"Dear Jesus, I love you, but I don't know what to do." by Kristin (Johnson) Tremba
Seven years ago I found myself on my knees, praying these words: “Dear Jesus, I love you, but I do not know what to do.” At that time I was involved in an intimate relationship with a woman, and I had to decide whether I would continue this relationship.
I had been a Christian since I was five years old, the daughter and granddaughter of Presbyterian ministers, yet I struggled with same sex attraction. I also had engaged in unhealthy relationships with men.
Although I dated in high school, I was ambivalent toward the boys I dated. I was very outgoing and active in music, theater, cheerleading, and other activities. Yet, underneath all this activity and “normalcy” I was struggling with my sexuality and self-image.
In college, I had a non-physical, emotionally dependent relationship with my roommate, which lasted over four years. I was terrified of the romantic love I felt toward her, rationalizing the relationship as merely a deep friendship. Because of my attachment to her, I was not motivated to date men or desire marriage.
After college, however, I became physically involved with a man while I was overseas. I was relieved to be in the arms of a man rather than a woman, but the loss of my virginity, my increasing promiscuity, and my occasional abuse of alcohol began to take its toll. My relationship with this man ended with my having a miscarriage.
In my late twenties, I finally acted out my homosexual feelings and had an emotional and physical affair with a woman. Initially, I felt euphoric, and yet at the same time I felt as if a war was raging inside of me. It was during this affair that I was forced to reconcile being a Christian and living in a homosexual relationship.
I wrestled with the Lord in prayer: I questioned him and I begged him. I attempted to find peace by reading books that described Christians who had reconciled their faith and homosexuality, and I even tried attending a gay-friendly church. However, my anxiety only increased because God was making it clear as I read Scripture that God’s plan for my sexuality was staring at me in Genesis and in the words of Jesus.
Even though I understood the intent of the Scriptures, my feelings and my need over-ruled what I knew to be true. For me to say “no” to this relationship was like someone telling me, “Kristin, you don’t deserve to be loved like this. You’ll never be loved as others are loved.” These thoughts produced such fear and anger inside of me. When I felt the Lord was making it clear to me that I needed to end the relationship with this woman, I would cry uncontrollably, shaking my fists at him for his apparent cruelty in depriving me of intimacy.
And yet despite my fear and resistance, I found myself on my knees, ending the prayer I had started: “Dear Jesus, I love you, and I do not know what to do…but, Lord, let your will be done.”
God answered my prayer, but it was a difficult answer. The relationship came to a sudden end, and I had to pull myself away from people and places. I also had to address my anger at God and my circumstances. It was not easy. I was alone. I was tempted. Difficulties still entered into my life. I struggled being single when I had prayed and hoped eventually to be married and have children. I felt alone at church and had a hard time staying committed to a church.
Yet, in this isolation and suffering, my worst fear of never again experiencing an intimate and passionate relationship was not realized. An amazing thing happened: I discovered that Jesus was the best source of love I had ever known.
It was Christ’s intense and demonstrative love for me that led me to obedience, and it was my obedience to Christ that led me to sexual healing and wholeness.
Although I had always believed in God and loved him, what I failed to fully believe was how he longed to take care of me and provide for all my needs. I still have to stop daily and let the Lord remind me of this truth: that he is good, that he will provide, and that he loves me more than I can comprehend.
The world would have had me believe that my identity was found in embracing lesbianism, or embracing a healthy sex life, or embracing Mr. Right and riding off into the sunset, but my identity and worth was (and is) found in embracing and obeying my Creator, my Lord and Savior. For I am daughter and heir of the living God.
My greatest fear in confessing sin and turning from it was in thinking that God would have nothing waiting for me at the other end. How wrong I was. God has provided so much: His love, human friendships, a deeper relationship with my family, a healthy church community, ministry, and a husband and child.
For I am a living witness to the Scriptures which attest that God is able to do immeasurably more than all we can ask or imagine, according to his power at work within us. To him be all glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.
Kristin (Johnson) Tremba is the former director of One by One. A longtime Presbyterian who has personally struggled with sexual brokenness, Kristin has shared her story in churches as well as in colleges, universities and seminaries across the country. She works primarily with denominational leaders to reach more churches nationwide and around the world with a redemptive, biblical message about sexuality. Prior to her position at One by One, Kristin taught English in the Bronx and served as an instructor at the Savannah College of Art and Design and at Boston University. She has also worked with the Peace Corps in Albania, Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan. Kristin holds a Master of Arts degree from Columbia University as well as a Master of Divinity degree from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. She has been interviewed by national networks such as the Moody Broadcasting Network and Focus on the Family’s radio news feature Family News in Focus. She is the author of Sexual Wholeness in a Broken World. Kristin and her husband, Mike, reside in Orlando, Florida.