“People assumed I knew Jesus because I was a good kid and a son of a pastor,” said Noah Day. “Even my parents engaged with me as if I knew Jesus. They were ministering to people while we lived on mission in Haiti, but there wasn’t much at-home discipleship. Tough topics like drugs, sex, and pornography felt completely off the table, so I kept my struggles and the pains of my past a secret.
“Fear and shame filled my life when I was sexually abused by a sports instructor at 10 years old. I was confused and didn’t know how to cope with new feelings that young, including feelings of same-sex attraction. Shortly after, I then mimicked what happened to me to someone else. I didn’t understand the weight of my brokenness. As I grew, I suppressed any feelings or memories of my experiences.
“When we moved back to the States, I became the ‘new kid’ and began seeking the approval of my peers. I was making new friendships and found myself in the party scene, experimenting with drugs and alcohol. Feelings of shame, guilt, and the desire for secrecy were elevated when I was introduced to pornography.
“In high school, I was invited to a week-long church camp by a non-believing friend. Our intentions for camp were to have fun. We even snuck marijuana in our bags. While I intended for camp to go one way, God had other plans for me.
“Through the teaching, specifically on John 4, the Holy Spirit made it clear that what I was consuming and using to fill my heart was lifeless and not for my good. I decided to exchange that which was leading to death for that which led to life and decided to trust in God. It felt like my life was changing right in front of my eyes (2 Corinthians 5:17).
“From then, I desired to fully follow Jesus. I wanted to grow and spend my time learning about Jesus yet found myself still struggling with same-sex attraction, addiction to pornography, people-pleasing, and neglecting to speak of my past sin and hurt.
“A few years later, in a college ministry class, we were discussing a case study about homosexuality. I felt like everyone in the class knew the case study was about me. I was distraught the rest of the day. I felt compelled to share my brokenness and what I’d been hiding for so long, but I couldn’t find the strength in me to do so.
“Although hesitant, after a lot of prayer I was able to explain and confess to a professor I trusted. He encouraged me and reminded me that neither my sin nor my feelings are my identity. It was so freeing to confess and to be reminded that my identity is solely in Christ.
“This started a process of bringing people in and healing from my past hurt and my own actions. Genesis 50:20 says that what was meant for evil, God meant for good, and I truly got to experience that. My sin struggles and pain became platforms to share God’s love. I was able to help other guys at my college see what it’s like to follow Jesus, submit to Him, and not be swayed by feelings and emotions. I was able to show them that they too can root their thoughts and identity in something that is true and solid.
“Re:generation, Watermark’s biblical recovery ministry, helped me continue my journey of healing and growth in Christ. I was able to admit to myself that I sought the approval of others more than I sought the approval of God. Even as a believer, the shame I felt kept me in secrecy and darkness for so long. The Lord helped me realize I needed help and that I was powerless to do it on my own. I was able to admit my sin and then process ways I could reconcile and make amends. Bringing to light what I never thought I could share was one of the very things that brought the most healing and recovery. As an adult, I had the opportunity to ask the person I hurt for forgiveness for my sin against him. When he responded with grace and kindness, I felt freedom and peace, but I also felt the ultimate freedom of my Father’s forgiveness.
“I’ve heard from Christians before that our tastebuds change as we walk with Christ, but the reality is that sometimes I find my tastebuds still desiring what they used to. I can find myself struggling with the desire to people-please or take the path of least resistance. But when I do that, I lose who God created me to be. I have to fight the lie that life is found apart from Him, and I constantly pray that my tastebuds would continue to change so that I desire the Lord more than the things of this world.
“Recognizing that my value and worth come from who God is and who He is sanctifying me to be is what allows me to freely have relationships with Him and others unashamed. I don’t understand God’s plans, but He doesn’t act out of character. And I trust that His character is consistent and true. The Lord will use my brokenness, and I can boast in that weakness because it points to a dependence on Christ (2 Corinthians 12:9). That dependence is where I want to be.”