"Comming Out of The Closet"

by Jim Suchenski, of Cleveland,Ohio
I grew up in an emotionally dysfunctional home as the youngest of four children. I had both parents, however, my father was physically and emotionally absent. Perceiving this as a lack of love for me, on his part, I had yearned to be held and loved during my childhood. My mother could only give me that in a limited way. Eventually, I tried to commit suicide in my senior year of high school. During that time, I began to question my sexuality. I believed that I might have been bisexual because I was attracted to both sexes. 

I honestly believed that my father did not love me and so, not wanting to be hurt again, I distanced myself from others emotionally. I felt very isolated and alone. 
Although I was functional and able to complete high school, work, etc., my life was very lonely and not filled with any real joy. Then the most wonderful thing happened, I gave my heart to the Lord on March 25, 1976. I wept tears of sorrow and repentance as Jesus flooded my soul with His Holy Spirit, joy and peace. It was truly wonderful! 

In time, the Lord showed me that I needed to love my dad as he was. If I wanted a relationship with him, I would have to approach him in ways that he could accept. It was a gradual process of taking an interest in sports and other things that he liked. I learned to ask his opinion and advice about various things. Seeing the restoration of that relationship was wonderful. 

Over the years the Lord has brought us closer than ever before. My dad even calls me just to tell me things and to see how I am. Having it as a two-way relationship is wonderful. I love my dad very much and thank God for him. I know that he sincerely loves me and shows it in ways that he can. 

A few years later, some noteworthy, stressful and emotional things all happened simultaneously. I had to break off a serious relationship with an unsaved woman. I made a major career change, I moved to a place on my own. There were also some real problems in my church. It was a perfect set up for trouble. 

Then, I began to doubt my masculinity. I did not think that I was really capable of a long term relationship with a woman. In addition, I was sexually attracted to men in a very strong way that I knew was wrong. I believed that I had no one to turn to who would understand, not even my pastor who preached that homosexuals were simply damned and going to hell. He never exhibited any compassion, leaving me to think that no one could possibly understand my struggles. So, I gave into the sexual temptations, convinced that I did not have a choice. 
I started to investigate the homosexual community.  I hated the lifestyle and all of the garbage that went along with it. I was not looking for casual sex, but for real love and a relationship. I never found it there. 

A couple of years later, I rededicated my life to the Lord. I started attending a new church and got involved. Things went well for almost three years. Still, I was doomed to failure because I had still never dealt with the real root issues that lead me into homosexuality. Toward the end of that period, lustful thoughts started to flood my mind and I began to act out. I prayed for the Lord to help me but nothing seemed to happen. Things only got worse and I was more out of control. 

I finally gave into sexual sin again. I felt that I needed to experience a long term relationship to see if this gay lifestyle was really for me or not. After almost five years, I met "Mr. Right" (or so I believed). I was not very satisfied in the relationship. My lover was very dependent on me for many things. This went on for almost a year before I began to feel really depressed and tired. 

The Lord was regularly speaking to my heart too. He was always waiting for me to come back to Him. I decided to return to our Gracious Lord on Aug. 29th, 1990. The only condition that I made was that He would have to provide help for me to overcome this issue of homosexuality. He promised me that He would. 

I explained to my former lover that he had two choices; either except the Lord's plan of salvation and a new, better relationship with me or that we would have to separate. I praise God that he chose the former 

My new brother in Christ and I started attending a support group of  *Exodus International referral ministry that same week. We also got involved in a Bible believing church. We attended the ministry for a few months where we received needed answers to some questions regarding the root issues of homosexuality. We immediately stopped all improper behavior; physical and emotional, and have not had any falls in these years by the Lord's mercy. 

The Lord also used individual counseling to help reveal the true, sinful condition of my heart. It has taken much honest introspection, acknowledgment and repentance over the years. It is a life long process but the freedom and joy in Christ cannot be expressed in mere words. 

I met Jane, my wife now, the following year through a Christian counseling course. She had struggled with lesbianism many years before. We first became friends and started dating the following year. We became engaged on Apr. 25, 1993, and were married on Oct. 09, 1993. 
One special blessing of that day was to have a former lover, now a Christian brother, stand up for me as my best man. He is still walking with the Lord today. I had the pleasure of standing up for him as his best man that following May. He is happily married and has a beautiful son who was born in late March of the following year. 
We are still able to stay in touch as brothers in Christ and enjoy a deeper, more fulfilling relationship than ever before. The Lord is wonderful to take what was sinful and to transform it into something beautiful and for his glory 

Jane and I have had a burden to work with others who struggle with sexual sin for some time. We first contacted Pure Life Ministries of Kentucky in 1995. The Lord led us there to do our intern studies and to work with them. About halfway through our studies, they asked that we take over the Pure Life Chapter in Cleveland. After we completed our studies in early 1996, we moved to Cleveland in April. 

Our backgrounds have helped us to understand many  real problems that these men and women face. We have been there ourselves. We do not have to hypothesize because we have experienced the love of our Savior who is always willing to help His beloved children.  

For more information regarding meeting times and ministry materials please write: 
Pure Life Ministries of Cleveland PO Box 39244 North Ridgeville, Ohio 44039. Phone: 216-353-3384  

or visit:

My Brother's Keeper at http://members.aol.com/mbkeep/brother.html 

or visit:

the Palace of Praise, 
4274 Pearl Rd. in Cleveland,  
Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday nights  
at 7:00 pm.