Shortly after my college graduation, I noticed Trevor (not his real name) in the “Body Life” group I attended on Sunday nights. I think he’d been attending Church of the Open Door for quite a while, but I’d been too preoccupied with school to pay attention. Body Life groups had restructured over that summer, however, so there he was. There I was.
When the pastors gave Trevor the responsibility of organizing the 1977 Christmas program, somehow he and I came up with the idea that I’d write a short play for it. (For a first effort at writing drama, it was lousy.) Predictably, working on the play increased my contact with this man.
By the night of the performance, I’d fallen completely in love with Trevor, certain that he was perfect for me. At that time, very few men in the church had college degrees, which I mistakenly considered necessary in a husband. Trevor’s degree in performing arts therefore made him my educational equal. I also found his non-conformist mannerisms (which I attributed to his theater background) decidedly appealing. And when he shared his insights from Scripture, my heart melted!
One of the pastors counseled me to show interest in Trevor, encouraging me to invite him to dinner. Mom really set a nice table that night. After that, he and I often sat together in church. Yet he seemed to be content with only a deep friendship. When we talked about marriage, he spoke in general terms rather than about us.
One summer afternoon we met because I’d thought God had given me a revelation that both of us had problems with self-esteem. I had planned to ever so carefully reveal that my struggle came from being almost 25 and still waiting for a guy to notice me. (I know…really smooth!)
Trevor spoke first, speaking shocking words that shouldn’t have surprised me. “I have homosexual tendencies.”
Trevor, I should mention, wasn’t physically handsome. Not ugly, mind you, but he would have been type cast as a Caucasian Steve Urkle…only a bit more effeminate. So I thought he simply needed assurance that a woman could find him attractive.
I didn’t talk about myself that day, muttering that I saw my struggles as trivial compared to his. We continued our friendship, and he took me to a theme park for my 25th birthday. But by early December of 1978, he finally realized that I loved him. A month earlier, he had gone to help establish Open Door’s church plant in San Francisco, so he wrote me a letter saying he thought he shouldn’t see me anymore.
For a year, I fed my anger and self-pity. In a Tuesday night Bible Study, I latched on to 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 as a promise that the Lord would use my heartache over Trevor to minister to others.
3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. (NASB)
I had a final face-to-face conversation with Trevor in January of 1980 (set up by a mutual friend). I praise the Lord that Trevor said, “Deb, it’s not your disability; it’s mine.” He felt trapped by homosexual desires that he hadn’t acted on, and sorry that he couldn’t love me the way I wanted to be loved. As we parted, he said bitterly, “I hope someday I’ll hear that the Lord used this mess.”
In future installments of this Autobiography With Purpose series, I’ll show how the Lord indeed used Trevor’s homosexuality to propel me into ex-gay ministry.