(By Adam Piatt)
I wish I had kept a diary. As time passes, the memories fade and I forget important things and lose details. But this much is clear: For a long time I knew I was different.
Because of my attraction to men, I acted on those feelings in my early twenties. I began to live as a gay man. I thought I had found freedom, but my lifestyle became a prison. I searched for love and companionship. I didn't find it. Instead my life spiraled out of control. I drank too much; I tried different drugs. Nothing satisfied me. I finally "came out" to family and friends and received mixed reactions. My family reacted with shock, anger, and disgust. Their attitude drove me further into the gay lifestyle. My parents asked me to speak to a minister they knew. With apprehension I agreed. I went to him and said, "I don't want to change. This is the path I feel I should be on."
He talked and quoted a few Bible verses. Finally he said, "There is no hope for you." He said I was to tell my parents that I was a lost cause.
In the parking lot I cried because I believed him. How could God love a lost cause like me?
Time passed and my wounds of rejection healed. I wanted a life-long partner and I settled for a string of relationships. As I learned, not many gay relationships last. They are riddled with deception, lies, and infidelity.
I finally met someone and we stayed together for six years. I had made a promise that I wouldn't leave him. "No matter what, this relationship will last. This is the one."
At my parents' request I started to attend a different church with them. I went a few times and listened to the conservative minister. To my amazement, I kept going back.
I assumed that because I was an ethical person, I would go to heaven. The pastor's sermons forced me to question whether that was true. His messages made me uncertain about myself and about heaven. I faced much inner fighting, many tears, and difficult questions. I wasn't happy and I didn't know what to do. "Why, God, why won't you let me be happy?"
My six-year relationship started to go wrong. My boyfriend and I argued—constantly it seemed. "And I'm going to hell," I told myself.
I kept returning to that church and I listened to the messages—even when I didn't want to hear.
Finally, unable to fight the inner turmoil, I knelt beside my bed and prayed. "God, I am sorry. I have sinned." The tears came. I didn't know I could cry so much and so long. That night I accepted Jesus Christ as my Savior. And I didn't know I could feel such wonderful, freeing relief.
I called my cousin, who had never stopped praying for me. She asked others to pray—people I didn't know. I told my parents next because they also had never given up on God changing me.
Finally, and with great hesitancy, I told my pastor. As I talked, I shed more tears—a lot of tears. I had hesitated because I was afraid he wouldn't want me to return to the church.
He listened and accepted me. He is still my pastor.
Since then, I have made many mistakes. I fall, but through the power of Jesus Christ I get back up.