Testimony: Paul Arsenault

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I grew up my entire adult life as a gay man.

But I am not gay now.

And this is what I believe.

When I was in the fourth grade I really liked this teacher. He gave me a tool that helped make my life easier. Well, the neighborhood girls I hung out with were infatuated with him. And in my mind I was like, maybe I’m infatuated with him too.

Well let’s start from the beginning. I grew up in a large family of two brothers and three sisters. I was second to the youngest. The first five years of my life I was in the hospital more than I was out of the hospital. Come to find out, asthma was what was making me sick. That’s when I met the first man that made an impact on my life. He was an incredible doctor. He is the one who diagnosed me with asthma and started me on weekly treatments that helped me to grow out of it.

By the way, I had a small newspaper photo of each of these men in the 8×11 frame of my school photo that hung in the living room with all the family pictures. Those two men, my teacher and my doctor made a huge and positive impact on my life.

I started to wonder if I was gay

When I was in high school my oldest sister had already been married and divorced. Eventually she “came out” and told the family she is a lesbian. It started making me wonder if I was gay. Especially because I was already concerned that I was infatuated with men.

Around this time, my older brothers were looking at pornographic magazines and it disgusted me. In fact, that pushed me further towards wanting to be gay. My entire childhood, there was all girls in the neighborhood until I got older and finally two boys moved to the neighborhood. In my teen years my physical being was a bit remarkable.  I was 115 pounds when I graduated. I could not gain weight and my voice was extremely high. I did not find out why until I was 28 years old. My body did not produce testosterone.  At this time I really felt like a woman in a man’s body.  Which in my mind caused me to decide I was gay.

I grew up Catholic and attended church regularly.  Now that I had decided I was gay I always felt guilty about it.  I was feeling that way because it was not fully accepted. Plus it said in the Bible that it was not acceptable. Well, over the years a lot of people told me that the Bible was “written by men” and that it may not be true. Not everything in the Bible is true, so I thought. So I only pulled out what I needed. Well my biggest issue with that statement was this:  how do I know what is right and what is wrong in the Bible?

People told me I was born this way

Many people told me that I was born this way. Another thing that bothered me was the way I would flip flop back and forth, wanting to be gay or wanting to live a straight life. People told me, “you can’t change who you are”. Well, I had a big problem with accepting that.  I saw how there would be men who were married for years who would just decide that they were gay and then come out. So I would say: what if I made a mistake and chose the wrong path? I thought about all of this a lot.  In the end, I really only wanted one thing and that is to go to heaven.

Well, many years passed and I had steady jobs, but I moved more than 32 times.  I want to point out that  for 19 years I grew up in one house – so all my “moving” took place in the years after that.  I was in many male relationships and I was promiscuous. I discovered that there is a lot of stuff going on in society that I don’t think should be legal. I’m just going to put it all out there. Bath houses, adult book stores and bars. I have seen and done things that disgust me. I was always trying to find love, I just wanted a concrete relationship.

I started praying hard and asking God for Peace

Well I would say that I had a lot of downs and ups. About three years ago I moved to South Carolina. This is when everything started spiraling downwards. I made bad choices and lost a great friendship with one of my best friends. I moved too fast and ended up in a bad situation. Then another one of my best friends passed away unexpectedly. I started praying hard asking God for peace. I also started counting my blessings and started to work towards tithing according to the Bible. When I started fully tithing, I noticed things started to turn around. Promotions and moving into safer environments. Then I met my current roommate who helped strengthen my spirituality and I started attending New Day church.

All of a sudden my life was changing dramatically. What I found out is this:  if you ask Jesus Christ to be your Savior and repent of your sins you will be forgiven. Your slate will be wiped clean. In the past I could not get over the guilt that I felt.  Now something had changed.  God helped me get to the next level. I have learned that when you ask for forgiveness all that stuff you’ve done in the past is gone. You don’t need to dwell on it.

Just tell yourself the truth –  that God loves you –  and then you love God. I pray constantly and praise constantly. I have learned that when the devil gets near, you just rebuke him by praising Jesus and he will go away. He will always try to find your weak spot. He will make a moment feel like Ahhhhh and make things look tempting and feel so good. When this happens you just have to sing praise to Jesus and the devil will leave.

Let’s go to a gay bar

A couple of years ago, in the midst of this journey I was spending time with a friend and coworker.  I would tell her that I have been working towards this change in my life. She kept telling me, “Paul you can’t change who are, you are born that way.  God made you and he does not make mistakes.”  Well after many times struggling with her I finally asked her not to bring it up with me again. I told her that I wanted to go to heaven and did not want to take any chances. I would rather follow the Bible and what God says than what people tell me.

Then one night the two of us went downtown and had dinner. Afterwards she said, “let’s go to the gay bar,” and so I went. When we arrived there it really gave me an affirmation that this lifestyle is distasteful. As a dog returns to vomit so a fool repeats his folly. I would just rather stay on God’s path and not veer off to the left or to the right.  I just want stay on the straight and narrow path. No pun intended. And In the end I believe I will reap the rewards.

I am finally tasting the nectar of life

At 48 years old I am finally tasting the nectar of life!  I have built loving relationships with kindred spirits. I have finally started meeting safe people and building friendships with others who have the same beliefs as I have. I also have been stepping out of the box and doing new things with people. Especially in my church.  I am serving alongside others and have enrolled in the School of The Heart.  This is a whole new season for me.

I also have the desire to be married and to be one in Christ with a woman. God is so amazing and I pray that someday I will meet someone – I believe I will be a great husband!  In fact,  I would love to marry a woman who already had at least one kid as I cannot have kids (but it doesn’t mean that God can’t make it happen!).

I grew up my entire adult life as a gay man and I am not gay now.

Everything I have done is through Jesus Christ.

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1385711_10200726922085300_1664417429_nPaul Arsenault is a member of New Day Community Church.