On the 17th October 1999 I crossed the line.  Up until that point I was aware of the strong emotional attraction and bond that I had for her but it was on that night that things became physical and we slept together for the first time.  As a Christian I knew that this was wrong and it wasn’t how God wanted me to live but in my confusion I couldn’t seem to help acting out on the desires in my heart.  I think I tricked myself initially that we were just innocently experimenting and that it didn’t really mean anything but the truth was that I valued this person more than anyone in my life at the time and I just couldn’t contain the emotions that had swelled up in my heart so they spilled over into action. 

I think what confused me the most was that I did not understand where this had come from.  I had grown up in a Christian home with two parents who loved me.  I had always been told that I had the "perfect family” and that I was so lucky.  I was active within my church community – attending Bible study, leading youth group, bringing non-Christian friends to church.  From the surface there was no reason to explain why I would be struggling with same-sex attraction.  It wasn’t until later when I entered counselling that I came to understand the factors that had led towards this struggle. 

I remember feeling so isolated and sick with confusion.  I was so afraid of being rejected and judged if I told others what was going on.  I knew that I needed to start setting some boundaries with this woman but the idea of losing her friendship, companionship and attention was excruciating and I felt I would rather die than face life without her. 

After silently struggling with this truth for weeks I finally decided to confess to my Bible study leaders.  To my surprise they were very compassionate and even told me that I was not alone, but that another member of my Bible study group was struggling with the same thing (a guy, but they didn’t reveal who he was).  They referred me to Liberty Christian Ministries Inc. who then referred me on to a Christian Counsellor where I started the long process of recovery. 

I cannot say that this was easy and there was a time when I even chose to walk away from God.  I felt like no-one understood what I was giving up by breaking off the relationship with this woman and the barrenness of my life without her.  I tried to hold onto our friendship thinking this was possible but later realised that without complete separation I couldn’t truly let go of her as my idol and security. 

Through counselling I realised that I had actually been emotionally dependent on women for a long time.  Growing up I had often made close friendships with other girls that were often broken because of distance (changing schools) or death (my best friend in year 1 died in a car accident).  This pattern had continued throughout my school years and although it wasn’t to do with me, I had internalised it as something wrong with me and was always looking for that ‘special friendship’ to make me happy and feel complete. 

There were other factors as well.  I had unconsciously separated myself emotionally from my mother when I was young.  I knew that she loved me but I walled off my heart to her because I was afraid of burdening her with my struggles (she was involved in pastoral care at the time and I often heard about the plights of those she worked with.  I didn’t want to bother her with my problems too).  I was also afraid of her judgement of me. I knew she wouldn’t approve of my friends, some of whom were taking drugs and having sex etc , so I just stopped talking to her about things.  I learnt to keep my feelings to myself because I didn’t want her to worry about me or tell me what to do.  I was also afraid of being told that I had to give up my friends and I had already felt so much loss in that area, I couldn’t bear to give up any more. 

Men were another factor in my struggle.  While I do not remember being sexually abused as a child, I did learn certain things about men growing up – namely that they couldn’t handle emotions and that ‘all they thought about was sex’.  My Dad would get angry at anyone in my family who got upset and couldn’t control their tears.  If he was upset he never talked about it but would storm off in the car or hit his head against a brick wall or take it out on us passively through criticism.  There were dare games where my brother would want to see me naked.  I later stumbled across his stash of porn purely by accident but then discovered more and more.  Then there were the boys at school who would laugh and make jokes about sex all the time.  They made no effort to hide that I was repulsive to them because of my looks.  Any time I was interested in a guy, it was made clear to me that it was not reciprocated; in fact I was crazy to think any guy would want me.  I also wanted to obey my mum who told me that it was wrong to go out with boys until after I finished school because they would distract me from my studies, so I guess I stopped entertaining the idea altogether. 

It was helpful to recognise and understand these things that led towards my same sex attraction but it still did not equip me to change where I was at.  After several years of counselling I sought out a support group for people struggling with unwanted same sex attraction because I needed to know that I wasn’t alone and I wanted help in overcoming my emotional dependency.  It was so liberating to meet with others that understood what I was going through and could listen and pray for me in my walk with God.  It was also helpful to hear their stories and to be able to offer the same support in return.  The fact that I was the only woman in these groups, while scary at first, didn’t matter to me because I felt safe and it was actually really encouraging to see men admit their sexual brokenness and pursue healing and purity.  It gave me hope that there was more to men than sex and it showed me that some men aren’t afraid to express emotion in healthy ways.   

God has been very faithful over the years and has walked patiently with me during the many different moments of my struggle.  I have seen His answer to prayer in providing key people and situations that have grown me in my understanding of His love for me and have sustained me during times when I was very close to death.  I still struggle with emotional dependency but I am learning to recognise it when it arises and break the pattern of idolatry where I place another person at the centre of my world and security instead of God.  There are no easy answers and ‘recovery’ from a Christian perspective is a lifelong process of growing in relationship with God and becoming more like Christ.  I am very thankful for places like Liberty Christian Ministries Inc. that gave me hope, understanding and support.