O perfect redemption,

the purchase of blood, T

o every believer the promise of God;

The vilest offender who truly believes,

That moment from Jesus a pardon receives

My name is Scotty. (not my real name).

When some people give their testimony, they say they had a hard life before they gave their life to Christ, and then magically their life becomes everything they wanted it to be. For me this isn’t the case. God started to take away all the other supports that I was leaning on so that I would learn to trust in Him only. The way up really is the way down. I think this is always the most painful thing for any Christian to learn.

I was born into a family that went to church every Sunday morning. I liked God but I hated church. It was always so boring, and the people there seemed quite strange, like they knew nothing about how the world really worked. When I was on the bus home from school one day, I faced a dilemma. What if this is true? If it’s true (which I knew in the back of my mind that it was) then I should follow it all the way, if not, then I should simply disregard it and move on. A few years later, some friends invited me to youth group at the church. I didn’t want to go because I was very shy and would make excuses why I shouldn’t go. Later I went and became a regular member. When I was fifteen, I decided to get baptized to show that I was a follower of Jesus Christ, even though I didn’t fully understood what I was in for at the time.

After this, God really started to work in my life. From my perspective however, everything was falling apart. When I was seventeen, mum started to recall memories of a traumatic past. Instead of bringing these to God, she became bitter inside and turned to alcohol. What started out as a drink on the weekend became a nightly routine. Oftentimes, she would drink herself to sleep and pass out on the big recliner chair wineglass in hand. When she wasn’t numbing her pain with alcohol she was much worse. She would fly off the handle into a full force rage, sometimes kicking and punching holes in the walls, and throwing household appliances.

She was a strong woman and she was scary. The worst thing by far though was her ability to talk you right down into the ground, and even after you had burst into tears she would just keep going. It’s like she wouldn’t allow you the esteem to stand up for yourself. On occasions when I found the courage to actually turn my back and walk away, she would follow me into the next room, even into my bedroom where she would continue her verbal assault. So as you can imagine, home for me was far from a nurturing environment. One of the few things that brought me comfort in this dark time was reading my Bible. It was a light to me in a very dark place.

In some ways though, I thought this was all normal. But at the same time there was something not quite right. It was near impossible to reconcile these two very different views. On the one hand, I thought it was because I wasn’t trying hard enough at school, and mum was only angry because she loved me and wanted me to do better. But on the other hand, I wanted to run away and join another family and let everyone know how much of a monster she really was. But what 1 if it was just me? What would running away achieve anyway? I would think to myself. In the end I held more strongly to the idea that my family was normal, and that everything would one day magically fix itself. So I carried this burden of mum along with the rest of the family, and it was a very heavy burden to bear.

My father however, did try to talk to the church leaders about what was happening with mum, but they didn’t seem to want to get involved. For years they just shrugged it off as a phase she was going through, that this was all just part of menopause or something. Nothing serious. I got exactly the same treatment. Sometimes I would show up to school and youth group in tears and I’d be hard pressed explaining what I was so sad about. After all, mum was living a double life. She was a good person when other people were around but a monster when they weren’t. And so everyone was convinced by the ‘Christian’ face she hid behind.

My mum’s alcohol abuse went on for years. For ages nothing seemed to change. Everything was more of a struggle too. I struggled both socially and academically through school and even through my undergraduate degree. I knew something wasn’t quite right, but at the time it was like I didn’t know what it was. I was still largely denial about how dysfunctional our family was, and what kind of negative effects it was having on my emotional and social development. I didn’t admit this at the time, but inside, I was deeply wounded, bitter and angry. On the outside though, I was just the normal guy at school who smiled too much, said stupid things and got payed out by my classmates. So just like mum, I was hiding behind a false face.

From my perspective, ‘good’ Christians didn’t get angry, depressed, or upset so I chose to feel nothing. I went completely numb: like a walking zombie that feels no pain. This is probably why early on I was diagnosed with ADD, whereas in retrospect I was probably just zoning out from what was from my own perspective a pretty horrible existence. I would get yelled at when I was at home, and I would get teased and looked down upon when I was at school. I wasn’t like the other boys. I was short for my age, underweight, and not that great at sports. This was my life. But above all these issues I was facing, there was one thing that I had recognized and hated bitterly. I was gay.

When I was twelve (year 6), I started to notice something was different about me. Instead of feeling attracted to girls, I started feeling attracted to my friends. I loved seeing them naked when they were getting dressed on church and school camps. One of my strongest memories from this time was when a friend and I decided to undress and watch TV naked in the downstairs area of his home. Even though there was no sexual contact, I remember clearly the strong deep emotions. Just being naked with one of my friends made me feel like I belonged. I felt accepted, valued and loved. It was as if for once I felt comfortable. I was getting everything I always wanted, but at the same time though, I didn’t realise what it all meant.

When I moved up to high school, things changed. Everything became a competition. Sports became important, girls became prizes, grades became serious. Showing weakness or emotion 2 became gay. It was like all of a sudden you needed to build a wall around yourself to keep other people out, just in case they looked in and saw how weak you really were. And so I hid behind my high wall.

When I was seventeen (year 11) I remember going on a church camp specifically for discussing sex and relationships. I honestly didn’t get much out of the camp. We spent most of the time learning about definitions to words like ‘fornication’. We also looked at a lot of Bible which I pretty much already knew. I needed and wanted more than a theology lesson. I wanted to be loved. The only good thing about the camp was when we wrote out a confession on a piece of paper, put it in an envelope, and threw it in the fire when we got back to church. On my piece of paper I wrote “I don’t want to be gay.”

It may not seem like much, but this was the first time I was honest with myself about my struggles. There was still no way that I was going to talk to anyone about it. What kind of help could they offer me anyway? Knowing them, they’d probably just quote scripture at me. They certainly couldn’t help me with regards to what was going on at home.

In my first year out of school, I remember listening to a sermon where homosexuality was mentioned. To say that it got my full attention would be an understatement. I hung on every word. In addition to a challenging sermon, the preacher mentioned that there was a book available called ‘What Some of you Were’ a book about homosexuality. It wasn’t long after I found myself at the local Christian book shop buying that book, (making sure I didn’t run into anyone I knew while I was there). When I arrived home, I sat out on our balcony and read the whole thing from cover to cover in one sitting. It brought so much clarity and insight. For once, I felt like I wasn’t the only one in the world who struggled in this area. For once I didn’t feel so alone.

The book was also helpful because it let me know of my need to go and get help from someone with experience in this realm of dysfunction. In the back of the book was the email address for a group that helped people with sexuality issues and after a couple of emails, I met up with a man in the city who had previously been saved out of the gay scene. At first I wasn’t sure what to expect, maybe electroshock therapy or something else just as crazy, but in my mind, it honestly didn’t matter. I wanted to know what was going on and I was determined to do anything.

I was quite surprised and comforted to know that all we really did was chat over a cup of coffee. Yet although we were only talking, our conversation waded through the dark swirling currents of my suppressed emotional life. The first meeting for me was the most traumatic. In one hour my whole world view was smashed apart. Everything I thought I knew about God, love, self, and Christianity was turned upside down and laid bare, and there were no fig leaves I could hide behind. I felt completely exposed and my usual tricks of trying to change the subject, being super nice, and plunging into self pity weren’t working. At the end of our little chat I remember feeling completely helpless. How in the world was I going to overcome such a massive problem? I remember riding the train on the way home feeling like I had just been run over by a steamroller.

As the meetings came and went I started to see what I was facing a little more clearly. I was amazed to know that this problem was related to almost everything else I was struggling with, like my need to eat a block of chocolate every day, that social awkwardness I always felt since I was a boy, my jitteriness and inability to concentrate, my constant lip biting, my tight neck and shoulders, and the whole grinding my teeth at night thing. For once it was like I was able to take a step back and see the big picture. To be honest though, it wasn’t a pretty sight, and I realised more and more that I wasn’t exactly the ‘good’ Christian I thought I was.God started to show me the hardness, woundedness and bitterness of my heart, and how closed off to Him and His grace I really was.

I was still so afraid, and I didn’t trust in Him for my healing or anything else for that matter. I was trying to solve everything myself which was the very root of the problem. Like most other problems, I thought this one could be ‘figured out’ if only I was smart enough, motivated enough, strong enough, good enough, insightful enough, Godly enough or whatever but I would still find myself failing to reach the target. And when I did, I wouldn’t even admit it to myself. Instead, I’d dig myself further down into denial. I’d tell myself things like ‘ah... it’s not all bad’ and ‘well the past is all in the past, look to the future’. I hadn’t yet completely surrendered my heart to God and I was still trying to rule my life through my own efforts. But God knew exactly what He was doing.

Midway through 2011 I completed my music degree and started a masters of teaching. For my first prac', I was sent out to a rough public school. At this school, tagging the computer screens with permanent marker was considered a minor offense. Fights and suspensions were day­-to-­day. Every day after prac' I would get home at four o'clock, sleep till seven, then prepare till one in the morning every day. I was under a tremendous amount of pressure to perform. Everything was all so horrible. Sometimes I would lock myself in the staff bathroom and just cry because of how tough things were.

At the same time, I was also dealing with everything that was going on at home. Mum was still a raging monster ready to snap, and dad was never home. He was always off doing some kind of youth ministry, hanging out with other people’s kids. In so many ways I felt like I was getting the leftovers of his attention. But even when I got his attention something still wasn’t quite right. He was always trying to be a friend, when I needed him to be a father.

One day after prac teaching, I felt so low, I didn’t care anymore. I just wanted to feel good about something. I was so sick and tired of feeling pain and feeling nothing. I remembered how good it felt being naked with my friends when I was twelve. I was desperate to go back, desperate to re­live what I had experienced, desperate to feel loved and accepted, and in a moment of foolishness and weakness, I opened my laptop and looked at photos of naked teenage boys.

Afterward I felt like death. In my panic, I scrawled down what I did and what I was feeling in my journal. Most of what I wrote was along the lines of: “Oh my God. Oh my God. Oh my God!!!  Along with lots and lots of F­words. ‘What have I done!!!!!!’ I slammed my journal shut, drove to the forest and threw the book into the trees as hard as I could! I wanted it gone! ‘Nobody was going to find out about this. Nobody! In fact, I didn’t even do this. I’m a good person. A GOOD PERSON!!!’

The following weeks after this event were the worst. I started to get paranoid. ‘What if someone found out!?’ ‘What if the police found out!?’ From the outside it probably looked as if I didn’t know what planet I was living on. On the inside I honestly didn’t know. ‘What was true? What was false? Who was good? Who was bad?’ I didn’t even know who I was anymore, or who I had become, so I just kept going. I just wanted to forget, so I did.

In the February of 2012 when I had just completed my first semester of my masters of teaching, I decided to move out to get away from the fighting that was happening at home and give myself a chance to heal psychologically. I set the 25th as my moving date and was all set to go by the 20th. Only five more days of family hell to endure.

Suddenly, the game changed again. Two days prior to my moving day, I was called into church for a serious meeting. I was told to come at once, and I was told that my mum and both pastors were there waiting for me. I was completely terrified. I thought to myself ‘Oh my God! They know!!!’ But what could I do? If I ran away and drove and drove I’d eventually be tracked down by the police. Looking back, I don’t even know how I did this, but I decided to go to the meeting. When I walked in, I met my two pastors standing inside the foyer. Mum was sitting on a chair and looking like she was about to break down. After greeting the pastors, I took a deep breath and braced myself for the worst. Then the pastor looked at me and said “I’m sorry to tell you this...It’s your dad. ...he’s been caught with one of his old youth boys. A police investigation is underway to find out if he’s been molesting anyone in youth group. He will probably be charged with grooming.”

I can’t exactly remember how I reacted when I heard this. I think mostly I was in a state of disbelief. I asked if I could get a glass of water and be alone for the next moment. On one hand I felt like I had dodged a bullet. ‘I was free! Nobody knew I was attracted to boys!’ On the other hand, I was hit with shock. ‘Had dad been living a double life all this time? What actually went on in these Bible study groups of his? Is my dad a paedophile? What does ‘grooming’ even mean? What do I do now?!’ Even now, I don’t have all the answers to these questions.

For the next two days, I was sick from the stress. It felt like I had just come home from a funeral, only ten times worse. It felt like everything inside me was black mud. Moving day came and went, and I felt like I was in total darkness. I started to fall into depression and couldn’t see any point in anything anymore. I would wander the streets for hours at a time, not knowing where I was heading in life. Most of the time it was hard to get out of bed, and then to stay out of bed for the rest of the day. I felt like a drowning man, sinking to the very bottom of the deep, dark, cold ocean. At other times I just felt nothing, and I would just go through the motions, not passionate about anything, just waiting for my life to be over. Just waiting to die.

A professional I saw gave me some good strategies which were very helpful, but honestly, nothing prepared me for this. I was walking in complete darkness, darkness that demanded to be felt. I was without hope, without joy and without peace. I’d ask myself ‘What’s happening to me? Why me? What do I do now?’ and in my mind I battled. The idea of God as king, as ruler and most importantly, a God of love was becoming less and less. The idea of God as cruel, as monstrous, as uncaring was becoming more and more. Was God going to bless me and give me an easy life? Probably not. Was God going to compensate me for what I had gone through, and give me some kind of fantastic ministry, or job, or girlfriend or whatever? Unlikely. As the weeks went by nothing changed, and I continued to walk in darkness, I became bitter against God and other people. It wasn’t fair. Why me God? Why couldn’t you just take this all away from me?

Every day, I would drive to the uni campus and cry in my car for hours, wondering when God would fix everything and take away the pain I was in. There were many nights where I would lie awake, completely immobilised from the crippling fear that was in my heart. What if God just wanted to torture me? I felt cursed. Nothing I was doing seemed to be working. Every single thing I tried failed. Every time I tried to pick myself up off the floor I would just fall down again. What had I gotten wrong that everyone else had gotten right? Life was a train crash in slow motion; a slowly unfolding catastrophe and there was nothing I could do about it. Since I had moved out, I had been going to a fairly large Pentecostal church. I didn’t really care about good theology anymore like I used to. I honestly just wanted a place where I could feel at peace, and in some ways, having a church with nice people and good music gave me that peace I was looking for...at least for a couple of months.

After a while, the songs got stale. The atmosphere became fabricated. The people became plastic. I was living in a make-­believe world where pain that is real pain didn’t exist, and where God just blessed everyone. I even tried talking to some of my friends from that church about everything that was happening to me, but they would just give me the brushoff saying things like “you really need to stop being so negative” and “God helps those who help themselves.” One of my all­-time favourites was one that went like this “When life give you lemons, make lemonade!” What they don’t tell you, is that unless life also gives you plenty of water, a truck load of sugar, and something to mix it in, your lemonade is going to suck.

One evening, as I was sitting in my car parked in a church car park after attending a midweek evening service at church, I reached the very end of everything I was able to bear. Raging against God, beating my fists against the steering wheel and screaming through the tears, I cried out: “God why are you so cruel?! Why did you make me gay?! Why did you give me this stupid messed up family?! Why isn’t anything working in my life?! Why am I always the one who misses out?! Why is it always me?! If you were a good God who loved me, then none of this would be happening!! Why do you hate me so much?! What did I do!?” At this point an evil presence came over me and with a Satanic fury I waged war against God!

I said to God “How could you not hate me after putting me through all this? Obviously you hate me, and because you hate me I’m going to hate you right back! I hate you, I hate your people, I hate my family, and I hate the very life you gave me! Tonight, it’s over. I will kill myself, and I will go to hell, and I...DON’T...CARE!!”

I knew there was nothing I could ever do to bring about any kind of relief. But in my mind, killing myself wasn’t enough. I wanted to get back at God for all the pain I was feeling and for everything that I had gone through. I planned to kill as many of these so called ‘Christians’ as I possibly could. I hated them so much simply because God had chosen to bless them instead of me, and every time I saw them, it felt like God was rubbing it in my face. With the flick knife I carried with me in my car, the martial arts training I had acquired, and a body supercharged with adrenaline, I planned to sprint to the closest person I could find and stab them to death. When they would fall, I would then sprint to the next person and repeat the scenario, until there’d be no one else to chase down. After this, I knew what would happen, I would turn the knife on myself and take my own life by stabbing myself in the heart.

All of a sudden, the presence of God filled my car. Never before had I ever experience anything like this. God was here in my car! It was so powerful I couldn’t move. I couldn’t even speak! No way would I ever dare do anything. Immediately my yelling and crying stopped. I trembled with fear because of the glory of God. I was so afraid but at the same time I was overjoyed beyond anything I had ever known! There was a complete stillness. A complete peace. When the presence faded, I drove home perplexed at what had just happened.

From this point onwards, things were different. In many ways I was still trying to make sense of what had just happened. Nothing changed regarding my attractions and I was still in the midst of the worst time in my life. I was still walking through the darkness of unknowing. But deep down I knew that God wanted me to live, even though I didn’t know why. And so I just kept on living. God could have let me die that night, but He saved me. Like He actually cared for me. Moreover, as life went on God was constantly reminding me that I belonged to Him. Like I was his possession to do with whatever He wanted.

This idea wasn’t exactly a new one, but understanding the reality of it was different to the theological understanding that I had acquired. I used to be completely scared and even angry that God could do whatever he liked with me, but over time I began to take comfort in the fact that I was completely helpless before Him. Little by little, I was learning how to completely trust in God, for my provision, for my well-being, even for my own sanity which at often times felt like was hanging by a thread. I could trust Him, because I knew he was good and I knew with proof He loved me. I would not be alive if He didn’t.

To be perfectly honest, it was still an incredibly difficult season of life. After all, God might have won my soul but I still need to recover from what I’d been through. My parents were still going through the messy divorce and I was still struggling at uni not knowing where my life was heading. For the most part I felt like I was stuck in limbo, an in­-between stage where nothing happens and you can’t even do anything anyway. Sy Rogers describes it like this: “It’s like you’ve just spent your past 20 years in a coma and you’ve suddenly woken up. Yes you’re awake and display the various signs of consciousness however your muscles are all atrophied. Now you need to go through the painful rehabilitation process to bring function back into limbs that have never been used. And after you spend weeks of strength training just so you can lift a pencil, then you move onto heavier and heavier objects until finally, after months of tedious and tiring training you can now function as a healthy human being like everyone else.” And so, I just took each day as it came.

If I remember one thing about the process, I remember that it took a long time. I had just woken up from deep heart surgery and I needed to wait till everything was healed properly. Sometimes in a moment of rashness I would pretend everything was all better and undertake some new and ambitious task which I would fail at miserably and come crawling back to God for His loving care and protection. On other occasions I would lose hope and crumble into an emotional heap. In many ways it was like I was on some emotional roller coaster going from ‘everything is awesome’ to ‘everything sucks’. But very slowly God was teaching me how to live by faith.

I was learning to rely on God for absolutely everything. Sometimes it felt like God would remove my sanity on purpose for a time, and I would thrash around on my bed like a madman, and then he would give it back just to remind me that I could do nothing without Him. Usually when this happened, God would put me to sleep and I would wake up feeling refreshed.

Mid way through 2013 I completed my Masters of Teaching and was well on the way to becoming a high school music teacher. I can’t tell you how happy I was to finally get this degree over and done with. After all, it was one of the contributing factors that almost killed me. But God who is good and faithful guided me through the course and even though I didn’t exactly get the marks I wanted, I passed, and I survived.

Not long after, I started working as a casual teacher at a few different schools. With all dark and scary personal feelings aside, it was a good job. I was hardworking, professional, respected, and enjoyed the good pay that came with being a casual teacher. I was so good at my job that the local public high school made me their go­to guy and I found myself getting work three, four, and sometimes even five days a week. At the same time, I was putting down roots in my new church, getting involved in the music ministry and serving as a Sunday school teacher. For once, life seemed like it was actually livable. I was picking up speed and gaining momentum.

Before I continue, I feel the need to point out here, that in all honesty and sincerity I loved the kids I taught, both in Sunday school and in my high school. I would have taken a bullet for any one of them if I had to. I was always looking for ways I could share with them the amazing love of Christ Jesus my Lord and Saviour. At the same time though, I was in two minds fighting an inward battle every day. Sometimes it was difficult to be in the same room as my students. I’m incredibly thankful to God that in this difficult time, I was not given the opportunity to step outside my bounds as a teacher. But at the same time, things weren’t quite right. I found myself relapsing and looking at teen boy porn every now and then just to get by. It even felt worse now seeing I was a teacher, and every time I relapsed, I felt a little more dead inside. My heart was divided and God needed to cut away that which was rotten.

Six months after I started out as a teacher, it all came crashing down when someone found out my terrible secret. One of the mums from church noticed that I was being a little too hands-­on as a leader. One Sunday afternoon, she phoned me up telling me I wasn’t welcome in her house anymore because she needed to protect her children. On the other end of the line I acted calm and casual but as soon as I hung up the phone the strong emotions hit me all at once. I can’t remember much of what happened but I remember instantly bursting into tears and staring down at my hands. It was like looking at the claws of the monster I had become. I couldn’t believe it, like I literally could not believe what was happening to me. Someone had found out! Life was over, this was the end.

In a state of confusion and deep anguish, I took myself to the local hospital. I was going to tell them everything. I was going to turn myself in. I knew in my heart that it would cost me everything, but I didn’t care. I wanted to be free from this. As I was sitting in the hospital waiting room waiting to see the hospital psychiatrist, I remember there was a pastor on the TV. I can’t remember what he said but it did give me hope to know that God was still there and he was still in control. I’ll never forget what happened next. When my turn came, and I followed the nurse into a small room with some chairs to discuss what was going on.

I remember feeling completely numb, showing no sign of emotion whatsoever. Once again, I was in freefall. After writing some things down on her clipboard, she looked at me over her glasses and in a somewhat uninterested tone said: “So what brings you to hospital?” Shocked and completely numb to the emotional torment I was experiencing, I replied; “Um...well... I’m attracted to boys.” She pulled back into a scowl of disgust and said “What? Like a paedophile?” She spat the last word out like it was poison. When I heard this my heart stopped. I’d been shot through with an arrow. After a few minutes of discussion which I can’t remember, she called in the psychiatrist. I told him everything that had happened, and after an hour or so I was sent home.

The time was around 8:30pm, and since it was a Sunday, I thought I’d drive straight to night church and meet up with the pastor to tell him what was going on. I don’t remember what was said, but I remember crying through the whole thing. Afterwards, I stayed back at the church and played the church piano, just to take my mind off things. After church lockup, I returned home. Sleep seemed like the only safe place for me now. I fell asleep as soon as my head hit the pillow.

The very next day, I was called in for teaching to which I responded by telling them I wasn’t feeling well. I was already in the pits but this phone call just made me feel a whole lot worse. Later that day, just to make things even grimmer, I got a visit from some very un helpful social workers. They had been sent from the hospital to check up on me and see how I was doing. Their conversation went along these lines: “Hello, I’m (So and so), and this is (so and so). How are you going? Good? Oh that’s great then. We’re just here to see how you’re coping. You’re aware that you can’t work with children right? Okay? Great. Bye then!”

And that was it! It was like no one cared if I lived or died. Moreover I got the vibe that people prefered me dead. By their tone it was clear that these social workers certainly didn’t care. I found myself thinking, ‘Of all the problems to have to go through in life, why did I have to go through this one. If only I were in a wheelchair or something, then people would at least still treat me like a human being!’ But nobody seemed to care, even though I had turned myself in and lost absolutely everything. If you can’t clear a working with children check, people tend to assume the worst.

I was now just starting to experience first hand the effectiveness of the National child protection system. Soon word would get to the Department of Education and I’d be expelled from the teaching profession. How was I going to explain to people why I wasn’t teaching anymore? At the same time I was still expecting the police to kick in the door and arrest me for looking at child porn. Why wouldn’t they? They’d probably get a promotion for catching ‘a dangerous paedophile!’ After about a week or so, the letters started coming in. Letters from the Office of the Children’s Guardian, letters from the Ombudsman, letters from the Department of Education, all of them basically saying the same thing. “Dear Mr Scotty, You are no longer allowed to work with children. Have a nice day.” Every time I received a new one of these terrible letters my heart sank just that little bit more. I already knew I couldn’t work with children, I owned my problem and stepped down from teaching and yet for some reason they felt the need to remind me almost every day. I was also worried about living in that shared house since all five of us shared the same mailbox, and I was getting letters on which read ‘From the Children’s Guardian,’ and stamped ‘Private and Confidential’. What if one of my housemates put two and two together? On one occasion, one of my housemates handed me one of these letters he’d gotten from the mailbox. It was enough to make me freeze up completely.

The worst letter came around a week after my hospital visit. It was from the Department of Education and Communities. It listed the reasons why they believed I was unfit for teaching, and amongst all the reasons that I had already mentioned at my hospital visit, they also decided to include a false allegation, that I had been instructing my students to ‘spank each other’s bottoms’. At this, I just couldn’t bear it anymore. Now I had to fight a false allegation as well! And one of the worst possible kind. Was I going to go to court to contest this? Was I going to get named and shamed ­ my picture printed in all the newspapers? What if someone working in the office just had it out for me?

In the days and weeks that followed receiving the letter I felt like I had sunken to the ocean floor. At the same time, I was completely furious. I remember screaming inside my own head “How dare they! How dare they! Don’t they know how serious this is!?” One thing that still rings clear in my mind is that I just remember feeling so... so... so... tired . I’d completely lost hope. I was emotionally exhausted, and even doing the easiest of tasks like checking my emails would take up all my energy. It took me five times as long just to do a load 10 of washing. And after it was all on the line, I would return back to bed. At the same time it felt like I was facing the full fury of hell. It felt like I had a looped tape playing in my head repeating that terrible word. “Paedophile! Paedophile! Paedophile!” I felt haunted.

Whenever I went to sleep, I’d have terrible nightmares and would wake up screaming. Terrified of myself and terrified of everyone else. Even though the attractions I felt were involuntary. I still felt worthless and despised by society. I remember hearing a song that went along these lines:

I had a dream

I was in my grave

Made my way to the Pearly Gates

Underneath opened up and I fell

Down to the gates of Hell

 

Then I woke In my bed

And I cried out

The Devil's inside my head!

From the counselling I had previously received I had acquired some useful strategies for warding off depression, but this was very deep grief. To keep myself active, I would go for a run every day and wear myself out to release those precious endorphins everyone was talking about. For some reason though, it didn’t seem to be working on me. I’d go and work out, and then I’d get home and feel just as depressed as I was before. There wasn’t exactly a silver bullet for what I was going through. At the same time, I couldn’t find any books written from the perspective of the person suffering the unwanted attractions. I was all alone, I was exhausted, I was defeated, and downtrodden. ‘How could I go on like this for the rest of my life?’

I got in my car and drove to the uni' campus, and almost like a recurring theme I was going to kill myself. My reputation was destroyed My career was over. My self­-esteem was non-existent. Again, I had nothing to lose. This time, I planned to write my goodbye note, drive to the middle of nowhere, drink as much vodka as I could, and gas myself in the car. After-all, why not? My cousin had committed suicide, as well as one of my childhood mentors both of them setting a dark pathway for me to follow.

As I sat at the uni' campus crying, praying, and feeling deflated but I decided not to kill myself. God had previously saved my life. ‘What if this time I wouldn’t be so lucky? Given my luck lately, I wasn’t going to push it. But instead I just decided to go on and take one day at a time. I decided to trust in God. After all, if He’s been able to get me through one sexuality crisis, then He can get me through another one right? Here my past experience definitely allowed me to take this deep plunge with God. Without God having previously saved my life, I would have definitely wouldn’t have made it.

Through this time, one song came to mind and stood out above the rest. ‘Oceans’ by Hillsong. The bridge goes like this;

Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders

Let me walk upon the waters

Wherever you would call me

Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander

And my faith will be made stronger In the presence of my Saviour.

 

At this point in my life I was way deeper than my feet could ever wander. As far as I knew, I was treading where no man had gone before and lived. This was completely uncharted territory littered with the bones of past travellers. There was no chance that I was going to survive if God wasn’t going to be my everything. And through this time God became everything I could rely on.

At this point in my story, I think it’s a good idea for me to mention some of the day-to-day difficulties as someone who can’t work with children. As I’ve already said, you’re always fighting off being labeled, fighting depression, and thoughts of worthlessness. There’s also the immense pressure of avoiding exposure. Many people who struggle in this area end up taking their own life because they can’t live with the unbearable shame of being exposed. For those that don’t, every day is a battle. Everything becomes more risky. Getting help makes you vulnerable to exposure. Accidently staring at the wrong people makes you vulnerable to exposure. Being handed a working with children check by a potential employer makes you vulnerable to exposure. Because of this, you basically can’t open up to anyone. Nobody wants to help you. Nobody wants to understand you. And if people knew about you, they’d reject you, spread awful rumours, or maybe become openly hostile and dangerous. It becomes very difficult to find someone you can trust completely.

I remember being at a conference where someone asked me all of a sudden “Hey Scotty, you like kids don’t you?” I froze, and after a moment said “Ah… not really. Why?” He said “Ah because I’m doing beach mission this year and I was wondering if you wanted to come.” To which I politely declined. I don’t talk to this person anymore. I’m sure he’s well-meaning, but I just can’t be around him.

Speaking of people I can’t be around. One night at church (from here on there was no way I was going to even show my face at the morning service) the same boy whose mum had previously noticed I had been a bit hands-­on with, came to church! I panicked so much I started shaking. After all, he could have just blurted out in the middle of the service. “Scotty’s a Paedophile!” I was so scared I ran out of the building in the middle of the service. I couldn’t stop crying, I was so afraid of what might happen. Just having him there in the church service was too much for me.

Another time at Bible study we were sharing prayer points. I asked those present to please pray for me as I was looking for work and having difficulty. Someone asked me “So why aren’t you teaching anymore?” To which I replied “Ah it’s just hard for me to find casual work at the moment that’s all.” They then said “Why don’t you apply at my school, I’ll give you a good reference.” to which I said “Ah no it’s alright, I’m good.” “What, what are you talking about? You need the work don’t you?!” At this point I was about to reach for the cheese knife and open my throat. Luckily for me, the Bible study leader interjected and moved the conversation along. Again, God was watching over me.

About a week later, my minister and I started drafting up letters to respond to the false allegation. Three weeks passed, and after many very carefully worded letters to the Department of Education, the false allegation was finally dropped (exhale). One less thing I have to worry about. One of the other great challenges I was facing was the terrible deep void of unemployment.

What was I going to do about work? How was I going to reconstruct my resume? I didn’t know what was going on, and again, my whole life was in a spin. At the same time, I was hit with yet another crisis. Since the age of nineteen or so, I have been having difficulty with my back. I’m not sure exactly what caused this problem, but I did hurt it at a working bee, and I was involved in a car accident when I was twenty. Either or both of these things could have contributed to wearing down of the lumbar discs which I currently suffer from. Consequently, I can’t do any heavy lifting or high impact physical exercise. Standing for extended periods of time is also difficult. This problem significantly restricted the number of jobs I could apply for.

How in the world was God going to get me out of this? What if I end up out on the streets? or in a wheelchair?! In so many ways, teaching had been the ideal job for me since it meant I could stand up and sit down whenever I needed. About two weeks after stepping down from teaching, I took myself to Centrelink to apply for unemployment benefits. It felt horrible. I didn’t belong there. I was a highly trained professional who’d had the rug pulled out from under him. I felt useless, like there was nothing in the world that I could do now. But even in this, God was in that Centrelink office, right there with me. It gave me such great comfort to know in my heart, that above this earthly system of administration, there was a heavenly system of administration providing me with the necessary blessings to achieve what God wanted. While I was in the office the verse of an old hymn came to mind;

Fear not

He is with thee; oh be not dismayed

For He is thy God and will still give thee aid

He’ll strengthen thee help thee and cause thee to stand

Upheld by His righteous omnipotent hand.

It was also at this time that I started to look for a counsellor who could help me. There was only one I knew about at the time. Desperate, I made an appointment and caught the train in to see him. To my great disappointment though he didn’t have Christian values, and suggested that I was ‘sexually frustrated’. According to him, the best way forward was to live a double life with one half in the church and the other half in the gay scene. To be honest, it was very tempting. After all, in this time of turmoil, I just wanted someone to hold me and make me feel loved and valued.

On one occasion I said to myself ‘You know what? Forget it! I’m going to go out and party.’ I put on my party clothes, got in my car and headed off in the direction of the local gay district. Thankfully, not long after I had left the house, my conscience got the better of me, and I pulled into a small car park where I broke down and cried. It was one of the most difficult battles I faced. What was I going to do? Let myself go just for one evening, or to obey God. I was feeling lost and lonely.

In the gay scene, I would find love and acceptance, and a break from all the crippling pain I was in, but I knew deep down, that it wouldn’t last, and it wasn’t really what I was looking for. Only my minister knew about my situation. After about half an hour of weighing up the odds, I decided to go and pay him a visit instead. It was a hard battle to fight though. So that evening I went to his house wearing my party clothes, and very embarrassingly, had to explain to him why I was so overdressed for the occasion.

It was also around this time, that I had been making friends with more gay people. After all, they were the only people that seemed to care about me. One of my friends attended a gay church in my city. I asked if I could go along one Sunday, just to see what it was like. Maybe it wasn’t as bad as some of the church voices were saying it was. Maybe it was a just a loving community of men who were just romantically involved with each other.

When I went to the church, I was pretty disappointed. I just couldn’t handle a church that ignored key passages of scripture, palming them off as “irrelevant” and “out of line with queer theology”. It was at this service though that I met a young guy a couple of years younger than me. In the next couple of months, he and I started to hang out with each other. We had become good friends and we did have a lot in common: abusive mums, being terrible at sport, hating high school etc… I was attracted to him, and it was pretty clear that he was attracted to me also.

It was exciting, but at the same time there was something about it that just didn’t feel right. After a walk through the park one day, he opened up to me about something personal. In his younger, more wild days, he had contracted HIV and was on medication. Now, I have to admit, I don’t know much about HIV. He claimed that it was non-contagious since his medication made the virus ineffective. But there was no way I was ever going to risk it. If he hadn’t mentioned this, I would have definitely slept with him, which even if I didn’t contract HIV, would have left me more emotionally damaged and depressed.

I can’t tell you how incredibly grateful to God I am, that despite my sin, weakness, and stupidity, He was looking after me. Not long after this event, he and I stopped seeing each other. As the weeks went by, I very slowly started to regain my energy. I was still sleeping for large portions of the day, but at least now I could do something small each day that would improve my situation. I started looking for work. Just sending out one resume each day was about all that I could handle.

When the next uni' semester came, I found myself back at my old student job, working as a scribe for students with disabilities. God’s providing hand was clearly at work. It was such a blessing to have this job. It gave me a chance to get out of the house, and out of my head. It gave me a sense of dignity, that I could at least work and earn a bit of money on top of the pittance Centrelink was giving me. It was an easy job where I didn’t have to stand up for fourteen long periods of time and that I actually enjoyed. Additionally, it meant that I had the support of the Christian group on the uni' campus which such an amazing blessing. Just being around people was good for me on so many levels.

I also decided to take up a hobby. For years I had wanted to study Russian. Although I didn’t have a teacher, I had the internet, and I devoted myself to learning a new phrase or some piece of new vocabulary each day. For me, it was a real motivator and it helped me keep my sanity (what little of it I had left).  Although I had taken a very severe knock-down, things were slowly starting to pick up speed. I was applying for more jobs, learning more Russian and having a better outlook on life. My back was still sore but I knew there must be something out there for me to do. Along the way, I did still have my good days and my bad days, but my bad days were becoming less and less common. Even during this low point in my life, I was still having a life along the way.

Finally, after nine long horrible months of unemployment, and after applying for over three hundred jobs, I landed a full­time job working in the office of a Christian Charity not far from home. I felt safe and secure, working hard for God’s kingdom and making money as well! What a blessing! A couple of months in though, I noticed that this job was becoming my security, and I had more hope in my position at the office than I had in God. So, I prayed; “Lord, if this job has become an idol to me, I pray that you would take it away, so that I may receive the fullness of Christ and have Him as my portion once again.” After working in the job for just over four months, I was fired. I wasn’t able to keep up with all the work demands that were being placed on me, and consequently, I was making mistakes. So here I was again, looking for work. Only this time, I didn’t have a car. It had died on my very first day of work, and was beyond repair.

What was I going to do? It really hit me in the second week where I felt like death again. I remember one day I just sat on the couch and stared at a space on the wall for most of the day. I just wanted to cry but for some reason I couldn’t. At the same time, money was running out, and I had just moved into a new granny flat I was sharing with a student from the uni'. What if I was evicted and became homeless? What if I have to move back with dad? What if I had to move back to my terrible student accommodation?

Luckily, God was still providing for me and for the second time, I got my old student job back along with support from welfare which was keeping myself fed and allowing me to pay the rent. It was in this time that I was invited to attend a conference put on by the same group I’d gotten help from before. I attended and was blown away by an elective put on by another ministry group I’m going to call E.B.that also dealt with the issues of sexuality. After telling my story to the leader of the elective, I was invited to join the group and get trained up for ministry in 2016. It looked like God was finally going to make something good from this after-all.

I was still however, unemployed and looking for a way just to make ends meet. After some searching around and taking inventory of what my gifts and talents were, I thought it might be a good idea to do something with languages. After looking around a little, I found something that would be perfect for me. A course that allowed you to teach English as a foreign language to adults! Brilliant! I could teach again, doing something that’s not so stressful, earn a bit of money, and I didn’t have to work with children! Hooray!! I enrolled myself, and after a difficult month of study, I had my certificate.

At the end of the course we were all invited to apply for an internship at the college, but after speaking with one of the main coordinators, I was informed that I would need to clear a working with children check. My heart sank. To gain additional students, most colleges lower their age of intake from eighteen to sixteen. I remember feeling angry, frustrated, sad, alone, and dead inside. I remember thinking ‘How dare they sell me a $5000 course telling me it was for teaching adults, and then spring a working with children check on me!’ I felt like such an idiot as well. I had spent all my money on a course just so I could get ahead in the world and earn my way. That’s all I wanted to do. I just wanted enough money to pay my rent and feed myself. That’s all I wanted, and it felt like even this had been taken from me.

At this point I was more than ready to leave the country and start teaching English overseas. After all, a friend of my mum, had done the same course and was now working in a university in Russia! Maybe this could be me? Again, I found myself in a position where I needed to trust in God completely.

Shortly afterwards, God provided me with a job teaching English to migrants. I can’t describe how thankful I was. I could work, which would keep me out of poverty and out of depression. It was a good job and one which I was well suited to. My class was growing, the students and staff loved the way I taught. Again it felt as if I had found some kind of stability.

Four months later, the game changed again. I found out that my workplace was operating as a visa mill, bringing prostitutes and construction workers into the country under the false guise of study. When I found out, I had to do the right thing and get out. It was pretty tough and to be honest, I should have lost my mind like any normal person, but I felt a supernatural peace come over me. I had Christ, everything else to me was nothing. In this time I wrote this;

What is to me silver?

What is to me gold?

When I have Christ my portion,

My endless joy untold.

So, once again I found myself out of work. For the next couple of months I was desperately searching for another ESL job that I could do but there was a problem. How was I going to find out whether or not a college that I was applying for taught students under the age of eighteen? I thought that if I just phoned up and asked bluntly, but it would look suspicious. On the other hand, if I didn’t ask and just went along with the application process, then they might just hit me with a Working with Children Check which would leave me exposed. Later on I came up with a plan. I would phone the college pretending to be a high school teacher and make an enquiry on behalf of one of my students who wanted to improve their English. I’d sound concerned that she wouldn’t be able to make it in since she was only sixteen, but still very mature for her age. If the college decided to accept Lao Mei for study, then I’d know not to apply at that college. It was a good idea, but I felt bad for acting a little deceptively. All I really wanted was just to get some stable work doing the thing that I was good at. I honestly thought it would be easier since I had experience to back me up, but although I applied for all the colleges I could, I was still unable to find work ­ even part time.

Yet throughout all this God was still taking care of me. After sending out a lot of CV’s with nobody getting back to me I thought that perhaps the best thing for me to do was to go back to study. I had already been accepted into a ministry that helps people get through their struggles relating to sex and sexuality. Perhaps I could go and study counselling. Perhaps I could help people like me who struggled with unwanted attraction. It sounded like it would be a good option for me. In many ways it was the only one I had left. I had the story, now all I needed was the qualification. I’d be able to provide support for those who desperately needed it most.

I was excited about this, and I wanted people to see eye-­to­-eye. At the same time, I was excited to share with other people the amazing grace of God in my life. I still can’t believe he saved me, and I don’t think it will be something I will ever get over. Occasionally I still ask myself the question; ‘Why am I alive?’ and just asking this brings me flat on my face before my God and saviour since there is absolutely no reason why I should be alive but there is every reason why I should be dead and in hell. It is only by God’s ineffable mercy that I live and it fills me with a holy terror.

Soon after, I sent this very story that you are reading, up to about page sixteen, to two heads of Christian counselling of two Bible colleges in my city. I wanted to study and become a counsellor, but more importantly, I wanted them to be encouraged by what God can do with a broken heart. Along with my story I sent in my application and told them bluntly what I hoped to achieve.

Here’s what I sent out:

Hello ****,

Thanks for contacting me today. I wanted to send you my story. Over the past month or so I've been getting everything down, and now I'm proud to announce that it's finally ready to be read. It's a detailed account of everything that I've been through in the past. Please brace yourself, it may just be one of the heaviest things you've read (although I wouldn't know, maybe you read stuff like this all the time and you're not phased). To be honest, I'm not quite sure what God has for me in the future, although I do have a ministry position set up for me next year with a group called ****** *****.

I'm quite excited about this and I'm really looking forward to how God might use my experiences for his glory. Anyway, like I said, here's the file. Please let me know what you think, and whether or not I'd be a good fit for counselling.

Thanks.

For the other doctor, I actually gave my story to her in person at an orientation that I went to. A couple of days later I heard back from her. Here’s what she wrote:

Hi Scotty,

My apologies for the delay in getting back to you. Thank you for entrusting your story to me. In reading it I can hear how profoundly challenging and painful has been your journey. I think you are correct in suggesting you need further time to address the range of psychological issues which you continue to experience.

There is much material in the area of trauma which may be of assistance, especially in relation to your childhood family experience. Working with a therapist trained in chronic complex trauma might also be beneficial. With respect to the other issues mentioned in your story, these are areas outside my specific domain of expertise.

With respect to the ******** College counselling program, all applicants are required to provide both a working with children check and a national criminal history record. Where an applicant is unable to provide one or both of these items they cannot be admitted into the program.

Kind Regards ***** ********

I wrote back to her:

Hello *****,

Thanks for getting back to me. I really do appreciate your understanding of my complex and quite painful situation. And thanks too for taking the time to read my story. Regarding my own therapy, would you happen to know anyone whom I may benefit speaking to? It's so hard for me to find a good counselor who understands sexuality from a Christian perspective.

Thank you

In her reply, she directed me to the therapist I had already seen previously, the one who told me to go out and just live a double life with one half in church and the other half in the gay scene. After I told her about this she stopped responding, only further reinforcing the message ‘nobody cares’.

The other doctor also got back to me and wrote this: 

Hi Scotty

Thank you for sending as such an honest and candid letter with great insight into your story and struggle. We can see you have been through a lot personally and you have sought to be upfront and honest with us in asking about application.

With regard to counsellor training, the first issue is that if any person applying has ever been or is still on the Children Guardian person of interest list, they would automatically not be allowed to train as a therapist with our college. Every potential student is required to have a working with children check cleared before they can actually begin training with us.

In your letter you indicate that your name would be on list or would have been on this list, so I am sorry to say that your application would not be accepted based on this automatic requirement.

Thank you for you honesty and integrity in being transparent in your letter.

Regards **** ******

When I read these emails my heart sank. Working with Children Checks seemed to be painting me into a corner, and I was getting more and more agitated as my options were running out. I remember feeling so angry I walked out of the library and went down to the duck pond since I needed the space. I was so angry, and at the same time so confused. I understand fully the reasons why we need to keep children safe, in no way was I against that, but it was like there was such a misunderstanding about the whole issue. I wanted to provide a safe place where people could go before they offended. In this way I’d be protecting children.

In the first place this is what I wanted to do and it was like nobody could see it. I dropped teaching like a rock because I didn’t want to hurt anyone and I just wanted help. But there was obviously no help to be found. I remember thinking to myself ‘Well if I’m going to be treated like a deviant, then I may as well go and be a deviant!’  But what would this solve anyway. All the more reason to lock me up in jail and reinforce the stigma.

Yet in all this God was still taking care of me. It was after this that I decided not to be so open about my weakness. I applied for a short course at my local university claiming to be a ESL teacher who just wanted to learn some skills in counselling. I was invited in for an interview the very next day. After attending the interview I was informed that I had successfully made it into the course. The good thing about this course, was that since it wasn’t a full Diploma or Master’s, I was exempt from the practical component which required me to sign a Working With Children Check and a Police declaration. It was perfect. I could get access to research and counselling theory, which would help me in the ministry I was now apart of.

At the same time, I was still sorting out what was going on with my back. Since I was out of work, I decided to let the government know that since I didn’t have a proper diagnosis, it’s probably not a good idea for me to rush out and get a job where I’m doing any form of heavy lifting or working on my feet all day. I didn’t want to do any further injury. In order to do this, I needed to provide a medical certificate, signed and approved by a doctor. When I saw my local doctor he didn’t believe me at all and sent me away empty handed. I couldn’t believe they let this man become a doctor. After this frustration, I made an appointment with another doctor ­ a trusted family friend who was very professional and sent me off for further scans. When the results were in she saw that one of my disks was slightly out. Finally I had a clue as to what was going on.

Unfortunately for something like this there is no cure, and there’s no point in going in for surgery because that could make it even worse. So the doctor put me on a health care plan, where I could access a physiotherapist and strengthen the muscles that needed strengthening. In addition to this she suggested I take up swimming and told me a story of another one of her patients who had greatly benefited from the exercise. Even though I haven’t been much of a swimming sort of person, I had a dilemma to face. I could either go swimming regularly, or I could have back pain. Even though I didn’t really like swimming, I decided I should do it anyway. I caught a bus to the pool one evening just to give it a try.

I decided to go just before closing from six to seven. I figured that only old fat people would be swimming at this time. When I entered the pool gates there was barely anyone there. I basically had the whole place to myself which was pretty much what I wanted. I got dressed and did some laps only to realize how out of shape I was. It was a great workout though and after swimming for only half an hour, I felt refreshed, healthy, and a lot less stale.

Then the worst thing happened. As soon as I walked into the changeroom I saw that there was nobody there. But there was a boy, and he was all alone. It was chillingly eerie. Why wasn’t his father or someone there with him? Why was he there all alone? Trying to be calm I walked in and put my bag on the bench and started to get my towel out of my bag along with my change of clothes. As I was doing this, he started to take off his clothes slowly. When this started happening I froze up and started shaking. It was like I was hit with shock. Then, when he had taken off all his clothes he slowly turned to face me and just stood there completely naked, staring, and staring, and staring, and staring. It was like something out of a horror movie. This boy was not acting normal.

A million and one things went through my mind and I tried to catch my breath. Then all of a sudden, I picked up my things and went into a cubicle to get changed. There was no chance in hell I was going to change where this creepy boy was. I know I wasn’t breaking any laws, but it was something I just had to do. After I had gotten changed, I quickly walked out, grabbed my bag and basically ran for the door. As I was running out, I saw the boy there in the shower watching me as I left. It was as if I was being haunted. When I was at the bus station waiting for my ride, I felt horrible but at the same time strangely relieved. I had faced my worst possible fear, and by the grace of God I had overcome.

The shock of the incident lingered through. The thoughts stayed and when I did eventually get to sleep that night I had nightmares of being exposed. The next day was also quite challenging. It was the first actual day of my counselling course. We had just had the lecture, then a workshop, and then we had a tutorial. Towards the end of the day we had the course orientation. It was a good information session where I got to meet the team of academics. There were about nine of them in total. Seven of them worked in the area of Child Protection. This made me a little nervous. If I let anything slip, sure enough they’d be onto it.

It was during this information session as we were all enjoying the gluten free mud cake and vegetarian whatever they were, that something sparked my attention. The words ‘placement’ and ‘police check’ and ‘working with children check’ stood out. I wasn’t even sure what I was going to do about placement. Were they going to spring a working with children check on me? It certainly seemed like it. After the orientation ended I was taking deep breaths to calm down.

At the same time though I wasn’t that surprised that you needed to do a Working with Children check to complete the course. It was happening just like before. I was being painted into a corner with nothing to do and nowhere to run. I only had one thing I could do. Quit the course? It would be a bold move and I had already had met so many good people in the course. People would ask questions. What was I going to say? ‘Oh sorry about everything, I know I was really enthusiastic about being a counsellor, but after you mentioned the working with chIldren thing I decided that it’s not really for me.’ I mean you just can’t say things like this. In situations like this you just have to run for the door without looking back, and reject all incoming calls from friends doing the course. It hurts but it’s the only thing you’re able to do really. You can’t just tell them. You just can’t. You never know what they’ll do to you.

As I got up and started walking towards the door to never return, a thought crossed my mind. What if placement was only for the Diploma and Masters students? What if you don’t have to do any placement if you’re just doing the certificate? I stopped and thought for a minute. There wasn’t really much clarification in the orientation as to who needed to do the placement. But how was I going to find out? Suddenly, I thought of a way. I’d approach one of the staff acting really nervous and tell them how nervous I was about doing the placement, then I’d tell them that I was doing the certificate only. If they told me that there was no placement for the certificate then I’d be safe, but if they wanted to talk more about why I was nervous then I’d know I’d have to make a run for the door.

Hesitantly, I approached a young lady around thirty and told her about how nervous I was about doing the placement. It was one of the few times in my life where being nervous actually helped, even though she had no idea what I was actually nervous about. After I told her about my concern, she pleasantly reassured me that I would not be doing the placement since I was only doing the certificate. At this I felt a great deal of relief. I can’t remember what else she said but something did stand out. It was like God was speaking through her when she said ‘Don’t worry. You’re in the right place.’ This gave me a deep sense of spiritual reassurance. God actually had a plan for me to be here and do this course, even though it looked like I should be a million miles away.

It was another frustrating situation though. No doubt I will need to go through many more. I appreciate the fact that you ­ the reader have taken the time to read through what God has been doing in my life so far. Never in my wildest dreams did I ever imagine writing all this down so people could read it. It has been an amazing blessing. Every time I sit down to write I find I can only do so much before I’m completely exhausted emotionally so I take my time with this kind of thing. Currently, I am just working, doing my course, and waiting for whatever God wants me to do next.

Perhaps in the future I will teach English to adults overseas. Maybe I will write a book or something. I honestly don’t know. I would like people to know about my story though, or at least, I’d like to use the experiences that God has given me to help others who might struggle in the area of sexuality. I have no idea what the future holds, but I know that even if I spend the rest of my life hiding or on the run I know God will never leave or forsake me in spite of who I am. The soul that on Jesus hath leaned for repose, He will not He cannot desert to his foes, That soul though all hell doth endeavour to shake, He will never, no never, no never forsake