Born in Ireland in 1982 in a rural village, I grew up “normally,” or so I thought. Very academic, I sailed through school and university and went on to qualify as an actuary at a record age. Young, money, career, car. The world was my oyster, right?
At age 23, I went to France to work in Paris. There were a variety of motives behind this, my love of travel, my love of languages and also a desire to discover myself away from the narrow minds of rural Ireland. One month after arriving, the unexpected happened. I met a beautiful French girl and we fell madly in love. All my problems were over, I was going to get married, have kids and live happily ever after! However, pressures at work, serious family problems together with culture shock, took their toll and I began to experience terrible anxiety attacks, convulsions, and sleepless nights. After 6 months in France my dream was crushed, overnight. I had to fly home leaving half my life in France and the other half in a suitcase!
Arriving back to Ireland I consulted a doctor who quickly said I had anxiety/ depression. I couldn’t understand. My life was never better. Where was this coming from? I visited a psychologist who encouraged me to take long walks, to go swimming, not to think too much, and certainly not to think about God! My recovery began! She said that it would take 6 weeks, it took 8 months! During this period I really pondered the meaning of life, and my life’s purpose. However one thing that I never spoke about was the secret homosexual desires in my heart. Eight months later I went back to work in Dublin. No sooner had I started work than the anxiety attacks returned, more major family problems ensued. I lasted six months before crashing out! I knew this time that it was “do or die.”
Having seen the effect of psychiatry on a close family member, I believed that there was no healing to be found there. I was well educated, sick perhaps, but not stupid! I wanted to be healed, and believed that it was spiritual healing I needed. I consulted a psychotherapist and I opened up to her about my confusion, about my identity crises, who was I? Was I gay? Was I normal? What was life about? What was my life purpose? She quickly told me that being gay is normal and that the only way to find out was to go and try! At the time I was having stronger and stronger suicidal thoughts. Homosexuality or suicide? I chose homosexuality, I “tried it.”
Whatever spark of dignity or integrity I had left, I lost that day. The therapist suddenly refused to see me any more and left me in this new arena. I quickly became addicted to sex. It was that or suicide. I knew that I was out of control, but I couldn’t stop it. I may add that in this time I was also having some “new age” treatment, reiki, and was also experimenting with hypnosis. Each therapist, each philosophy claimed to have the answer. The only truth I knew was that they didn’t know what they were doing and that I was like a guinea pig in their grasp!
I cried out to God, having lost my trust in all human beings, parents, girlfriend, and especially mental-health “professionals.” I needed God: he made me, he has the “user manual,” and he could fix me! One day the impossible happened. I closed my eyes and I had a mystical experience of Jesus and his mother. I felt surrounded and empowered by Gods love and he spoke to me directly. He led me to leave my job, leave Ireland and to start my life all over in France. He guided me to a town in the south of France, a place that I had never been to before, and led me to living by faith! To be wise in Gods eyes, we must be fools to the world. It was certainly that! Three weeks later I was in France! How I was going to pay off my 35 thousand dollar car and all the other financial commitments was a mystery, but God is above finance! My friends and family thought that I had gone mad and used every tactic possible to get me back. They were quite right, I had gone mad, but it was the right type of mad!
My Calvary had only just begun. Gods grace gave me the strength to let go of my plans, my ambitions, my career, my family, my country, my financial security. Not only that, but to start from ground zero in a foreign country where I had no job, no friends and a largely unwanted testimony. Not bad for somebody who couldnt go outside his house a few weeks beforehand!
Daily, the Lord reassured me and guided me. I quickly discovered that there were two big taboos in the Church, spirituality and sexuality! I think that I suffered more from this rejection than I did from anything else. How can one heal and ones dignity be restored if one is not listened to? How can people be released from the devil’s grip if our Church leaders dont even believe in the devil? How many “mental illnesses” are in fact spiritual illnesses? I felt judged and abused by those who were supposed to help me, but Jesus never left me.
After three years in France the Lord sent me on to India, where for the first time I met some charismatics who were very familiar with the area of inner healing and deliverance! It was refreshing but also sad. How can our “modern world” be so spiritually blind, while the “poor” countries bathe in the truth! Have we become so “modern” that the truth is outdated?!! The Lord’s calling on my life was becoming clearer, he blessed me with charisms in the area of inner healing and deliverance and was sending me out to use them, to set the captives free and bring hope to those in despair. When I discussed my desires with the people in India, they gave me a link to a charismatic community in Australia, where I arrived in February 2012.
While I was getting nearer to what I felt the Lord calling me to, I still felt there was something missing. Surely I thought there must be people active in full time healing ministry, places where people can lay it all on the table without being judged, where prayer can happen, where deliverance and demonology are more than mere intellectual concepts that make nice reading. Finally the Lord opened a new door; through a friend in Canberra I was recommended Living Waters. I arrived in Sydney two months ago to commence an internship with Living Waters. I find it freeing and refreshing to be in a place where I can speak openly about what the Lord has done in my life, where I can share and bring hope to others and also where I can exercise the healing charisms that the Lord has given me.
I am now very excited about my future. I feel free, free of anxiety and depression, free of unwanted sexual attraction, free of materialism and consumerism. I live on providence trusting in the Lords words “seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” I pray that the Lord will use me more and more, especially for the “mentally ill” and the sexually broken as he continues each day to bless and reconstruct my life. I bless and thank everybody that I have met since arriving in Sydney for their abundant help, hospitality, prayers and fellowship, and I ask you to continue to pray for me as I continue on my journey.