“It was never my intention to meet anyone. It was supposed to be just a secret thing,” says Elicia Brown, remembering the days when she began to sink into a sin she had spent years preaching against as a young woman.
On the surface, Elicia’s life was the picture of a solid Christian woman’s.
“I was raised in church, going almost every Sunday,” she says. “My Mom and Dad weren’t very strict about it, but they had a very strong God consciousness and wanted to make sure their children always knew about God. Somewhere in between their push and my own need to get away, I grew a very strong desire for God.”
“I continued to go to church even when my family dropped off. Over the years, I think I have done everything in the church. I was a Sunday School teacher, youth ministry leader, choir director, street preacher, Bible College Teacher and the list goes on. I think I had a hand in almost every auxiliary in some way or another.”
She remained active in the church as she got married and began to raise her family. However, bubbling under the surface, something was amiss.
“I knew how to counsel people, having taken courses in Bible College, but I never applied it to my own life,” she says. “I struggled over and over again to remove the crazy thoughts and feelings and even strong desires I was having for the same sex.”
Like so many who struggle with same-sex attraction, Elicia’s was rooted in something that had happened to her as a child.
“It stemmed from several encounters of molestation from a female family member that took my innocence away as a little girl,” she explains. “I didn’t know what she was doing or why. I was so ashamed and so scared. I was too embarrassed to tell anyone, so I held it in for so many years, long after she stopped.”
“But something just wasn’t right with me anymore. Something just wouldn’t leave my mind,” she says, explaining that sexual thoughts about women were always in the back of her mind.
As she continued in ministry and dedicated herself to her family life, her marriage faced many struggles, and while her husband retreated into himself, Elicia got lost in the new world of internet chatrooms. Here, she realized she could be whoever she wanted. And those thoughts that had stayed in the back of her mind finally had an outlet.
Before she knew it, she was meeting with and dating women in secret and living a “double life,” which she says was one of the hardest things she could have done, but she enjoyed her alternate identity too much.
“You look at your family that you love so much and know that you are living a lie and you feel that inside you are the most horrible person in the world and you want to stop, but something won’t let you,” she says. “You keep repenting and say you won’t do it again but your nature pulls you right back in.”
When her husband passed away after 20 years of marriage, she vowed to the Lord she would give up that lifestyle, but again, she couldn’t, and she even tried to introduce a woman she was in a relationship with to her family, which didn’t go over well.
This was a breaking point for Elicia. As her family reacted badly to her open lesbianism, the draw of the woman she was involved with began to lose its appeal.
“It tore me apart inside because I knew I didn’t want to be with her. She was pressuring me to move in with her and start a life with her. I had too much of God’s word inside of me. I couldn’t go all out and live this life. The Holy Spirit was tugging at my heart constantly. I knew I had to let her go,” she says.
Finally, she knew she had to make a change. Turning to the internet once again, she began to look for help.
“I began to email a counselor once a week as a means of accountability. I was finally serious after so many years. I needed to be free,” she says. “I just wanted Jesus.”
“I confessed that I was a liar, a cheater, an adulterer, an abuser of myself with mankind and anything else I could confess. I laid it at the cross of Christ and I asked God to set me free. I wanted to experience real freedom, not the ups and downs I was doing before just because I felt sorry for myself.”
What is truly amazing about Elicia’s story is that her deliverance didn’t happen overnight, rather, the Lord slowly changed her heart and over time, set her free.
“I won’t tell you that it happened instantly, but through a process and many circumstances, God started removing the desire for the lifestyle and for this particular relationship away. Soon, I noticed I didn’t even look at women anymore. I had no desire for them. Over time, I finally said goodbye to the relationship I held so strong in my heart. That was very difficult. The only way it was a successful split is because I decided that Jesus was the greatest and that no one and nothing was more valuable to my life than Him. I had to put down my idols which was her and I had to take up my cross and follow Christ.”
Slowly, and little by little, Elicia felt less and less draw towards her old lover, eventually not minding when she was seeing someone new, and slowly, she left her mind. All Elicia could do was continue to focus on Christ and lay all her burdens down before Him.
“Only through God was I able to get through it,” she says. “Did I fall, absolutely. But after a while, I didn’t stay down because the desire to please God outweighed my desire to stay in my dark place.”
One of the people who was able to support Elicia through her struggles was Janet Boynes, whose book “Called Out” and personal testimony spoke so much to Elicia. She reached out to her online, and eventually built a relationship with Janet and her ministry. She is now able to use her own history in the church to work with Janet Boynes Ministries to reach other people whose struggles she understands.
“I have just fallen in love with Jesus and I am quite excited to see how God is going to put me back into the place that I fell from,” she says.
Of those who are struggling with sexual sin, she says, “I believe we struggle because of the great love of God and our awareness of the heart of God to conform to the image of His Son, Jesus. There is something deep down within that checks us and lets us know that where we are at in life is not God’s perfect plan for our life.”
“However, we just do not want to or find it very difficult in our various moments to relinquish our rights and allow God to completely own us and consume us. So we fight with ourselves and with others and of course, with God. We will continue to fight as long as we do not see God as great and loving and powerful and we look at our situations as more valuable and precious than the purpose and plan of God in our life. That was me. We need to refocus. We need to remove our attention off of us and our relationship, our partners or even our desires and see God.”
She says that accountability was key for her to truly make the change in her life that she needed to make.
As for Christians who are trying to reach those lost in sexual sin, she urges us to be compassionate and meet them where they are.
“I already knew I was in the wrong place with God,” she says. “I didn’t need someone to beat me over the head and tell me. I needed someone to love me enough to take my hand and help me through it. I needed someone that would not compromise and agree with me to keep from being angry. I needed someone that was strong enough in their relationship with God to hold on and keep reaching out for me. Keep checking on me. I needed someone to say, ‘I love you. How did you day go today? Tell me about your successes? Failures? Can I pray with you about it?'”
“Anyone trying to help a person in sin should embrace that person and love them into wholeness,” she advises. “As with Janet, she found people that showed her how to dress more feminine. The women took her in and mentored her. They didn’t care about her past. They saw how to reshape her destiny. They used what was in their hands and used it, not casting the first stone. Love will win them. That’s who Jesus is.”