Losing Love to an "Ex-Gay Ministry"
By: Grace Rivers
When I met her, she was my best friend. We worked together as mental health counselors in a fundamentalist Evangelical agency. I had known her for three years. During that time, I had been married to a wonderful man whom I divorced due to our troubles living as husband and wife. We lived like a brother and a sister because we had no sexual chemistry. We thought marriage would fix this problem - that God would intervene because we prayed to Him to do so. Instead, we were allowed the gift of an amicable divorce. I began to spend more time with her and slowly woke up to my authentic self as a gay Christian woman.
She was involved with a ministry called Living Waters/Desert Stream and an avid follower of the teachings of James Dobson's "Love Won Out" conferences and Dan Allendar's work. I was not familiar with these things about her until after I lost her.
She told me she was having romantic feelings toward me and I was having them toward her as well. I felt like a moth to a flame, like a string of white Christmas lights that were never fully lit until I met her. I was bright inside of my heart and all the love songs finally made sense to me. The upper and lower parts of my entire being finally felt integrated. My love for her was like gravity. My heart to this day still beats for her.
She told me, "I do not think you realize how special you are. I am fixing to lose my ministry because of you. I am addicted to you and I am an idiot. I am going to have to make you extinct." These words came after kisses, hugs, walks around the lake, dinners together, prayers together, good times together. I was confused. Yet, I loved her and wanted to have prayer support for us. So, I decided to share this with one of our supervisors at the fundamentalist Evangelical agency. In my naive heart of hearts, I thought the power of Jesus would be with us, and as long as the truth was told, safety would be there. This was a lie.
She said, "Grace does not think it is sin to be gay and I know it is. I am convicted. I am convicted it is wrong to be gay. My prayer is for God to forgive me for believing the lie that what we were sharing was love. It was only an incarnation of evil."
I said, "I do not think God thinks it is sin to be gay and I am connected - connected with God's love and thankful he showed me how I am created and designed to love and how to bring more abundance of love to my life and others."
After the meeting, I was contacted and yelled at and told, "How did you think it would help her? How did you think encouraging her homosexuality would help her in her sexual sobriety? You made her slip in her sexual sobriety. She had 10 years of sobriety before you came along! We doubt your ability to be safe around children. We are not allowing you back into the office, into the building. You are no longer welcome to practice here. If you try to contact her, we will charge you with sexual harassment."
She stayed working there. She got a raise. I lost her. I was outnumbered. I lost my condo. I lost my job. I lost myself.
Today, I am still healing and loving a woman due to my compassion for her. I hope one day she will know how much I loved her. I hope God will bring a safer woman into my life to love.
Ex-gay ministers get their "fix" with people like me who are vulnerable and new to the coming out process. So much attention is on them and how sad their life is due to their beliefs, yet she did not suffer as much as I did. She only lost what in her mind was a slip in her sexual sobriety. So there will be others because ex-gay ministries are not healthy. I pray for healing for her and others like me who may have fallen in love with someone who sees God in such a different way.
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