Sometimes the hurt in our hearts cuts so deeply that even hope seems impossible. I am writing this because I have been at that place in my life, where I felt I was without love and without hope, and I want my story to be an example for all who feel that they are in a similar place.
I know that love can be found and hope can be renewed, but only if we turn to the One who truly loves us. I want you to know God loves you! There are no ifs, ands or buts. He loves you no matter who you are, no matter what you've done, no matter where you've been. Nothing will ever ever change His love for you.
Do you know He sees your tears and cries with you? He feels every hurt you endure as if the pain were His own. The shortest verse in the English Bible is one of the most powerful: "Jesus wept." (John 11:35) Standing outside the tomb of his friend Lazarus, the emotions spilled over, and Jesus audibly cried. Jesus weeps with us. The tears prove He cares. And in moments of personal or national pain, knowing God cares is far more important than knowing why He cares. He doesn't say buck up; be a big boy; don't cry; or come now, it doesn't hurt. Tears do not make Jesus uncomfortable. He is, after all, a "man of sorrows and familiar with suffering."
He was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering and familiar with pain. Like one from whom people hide their faces, he was despised, and many people held him in low esteem (see Is. 53:3).
I've been hurt. I know what it's like to experience the roughness of life, getting up only to get knocked down again. You know from my story that I lived in an abusive home with a stern mother and her drunken boyfriend. I was sexually abused twice. My real father abandoned me. Everyone told me that I looked like a boy. I was never able to get attention from my mother unless I did something wrong. That is the love that I grew up with, and that "love" hurt.
I know what it's like to cry myself to sleep, crying because there is no one to talk with, no one to encourage me, no one who understands my heart. Every time something else happened in my young life, another wound opened up on the inside. Every wound changed me. I didn't want anyone to ever hurt me again, so I tried to hurt everyone else before they could hurt me.
I felt so empty inside. Nothing I tried filled the void in my heart that was driving my desperate search. I wanted to make something of myself, finding a way to somehow make people love me. The type of love I had experienced in my life wasn't enough, and I knew it. I needed something more. I tried to fill the emptiness inside of me by having relationships with women for 14 years.
During that time, I jumped from relationship to relationship, desperately hoping that the next relationship would be the last, that I would finally find what I was looking for to fill my aching heart. The relationships weren't enough. I tried to mix in smoking or drugs to help meet my needs, but they only tore my life further apart. Nothing helped, and I hurt more than ever.
Finally, finally, I turned to God. God had been standing by my side my entire life, seeing my hurt and pain, longing to heal me, and calling me to Him all along.
My life was a living example of Revelation 3:20, in which Christ says, "Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If any man hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him and he with me."
Little by little, with the help of God and with the prayer and support of my friends, I began to leave my old lifestyle behind. It was far from easy. My life was a constant struggle that became a war on the bad days. I still hurt from all the wounds that had been inflicted throughout my life and I still had my problems, but when I turned to God, I knew that I could bring all my troubles to Him. He became my strength. He began filling the emptiness in my heart, binding up the hurts and healing them. For the first time in my life, I began to feel at peace.
Life itself is a struggle and a search for identity, no matter if you are heterosexual or homosexual. But for those of us who have considered or pursued homosexuality, the search becomes even more difficult. We don't seem to fit in with the rest of the world. Somehow, things just never seem to work out right. No one seems to understand what it is like to struggle so much about who you are. Our confusion and our loneliness cause us to begin searching, looking for ways to define who we are, looking for someone who even comes close to understanding. And nothing, no one, ever seems to satisfy.
If my words are touching your heart in any way, please let my life be a living testimony. I speak from experience: Only God's love can truly satisfy; only He can give meaning and identity, and God's love can only be found in Jesus Christ.
Will you join us in Lake Mary, Florida, on Aug. 15-16, 2014 for our Called-Out Conference! We are partnering with Charisma Media, and we're reaching out not only to people from central Florida but those around the nation. You can go to my website, janetboynesministries.com, for more information. At this conference you can hear people talk about how they came out of homosexuality as well as helpful information on how to minister to people who are hurting in this area. Together, we are raising a voice of hope and freedom.
Janet Boynes is the founder of Janet Boynes Ministries, a nondenominational outreach that ministers to individuals questioning their sexuality and those who wish to leave homosexuality. As the author of Called Out, Boynes chronicles her story of living as a lesbian for 14 years until God called her out of that lifestyle.
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