(Editor’s note: I received this powerful, surprising email on Sunday morning, May 10 at 11:17 a.m. I did not read it until Monday evening when I began to check my email traffic. Because it so plainly testifies to the main point of application in my Sunday sermon I asked and received permission from Laura to reprint here note here. I thank God for Laura’s courage and compassion. –geno)
My name is Laura. I don’t know if you remember me but I attended Hope Chapel from 2008 to 2012 while I attended UT. I played viola in the worship band for a couple years. I still get the HopeNews e-mail although it’s on my old e-mail account so I’m writing you on my new account. Your announcement about starting a series on same-sex attraction got me thinking. I really think churches should be talking about this and I’m so glad you are going to. If you don’t mind, I’d like to share some of my story with you.
I am from a suburb of Los Angeles. After graduating from UT, I returned to LA to do a master’s of music at USC, which I finished in May 2014. I am still living here and am working as a professional musician. I became a Christian at age 11 and the Lord has been faithful to sanctify me since then as evidence of my faith.
During my first two years as a student at UT, I made some poor decisions and to make a long story short, I allowed many bad influences in my life. But God still held on to me. As a result of my bad choices, I had many sinful things creeping into my life and one of them was same-sex attraction in my thoughts. I was very aware that these were wrong and knew that I needed to have godly friendships as support and Christian influence. My same-sex attraction thoughts were not intentional thoughts either and I never acted on them in sin.
When the Lord provided a small group of three young ladies, I knew this was an answer to prayer because I had been wanting peers in my life to be Christian friends. In the small group, we took turns sharing our testimonies and then struggles that we needed prayer and accountability for. When I shared after all three of them did, I expected that I would be treated with love and support in prayer, just like they had been treated. But when I shared that I had same-sex attractions sometimes, they told me I needed to get help. (I’m not telling you this to point the finger. I’m telling you this because I believe this kind of thing needs to be talked about.)
After this response to my struggles, I felt abandoned and isolated. I felt that I wasn’t able to be accepted in the midst of my struggles by my Christian friends. I chose to stop sharing anything personal about myself. I became overcome by perfectionism and fear. As I moved back to LA to continue my education, I kept going to church but I was still gripped by guilt. I fell into a period of depression. It is only by the grace of God that I graduated at all.
During this time, I was struggling with thoughts of self-harm. I sought help from a Christian counselor, whom I thank God for. I tried not to believe that God had forgotten me. But when I had thoughts of same-sex attraction, I felt so much hate for myself because I couldn’t make these unintentional thoughts stop. At one point, I contemplated suicide because of a same-sex attraction thought. I knew suicide was wrong so I didn’t act on it, but I felt I deserved it because of what I had thought accidentally.
Since this time, God has blessed me with immense healing. I realize now that there was so much I didn’t understand about His grace and forgiveness. I am learning to believe the power of His cross forgives every single one of my sins and makes me completely clean. Through the strength of God and the prayer and support of those closest to me, I have come out of this intense place of depression. I am still on the road of recovery but I am grateful for the Lord’s faithfulness. I know that you may be speaking primarily to the church about homosexuals outside the church. But from my perspective, I don’t believe I’m the only Christian in the church who has struggled with same-sex attraction. It has been a struggle for me that I can’t talk about it with anyone in the church because it seems taboo. And yet, God is bigger than any box we put ourselves in.
Again, I’m just writing all this to tell part of my story, not to judge. I desire healing for others who have struggled in similar ways. To reach the point of wanting to take your own life is a very scary place. I dread imagining what my life would be like without Christ. If we can love the people in the midst of our churches and in the world who struggle with same-sex attraction, maybe they would see we accept them, apart from their sin. Without love, we are as a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal and none of our words matter at all. No one should want to take their life for their sin because Jesus already gave His life up for us. The love of the Lord has no bounds and it’s my desire to also love like that. Of course I do that imperfectly. But now I’ve grown in the Lord and seen that He is not a religion but a life-giving, life-changing Person. I pray that I may freely love with His love and accept those around me who hurt so they may see that Jesus accepts them too.
I hope this has been an encouragement in your future ministry at Hope Chapel and beyond. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to let me know. Thank you for taking the time to read.