Can you have a relationship with God if you believe that God condemns who you are?
For twenty-four years, Jeff Ford was married to a woman, and they have three beautiful daughters. But along the way, Jeff had a secret. He was attracted to guys. Jeff’s conservative faith and love for his family motivated him to find a cure for his same-sex attractions. He spent fourteen years in church counseling and countless gay conversion therapy programs, but nothing changed his attractions.
He could not pray away the gay.
Jeff’s marriage and his family suffered because he could not live a life of integrity, and he considered divorce in 2005 and 2009. He had faithfully pursued Christian counseling and gay conversion for many years but watched most members continue to struggle with no change in their sexual orientation. He loyally followed Exodus International for years and watched their organization implode in 2013 when their leaders apologized for the work they did and finally admitted they could not change people’s sexual orientation. With prayer, Bible study, and a long history with others in gay conversion therapy, Jeff finally realized he needed to live his own truth; the truth that God designed for his life. He divorced in 2016, still unsure whether the Scriptures required him to be celibate or whether he could be in a relationship with a man, but he knew that he could not continue to live a lie.
Jeff’s spiritual journey has taken him to the place where he finally understood his relationship with God would never be what it needed to be so long as he continued to believe he was hated and condemned by God. Today, he has come to realize that God deeply loves him and everyone in the LGBT+ community. Jeff finally knows and celebrates he is divinely created as someone special with unique characteristics and gifts to give to the world, his family, friends, and the community. And his faith has never been stronger.