I was deeply ingrained in the belief that I had been ‘born that way and couldn’t change’ and because of this, I was ready to suicide. At the age of twenty eight I had reached a stalemate. If I couldn’t reconnect in a real way with my God, then I could only see one alternative. The future alone and aging as a lesbian and an alcoholic looked bleak to me.
When I was twenty, I had given in to my orientation and tossed in my faith.For the first few years I was very comfortable with my identity as a lesbian and was very openly lesbian.
However, I was also aware that I had lost connection with a God who had at one stage been very close to me. Now it was as if I prayed inside a concrete tomb.
My first relationship was so compelling and obsessive that I thought I had found my soul mate. Never had I experienced such an all consuming connection with anyone. It overrode any intent I had to live as person of faith, even though, I had enough evidence to believe that God existed and that the Bible was his Word. Now I had the confusion of trying to understand what I saw as divine cruelty in creating me lesbian and yet condemning me to rejection.
When my ‘soul mate’ left me for someone else, my new god crushed me. However now I had no doubt that I was homosexual. I had a repulsion toward men and had found where I fit in lesbianism. I now lived the hope of finding my ‘miss right’. However, after a number of relationships, some longer term than others, I had come to a point where I didn’t dare to love as it led to too much pain. I had lost all illusions that I was going to find life with a woman but now I was truly trapped by my orientation.
Because I had been fully indoctrinated, I did not believe that I could change. However, a dim flicker of light told me that perhaps I could find love by reconnecting with the God I had turned from. I asked him if he could somehow show if this might be possible. Because if God really did exist and if he reached out to me, then I was ready to toss all hope for human love out. I hadn’t succeeded in this area very well at all. I was prepared to leave this pursuit one way or the other.
If God was willing, then I would leave every premise I had and simply follow him, trusting that he is good and that he could redefine me anyway he wanted. If God didn’t answer, then the only logical action for me was to end it all. If gay rhetoric was absolute, then I was trapped and the doctrine that told me that I couldn’t change held me in despair.
However, I write this today and this is evidence that I had my answer. God did reach out to me in a rather amazing way, answering my one last ditch prayer by sending someone that evening to talk to me and help me back to a life of faith.
I had no reparative therapy. No one counseled me. I simply walked away from the life I had been leading and sought my help from God. It was like ‘cold turkey’. It was an extreme leap of faith. It was like a death and extremely difficult, but also it became a new magnificently life breathing and fresh new start.
The greatest help for me was reconstructing why I was as I was. I had often been puzzled by the high number of my friends who had been adopted and wondered what link there could be to lesbianism in this? Later Pete and I hoped to adopt a child, unfortunately for us this never came about. However during the training days we were taught about the potential dysfunction that comes about when a baby has been detached from their birth mother, especially if it is for weeks or months.
I started to see the pattern of detachment with nearly all of my friends for one reason or another. For me it had been because I was the last of three children. The oldest was a boy who was at the worst level of autism. They didn’t even have a name for it when I was young, but he required twenty four hour care. My mother often said she was glad I was a quiet baby as she only had time to feed and cloth me. A baby needs more contact than this to wire the brain for healthy connections later and for a girl, it can mean looking for connection with a woman as this initial function never began.
When my brother drowned at the age of twelve, my family became a dark and grieving place to grow up. I began to think that if I was a boy I would be able to take my brother’s place and perhaps find the love from my parents that I so craved. As a lesbian, I felt very much that I was a male trapped in a woman’s body and might well have had physical reassignment, except that I was more afraid of my mother than God and as I had managed to keep my life a secret from her, it would have been impossible to do this if I turned up on her door as her son rather than her daughter.
Then, I had to come to terms with my mother’s personality that had been damaged and as an adult I was able to see her illness for what it had been and gradually forgiveness for her verbal and emotional abuse came slowly. My father had coped with the family dramas by simply not being around. He was a very gentle man but very remote. I had barely any relationship with my father and certainly no endorsement of who I was as a female. I didn’t change my life to become heterosexual. My true yearning was to have relationship with Jesus again. At twenty eight, I was at an end of myself and for the first time, realised another woman could never complete me. No person could do this. I no longer wanted to identify my life around my sexuality. My plan was to live celibate and be a follower of Jesus, doing whatever he gave me to do.
However, God has brought me through to wholeness and that for me included marriage. I have been married to Pete for more than 26 years. My first love is still Jesus.
short video of the story: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KCE7Qprwphg
You can read more about Shirley's story in her autobiography called The Woman Who Outran The Devil. You can order it by emailing us and it is available on Amazon.com.