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I am a woman who is attracted to other women.

Sometimes I lie in bed at night and pray to not wake up.

I want to be gone; I want it to be gone. I struggle and I pray and I do the “right things” and I put in the work, but I am still – and for as long as I can remember – a woman who is attracted to other women. Call it bisexuality or same-sex attraction or fluid sexuality or an abomination or a natural affection, it doesn’t change the fact that it is unwanted.

I never wanted to be this way. I had enough problems already. I was born to an alcoholic woman, abandoned by my father before I was born, and placed in foster care at four years old to spend the rest of my childhood in homes that never felt like my own. I was already set apart in the loneliest of ways.

But it’s all I’ve ever known. I would fantasize about my mom coming to rescue me, taking me home and promising to never leave, loving me the way a little girl is supposed to be loved by her mother. It never happened.

To add to the avalanche of shitty circumstances, I was sexually abused by a foster father, kissed by a youth pastor, experimented on by a female cousin – the list goes on and on of sexual brokenness finding me and owning me.

The fantasies of my mom morphed into fantasies of any woman coming to rescue me, and since much of the affection I received was overly sexualized, these fantasies became sexually charged, too. Feeling loved, accepted, approved of, and wanted by a woman became the defining pursuit of my life. Because a woman who didn’t value or cherish me abandoned me, in my mind the only way I would have worth or value was to be loved by a woman.

Amid all this confusion and shame was a deep-seated self-hatred that completely blinded me.

I saw nothing in myself worth pursuing.

It magnified the worth I placed on other people, especially other girls. I worshiped these peers who were beautiful and loved. I wanted to be with them. I wanted to be them. My troubled heart translated friendship into sex, fueled by an intense jealousy of who they were and what they had.

I grew up with a paltry faith in God, knowing Jesus as personally as I could; but I believed this particular sin was the worst one you could possibly commit. The constant crushes on my girl friends, the fear of exposure and rejection, the aching need for connection that was never quite fulfilled brought me to a place where I felt like I had no hope and I sunk into a heavy depression.

I was never enough, never felt whole, and I looked for comfort in porn, masturbation, drinking, cutting, and adolescent sexual encounters in alleyways, behind garages, in basements, dark stairwells, with both girls and boys. The shame and fear surrounding this temptation led me into isolation and despair and a loneliness so deep and dark it made me want to kill myself.

I felt cursed and punished by God, like I was tainted from conception. At one point I was convinced Satan owned me and God was not powerful enough to get me back. I wanted to be a “good Christian girl” so bad, but felt like that would never be me, unless God healed and delivered me. I prayed after I flirted with friends, I prayed after spending the night with a girl, I prayed as I pined away from unrequited love, I prayed alone in bed when the crushing weight of my brokenness could only be alleviated by a blade across my skin.

There was no deliverance. There was no miraculous removal of these desires from my heart and body. There was only me, wanting to love God with the entirety of my being, even if it meant refusing to act on my feelings, denying myself and putting on Christ every minute of the day. There was only me, burrowing into God’s heart and begging him to be enough for me; to fill the cavernous emptiness inside me, to comfort me with his love so completely I wouldn’t settle for a love that feels good; begging him to draw me closer to his heart with every flutter in my stomach, every furtive kiss, every secret touch.

I’m in my 40s now and I’ve been married to a man I love for half my life.

I smother my daughter with love and attention so she knows, in her deepest places, that she is loved, valued, wanted, and cherished. I am still attracted to women, I still feel the pull sometimes, and I still struggle with crushes and fantasies. But it doesn’t control me anymore. I am not overpowered by it. I am not without hope. Even though it doesn’t look or feel the way I want it to, my prayers have been heard and answered, and I know I am loved.

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