A MATTER OF THE HEART
(The Dawn Killion Story)
By: Dawn Killion
I looked around the crowded courtroom. I knew I was guilty of a pretty serious crime. Six months before, two other women and myself had set fire to a naval building in Jacksonville, Florida. The structure was totally destroyed.
Now the case was over, and I was about to be sentenced. I held my breath as the judge looked down at me.
"Young lady, you are guilty of willful destruction of federal property. I sentence you to seven years in prison."
I suddenly felt winded, like someone had punched me in the stomach. Seven years in prison! I couldn't believe it. How had I gotten myself into such a mess?
Actually, it wasn't much of a surprise to anyone that my life had come to this. I was only 23, but I'd been going down the wrong path for years.
All my life I felt different from other girls. I believed God had made a mistake -- I should have been born a boy. "God, please change me into a boy," I used to pray. "Then people will like me and accept me." Being a "tomboy," people said that I looked and acted more like a boy than a girl. Those comments hurt deep inside. I felt rejected; I didn't like being a girl.
As I entered the sixth grade, I became aware of my sexuality. Physically I still looked more like a boy and the other kids made fun of me. One day I heard someone use the word, "Homo." I asked someone what it meant. As soon as they told me, I knew I was one. But I kept my discovery to myself.
My parents were good people and they did their best to love me, but I was emotionally troubled. They could not reach me. My mom and I fought all the time. My two younger sisters were very feminine, and I couldn't relate to them. They thought I was weird. My older brother and I did not relate either. I felt like the black sheep of the family. I just didn't fit in.
I became increasingly rebellious. I refused to obey anyone, and I was always in trouble. In junior high I began to use cigarettes, drugs, and alcohol. Soon I was failing in school.
At age 13, I developed a serious crush on my PE teacher. She was my idol. Though I was failing everywhere else, I excelled in athletics. My mother noticed my preoccupation with this woman and even asked me if I thought I might be a lesbian. Of course I denied it, but I knew it was true.
I dropped out of school at the age of 15. I fell into a deep depression and would sleep for 15-16 hours a day, then stay up during the night watching old movies on television. Finally, at 16, I left home for good.
At age 18, I joined the army. I'd heard they had a lot of lesbians. "That's what I am, so it's time to start living like one," I told myself.
I began basic training and soon had my first female lover. However, my army days lasted a grand total of eight months. I was more interested in my new lifestyle than in pursuing a military career. I had fallen in love with the bar life as well: drinking, dancing and spending as much time as possible with other gay women.
Although I'd believed in Jesus since I was a little girl, I didn't know much about the Bible. I'd heard it was wrong to be gay.
Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor maIe prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. (I Cor. 6: 8-10 NIV).
I don't want to go to hell, I thought to myself, but I was born gay, so there's no way to change. I drank even more to numb the guilt inside.
Then I joined the navy at age 21. Drinking took over my life. I went through several alcohol rehabilitation programs. Finally the navy diagnosed me as a "hopeless, chronic alcoholic." In 1979 I was discharged.
Just after getting out of the navy, I found a new lover. She helped me to stop drinking and get my life back together. I got more interested in gay rights. My lover and I traveled to Washington, D.C. to participate in the first National Gay and Lesbian march in October 1979.
I was charged up as never before in my life. I felt my calling was to fight for the rights of "my people" and to become politically active.
Two weeks later, a close friend in the navy tried to kill herself. She was being discharged for being gay. When her lover came over at 3 a.m., I had been drinking and dropping acid.
In my drug-induced state, I decided to retaliate against the navy by throwing a Moletov cocktail at the Naval Investigative Service building on base. The fire we started was a lot bigger than we expected. The whole building burned down and we were caught and sentenced.
In prison, I began to sober up. I couldn't drink as much as before, and I began seeking God. I knew He had been watching over me because I was still alive.
God must have a purpose for my life, I thought. I wanted to know what it was. My little sister and her husband were praying for me, and had asked their whole church to also pray. When I talked to them, I could sense God's love for me.
I had also noticed a group of Christian women inmates who frequently prayed together inside the prison. I knew one of them. She had recently become a Christian and had given up being gay.
A couple of weeks later, I picked up a book about the Bible that my sister and her husband had sent me. As I looked at it, the thought struck me: Maybe the Bible is true. I got my Bible and opened it up. As I began reading, the words pierced my heart. I knew it was true and that homosexuality was not God's will for me:
The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities -- his eternal power and divine nature -- have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.
For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking become futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles.
Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator - who is forever praised.
Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. In the some way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion.
Furthermore, since they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, he gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what ought not to be done. They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; they are senseless, faithless, heartless, and ruthless. Although they know God's righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them. (Romans 1: 18-32 NIV).
I knelt down beside my bed and asked Jesus to take over my life. "Jesus, I'm sorry for my sins," I prayed. "I know it's wrong to be gay. I'm willing to give that up to You. Please help me to change."
I said that prayer nine years ago, and God heard my heart's cry. I was released from prison after two-and-a-half years. I got involved in a church, leading Bible studies and doing prison evangelism. All I wanted to do was tell others about Christ and serve Him in whatever way I could.
I had been a Christian for almost four years when Satan began to make an all-out attack on me through homosexual temptations again. I had met two gay women on the job. I tried to witness to them, but before long, they were wrongly influencing me. I had left my church by then, and I had no church body to help me. My friends tried to help but they didn't know how, and I became more and more isolated.
After several months of extreme loneliness, I gave in to the desire to drink. On several occasions, I drank and then found myself going to a women's gay bar. I felt desperate for relief from my loneliness and isolation.
After a few times of doing this, I felt totally devastated. How could I do this to the Lord after all He had done for me? Broken-hearted, I cried out to Him for help.
Then a woman at Bible study heard about my background. "There's a ministry in San Rafael, California," she told me. "It's for people coming out of homosexuality. You should phone them."
Satan tried to convince me it was hopeless, but I finally called Love in Action and talked to Anita Worthen. She invited me to one of the Friday night open meetings for women.
During the meeting, I was so excited. Here were other women just like me, who loved the Lord with all their hearts but who also struggled with homosexual feelings. Shortly after that, Anita invited me to move into one of the live-in houses and I jumped at the chance.
That was three years ago, and the Lord has done much healing in me since then. I feel like a totally different person. The program helped me understand what led me into lesbianism in the first place. Gradually, I have learned how to gain victory over the emotions that took me astray.
The program wasn't easy. Many times I wanted to run, but the Love in Action leaders stuck with me, loving me and offering encouragement that God was doing a deep work of healing in my life. The program also provided me with a safe and nurturing environment, a sense of family and support that I really needed.
Today, I know that my involvement in the lesbian lifestyle for almost eight years was just the outward manifestation of a deeply wounded little girl who never felt loved. But the Lord has done a tremendous work, exposing and pulling up the different "root" causes of my choice to go into homosexuality. He has also healed my relationship with my parents -- especially my mother. He has given us back the love that Satan tried to destroy.
Ironically, my true freedom began while I was still incarcerated. Though prison walls surrounded me, Jesus gave me a liberty I'd never known before.
Thank you for taking the time to read my testimony and my prayer is that the Lord will somehow use what I have shared to minister to you. To Jesus I give all the praise and glory for the victory that He has given me over Satan's influence in my life.
Dear Reader - are you at peace with God? If not, you can be. Do you know what awaits you when you die? You can have the assurance from the Holy Spirit that heaven will be your home, if you would like to be certain. Either Jesus Christ died for yours sins, or He didn't (He did!). Are you prepared to stand before God on the Judgment Day and tell Him that you didn't need the shed blood of Jesus Christ on the Cross to cover your sins? We plead with you ... please don't make such a tragic mistake.
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