The works of the Spirit
I grew up in a Christian home. My Mum is a Spirit-filled, born-again believer of Christ, and brought up my sister and I to attend church and Sunday school. My Dad left my Mum under quite heart-breaking circumstances when I was just 2 and moved about 30 miles away. We usually saw him at the weekend. He and Mum had been elders at a local Church of England, but upon his sudden departure, Mum felt unable to return to church.
It took Mum some time to recover from Dad’s leaving and, alongside ill health and having two young daughters, she took a 3-year break from church. When I was 5, my godmother introduced us to a new evangelical church about 6 miles from home. This was a turning point for Mum, and my sister and I quickly got stuck into Sunday school. Our congregation were Bible-believing and Spirit-filled and we grew up with an awareness of God’s law.
Bullying and feeling different
Once I reached secondary school age, I realised that the niceties of primary school were over. Even though I attended a Catholic school with good safeguarding, I was bullied from day one all the way through to year 11. I was picked on by boys for being ugly and from girls for not making myself look pretty enough. I was frequently told that I was gay, but to be honest, I didn’t really understand what it meant, as I’d had no sexual feelings. I just thought I was a tomboy and was never one to follow the crowd.
I do remember that when girls around me talked about pop artists and bands and raved about guys they thought were attractive, I’d generally think in my mind that the girls were more attractive. Prom night came in year 11 and I decided to make an effort with my appearance. Suddenly those people who’d bullied me for years were not insulting and were actually nice. I wore a beautiful dress, had a spray tan and wore heels, but I felt out of place. I felt like that wasn’t really me and people were accepting me for someone I wasn’t really like.
The end of my school years and start of sixth form was difficult. My Dad took my sister and I on holiday and revealed to us that he had secretly re-married 5 years earlier and had another daughter. We found out we also had 3 stepsisters, all of whom knew everything about us and we knew nothing of them. Additionally, one of the elders (whom I saw as a father figure) at church died suddenly of cancer. As a 16 year old, I was heartbroken at his death and couldn’t make sense of what was happening in my life. I stopped going to church. In fact, I didn’t return until about 10 years later.
Boyfriends and same-sex feelings
I moved out of home at 19 to live closer to my work. When I was 21, I broke up with my long-term boyfriend (who I’d met at 11) because he didn’t want to come and live with me. I then joined a Christian dating site and, at 23, met another boyfriend who I did live with. My poor Mum tried to tell me that this wasn’t biblical, but I wasn’t interested. All my friends were living with boyfriends and I didn’t want to be left out. The relationship wasn’t a happy one. Three days after my boyfriend moved in he lost his job and we were both living off my low salary. I lost my virginity to him, but it didn’t work out and we broke up when I was 25.
It was around this time where I started to feel sexual attractions towards women rather than men. I’d had sex and I knew what those feelings felt like - but those feelings were only naturally being roused by women and not towards men. At the same time, I felt I really needed to get back to church. I hadn’t really been happy since I left and realised that I couldn’t do life without God.
Finding a home at church
I started going to a church local to my house, where all the sermons seemed appropriate to what was happening in my life at the time (aside from my same-sex temptations). Outside of church the same-sex attractions were getting out of control. It felt like it was all I could think about. I was looking up gay celebrities, using porn sites, thinking about secret crushes I had at work and looking at gay dating websites. I stopped looking at women as people and more as sexual beings. I also started telling certain friends about what was happening. I so longed to go to a nightclub and just have a one-night stand, but something within me said no. I knew deep down that it was against God’s will, and once I opened up that path it would be difficult to come back from it.
Unbeknown to her what was really going on, Mum invited me to a Christmas service at my childhood church at Christmas 2016 - I was 26 then. I heard God’s voice during that service: “It’s time to come home.” There had been a change in leadership since I left 10 years prior and most people in the church didn’t know I was Mum’s daughter. I was seen as myself, Jax. Everything felt different, lighter, exciting. I was obedient and left my church near to home to came back to the church I had known as a child.
Battling same-sex temptations
The worship and fellowship there were just amazing and I felt myself growing spiritually. However, this intensified the battle with same-sex feelings going on in my head. It was getting more and more difficult to cope mentally. After 6 months I plucked up the courage to tell two ladies separately at church how I was feeling. The first (one of our senior leaders) gently said to me, “We don’t love you any less knowing this information about you”, and that she didn’t believe that acting on my feelings was God’s best for me. I nearly cried at the love which was shown towards me. The second lady cried when she heard what I’d been going through; we cried together. The Holy Spirit moved her to tears. Both ladies helped me go through the Bible, counteracting with Scripture this battle going on in my head.
We read Galatians 5:13-26, which talks of the Spirit and flesh being at war with one another. These verses almost jumped off the page and suddenly I could make sense of what I was going through. I prayed hard, “Lord I don’t want to feel like this. I choose to live by the Spirit, I CHOOSE THE SPIRIT.” Gradually this battle in my head lifted. I grew in such confidence at church, finding courage to firstly pray out loud, then pray for others out loud. God replaced my battle-weary head with peace of mind. I can’t say the same-sex attractions completely went away, but on the occasions where thoughts popped into my head, I always had the strength to speak Scripture at them and feel peace again.
God’s plan for me
I had reached an age when I started to feel quite depressed that I wouldn’t find a husband, and being married was a desire in my heart. The thought started creeping into my head that every man was either gay or married already! In summer 2019, my Mum felt God say, “Just see where Jax will be in two years.” When COVID lockdown came, I remember washing up in my kitchen and praying. “Lord you know my heart, you know what’s best for me, and you know better than me who would make me a good husband. I trust and lay in your hands that you will find me a husband.” I felt peace and any time a negative thought popped into my head I spoke “No, I trust you Lord” in response. Within 5 weeks I had a message on Christian Connection from my now husband. We got married in August 2021 - what an answer to my prayers and my Mum’s word from God!
We are happily married and are both on fire for the Lord. I can’t say the same-sex feelings have ever completely gone, but I am open with my husband and there are no secrets. I know with using Scripture I can come against temptations. I believe God is calling me to use my testimony to help others. I was so excited to hear about TFT and to know that there is a support network out there for Christians with these attractions.
Ministering to others
There is a lot of talk about conversion therapy, which I am pleased to see that TFT do not agree with. My own testimony shows that these feelings may still exist, but we don’t have to act on them. They do not have to control us, because God is in control. He can use those who have same-sex attractions to help others. If God did remove these feelings from born-again believers, how could we minister and help others?
Let’s see where God takes things next!
This article was originally published in the Winter 2023 edition of the TFT magazine, Ascend. Click the button below to download your copy.
Download the Winter 2023 edition of Ascend