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Share Your Story: Lauren Martin

The Father’s heart toward His children is perfect. He is so caring and He is so patient with us. He is so loving and He is the epitome of love. When I think about that love, I think about the night I realized I could no longer keep up with the façade. I could no longer identify with what I knew hurt His heart. I could no longer push down the conviction of choosing sin over the sacrifice of Jesus.  When I think about that night, I wonder how on Earth I was able to get there and not even recognize I was in a pit. I was in a pit that I was digging myself in and I called it my home. I viewed my life and lifestyle through the lens of my deception. How did I get here?

I was brought up in a Christian home, even my parents were my children’s pastors. I was taught Biblical values and I held tightly to them, but none of those things mattered to Satan. He will do anything and everything to destroy you. He will use any means necessary. He wants to entrap you in sin and have you there for all eternity. The enemy did this by gradually introducing perversion and pain into my life. At age 5, I was taken advantage of by a young female family member. I did not understand until recently how Satan used this to fuel destruction and confusion. In elementary school, boys started to taunt and tease me about my appearance. The reason behind their belittling was because I didn’t look like a grown woman at age 12. This planted a seed of rejection and pain in my heart towards men. I was convinced no man would ever want me. Also at this age, I was shown lesbian pornography. This awoke something within me that I wasn’t even aware of at the time. I became obsessed and fascinated with sex. I began watching pornography constantly. ​

At age 13, I attended a youth camp that only caused more harm in my life. I was attracted to a girl who was there, and I could tell she was attracted to me as well. I didn’t really know what this was and I didn’t fully understand. A girl who was one room over from us in the dorms just so happened to be a lesbian. She explained to me and the girl I was attracted to about all the aspects of the lesbian lifestyle. She told us how we should dress, the roles, and the layout of a relationship. This intrigued something deep within me. For the first time I felt wanted and worthy of someone’s love. After church camp, I came out as bisexual and I told everyone. I told my family, youth group, and my school. I chose to identify as bisexual in hopes that one day possibly a man would love me. I then began adopting the philosophy of the world. “Love is love no matter the gender of the person. All that matters is your happiness.”

I knew deep down Jesus still loved me regardless of the feelings I was having. I convinced myself that because of God’s grace and His forgiving nature I could act upon my desires. The devil deceived me and presented me the case of my desires of not being “that bad”. The enemy told me that God and my parents wanted to ruin my fun and happiness, and I believed him. What the enemy forgot to mention is that this temptation was an invitation to sin and sin is an invitation for the enemy to enter my life and wreak havoc on it. God gives us parameters and commandments for our protection.

By age 14, I was identifying as a lesbian. I began attempting to fill the void in my heart and the desire to be loved with getting in relationships with women. The void within me felt like it was unending, so my pornography consumption increased. My relationship with God was unstable. I was hurting so deeply. I would have encounters with Him on Sunday and Wednesday, but by that night I was falling back into my old habits. At 15, I cut my hair short and dressed as masculine as I could. I met a woman online who was 5 years older than me. She drove from Minnesota to Arkansas so we could meet up. She took advantage of me and it took me years to even understand what happened. My views of what sexual intimacy was supposed to look like came from pornography. This relationship also shaped my view on what love and intimacy was supposed to look like. I thought my body was entitled to who I was dating. Pornography taught me that. That’s how messed up and perverse it is. It takes God’s design for sex and perverts it by making a counterfeit. The devil takes God’s design for sex and attempts to recreate it. He masks it and presents it as love, but it is lust.

Right before I turned 17, I met a woman who was 20 almost 21. We began a relationship, but we were deceitful from the beginning. She met my family and I introduced her as a close friend. She attended church with me regularly and I was lying to everyone who was close to me. About eight months into the relationship we began plotting for me to move in with her when I turned 18. We knew my parents wouldn’t handle it well if we told them face to face, so on the night of my 18th birthday I “moved out” without letting my parents know what was happening. When they walked into my room that morning to sing Happy Birthday, they found my phone and a message on it explaining where I was and who I was. In the message I told them if they didn’t accept who I was and allow my partner around that I would not be present in their lives. They were heartbroken and in complete shock, but their heartbreak did not stop them from praying for me. Of course, pain and heartbreak were their reaction at first, but when everything began to simmer down, they began to pray. My Dad told me he would pray for a completed work to be done and that I would not return from my wandering until every ounce of wanting to return to the lifestyle had left me. Then God gave my Dad a word. He told him, “My misery would become my ministry.” My parents held on to that word and the promises of God.

This was the first time I was able to live “my truth”. I felt liberated and free, but as the relationship progressed conviction started to rise in my heart. I would hear the voice of God saying, “You know I’m coming back one day soon, what are you doing?” “You know what my word says.” I would shut out the voice of God and attempt to drown it out. I began putting all of myself in my relationship. Shortly after moving in together, we were engaged. I thought I was getting my “happily ever after”. Gradually, signs of an emotionally abusive relationship began to surface. She would come against my intelligence and in doing so she convinced me I was too incompetent to do anything on my own. I became dependent on her for everything. She was my source and that’s exactly what she wanted. She became so controlling she wouldn’t allow me to see my family or hang out with my friends.

As the relationship progressed, we were not able to get along. We couldn’t even be in the same room without arguing. This devastated me. She was my everything, but yet here I was with nothing to show for it. All I felt was a void inside my chest and hopelessness. Through this dark time, I kept remembering the peace that God brought me in the past and I began longing for it. I turned on a Christian radio station one day, and I heard Reckless Love by Cory Asbury for the first time. “No shadow you won’t light up, mountain you won’t climb up coming after me. There is no wall you won’t kick down lie you won’t tear down coming after me.” The love of God reached through the speakers and met my heart and life right there. As I drove down the gravel road towards my home, I also felt hopelessness. I knew the turmoil and bondage that was waiting for me there. That night as I made dinner, I shared with her and proclaimed how Jesus will leave the 99 to find the lost one. She looked at me like I was crazy. After she went to bed the Lord laid on my heart to read Revelation. I was terrified and the fear of God was instilled in me. He wanted to show me what was in store for me if I continued to choose sin over Him.

Satan started telling me I was too unworthy to have Jesus. He told me I had gone too far to ever be redeemed. I bought into that lie. The immense guilt I felt afterwards was unbearable. The “fun” of my sin was over. I couldn’t find rest. I couldn’t eat.

I went to lay down that night in the King-sized bed next to her. I felt so alone. I reached out my foot to just touch hers. I just wanted to feel the presence of someone. I felt with every fiber of my being even that was wrong.

The next morning, I called my Dad, and suddenly I shifted the conversation to ask how to get out of this lifestyle. I felt God pulling my heart back to Him, and I finally felt the release to surrender. My parents came and picked me up that afternoon. They greeted me with open arms and a forgiving heart just like the parable of the prodigal son. Their prodigal was finally returning home, and God had answered their prayers to deliver me. That night I went to church for the first time in 4 years. During praise and worship I felt the love of God wash over me. I felt His grace reach parts of my life I always thought would be damaged. In that moment I felt years worth of trauma, brokenness, abuse, and pain mend within me.

“Therefore if anyone is in Christ [that is, grafted in, joined to Him by faith in Him as Savior], he is a new creature [reborn and renewed by the Holy Spirit]; the old things [the previous moral and spiritual condition] have passed away. Behold, new things have come [because spiritual awakening brings a new life].”

The love and grace of God reached down into my pit and rescued me. There is hope found in Jesus. There is purpose found in Jesus. I found out who He says I am. I am not what the world wants to define me as. I’m not what my flesh wants or wants to define me as. I am a Child of the most High God. I am made in the image of Christ, and I will only accept the things He speaks over me.

I don't know the pain you are facing or your inner struggles. I have never walked a day in your shoes, but Jesus knows every pang of your heart. He sees every moment you break down and say you can’t go on. Without Him, you truly can’t. This life is not possible without Him.

I would still be in the lifestyle and I would be on the floor in shambles if Jesus didn’t continually search after us. Jesus loves you. He died for you. He died for every sin, every shameful thing, every disease, and every vile and evil thing that would try and take hold of his creation.

God wants to take away the pain. He desperately wants to take it for you. He already bore all your sin on calvary, we just have to receive his gift.