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Testimony of victory over shame

Have you ever felt ashamed? I have. I felt that way most of my life. Since as far back as I can remember, I struggled with same sex attraction.

My name is Marilyn, I've been a Christian for 17 years and this is my testimony of how God rescued me, loved me and has brought me through my struggle with same sex attraction and has given me victory over it. I am a happily married woman, mother of two and blessed beyond words. Jesus has given me peace and hope and reconciliation to God my Father in Heaven. God has shown me that He loves me , watches over me and that He created me with plans in place. He works everything out for my good and doesn't hold my old sins and sinful ways against me or punish me for them, in fact He tells me that they are as far as the east is from the west... never to be found again. This is because Jesus died for me and He paid for the price for my sins and punishment. So I am free by His grace to live for Him and not be held down by sin and torment anymore. Even though many times, I still get a glimpse of my old self, He reminds me that I am new and not the old me anymore no matter who I see in the mirror or how I feel some days. The old is gone and I am new. I am far from perfect, of course, we still live in this fallen world and in these fallen state bodies. In fact I can't tell you how much I depend on calling on Jesus most of my days and when I do, He is always there and helps me. He is faithful and full of mercy. 

A few years ago, the Lord called me to start sharing my story with others about my struggles with same sex attraction, gender confusion and with social anxiety. It was excruciating for me to have to talk about it all actually but I know God called me to speak up because so many are hurting with their quiet struggles and some people just want to know the truth on this subject and are in desperate need of real hope. I know He wants to give someone out there hope through my story. He also wants to reveal Himself through His goodness. Moses said show me your glory and God showed him His goodness. God is so good. He is not angry with the lost and hurting, He wants to bring you closer to Himself and heal your wounds.  

Here is my testimony,

 I can remember as early as I can feeling same sex attraction and gender confusion but also early on recognizing that my feelings and desires were not right, I knew I was to keep them to myself because I was ashamed. Nobody told me to but I knew it was wrong and not the right way I should feel. (look up Romans 2:14 ) 

It was my own quiet secret struggle. and there was no way in the world I was going to share it with anyone! I didn't know God at the time but if I had, I would have probably tried to even hide it from Him. In fact, later in my life, I tried to avoid the topic with him in prayer. 

My family was not Christian growing up but my parents were a very traditional Cuban family and certain things were not acceptable. As a little girl, I was a tomboy. I was teased quite a few times about being a tomboy but I did my best to try to ignore it, even though it wounded me every time someone said it to me. I was a girl but i truly felt more like a boy inside. I liked boy things and clothes. I was deeply confused about myself and what i felt compared to what i saw in the mirror. The comments and my own realizations were a constant reminder that I was different but could not change no matter what I tried. My mom always defended me but also corrected me privately if she saw me doing something un-girly. Despite her correction, I had the deepest assurance that she loved me. Her love for me was never questionable, she adored me. When I reached about 15 years old, I began to really embrace my more feminine side and enjoy being a girl more but the battle in my mind and desires with same sex attraction were still raging and I hated it. I learned to eventually just indulge in the lust in my head and I became proud of the thought that no one knew and I could do whatever I please in my mind and heart. If I couldn't control it then I'd just indulge in it, I wasn't hurting anyone anyway, right? no... only offending the God that gave me life.

Proverbs 16:18 Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.

 When I was about 19, that fall came.. I was accused of being sexually confused by a family member. That moment was the moment that I felt the most shame I ever had and I felt greatly humbled. I felt a heat go through my body and anxiety like I never had before. I was instantly afflicted with social anxiety. I didn't know it at the time but after that incident I could no longer look at people in the eye, have a conversation without feeling panic and blushed at the drop of a hat for any reason. People thought I was just shy but I was dealing with intense anxiety and fear. The phobia of people became so intense that I stopped being able to function like a normal person, It was crippling. Yet, that wasn't even the worst part of life. At home, my mom was losing her battle to breast cancer. She was dying and given months to live. I dropped out of college and stayed with her to care for her and hide from the world. She and I were very close and was a light in my life until she died in December 1994, a week after my 21st birthday. 

   She was so much to me in my life, that when she died, I could hardly take it. Despite all the life around me, it felt like death and darkness was all I could see. It was the worst time of my life. I was left SHATTERED, HURTING and HOPELESS. I had thoughts of suicide and became somewhat reckless. One night months after she died, I held pills in my hand and thought of ending it all but for some reason I couldn't do it. I'm sure it had to do with years earlier when godly men came to our school to warn us about suicide and hell. It stuck with me I suppose and i'm glad it did. I didn't know that life could be good again. I know that God discouraged me from going through with it. It was not an option is what I felt after I considered it, it was not the way out but I was miserable and the pain was so deep. The anxiety and people phobia kept me from really trusting and opening up. For the next few years, I managed my people phobias, anger, sexual brokenness and fears of dying by cancer as my mother had. I didn't care if I lived or died in those days.. but God soon had a plan. What satan meant to destroy me, God would use to bring good. (see Genesis 50:20)

  By God's grace, at 23 I got married to the only man i've ever truly loved. My husband and I knew that God had brought us together. Even though we didn't have the relationships we have with God today, we knew God's hand was in it all. My husband and I had our first son four years later. My husband and first child were great blessings and we had very happy moments, but soon after his birth, I was getting more and more desperate in my fears/phobias again. I was diving deeper into sin in my mind and heart and I felt lost and empty. I had never fallen into physical sexual sin with the same sex but the desires were continuously there. 

I had come to a place in life where I had a good husband and an amazing son, nice house, good job, good friends but I was lost and in desperate need for somebody to save me from my miserable heart and self. I was surrounded by people, but I felt lost, empty and alone. I felt desperate. It never crossed my mind to go to church. Honestly, religion wasn't my thing. I had to attend chapels in my Christian school but never attended church on my own will. Before my mom died, I had never gone to a funeral or even a wedding. Church was foreign to me and to be honest not a place I felt welcomed or wanted at or that it was relevant to me.

I knew there was a God but I wasn't sure anymore where or who He was and I knew that I felt distant from Him and didn't feel "love" for Him.

In late 2001-early 2002, something peculiar and supernatural began to happen, the name Jesus began to appear everywhere I turned. The radio, television, a book was given to me about Jesus, a friend at work I never discussed religion with began to ask me if I knew Jesus and why I wasn’t following him. It was like a Jesus Tsunami! He was pursuing me through every means at every turn. It was completely supernatural and I couldn’t believe it was happening. I couldn’t believe that this God that I had heard about and even "received" in school was actually reaching out to me from another dimension to reveal Himself to me. It was like a secret agent movie, I was getting messages from Jesus and I knew he was trying to contact me! Very supernatural things began to happen that confirmed that Jesus wasn't a figure from history, but that he was alive! He was fully alive and able to interact with me and was one with God. It was wild and exciting.

I didn't know how to explain it to anyone, it was beyond words and when I did, it was as if they struggled to believe it was true or they had difficulty understanding what I meant. I suspect some thought I was just plain nuts! I didn't care. I was feeling alive again! I picked up a Bible and actually understood it for the first time. I had found the truth and no one had to convince me of it, I found it out when He revealed Himself to me. After I prayed and asked Jesus to forgive me of my wrongs and sins, I cried out for Him to help me and I gave him my life. 

From that day on, I felt peace that I had not experienced ever in my life. He took heavy burdens off my shoulders that I was carrying. (see Matthew 11:27-29). I was different inside.. oh I still had my issues with same sex attraction and social anxiety but I felt peace that I was not alone and I knew He was with me and I knew that God wasn't angry at me but LOVED me and ACCEPTED me. For the first time, I felt hope and peace. And so began a very supernatural friendship with Jesus, the son of God, the one who pursued me and came to my rescue and changed everything for me. I did absolutely nothing to deserve it, I was more bound up than ever in my life when He came to rescue me so it wasn't like I got cleaned up and He came to me because of it. He came to me while I was sinful and rotten inside. He takes us into His arms just as we are when He finds us.

Years later, I have experienced amazing things with Him.

I have found out that certain things about God are the truth, He is faithful and true. He has never left me, not even the bad days. His love continues on and is promised and His kindness is more than I can explain. God makes us His adopted children and begins to transform us.

The love of God the Father in heaven is overwhelming to me at times. God is good and he gets unfairly blamed for a lot of evil on the earth. I wish people knew how good God is and how much He loves us and gave for us to be with Him. After 14 years, giving my life to Jesus is still the best decision of my entire life.

Of course I have to say that It hasn't always been easy.. In dealing with my same sex attraction issues, God has put me to the fire at times to burn things out of me that needed to be burned in this process of overcoming. He has urged me to speak when I knew I could not and trembled, but He has helped me each step, as a Father helps their toddler to walk. He has brought me along so far to a place where I never thought would be possible. I needed help and He came to help me and make me better. He always makes his love known to us. Just as a parent who loves their child and trains them to choose good and not evil so that they will not hurt themselves and cause themselves pain. If my child was a thief, I would do all possible to teach him not to steal and help him so that the consequence of stealing would not put him in jail or captivity. The Father is the same, He wants what is best for us. There is a reason He wants to change us, sin leads to spiritual death and pain and ultimately separation from Him for all eternity if we die without salvation through His son. I am much happier being the new creation God has made me than my old self.    

The supernatural is also part of knowing God. It has become a way of life for me that dispels the lies that Christianity is boring somehow. I've seen people saved from suicide, healed of sickness and disease, miraculous healing, raised back from the dead, delivered from demons and so much more. I've seen signs and wonders that boggle the mind. It has been the most exciting adventure of my life to follow Jesus and I know that He has way more in store for me. So as Rhino from the movie Bolt would say, "Let it begin!".. or in other words ..more of you Lord...

God is good and I hope you know this or find it out very soon. I know that I can safely choose to trust Him all of my days.

My testimony isn't over, He is still at work within me and I am obviously not perfected, but I am certainly not where I used to be in those miserable, dark days when I didn't know Him and I was a slave to my desires and fear. The funny thing is that I didn't know Him in my days of misery but He knew me from my mother's womb and He knew all my days from birth and even to death of this body and He has always had good plans for me. Wish I had known when I was miserable and without hope but I share this with you so that you will know that God has a plan for you and IT IS GOOD!

16 “For this is how God loved the world: He gave[a] his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. 17 God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him. JOHN 3:16-17

Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit or have any share in the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate [by perversion], nor those who participate in homosexuality, 10 nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers [whose words are used as weapons to abuse, insult, humiliate, intimidate, or slander], nor swindlers will inherit or have any share in the kingdom of God. 11 And such were some of you [before you believed]. But you were washed [by the atoning sacrifice of Christ], you were sanctified [set apart for God, and made holy], you were justified [declared free of guilt] in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the [Holy] Spirit of our God [the source of the believer’s new life and changed behavior]. - 1 Corinthians 6:9-11