It was Sunday morning and there I sat in the middle of a church service. I could hardly believe it. My leathers were stuffed as far down into my back-pack as I could get them.
I parked my motorcycle just outside the church parking lot. I hoped my make-up wasn't too dark. I kept thinking, Maybe they'll just think I'm a biker chick. In fact, that's what I'll tell them. But, I wondered if they could tell I was a lesbian.
I'd known I was a lesbian for as long as I could remember. I didn't always know there was a name for what I felt, but I remember having romantic feelings towards other girls since grade school.
I had a crush on my best friend in sixth grade. I remember wanting to kiss her. That was the first time I realized that the way I liked her, was the same way she liked boys.
I grew up with just my mom and two older sisters. My dad was around for a while, but because of the problems at home, he left when I was ten. I was devastated. He had come and gone a few times before.
Every time he came home, I'd love and trust him with all my heart. Inevitably, though, he'd leave again, and my heart would be broken. Eventually, I was afraid to have him even come home because I knew he would just abandon me again. But I missed him terribly. I was so torn. He had been my everything.
I loved my mom and sisters, but I didn't relate to them at all. They wanted to go shopping and talk about boys. I just wanted to ride my bike or play the drums. There was a gap in our relationship that I could never quite put my finger on. This intensified my growing tendency to feel isolated and insecure as a girl.
When puberty hit, life got even more confusing. While my friends started getting crushes on boys, my crushes on girls only grew more intense. I tried to deny it.
I was fourteen years old when a friend at school, who knew I was Mormon, witnessed to me about Christ. She told me of some literature I could get on Mormonism and challenged me to read it. In doing so, I became disillusioned with the Mormon church.
I set up an appointment with my bishop to discuss what I'd read. He couldn't answer any of my questions. So I made the decision to leave Mormonism and give my life to Christ. My friend was very supportive through this stressful transition. I really felt the love of Christ through our friendship.
This friend's mom confronted me around the time I turned 15. She sensed my struggle with my sexuality (not to mention my crush on her daughter) and decided to sit me down and talk to me. I felt overwhelmed by fear during our conversation. I had never openly admitted these feelings to anyone before.
She pointed out what the Bible had to say about homosexuality and encouraged me to think about it. Unfortunately, all I got out of our conversation was a feeling of rejection and the realization that my feelings were "an abomination to God."
I was also terrified that she could tell what was going on inside me. I couldn't figure out how she knew. Was it really that obvious? She never meant for me to feel rejected or scared. She said what she did out of love. But at that point, I just couldn't handle it.
After this conversation, I started drifting away from Jesus. Within a few months, I denied Him and came out as a lesbian.
There weren't any places for someone my age to meet other lesbians. So a friend at school, also a lesbian, told me where the gay bars were. I managed to get into them and, by the time I was sixteen, I was a regular. My family didn't know what to do with me. I just didn't care anymore. I had to finally figure out who I was and how I fit in.
I immersed myself in the gay community over the next eight years. I separated myself from my family and "straight" people as best I could. I was very open about my sexuality. I figured if this was who I was, then I wasn't going to be ashamed of it, even though it brought on new rejection. Being honest about my "true identity" was more important to me.
I participated in the gay pride days in Sacramento, CA, and the gay parades in San Francisco and Los Angeles. For several years I rode with a lesbian motorcycle club. I even spent a few years immersed in the sadomasochistic subculture, dabbling in the occult and witchcraft. And I would eventually end up on death's door with an addiction to cocaine, alcohol and whatever else I could get my hands on.
Two years into the recovery process of my addictions, I was reintroduced to Christ by a co-worker. At first, I found this man's faith to be quite offensive. I thought he was narrow-minded and self-righteous.
We ate lunch together almost everyday and talked about God. Invariably, I left our conversations irritated. But little did I know that he, and his men's group, had committed to praying for me. My heart began to soften, slowly but surely. Finally, alone at home one night, I asked Jesus to come back into my life.
I was immediately convicted about my lesbianism. I shared this with my co-worker and his wife. Their response was incredible. They welcomed me with open arms. They spent the next year pouring the love of Jesus into my life, simply by being there for me. They opened their home to me and continually prayed for and with me.
None of us really knew how to deal with my lesbianism. But we educated ourselves through books as best we could. And we just kept taking everything to the Lord Jesus in prayer.
About a year and a half into my walk with Christ, I began to go through a lot of temptation to act on my lesbian feelings. I wasn't willing to be completely honest with anyone, and I fell to the temptation. I became involved in a lesbian relationship with a woman in my church.
This devastated everyone concerned. I realized, at this point, I needed more help than I originally anticipated. Once again, my co-worker and his wife were there for me, speaking the words of correction I needed to be restored.
I obtained some literature from Love In Action through a man at my church. He had gone through LIA's men's live-in program. I decided to give LIA a call. I was really hoping someone could help me understand what God wanted me to do about my lesbianism. I was at my wits end.
After a few months of counseling with LIA over the phone, God opened up the doors for me to move to San Rafael.
Since coming to Love In Action, great things have happened. What started out as an act of obedience has turned into a true change of heart. I no longer desire to live as a lesbian.
In the beginning of my walk with Christ, I decided to be obedient and not act on my lesbian feelings. I wondered if that was going to be all I could hope for. I could imagine being single the rest of my life, but I couldn't imagine being "straight" either. At first, that was O.K. All I really wanted to know, was Jesus.
But as time went on, and I sought what Jesus wanted me to do with my lesbian feelings, I noticed change in my desires and beliefs. I desired more than obedience. I desired to be all God created me to be--a Godly, heterosexual woman.
As I read God's Word, I learned that He was a God of restoration and healing. I believed He wanted to change my heart.
The "Grace" group leaders at Love In Action had a tremendous impact on my life. During the whole first year of the support group meetings, I cried all the way home after seeing them. They gave me incredible hope from seeing what God had done in their lives. That brought God's Word to life for me.
Through the faithfulness of God, and the women's support group, I've worked through the deeper issues I believe were at the root of my lesbianism. One of those issues was abandonment, in regards to my father.
I've learned to trust God as the Father who will never leave me. God has brought much healing in my relationship with my father through forgiveness. God has also brought healing from the isolation and insecurity I felt with my mom and sisters.
My feelings of isolation and insecurity had more to do with false perceptions of myself than anything else. I still have these feelings from time to time, but I know what to do with them. I know they aren't true. I am amazed at the liberty brought by embracing God's truth about who I am.
Much of the brokenness in my family relationships has been healed through forgiveness. Dealing with past heartache can be difficult, but Jesus has been there for me every step of the way. I am amazed at His willingness to turn one inch of obedience into miles of restoration and healing. I've learned that He has much bigger hopes for our lives than we ever dare to dream.
The hope I have for my future is still really simple--I want to know Jesus more and more. The difference now is, I believe He is able to do more in my life than I ever thought possible.
I am convinced that He is able to keep me from falling, and to present me faultless before His glory with exceeding joy, to the only wise God our Savior, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen. (Jude 24-25)
Kristy Keith volunteers time as a leader of Love In Action's women's support group, Grace. Copyright © 1994, Love In Action * P.O. Box 753307, Memphis, TN 38175-3307