When Gay Meets Grace: My Redemption Story pt3

NOTICE: This is a multi-part blog post series. It is the testimony of James Jewell, Jr. The entire story needs to be broken apart so give him time.

After high school graduation I attended a Christian college, and thought the SSA feelings were over. Yet even there I found a guy who became a secret boyfriend. Out of total frustration with myself and how things were going I chose to make Christ Lord of my life at one of the chapel services. It was then relationship with my Heavenly Father began to deepen. In one of the chapel services I was convicted to tell my parents about the childhood trauma in 2nd grade and then again at age thirteen. The college I attended was two hours north, so I had a lot of time to think about what to say as I headed south. When I got home my mama was in the kitchen while my dad was somewhere else. I sat them both down at the table and explained what had happened to me. They were shocked, but very grateful I told them. They said I should have told them earlier, and asked why I hadn’t trusted them back when it happened. I honestly don’t remember if I answered or not just that we all had a big cry that afternoon. I chose not to tell them of the SSA I was experiencing as the Baptist faith we were in one could not be set free from it. I did not want to hurt or make them feel shamed because of me. I went back to school feeling a little bit freer.

As our Lord so often does, he began to test the relationship between himself and I. First, he took my maternal Grandfather, then four years later my maternal Grandmother. Both were highly influential in my upbringing, and they accepted me as me. At age sixteen I ran away from home as I felt suppressed by my mother. Every teenage boys nightmare. Three hours later I ended up at my grandparent’s home. My Grandmother told me I should tell my parents how I felt. The next morning, I backed out and only asked for forgiveness. Originally it was my intention to leave Kokomo and hitchhike to New York City. If the Lord had not made me weary and frightened enough after three hours, I would probably be dead today. Though the Lord had taken my grandparents my eyes were still firmly planted on him. It seemed as if the SSA was silent for the time as I had switched colleges, but I could never see what the Lord had planned ahead. Trust me I was trying to look around him which I’ve since learned not to do. Then the Lord took the one person to whom I looked up to and probably idolized. My best friend was my dad. All through college he wrote me at least three times a week. When I did come home, we would always be soul-winning partners. I had come to him, and in doing so he came my direction as well. One day when coming home from work he had a brain aneurysm that made him drive off the road and into a ditch. I was only twenty-five and was helping my mom recover from a partial-paralyzing stroke she had the year before. For the next several months my mama, my brothers, family, friends, and I watched him deteriorate. His death at age forty-nine from the aneurysm that had exploded devastated me, and the root of bitterness immediately set in my heart against God. How dare he take the one man who loved me unconditionally (besides Jesus)! Besides, I was twenty-five years old, unmarried, no children, and still in college. Bitterness abounded because of unfulfilled self-expectations.

Even though I had lost my father and friend, I still decided to continue with college and get my degree. I had been taught at home for the last four years of high school so walking across a platform and turning that tassel was motivation. In 1996 I graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Pastoral Theology. It soon only took a year for the Adversary to completely derail me Spiritually. In that year time frame my high school sweetheart refused my marriage proposal. This hit me hard as we had planned for marriage the last three years. Instead of staying down I asked another girlfriend, and when she turned me down another was asked. Three refusals in one year. Hard year for a single guy. The Adversary actually got me to rationalize that since every girlfriend dumped me it only meant one thing: that I was gay. I rationalized that if I was straight, I should’ve been married by now. Oh, he added the childhood trauma in school, including the teasing and bullying. The fact that I could see a fabric and know it’s content without even touching it. Then adding that I was liking the submissive role in pornography instead of the aggressive. Everything was compounding including the church hurt. I soon believed the lies, and allowed the Adversary to change my thinking that I would be happy as “master of my own life.” Little did I know that it would begin a path that could only end in destruction. The lie was moving from my head and into my heart.

Grace and peace, James

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