Justin Jordan - 01/19/2010
As I sit here in my comfy leather recliner, I can't help but to be thankful for the path that God has me on. I wish I could be thankful for the bad times in my life as well, but I can't say that I've reached that point yet. There are many things in my life I would have been happy to fast-forward through, but I stand today a better man. Not better because of the things I have been through, but better because there is One Who decided to give me a new life. One Who decided to set me free from a world of deception, pain and loneliness. First, I had to die. I'll enlighten you on exactly what that means, but before I do that, let me share some more about the world that I was so desperate to escape.
I was on a dark journey that in the end would have led to a place that only my nightmares could mimic and, interestingly enough, there were plenty of nightmares during those years. Disturbing visions, occult practices, unseen forces that would terrify me in the night were also abundant during those years. I walked around with a heaviness that I wasn't even aware of until it was lifted off of me. At times, I would want to die just to escape. I tried once, but was not very successful. I probably would have tried again, had it not been for my own stubbornness. I wasn't a quitter, but I don't know how much credit I can take for that. During that same time, I hurt many people with my bitterness and selfishness. Many people hurt me and this was my way of dealing with it. I felt abandoned by my father whom I never met and I often vowed that no one would ever make me feel like that again. I put walls up around my heart for the sake of protecting myself. I drove away the very things that I longed for. All for the sake of being strong, but my strength was built on lies.
There were many voids that were not being filled, but God knows I tried. I experimented with some drugs, picked up an addiction to cigarettes and at 17 learned that rum and Coke was a pretty good drink. I continued to grow and evolve as a person. Often times thinking that I was getting wiser and better equipped in dealing with the world. I was really just growing deeper in my sins and indulging in them became easier every day.
Everything that I have shared up to this point shocks me. As I write, I feel as if it were someone else's story that I am telling. Believe it or not, there is more. Some things are not as easy to discuss as others, as many are ignorant and not willing to hear. It wasn't always so difficult to say what I wanted to say though. I'd like to tell you that I had some deep, dark secrets in the past, but I didn't. Everything was pretty much out in the open and that included my sexuality. I was gay once. I was also proud of it and not even slightly ashamed. Why would I be? I didn't view it as choice. Who would choose that life? I believed that God made me that way and loved me for who I was. I didn't know at the time that I was worshipping a god that I had created: the god of self. I was okay with it, so "my God" must have been okay with it, too. Of course, that's not really how it works, but many people have deceived themselves into thinking so.
Light always shines brighter in the darkness.
I'm still learning not to be afraid of people because often times the scariest people are the ones God is trying desperately to reach. I should know.
I vaguely remember the dying process now. I know it was a slow and painful death. In all of my sin, He found me. Though I had rejected Him, He continued to pursue me. In the days leading up to my burial, I met a Christian woman named Gina and I remember laying in bed and hearing a voice in my head saying, "Go to church with this woman". Yeah, right. Been there done that. Nothing but a bunch of judgmental, hypocritical weirdoes who claimed to know truth, but knew nothing. I had seen more power when I was involved with witchcraft than I had ever seen from "church people".
"Go to church with this woman. It will be different". There it was again. So clear I couldn't ignore it and suddenly I found myself becoming excited to go. So I went and it was different. There was power there like I had never seen before. The pastor came right over to me and told me things that she couldn't have known. She even told me about my past involvement with the occult. Surely, it had to be a setup. It couldn't be real, could it? While wrestling with doubt and unbelief, the shadow of something bigger overpowered me. It was as if God was right there and knew exactly what I needed. The people loved each other like I had never witnessed love before. They worshipped in a way that I had never seen. It wasn't fake. It was sincere and I knew that I was right where I belonged.
My hunger for the things of God began to increase, as my appetite for sin decreased. One thing I distinctly remember was the desires for the opposite sex that I was beginning to have. I don't remember being scared. I just remember knowing that God was with me and that He was doing something in my life that I didn't understand. I went back to church and this time I went up to the front for prayer. I was terrified. I remember feeling like I didn't know what all the Christian rules were, but I wanted to jump in. I knew I needed what these people had and I was ready to do whatever I had to do to get it. By this time, I had already confessed and believed in my heart that Jesus was my Lord and Savior, but I was still learning what it meant to surrender to Him. That night I surrendered and I came to the end of myself. There was a battle in the unseen realm and Satan lost. As a result, I died that night and it would be Christ Who lived in me from then on.
Afterwards, I began telling people that I was not gay anymore. Some were happy for me; others didn't believe it was possible. It didn't matter to me what they believed, though. Some said I was brainwashed, but I wasn't. No one at the church told me I had to change. There was no one who even acknowledged that they knew of my sin. When they prayed over me it was in another language and I never felt condemned by them. I never felt like I had to make a choice not be gay anymore. It just happened. God did it and I may never know why or how in this lifetime, but I know for certain that I am a new creation.
This testimony is about freedom and restoration. In the last two years since my new birth, God has continued to bring restoration in many ways. He has demonstrated to me that He desires the absolute best for His children. He opened my eyes to the spirit realm early on, in which I discovered that Christians could in fact be influenced by demons. This led to additional freedom in Christ when I realized that maybe some of my lingering problems were not really me, but rather something in me that needed to come out. Not long after this revelation, I was completely delivered from a nasty demon known as Addiction. Miraculously, I never touched another cigarette after that day, nor had the desire to. He also led me down a path of forgiveness for the people whom I had been hurt by and showed me how to humbly ask for forgiveness from others. Day by day, the heaviness that I walked around with lifted off of me. People were telling me I looked different and I felt different.
Love is a subject that I am still getting my degree in. To help in the lessons, God saw fit to send me a tutor by the name of Kathryn Dennen that loves me like no one else ever has. Every day that she continues to love me is a miracle from God. In return, I love her like I have never loved anyone else. God has showered me with gifts that I don't deserve and I may never understand why. In being a Father to the fatherless, He has done for me the things that no one else could. Every day I learn from Him what it means to be a Godly man. I wish I could say that I've arrived, but in many ways this journey has just begun. Maybe all the years of pain were worth it in the end. Sometimes God has to completely break us before He can mend us back together. I am living proof of that. Many times pride has almost kept me from continuing to share this testimony. How tempting it is to forget it all and pretend that everything has always been as it is now. However, I am constantly reminded that this testimony is powerful and that it doesn't belong to me. It is for God's glory and it is proof that He is the same God Who parted the Red Sea, walked on water and rose from the grave! Now more than ever people need hope. This hope doesn't come from the things we think we can achieve on our own, but from what God has already provided. Jesus died, so that we could live.
Maybe you have had a similar journey, or maybe you are feeling trapped right now and looking for a way out. Maybe you don't feel like this is for you. Let me emphasize that it is! You need this and when you can surrender to God and truly let Him live through you, your own testimony will come alive in a way you never imagined. I don't have all the answers, but He Who lives in me seems to have a couple!