Defined By The Cross

I came into the world the object of my parents’ adoration. However, when my sister was born she suddenly became the focus of my mother’s attention, and the natural outcome was that my father and I began deeply connecting. Due to my mother’s mental illness she began viewing my sister as the all good child, while she viewed me as all bad. This coupled with her jealousy for the close relationship my dad and I had resulted in her severely physically and emotionally abusing me.

I was beaten on more than one occasion as she demanded that I admit it was my intent to break up her and my father. These abusive tirades were always accompanied with warnings that I was not to tell my father, and threats of what would happen if I did. This left my feeling further isolated as out of fear of punishment I could not even connect with the one safe person in my life
My dad was my whole world. I lived in constant fear of his death, and would often secretly weep at the thought of it. When I was 11 years old my worst fear came to pass, and my father died of heart disease. To my already lonely anxiety-filled world this added a deeper fear of abandonment and feeling that whatever I dreaded most would come upon me.

After my dad’s death the abuse I suffered at the hands of my mother grew exponentially. I also suffered sexual abuse at the hands of another family member. My existence was a miserable one. The foundation had been laid by the enemy for a life as a slave to fear, shame, isolation, self-hatred and fear of abandonment.

Shortly after my father’s death I found a hidden stash of pornography while visiting a relative’s home. I was instantly sucked in, and quickly became addicted to the porn and fantasy life that followed. The addiction became my safe place, filling the void that my father’s death had caused.

Because I didn’t connect with my mother I rejected femininity and my own gender identity as well. Sensing my confusion about this my mother often ridiculed me and told me I would be a lesbian when I grew up. Her words, along with the other contributing factors soon caused me to believe this about myself. Though I never acted on these thoughts and feelings, they were a continual source of shame for me.

When I entered a saving relationship with Jesus Christ at age twenty I promised the Lord I would never again act out in my sexual addiction. I lasted a week. I continued to secretly struggle since this was the only method I knew to manage my pain. In spite of all this I ached to serve God. So at twenty-two I moved from Minnesota to Houston, Texas to start Bible College.

After graduation I remained in Houston, One night I was feeling particularly lonely and vulnerable and went for a walk. I was quickly approached by a man and before I knew what had happened I became involved in my first anonymous sexual encounter. I soon found myself deliberately seeking out what I had “accidentally” stumbled upon that night. I would drive in parking lots or walk down the street until I was approached, and generally in less than five minutes after meeting a man I would be involved sexually. This pattern continued for the next nine years.

I was also trying to live for God during this time, so my acting out incidents ranged from a day apart, to a year or more. I was also highly involved in ministry; everything from youth work to bus ministry, Spanish ministry, children’s ministry, teaching group Bible Studies and more.

My actions were so contrary to the love and devotion I felt for Christ. I began drinking and smoking to numb the torment of my double life. As all this was going on I was working with a counselor but she was not educated in sexual addiction. In frustration over my ongoing failures she ended our counseling relationship, With this I finally hit bottom. Out of desperation I reached out to a woman at Church and was honest about my struggle and we entered into an accountability relationship. I also went on a forty day fast because my new friend recommended it.

On day forty of that fast God miraculously led me to NCM. Although I was saved before I began working with NCM I credit Russell with “winning me over to Christ” all over again. This God was not going to meet me in my broken places, but was already in my broken places waiting for me to meet Him.
As the film of shame began to clear from my eyes I saw that Satan had laid a foundation in my young life, but the bigger reality was that Jesus was doing a greater work during that time. As the voice of my mother’s accusations and hatred began to dissipate, my ears began to hear the sound that was there from the moment of my conception-the voice of my Heavenly Father speaking and singing life over me.

As I felt safe with my accountability partner, and then Russell, the Lord dealt with me to open up to my pastor. I was shocked at the love and acceptance that I was receiving. When I would feel safe with one person the Lord would gently nudge me to involve others. Each time I was accepted, the healing went a little bit deeper.

I experienced deep healing regarding the sexual addiction. Then the Lord began dealing with the same sex attraction and gender confusion. This was possibly the most painful part of my journey. I formerly hated the fact that God made me female, Through NCM Jesus has brought me to a place where I not only accept myself as a woman, but I rejoice to bear God’s image as a female. God sent many women to love me during this season, and as a result of letting that feminine love penetrate my heart my same sex attraction naturally diminished.

Today God is bringing broken people to me and I have the privilege of sharing what Christ is doing in my life. I have given my testimony around the country and I have seen God use my pain for good. Last week I started my second year of ministry school and in the near future hope to begin training in Biblical counseling. I want to share the truth that we are not defined by what we have done or by what was done to us, but by what was done for us on the Cross.

I have been sexually clean for over seven years but occasionally I still struggle. Temptation, shame and old thinking patterns rise up but I use these as an opportunity to once again draw close to Jesus and let Him love me. I am thankful to NCM and anyone who has ever supported this ministry in prayer or finances. God has used this ministry to bring life to the death that was once my existence.