As a child, I always hung out with my two brothers. Being the youngest and only daughter in our family, I didn’t have anyone else to play with since my parents were always away.  I was not taught how to act girly, and my brothers became my role models.  I ended up wanting everything they wanted – from toy cars to super heroes, to basketball, and even to wearing their clothes.  Oddly enough, I have a naturally deep voice.

I remember asking my mom to play with my Barbie dolls with me but having been ignored, I tore up all the heads of my dolls the next day. I also recall a certain time when my dad and I were about to cross a street, I was waiting for him to hold my hand because I was scared but he never did. I had to grow up to be tough; no one really treated me like a girl. My dad and brothers treated me like one of the guys.

When school came I was always teased as a tomboy. It was a Co-ed school, so the boys would always tease me; it really hurt me because I didn’t know why they were teasing me at all since I felt like I was normal. I thought to myself that maybe I was indeed a lesbian. It all the more became confusing when I was in Grade 3, I developed a crush on a classmate – a girl. I was so young when I first realized that I differed from everyone else. Naturally, I felt ashamed and angry because I didn’t want to be like that.

Despite studying in a Christian school and being raised in a Christian home, I really never had an intimate relationship with God. I started questioning why God made me different. When I entered High School, my mom had to transfer me to an exclusive all girls’ school where I felt like I could belong. But deep down, I knew that my lifestyle was a sin.

At a very young age, I started dating girls, smoking cigarettes, doing drugs, and getting drunk while even influencing others to do the same. I thought I was living “The Life” – enjoying the moment in my partying and in getting wasted; slowly but surely, I was turning away from God.

It was a double life that I had been living and it didn’t help that my relationship with my family became even more distant. I was always mad at them for no reason and just wanted to get away to be with my friends to get drunk and high. I was so secretive about my double life that I didn’t even communicate with my parents anymore.

It came to a point where nothing even mattered to me; I believed that homosexuality was a natural thing and that I was merely born this way. I considered the Bible as just a book of laws that were restricting people like me to be happy. I strongly supported the LGBT rights and movement.

I was involved in what I thought was a perfect relationship with my girlfriend so I thought that I was living happily.

But as the years passed by, I started to feel empty and depressed. The once seemingly perfect relationship was now just slowly sinking and we both didn’t know why. We couldn’t fill up each other’s emptiness anymore.

Last February 2015, my partner and I were offered a billboard feature to promote an LGBT campaign. I was first reluctant because I wasn’t really out to my family and deep down, I honestly felt uncomfortable. But then it made me think that maybe this is the chance that I could come out because I’ve been hiding for so long.  Perhaps this will fill the emptiness I’ve been feeling and maybe this is the only way that my relationship will be perfect again.

So we agreed to do the billboard campaign.  But after the photo shoot, weeks before it was launched, that’s when it all sank in: I felt so anxious and I couldn’t believe what I was getting myself into –  to come out to the world for the all people to see and to embarrass my family in the process of doing so.

I got even more depressed after that and cried for days. I just really didn’t know what to do. Drugs and alcohol couldn’t help me anymore. I couldn’t sleep for days and I was having panic attacks. I didn’t know what to say to my parents. Running away even crossed my mind because I knew my parents would be so mad at me.

One night, the Holy Spirit prompted me to read the Bible. I never really opened the Bible and the only time I had read from it was in Christian school. I didn’t want to read it because I was offended by what it had to say against my sexuality and my sinful life. So at this point, I wasn’t really sure what I was doing. I only had the Bible app in my phone because my mom asked me to download it.  As I opened it, the verse of the day came out and to my surprise it made me cry so much like I never cried before; I broke down and until this day I still remember the feeling.

The verse was Philippians 4:6-7

“Don’t worry about anything instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all He has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus”.

That day forever changed my life.

I prayed that night and said: “Lord, I surrender, save me, take control of my life!” It is in my lowest and darkest point where I felt God lift me and light my path. I had the best sleep of my life and felt God’s presence all over me, giving me full and complete peace.

The billboard finally came out and I went to my parents crying; I told them what happened and they hugged me, cried with me, and that’s when I felt God again through my parents because of how they love me despite what I did.

They encouraged me to attend Bible study at church. At first I was hesitant to go because I didn’t really know what to expect but my parents reassured me and even accompanied me the first few times.  Eventually, I attended on my own.

The Bible says in Ephesians 2:8-9

“For by grace you have been saved through faith and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God. Not by works, so that no one can boast.”

I started to see changes in my life when God took control.   I ended my relationship with my ex-partner which I thought was going to be difficult, but God saw me through it and took away the pain of heartbreak.

He always reminds me that sometimes you have to give up the people you love to fulfill God’s better plan for you.  Trust Him because His love is greater than any love you could ever imagine. I can’t believe how hungry I am for the Word of God that I get excited to wake up in the morning and go to bed at night just to read.

My addiction to drugs, alcohol, and cigarettes went away. Cigarettes tasted so disgusting and the taste of alcohol, so bitter. I started to enjoy staying at home and just reading my Bible and books about God. On top of that, I also started to join a Discipleship group.   Praying, conversing with God had also become a regular part of my day.

And I now know my purpose in life is to glorify Him, praise and worship Him.  To share God’s goodness to everyone, and tell people about His love—that He is just waiting for people to turn to Him.

Temptation will always be lurking around, but I remind myself each time how I fell in love with Jesus.

I feel His love fill me;  it is totally incomparable—like the feeling that you’re in love again but so much more. I thank God for saving me and also for allowing my parents to not give up on me, always praying for me.

Once you’ve experienced God’s love, you won’t want to turn away from Him again.

“I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me”
Galatians 2:20