one goes through with a situation like this. She is gradually healing with counseling over time.

26 04, 2017

Abandoned, But Loved By Rex Harris

April 26th, 2017|Overcomer's Stories|0 Comments|

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.

29 06, 2014

Daniel Mingo Interview from Hope for Wholeness Conference

June 29th, 2014|Overcomer's Stories|0 Comments|

25 10, 2013

If You Love Me by Brandon Balkovich

October 25th, 2013|Overcomer's Stories|1 Comment|

Many of us know the rest of this verse, yet how many of us do it? John 14:15 ends, “you will obey Me.” Being a man 48 years of age and dealing with same-sex attraction (SSA), it’s a challenge at times to carry out Jesus’ command. I’ve been blessed to be a part of Daniel Mingo’s group in an Exodus ministry for the past 8 years now. In that time, I’ve experienced highs and lows, joy and pain, laughter and tears. From a child, I always knew I was “different.” It didn’t go away as I grew older; in fact, it got stronger. Coming from a broken home didn’t help matters. No strong male role model from the ages of 8 until 15 played a major part in my turning what should have been my years of male affirmation into a mess. Once I was reunited with my Dad at 15 the damage was already done. My Dad and I were more or less strangers. About the only two things we had in common were our last name and the way we looked. We couldn’t be more opposite. Trying to make a father-son connection wasn’t easy when years of separation had taken place. Dad was out-going, brash, and loud. Not me. I isolated myself, hiding in books and school work. As time went by, little progress was made.

On my 20th birthday, I announced I was gay. Talk about a surprise! My parents were devastated. In 1984, when I made this announcement, HIV / AIDS was still a relatively new and scary proposition. They feared the worst for me. Those fears were realized the next year. For the past 28 years, I have endured injections, hospital stays and drugs daily because of stupid choices I made regarding my sexual experiences. BUT GOD … Since that time, I’ve been born again. My partner’s mother led me to the Lord in 1991 in Atlanta. I’ve been baptized, filled with the Holy Spirit, and enjoy going to church. He, too, wanted to return to his Baptist roots that he’d strayed from years earlier. We knew it was for the best. He went back to North Carolina, I to Wisconsin. Unfortunately, when I got there, the church was not equipped to deal with the issue of SSA and wanting to overcome it. “Pray, pray, pray,” is what I was told. Don’t think I didn’t! I begged, pleaded, everything I could, to ask God to take this from me-some supernatural miracle to free me from this. If God was a loving God, surely He would to this for someone who was destined to die. No such luck. I waited for it to happen but it never came. I ended up becoming so disillusioned, I fell back to the “old me.” I went back to what was comfortable and familiar: pornography, sexual acting out, gay bars, etc …. It wasn’t pretty!

In 1993, because of a job relocation, I ended up in Louisville again, and returned to the same old stuff. In January 1995, my ex-partner succumbed to AIDS at age 31. I knew he wasn’t suffering anymore. He didn’t tum his back on Jesus; he saw it through and fought the good fight. PRAISE GOD! It wasn’t until January 2001 that I finally had my PRODIGAL moment. The Holy Spirit got hold of me and let me see the pigpen I was in and said, “Enough is enough!” I got back to church, got involved, and made friends. In 2003, I got the courage to stand up to the congregation and told them about my SSA. A gentleman who was familiar with Exodus International recommended that I get in touch with a ministry that dealt with it. I was scared, I kept putting it off. At last, in August 2004, I called and got the number for Daniel.

For the first time in my life, I had, a decision to make: either go through and get to the finish line, or quit and give up, just like I always did. As you can tell, I’m still in the race. I’ve seen guys come and go over the years. Some, one visit; fortunately, others who have been faithful like myself. Believe me, Daniel cracks the whip. Books, CD’s, DVD’s became good friends. Oh, that one word—PROCESS. Hated it. Still do. Miracles do happen, but overcoming SSA and related issues are a long process that Jesus has to be a part of. The pain of falling back, the hurt of acting out while being in the group; man, I thought it would be simple. Nothing hurts more than openly admitting you screwed up after committing yourself to doing what’s right. Daniel said it could happen. He didn’t condemn or judge. Just like Jesus.

The turning point came when I realized that God loved me and who I was in Christ. 2 Corinthians 5 :21 says I am the righteousness of God in Christ. God sees me in Christ, not as I am. He loves me as I am, but the cleansing blood of Christ makes me that new creature the Bible talks about. If God could love me in the midst of the disaster I made of my life, how could I love myself? It wasn’t easy. It still isn’t. There are days I have to shake my head that Jesus dies that death for me. I learned that if He could do that FOR ME, what should I do for HIM! “Could you do it for Me?” I heard Him say. I got it in my head that I was to do it for Jesus. Romans 12:1-2 were pivotal verses. Both my body being a living sacrifice for Him and the renewal-total renewal of my mind. I didn’t have to live that way anymore. God truly had something better for me! It’s been quite a journey. I’m grateful to everyone who’s been a part of it along the way.

I don’t know how long I have, none of us do. But I can say that I’m so glad that Jesus helped bring healing to my wounds. We’re all in this together and we all need each other; after all, WE ARE THE BODY OF CHRIST.

16 10, 2013

Beyond Surviving by Daniel Mingo

October 16th, 2013|Overcomer's Stories|1 Comment|

I’ve been told my life mirrors the classic profile. I don’t know about that, but I do know that the power of God’s love and forgiveness has transformed my life in a way that I never thought was possible. I had hoped, but never thought it was possible.

I am the second-born son into what would become a family of seven children, six boys and one girl. I came along when my older brother was two. Ever since I can remember, going to church every Sunday was a part of my life. I grew up in a Christian denomination, which gave me a basic understanding of the faith.

Some of my early memories of family life are happy ones, but for the most part, I was miserable as a child. I always felt that my older brother was favored. He was the one who seemed to get most of my Dad’s attention. After all, they both liked sports, and were good at them. I never was, though I tried to be. I didn’t feel accepted, and I was made fun of for my lack of athletic abilities. If we were playing a game that required teams, I was picked last. It just wasn’t any fun being a boy; it was too hard.

I never had a strong emotional connection to my Dad when I was young. His job often took him out of town from Monday to Friday, and his week ends were filled with shopping with my Mom, errands, and sports on TV. That was a plus for my brother, but not for me. Mom didn’t drive, so she was around almost all the time. Most of my parental input came from her. She has been a woman of Godly character all of my life. I know now my parents loved me and did everything they knew to do to raise me properly. But it wasn’t always that way. I used to think the only reason they clothed and fed me was because they’d get arrested if they didn’t. I think that I was just such a challenge for them; they weren’t sure what do to with a son who wasn’t good at and didn’t like to do “boy things.”

The pain of feeling like I never fit in my family or measured up to earn Dad’s love and acceptance drove me to find those things wherever I could. At first, I began playing with girls in the neighborhood. They were my age and I seemed to fit in with them. I found, though, that the boys in the neighborhood were just as cruel then as they had been before. Even the parents got in on it. There was one set of parents who decided that it just wasn’t normal for me to be playing with girls, so they decided that instead of calling me by my given name Danny, they would call me MaryJane. It is unimaginable to me now that a parent would inflict this kind of cruelty on a child, just for the sake of ridiculing him.

Sometime before the age of ten, I discovered playing “doctor” with the girls in the neighborhood. These were my first sexual experiences. No one knew, and it seemed I had found in a special and secret way the acceptance I was craving. We moved from that area of town when I was eleven into a newly-developing subdivision. Making new friends seemed easier there, but I was still insecure and often had feelings that I didn’t fit in.

To compensate for my lack of sports abilities, I had gotten involved in singing, acting and dance as a child. I was good at these things, and I enjoyed them. I took great satisfaction in an audience applauding me. Onstage, I could feel some sense of worth, acceptance and appreciation. One night when I was 13, on the way home from one of my lessons, I had one of those life-changing experiences. The bus I took only came out so far toward my house, so I would walk the rest of the way. One night I decided to hitchhike. A man I didn’t know picked me up and sexually molested me. He introduced me to masturbation. I was so scared; I froze for what must have been several minutes. When I finally came to myself and could speak, I asked him to stop and let me out of the car. He stopped the car, and as I was getting out, he said, “Now you be careful; you never know who’s going to pick you up.” I slammed his car door and ran the rest of the way home.

I didn’t tell my Mom what happened that night when I got home, out of breath. She asked if I was OK, saying that I looked white as a sheet. I told her I was fine, but I wasn’t. Not telling my parents what happened that night and keeping it a secret, was probably the biggest mistake of my life. I didn’t tell because I was too afraid of getting into trouble for hitchhiking. How was I to know that the devil would use the secrecy of that horrible experience to torment my mind and my life for many years to follow?

As one might expect, following that experience and keeping it a secret, my high school years were a mixed bag of emotional ups and downs. Still attracted to girls, I dated whenever I could and had several girl friends. But I found myself sexually attracted to boys and men, and sometimes acted out sexually with guys my age. I knew in my heart that was wrong, but I didn’t know what to do with those feelings and I certainly couldn’t tell anyone about them. About two-thirds of the way through my senior year, after I was dumped by my girl friend for my best friend, I went to hear a couple of kids I knew from school give a talk. They shared about how asking Jesus to live inside their hearts through the power of the Holy Spirit was changing their lives. They said their new relationship with Jesus as their personal Savior gave them a purpose for living. I jumped at the chance to have a better life, because I sure wasn’t enjoying the one I had up to that point. So on Friday night, February 27, 1970, I asked Jesus to come into my heart, save me, be the Lord of my life, and change me so that I would become who I was created to be.

My life changed immediately for the better. There was like a honeymoon time, when everything seemed to go perfectly in every area of my life. I thought sexual thoughts were gone for good, but they soon came back. In fact, it seemed like it was worse than before. How could that be? Jesus was living inside me; how could I be thinking all of these awful things, and how could I be getting tempted to do sexual things that were abhorrent to me?

As a young adult, I was leading a double life. I had my circle of Christian friends and those I went to church with, but also I was progressively getting involved in more varied sexual activities with myself and with guys I didn’t even know. I tried to get help, but no one, not even my pastors, seemed to know what to do with someone like me. As much as I knew how, I was totally committed to the Lord, but also driven by temptation to sin sexually, I was dating Christian women, but I was also having anonymous sex with men. I was engaged twice, but I ended both of those relationships before marriage. One of the breakups was directly related to my sexual acting out.

By the time I was 30 and still single, I had convinced my pastors that my sexual problems were behind me. I met the woman who is now my wife and got married when I was 31. Again, I thought my sexual problems would be solved by being married. Afraid of being rejected, I had chosen not to tell my wife about them. For a long time I was able to refrain from acting out sexually, but eventually I gave in, and the whole sin cycle surfaced again. By this time I was working at a job that required traveling. Being away from home like this was always difficult for me, and often I gave in to the temptation. After 10 years of marriage, with my secret still intact, I was crying out to the Lord on the way home from a business trip. I had acted out again, in a particularly bad way, even for me. The Lord spoke to my heart and said that it was time to confess to my wife about my sin. That created a lot of fear in me.

I knew that I had given my wife enough Biblical and civil grounds to divorce me and kick me out of my home that she and I had made for our three sons. But I knew I had heard the word of the Lord. I went to my pastor and confessed to him that I had not been as pure as I had led him to think and that I believed the Lord was directing me that it was time to tell my wife. He and I began to pray that God would prepare her heart and that I would know the right time to come clean. When the time came, I found the Lord had indeed prepared her for my confession. Since that time, though there were some initial obstacles to overcome, she has been so much more loving and supportive than I could have ever hoped for.

At this same time, we began to realize that I was addicted to sex, the same as someone would become addicted to drugs, alcohol, gambling or food. By then, my addiction had taken me into homosexual sin, heterosexual sin, masturbation, voyeurism, magazine pornography, obscene phone calls, inappropriate conversations, strip clubs, x-rated movie theaters, and inappropriate touching. I began looking for some type of support group. I knew that there had to be other men who were committed to the Lord, but caught in the trap of homosexual sin as I was. I attended a secular 12 step recovery group for sex addicts for a year, unable to find something Biblically based. After that first year, I found exactly what I was looking for. I attended weekly meetings with other men who were just as I was, and committed to the Lord’s standard of sexual purity. This group had begun at a church in my city while I was attending the secular group. When I found out about the Biblically based group, right away I began attending it, and did so faithfully for another five years, leading it the last year it was in existence. Being in a support group with other Christian men who could hold me accountable for my sexual behavior, I found it was the perfect fit for my recovery from this addiction, which had ensnared me for so many years. That group ended in the spring of 2000. Then, a few months later, I was asked to join another group hosted by the same church. This group is for men who are trapped in general sexual addiction, not just homosexual sin. I have attended this group since its inception for my own ongoing recovery and sobriety, and for the first 7 ½ years functioned as one of its official facilitators.

The Lord led me into ministry in 2003. Father was prompting me to become a part of a ministry team to bring hope-for-change to men who battle sexual addiction through unwanted same-sex attractions. I held a staff position with a Lexington-based ministry for 4 ½ years and then in December 2007 at the Lord’s leading, I resigned that position. After seeking Father’s direction with my wife and Pastor a few months for my next assignment, He led me to begin a new ministry called Abba’s Delight, Inc based in Louisville. Founded in April 2008, it also focuses on those troubled by unwanted same-sex attractions, as well as bringing the message of Father’s love combined with learning to lead a structured and disciplined lifestyle towards righteousness and maturity in becoming a productive and fruitful citizen of the Kingdom of God. This ministry continues to thrive today at Father’s blessing.

I never thought I could live without being miserable. I never thought I could find love and acceptance the way God intended. I never thought I would ever get past the shame and anger of being molested. I never thought I could ever know what “normal” is. I never thought I would ever find sexual purity.
God was calling me to be His own, His son. God was calling me to grow up to be a man, even though I had such a messed up sexual identity as a child. God was calling me to be a husband. God was calling me to be a father of three sons, whom I could teach to become men of God. God was calling me not just to be a survivor, but an over-comer. And He is calling me to impart to other men what I am learning on His journey.

Now unto Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to make you stand in the presence of His glory blameless with great joy, to the only God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen. Jude 24,25