Part 2 in The Charlene Hios’ Story
Amazing grace how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me . . .
True are the words of the great hymn Amazing Grace. This song is one that speaks such truth that it rings with clarity into a person’s soul. On November 5, 1995 it struck a chord in me as it was played as the invitation song at College Park Baptist Church in Las Vegas, Nevada. I walked down the aisle that Sunday morning in obedience to the call of Christ Jesus. Turning away from one’s sins and turning towards Jesus is so cleansing. It leaves you feeling like a little kid without a care in the world. Then, following in believer’s baptism, another act of obedience creates an even cleaner sense in one’s very being. This was me at the end of 1995. I was and still am a sinner saved and cleansed by grace, God’s grace, God’s amazing grace. Thank You God for Your grace!
Change and Obedience
Tim Wilkins of Cross Ministries in North Carolina coined the phrase: The only place change comes before obedience is in the dictionary. I heard Tim speak this phrase as he gave his testimony of how God took him out of his homosexual life. Tim was at a coffee house turned church on Sundays in New Orleans back in 2001. That year the Southern Baptist Convention was there. I was a messenger for my church and Tim was there for the convention as well. I had gone to this particular church that Sunday to hear Dr. Richard Land preach. Tim’s phrase on ‘change not occurring without obedience’ has been something God has used in my Christian walk just as He has used the words to the great hymn Amazing Grace.
Grace, obedience, and change; three important words in the life of those who are in Christ Jesus!
The Lie Begins
With all of the above said, let us now go back to the late 1970s. I believed in God. I feared Him. I also prayed to Him each night before going to sleep. Jesus was not known to me then.
It was Columbus Day weekend in 1978. I was serving in the United States Air Force and was stationed at Carswell Air Force Base which was located in Fort Worth, Texas. It was this weekend that I personally stepped into the life of one who identifies themselves as a homosexual, a lesbian, a self-proclaimed butch. I experienced the lesbian love of a woman that weekend. I was almost twenty years old and had never been with anyone sexually before in my life.
I Didn’t Do Something Wrong, Did I?
It was the beginning of living a lie, a lie I lived for almost twenty years. Regretfully a lie which sneaks itself into the lives of so many each day. I remember trying to figure out what this was that was happening to me. It felt right, it felt good, so therefore I determined there must not be anything wrong with being sexually active with another woman.
However, deep inside of me, I felt there was something wrong about this new experience in my life. If there was not a sense of immorality here why did I sit there after it all happened and try to figure it all out. But I was able to push that thought aside, the thought that I had done something wrong.
Rationalizing it Away
As I continued trying to figure it all out, I went through what little I knew about homosexuality. To the best of my knowledge I had never been sexually abused by anyone. All the men in my life were great for the most part. I was even engaged to one. I really liked his company yet, there just was nothing there physically, there was no sexual attraction.
However the more I thought it out I realized that I had always had these attractions to women, these magnetic draws towards them. Time after time I would imagine them holding me tightly. The need to be held by them turned into sexual desire as I matured into a young woman. I longed to be held, to be touched, to be caressed by the different women in my life.
Today I understand why those attractions were there but back then I was a twenty year old woman who was full of sexual desires and when lust is present we are pretty good at rationalizing things away.
Transference of Guilt
What I had done was wrong. Making love to a woman was wrong. Deep inside of me I knew this to be so. However, almost in an unconscious manner, I swept aside that underlying voice telling me it was wrong. I rationalized it away.
My conclusion was that God must have made me that way. I was born a homosexual person, a lesbian. In my mind this explained it for me. This took it off of me and placed it on God. God made me this way and I believed it and unknowingly walked into a life against God.
I once was lost but now am found, was blind but now I see.
My eyes always brim with tears as I think of my wretchedness, my blindness, and God’s amazing unmerited irresistible grace. How blind I was!
Before coming to such wonderful peace which comes only from a true, close relationship with Christ Jesus, I was a wretch who just could not see that God’s very words told me that the way I lived my life was not what He, God, had intended, it was sex outside of God’s design for marriage, it was homosexual sex, it was a sin.
The Tract My Sister Gave Me
My sister Joanne was the first in our family to come to a personal relationship with Jesus. She was concerned about her whole family–none of us knew Christ personally. (Praise God, eventually we all came to Christ. I can securely say when I die I know that along with my Mom and Dad, and the rest of my family, I will be with Jesus.)
Troubled by my sinful life, Joanne sent me a tract which spoke of the unnatural relationship of two women together sexually.
“For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural, and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error.”
Romans 1:26-27 NASV 1995
I felt such confusion as I read these words in that little tract. Back then I could not grasp these words of the Apostle Paul. They made no sense to me. How my heart breaks looking back as I remember and reflect with you on how lost and blind I was. I was a prisoner to the lie of homosexuality. I was a slave to this sin. How ironic that back then I felt so free. I did not realize how false that feeling of freedom actually was to me. The god of this world had me right where he wanted me, blinded to God’s word, blinded to the Gospel of Christ Jesus.
Almost everyday now I have conversations with those caught up in this same lie. My heart goes out to them. We discuss how they perceive these same verses in Romans. The lesbians I speak with say the same thing I did, that there is nothing unnatural about being with women sexually. After all, didn’t God make them that way? They do not see their chains of captivity.
After reading that tract a second time, I tossed it in the trash. “Geesh Joanne! You just don’t get it!” I thought. I told Joanne that my being with a woman was so natural to me. I told her that this Scripture was wrong about women with women. It did not pertain to me. What I did was completely natural.
However, I operated under a double standard. I did agree, in the reading of the tract, that two men together sexually was wrong. It even turned my stomach. Here I was a sexually active lesbian, believing that women having sex with each other was natural but it was not natural between two men. The scales on my eyes were thick! In my distorted view, God’s word did not pertain to my sexual situation but it did hold true for men being sexually active with each other.
I praise God for my sister’s diligence. Joanne learned that arguing about this with me was not working, and instead she started praying for me. Almost twenty years later, when the scales finally fell off my eyes and I saw that homosexuality was sinful and not what God intended, I called Joanne and thanked her for her prayers. I thanked her for telling me the truth even when I would not listen. Again, I thanked her for believing that God would answer her prayers to open my eyes to the sin I believed was natural. Praise God!
Hope in Prayer
Can you pray away the gay? This is a question that many who struggle with their same sex sexual attractions ask me. I share with them the story of my sister Joanne praying for me for almost twenty years. I share with those struggling with their unwanted sexual attractions to the same sex to lift that attraction up to God. Lift it up in prayer. Capture the thoughts and give them to God.
Healing and answer to prayer will happen however it could take an instant but more than likely it can be awhile. Personally, once I realized homosexuality was a sin, it took a good five years for the sexual thoughts to get out of my head. Do they come back? They did, occasionally, they tried to get back into my thoughts.
Now, today, I no longer am sexually attracted to the same gender. And yes, I am attracted to the opposite gender.
I am a child of God, and sin no longer has me in captivity.
The sin of homosexuality effects all of us, not just those caught in its power. I myself personally know of its blinding lies as does my entire family. I was so deceived that I convincingly argued the lie that I was born gay. Some members of my family still believe I am gay and am just deceiving myself that this is a former condition.
Freedom is possible. I am a living witness to this fact, as are the thousands of others who have been unchained from captivity. The power of the Holy Spirit’s convicting is the key to unleashing others from this sin.
First the Church must reflect the love of Christ Jesus. First we must love the homosexual as God loved us!
In his letter to the Corinthians the Apostle Paul speaks to the freedom that is possible. In verse 11 he specifically states this hope for us today.
1 Corinthians 6:9–11 (NIV):
9 Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders 10 nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.