When Gay Meets Grace: My Redemption Story pt4

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.

It took a lot of inner debating, and I do mean a lot. Courage combined with an extreme portion of not caring thrown in with going my own way was the goal. I would stand in front of the mirror several times throughout the day and for several weeks and call myself derogatory slang words such as “faggot”, “prissy boy”, and “homo” just to toughen myself up to what I knew was inevitable. In the end I chose to come out to my mother as gay. My youngest brother had already outed me at work so of course he, and work, knew. I was really defiant against my mama in telling her as she was still partially paralyzed and needed part-time care. I was her primary caregiver, but I was growing tired of what I thought was the heaviest part of the load. She told me to go back in the closet, but I chose not to listen to her advice. That door was shut with me on the outside. She asked if this was because of what happened to me when I was young. I told her no, but deep down I was using it as part of the excuse that I was. My mother had church friends who was helping her convalesce, and instantly they began turning her against me. Even telling her she should change the locks on her home so that I couldn’t enter. I was the only son who regularly checked in with her even after a full-time caregiver was hired. My brothers were unable to do so, and since I was single it largely came down to me. What hurt the most through this was the people helping her were people I knew! Over the past twenty years I had gone to church with them, and some even to the Christian school together. Instead of the church trying to help me deal with my sin they pushed me away. This only fostered a hatred of church and everything associated with it. In a year I was done with Christianity, the church, Christian friends, and especially God. I didn’t ask for this kind of treatment for the unwanted same-sex attraction. Unfortunately, this also placed a wedge between me and those Christian friends that still loved me who were praying for me.

Now that the Adversary had changed my worldview, it was only easier to follow him into partying, drinking, drugs, and even deeper into immorality. While at my second Christian college I had learned to drink wine coolers. Think hard lemonade but much less cool. Drinking was almost an everyday occurrence. After working all day as a server, I would go with some of my friends to after-parties. Drinking and recreational drugs such as marijuana was passed around the room. Take a drink, pass it on, take a hit, pass it on. Open crushes I had on guys became more vocal, and “girl talk” about which guy was the best looking or hottest was talked about regularly. The first time I went “all the way” with another guy was with someone I wasn’t even attracted to. We were both drunk, so it just happened. It was then I knew that I could never go back as to me this felt right. Drinking only softened the pain and guilt but never took it all away. It was a staple bouncing from one relationship to another, or sitting in gay bars trying to hook up became my life. And if I couldn’t score with someone there was always pornography. The selfish act I was now almost five years into. One night at an after-party, I was asked if I wanted to try methamphetamine or meth. Since I never had I said yes, and because I’m a wimp with needles I just took the pill they offered. It did the trick as immediately it gave me the high so opposite the marijuana I smoked that I was hooked. After a couple months my “friends” stopped me from doing meth anymore as I was becoming too hooked in their opinion. Personally, I think God used them to stop me from continuing with the drug. They both died within five years of that night. The next high was lacing my pot with crack cocaine. This gave a clean, smooth buzz different from straight marijuana. Though it might sound fun do NOT do this ever!

Bars, clubs, parties, raves, parades, and drag shows. It was a roller coaster that spun around but never gave me a lasting high. I had fully immersed myself into the gay community as a “card-carrying member”. I had become a member of the Human Rights Campaign and participated in the gay communities in both Lafayette and Indianapolis. It drove family and even old friends away. After coming out to my middle brother and sister-in-law, they in time eventually chose to distance themselves as I was becoming self-destructive. The new friends I gathered were only fair-weather. One night after partying in Indy, I woke up in some guy’s apartment I didn’t know. Some of the people there were friends, but I was partially naked in this guy’s bed. On the way back to Kokomo I talked with my friends and they said that I was the life of the party the night before. I still don’t remember anything from that night. All I could focus on was trying to satisfy myself in my own way. No one else mattered. As far as I believed no one had been hurt as I had been. And God… whoever he was… wasn’t interested in removing the SSA. I had prayed for it, wept over it, and in my opinion had done everything I could to remove it. Ah, but that was the catch! I was trying to remove it on my own. Without the power of the Holy Spirit and telling my Lord to perform surgery on my heart, it would remain intact. God was trying to get my attention. Keeping my attention was something that I refused to let him have.

Grace and peace, James

Picture courtesy of Pexels

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