Jessica Araya

My name is Jessica, from Chile; in my family we are 5 siblings, since I was a child we went to evangelical Church my mother a housewife and my father worker of the Army, a very strong and chauvinistic male. 

When my mother got pregnant with me, my father told her he strictly wanted to have a boy. In that moment my story of rejection began.

My mother, scared for the warning of my father, she used to repeat herself that I had to be a boy. The day of my birth I didn’t want to be birthed. It took many hours of labour to the doctor and the team of the Hospital because I couldn’t get out…. When finally they took me out, in pain and even still bleeding, my mother asked to the doctor the sex of the baby and the answer was “a beautiful little girl” my mother broke down in tears of despair!

Growing up I remember constantly feeling rejected by my parents, no one to comfort me, hug me during a difficult time, hold my hand during a scary movie! I felt constantly uncovered and unworthy of love. I feared my short-tempered father I couldn’t speak to him. After my birth my mother suffered a deep depression for 9 years. I think it started with a postnatal depression and it was followed by many family problems. She took all her anger and frustration out on me; she used to hit me for no reason. I avoided to talk or being close to her to avoid the insult or being hit. I remember her comparing me to my friend who performed better in school and wishing she could replace me as a child!

“I wanted to be the boy..”

I would never forget those words…. That day I felt that my life was broken in thousand pieces. I grew up with such a huge emptiness inside of me because of the rejection that I received from the very womb. I had no idea who I was. I always wanted a sister to talk to, or that advise me. But I was always alone in the yard; I played alone and even used to speak to myself… 

One day I was sick and during that time in bed I discovered a book: “Grace and the stranger” I had never read a book before and I remember it was such a delight, my imagination flew a thousand, it was like disappear from my house, get into the story and live every scene almost in reality, I allowed that my mind fly and I started to dream with the characters of the story. I realised that I did not want to be the girl but I wanted to be the boy that flirts with the girl, I wanted to be the man of the story. 

With my neighbour Camila used to play for hours, at my house. One day she told me that we will play to “mother and father”. My friend appointed the roles, she will be the mother and I will be the father (what I liked). I remember a point where I pretended to go to work and she said “give me a kiss” and I was shocked but she nodded: “come” and she took a bed sheet put it on her mouth and kissed me.

I will never ever forget that kiss because despite of the bed sheet I could felt the warmth of her lips… the sensation of pleasure that I had confused me but I really liked it. We kept on ending our play time with the kissing and it was more intense and I didn’t want to stop her. Something awoke in me, I didn’t understand what I felt but I became attracted to women. It was something so strong and at the same time scary because I couldn’t share it with anybody especially my mother.

Over the years my attraction towards women grew stronger and stronger, I suffered in silence, and my mind digressed. On one occasion a friend forced me to have sex with him, I don’t remember much, we were kids. I think after that I started experimenting with masturbation.

Years later I woke up at night because a boy who was in our house was trying to touch my private parts. I woke up and asked him: what are you doing? He excused himself saying that he was trying to cover me up. I perfectly understood what was happening…., from that moment I never slept with my bedroom door open again. A hatred for men arose within me, I felt disgusted by them. I hated my father because he never showed affection for me, he was cold and indifferent; men were a disappointment for me. I also hated myself and wished I could just cease to exist.

 

“I remember how I stood horrified in front of them upon realising that I myself was a lesbian! “

At the age of 13 my parents sent me to an all girls school. With no motivation to live I paled in comparison to the beautiful, vibrant girls in my school. Once I overheard them speaking about lesbians and how absolutely disgusting they are. I was not familiar with the term ‘lesbian’ so I asked and I remember how I stood horrified in front of them upon realising that I myself was a lesbian! That was the point where I fell in my second diagnosed depression.

But at the same time something happened to me, at that moment it was magical: I fell in love with a classmate ! It was a bomb of emotions repressed to the fullest. I suffered in silence, every time the night came I thought of her but every single morning, I had to wake up again to a harsh reality. A whole scholastic year of fantasies which led me to failing class and having to repeat the whole year. This separated us due to our schedules I felt even more desperate and broken! I cried every night, wanting to die.

At the age of 17 my life was a total internal chaos. My parents took me very often to evangelical church but I didn’t really have Jesus in my life. I had heard him but He was very far away in time and space and He would not attend to my requests. But one day, they took me, and something happened. The previous night I had cried so much that I got a fever. I thought to end my life and that Sunday when the Church choir began to sing, I felt that it was like a thunderbolt that pierced my head.
 I started to cry, I cried all the worship and I repented of my sins, my parents wanted to take me to the hospital (they thought I was sick) but I told them I was fine. That day Christ came into my life.

At that time my father requested a transfer at his work and we went to live in southern Chile. I began to congregate in the Evangelical Church (but not where my family went), to grow in the knowledge of the Bible. There I met some pastors who welcomed me very well, I spent 10 years with them. I worked in Sunday school, I was a youth leader, I did evangelism, I preached, I worked in all areas of the Church. But something was happening inside of me, I had an unsolved secret and it was my attraction to women. God knows I was fighting with all my strength to not feel that. I felt guilty but couldn’t get it out of me. I didn’t want to talk to anyone about it, I was afraid of being rejected. One day I told my pastors, they just prayed for me, but they didn’t know how to help me. 

I suffered from having those feelings, the devil lived accusing me. Every so often I had erotic dreams where I was the man and had sex with women, occasionally I masturbated with lesbian fantasies and after doing it, I promised God that I would not do it again, I felt the most sinful person on the planet. My Christian life was no longer so pleasant, because it was more an internal suffering. I wanted to live the peace that the word of God promised, I wanted that joy, and I wanted that freedom. I was still mired in self-esteem problems, I didn’t love myself, and I felt ugly. It made me uncomfortable when men flirted with me or told me I was cute. I was simply not happy. 

Years went by and I attempted to be in 2 different relationships with men but they both failed as I could not love them more than brothers. 

I had been serving in the congregation for almost a decade (faithfully, with dedication, with enthusiasm) still hiding my secret. I had the opportunity to go to a conference in another city in the country. There I met a sister of my age, she was a national youth leader, I was a leader in my region when we met it was a unique chemistry! There were many compatible things, we talked a lot, and we shared as much as we could. It awoke a deep affection between us. Things escalated from there and we ended up in an intimate relationship! We became crazy about each other and kept our relationship while being in Church. One day the Pastor of my old congregation arrived, he traveled from the city where my parents lived to where I was living, just to talk to me. He told me that leaders of the Church knew what was happening between us, and that I should stop the relationship because if I did not, this would explode and it would be a serious problem. I was afraid and felt devastated. But I decided to leave. The director of her church was in charge of exposing it everywhere. He warned them to be careful with “the perverted sister”, to keep an eye on me. Over time I was able to recover from depression without the need for medication. I didn’t look for a woman again. I was terrified of the idea of suffering, that they would attack me again like the Church did. I participated sporadically in the Church, but no longer held positions. They didn’t interest me either, the Church tasted bitter to me.

I moved on to fully embrace the lesbian lifestyle. I discovered a group of gay people who launched me into the gay life. I went into full rebellion. I was fascinated by the partying the alcohol and all the attention I was getting from women! I had several different partners and felt like I was valid, women wanted me and I was quickly going from one to another. After this I decided to finally come out to my mother. She cried and later became angry, she didn’t even want my clothes to be washed with theirs because she did not want to get AIDS from me. I hated her for saying this and her words triggered me to move out of the house with the partner I had at the time. This relationship with my partner however was extremely toxic and I was constantly missing work as I was not fit by the doctor to carry on with a normal life. One day I was high on marijuana and I thought I would die! I felt death very strong.  In the middle of the party I just cried and asked God to forgive me and within my drugged state I told my friends, who were trying to calm me down, not to tell my mother about it. I was intoxicated for almost 24 hours. God once again delivered me from death because the marijuana overdoses almost paralysed my heart. After that I just drank and smoked (cigarettes) and took pills for depression.

I managed to understand the origin of my lesbianism.

After several more relationships I went to a seminary in Córdoba (Argentina), to a program called Aguas Vivas (Living Waters). I spent a week with them and I managed to understand the origin of my lesbianism. I understood that my parents’ rejection had broken my gender identity. Also that the lack of affection in my home had left me with a void that I sought to fill with the love of a woman. I was never identified by my mother as a woman and I was never affirmed as a woman by my father. When I discovered that, I felt that a light of hope had opened in my life! There was a way out, God could heal me and get me out of everything. But that was until there. 

I started to participate in a therapy group with other homosexual people, it was certainly a great help but I finally realised that I did not want to give up my lifestyle (except then that I had finally found the love of my life). Something inside me knew that I was in an arid desert and that I needed that living water that Jesus promised John 7: 37 In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. 38 He that believeth in me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. 

One night I was on the beach with my partner, while she was watching TV I left the cabin to look at the stars and smoke a cigarette. I looked at the sky and said “God please help me, get me out of all this, give me true happiness, forgive me for all the bad things I have done in front of you, please help me to get out of lesbianism because I can’t with my own strength. I was still in a relationship but God said to me “Just as Abraham took his son to the mountain, where I asked him to sacrifice him to prove his fidelity to me, so I also ask you to sacrifice this love for my love. Have faith; leave her because I will help you. I will begin to do a miracle in your life. With the pain in my soul I decided to leave her. She almost died when I told her. I told her that she was in danger, that she could lose everything; on the other hand I would not lose anything “Because I love you, I leave you. Maybe one day you will understand. I can no longer bear the weight of guilt, of knowing that your life can be fall apart in a second, and you’ll end up hating me because I’ll be the one to blame for your misfortunes, and I don’t want that,” I told her.  We drifted away, and I didn’t see her again (until many years later). It was heartbreaking, so agonising. But that led me to counselling with a sister, who helped me a lot and was my Christian mentor, who helped me along this path. I wanted to meet again, and I went to a Christian church where I currently participate. I started a very tough resignation process: getting away from many people, getting rid of objects, changing my cell phone number. Part of me wanted to get back to her. I sent her a couple of messages, and she replied curtly: “Leave me alone because I am happy with another couple.” It was a very strong blow to my pride.

I kept congregating, but always in my mind I thought I could slip up again. I decided nobody was going to know. The important thing (according to me) was to go to church and pray sincerely. One day I met a girl and got involved with her, conscious that I was deliberately sinning. I had no excuses, I went back. I left the church and began a deep relationship with her, but with guilt, many guilt, that would not let me live. I had a series of dreams that left me disturbed.

One night sleeping in this woman’s house, I dreamed that the room was full of headstones. A woman with a black hat appeared, terrifying me I woke up desperate. I looked at the whole room, and felt that death was there. The next day, I dreamed that a large dog was chasing me through an old wooden house, trying to attack and bite me. I was running around the house trying to get away from the dog, and suddenly I was climbing on a tall piece of furniture, but the dog was jumping to catch up with me. I woke up almost drowning with fear, but this was just a warning of what happened to me later, an experience that would change my life forever.

” I saw many people in a sea of oil, burning, screaming.”

A few nights later I felt that I was fading and going down to a place, like another dimension. I called my partner and she told me to calm down, they were just my imagination. Then something unexpected happened, something almost unreal. I went to bed, after midnight. Suddenly I fainted again. I began to feel terror, an inexplicable fear. And I had a vision: I was in hell. I don’t know how to explain it, it was supernatural, it happened to me. I was still lying down but in hell. At the bottom of that darkness I saw many people in a sea of oil, burning, screaming. I couldn’t hear anything; I could hardly see the expressions of horror on their faces. At that moment I did not understand that these people were the ones who had rejected God, the ones who did not want to abandon their abominable practices, nor had they truly repented of their sins. They had loved sin, although God spoke to them and showed his mercy in different ways they ignored his warnings. I stayed there alone. My conscience told me: “Look, the times God spoke to you, and you didn’t listen. The times you knew something was sin, and you did it anyway. The times you could reject sin, and you did it with treachery ” And I told my conscience to shut up. There was only one phrase that I kept repeating: “Forgive me, Lord. Give me one more chance, please. Let me get out of here. Don’t leave me here, and I will serve you”.   I was finally able to get out of bed, desperate. I went to the bathroom, and when I saw myself in the mirror I was scared: my face, white, with an expression of horror, was that of a corpse. I did not look again, because it impressed me. I took a glass of water, my throat was dry, but the water would vanish in seconds, as if an internal fire consumed it quickly.

I was like this for several hours, my 5 senses were sharp, awake like never before, and my conscience accused me of all my sins. My life was spent in a movie over and over again, the

Anguish increased with the passing of the hours. I felt like I was going crazy. I realised that I had wasted my time in nonsense, in foolish things, that I gave importance to nonsense, and that I deserved God’s just condemnation. I had no excuses before Him, I could not demand anything from Him because I was guilty, for my rebellion, my lies, my double life (Ro.1: 18-32). At that moment I thought that I had been rejected by God, and that there would be no second chance. I think that not even the best film director could recreate with special effects what it feels like a supernatural dimension like that, and it seemed so terrifying to me.  At that moment it dawned. I could barely speak. I called a sister, asked her to meet, took a shower and got ready to go out. When I arrived I told her what had happened to me and asked her to please pray for me. She made a prayer of deliverance, for me to come out of bondage to sins sexual sins. While she was praying my stomach started to twist, I felt so much pain that I almost passed out. Crying I told God to forgive me for having led my entire life so foolishly. For the first time I sincerely regretted it from the bottom of my soul. I asked the Lord for forgiveness for the practice of lesbianism, I recognised that this was a sin before Him, that I had led a distorted life and contrary to His original purpose. I told him I was giving up everything, and please give me another chance to serve him faithfully.  Only then did the feeling of being trapped in hell leave me. My body became stable, the pain left, the fear disappeared, the terror became an infinite peace, and I could breathe like never before. It was extraordinary to feel that I was complete, with my soul and body in this physical world. I cried of joy for the new opportunity that God had given me. 

” I’m sure that I will never return to lesbianism”

From then on my life had a 180 degree change. I was free from lesbianism, from all distortion in my mind and emotions. The guilt ceased, before I lived feeling guilty for everything, from that day I felt free, the Lord had been completely renewed.  There was also in me a decision to change, to follow the Lord in faithfulness, in holiness, and total obedience. That has been key to staying firm, without giving in or falling back. God was guiding me in everything, He took me away from people who could stumble. I deleted photos, objects, contacts. I changed harmful habits, I shed wrong beliefs. I changed my ambiguous way of dressing, I have renewed my entire closet 4 times. I am sure that I will never return to lesbianism.

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Jessica’s transformation