Exodus Asia Pacific

Carly’s Story


My childhood was one filled with chaos and uncertainty. My Dad was an alcoholic and when he was home he was usually abusive, mostly verbally and emotionally but occasionally physically abusive towards my mum. I grew to hate men, not only because of my father but because of how I saw other men in our circles treating women also. At the age of eight I was sexually abused by a family friend. This completely turned me off men who I believed thought women only existed for their satisfaction. I saw my mother as weak and a pushover. It infuriated me that she didn’t seem to stand up for herself.

Eventually Mum went to a domestic violence support group and sought help. My parents separated when I was in upper primary school but got back together again three years later. This only lasted a few years until the abuse heightened once again. This time my Dad also threatened me, as I’d began to stand up to him, feeling that it was my place and role to protect my Mum and sister. My parents separated again during my high school years which was a huge relief to me.

Sadly, I can’t remember a time growing up where I felt wanted and loved by my Mum. I always felt like an inconvenience to her and came second to her work. During my teenage years I thought a lot about running away or committing suicide as life seemed so unbearable at times.

To add to all of these problems, (and now I can see that it was largely due to these problems), I had grown to have stronger and stronger feelings towards other girls. I never wanted these feelings and I often felt lost and confused as to why I had such attractions.  This also led to my sense of feeling different to others and struggling at times to fit in. In hindsight, I can see that I was longing for and searching for was a woman to love and nurture me.

Outwardly I appeared to be very successful. Inwardly, however, I was broken, hurting, longing to be loved and accepted. I had rejected my femininity as weak and vulnerable, I stopped wearing skirts and anything that I considered to be too “girly” and started wearing shorts and pants. This was in an attempt to look strong and tough and not draw attention to myself from men, whom I believed would only abuse me or want me for sex. I felt that had I been born a boy, life would have been so much easier.

Sometimes I was teased for looking like a boy and was regularly referred to as a tomboy. Occasionally my Dad would jokingly introduce me as his son. This would hurt me deeply but I would just laugh and go along with it.

Once I finished school and started at university, I felt more freedom to explore my sexuality without being “found out” by my family and school friends. I really was terrified of my friends finding out who I really was and rejecting me. I started going to events for gays and lesbians, attending gay bars more regularly and even attended Pride Day, an annual celebration of those who identified as LGBT. I met another girl online and we were in a relationship for about six months. I felt as though I’d finally found the missing piece in my life. I’d found someone who I thought truly completed me and made me happy.

It was around this time that I hesitantly started coming out to a few of my friends. Most of them responded very positively and said that my sexuality made no difference to them. However, to my shock and surprise, one of my friends responded to my news by telling me that homosexuality was frowned upon in the Bible. As you can imagine, this response didn’t go down well. I was angry at this friend for a while. After all, she didn’t know what I’d been through growing up, so how dare she judge me. Besides, I didn’t even want these feelings but had always had them, so I figured that God must have created me this way. I was angry and offended, but this started a lot of discussion with my friend. I started asking other Christians about these issues too. I also started reading a lot – the Bible, Christian books, literature from gay-activists, pro-gay theology; you name it.

This was a very difficult and confusing time in my life as I wanted to know the truth but the truth seemed hard to find and even when I thought I knew the truth, it was deeply challenging and painful. The thought of giving up the safety and security of the love I had just found seemed all too much. Even if this Bible stuff was true and God was real, “how could I possibly change?” I asked myself. I began attending a church regularly and praying, asking God for answers. What I realised after many months, was that it was not just about trusting God. I had to let him into my life and trust that His plans for me were greater than my own plans.

I began to learn about His deep love for me and His ultimate sacrifice on the cross, dying for my sins; past, present and future. God called me to let go of my pain, my brokenness, all of my fears and failures. He begun to show me His unconditional love, which did not depend on my performance in any way. As I truly sought to know God, he made himself known to me.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.  Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.  You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” - Jeremiah 29:11-13

At first my focus was all on whether or not I could change, but as Sy Rogers says, “it’s not straight people who go to heaven; it’s redeemed people who go to heaven. So, I changed my focus from seeking change to seeking Jesus and committed to following Him even if I had this struggle forever. While today, many years after I made that commitment I still struggle with my feelings at times (sometimes a great deal).  I’ve learnt a lot of strategies for dealing with temptation – things such as the importance of accountability, prayer, knowing God’s word and setting healthy boundaries. I have also learnt about how heavily I must depend on God for the strength to overcome.  

James 4:7-8 says “Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you.”  First you must submit to God, then resist the devil. We cannot do it in our own strength but only through dependence on Jesus Christ, our Saviour.

God has helped me to work through a lot of my childhood issues, including forgiving my abuser and my father. I now have a strong, loving relationship with my Dad, which I never thought would have been possible.

I’ve had counselling and mentoring to work through much of my brokenness and to understand and accept the way that God sees me, not how others see me. I’m still a work in progress, but I can confidently say that while I’m not where I’d like to be, I’m not where I used to be either. I have so much more freedom and I have hope for the future. I can see the purposes God has for my life and how he is now using the pain of my past to help me relate to others who’ve been on similar journeys.

I have also been married for nine years to a wonderful, patient husband who has stood by me and loved me as I’ve worked through many difficult areas of my life. Deciding to get married was a big decision for both of us and we took many years to decide to make this commitment as we both believe that marriage is a lifelong commitment under God and that it should not be entered into lightly.  We have experienced many blessings in doing life together over these years, travelling together, just having someone to come home to share your life with each day, the laughs and so on. We’ve also been through a number of trials and it has not always been easy but because of our commitment to God and each other we have worked through these challenges together.

No matter what you have been through and no matter what you have done in your life, Jesus longs to have a relationship with you. He longs to bring you healing and wholeness, just like He has done in my life. I hope you have found my story encouraging.