Broken Man Finds Wholeness in Christ
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Blake Howard’s journey into homosexuality started at a young age. Raised in a Christian home, he longed for the affection of his father, but rarely got to spend time with him as he was always at work. Instead, Blake connected with the one person who was there for him – his mother.
“I then began to kind of see myself taking on kind of like a female role,” Blake said. “Growing up watching cartoons and different things like that, I found myself connecting more with the female characters rather than the male characters.”
Even when Blake and his father did have time together it was difficult for them to get along due to Blake’s feminine interests. This left him feeling like he wasn’t good enough. Then, at seven-years-old, Blake had a homosexual encounter initiated by a friend. While he knew that neither his parents nor God would approve it still left him confused.
“I felt that there was something wrong or dirty about it. But at the same time I am curious. So, I never told my parents. I never talked about it because I felt like it was something that the Lord was never going to be able to forgive me of. That kind of led me into, as I grew up into a teenager, kind of just turning away from God because I was like, ‘Well, I'm not enough for Him.’”
Going into high school Blake was often bullied and labeled as gay by his peers based on his interests and the way he dressed. Blake denied it, even though he did find himself attracted to boys. Then, in his senior year, he landed a role in a school play – as a woman. His performance was a hit.
“After the show people would come up to me like and be like, ‘Oh my gosh, you did so amazing.’ I got that instant validation. Just completely like, ‘This is so good. It makes me feel like I’m enough, I belong, I'm accepted.’ That was my very first experience being a drag queen.”
Blake took on the persona of Velma and participated in more events in drag. Though underage, he went to gay bars where he began using alcohol and drugs while developing homosexual relationships. But after a time the heavy partying began weigh on him.
“All of the things that I tried to use to fill the voids and holes in my heart, like, I was still broken. And it scared me. I almost overdosed on cocaine. I started looking at Christian colleges to go to because I wanted to get my life together, at least as far as the drugs and the alcohol.”
But the homosexual lifestyle wasn’t something he planned to give up. At nineteen, Blake was accepted into a Christian college in Alabama. Then one night, at a worship service on campus, he had a profound experience.
“I felt Jesus just come up behind me and just like hold me. All of a sudden I felt all of the holes fill up in my heart. I began to just go on this journey with the Lord. I started pursuing His presence. I wanted to be with Jesus, but I still struggled with same sex attraction.”
Blake devoted himself to studying the Bible. While he did give up alcohol and drugs, he was determined to carry on as the drag queen, Velma, and maintain his homosexual lifestyle in secret.
“I was hearing what the Bible says, but also like obviously knowing in my mind that I still like guys. Then I would spend like the next forty-five minutes or an hour during worship, being in the altar, feeling like I was a piece of crap and just apologizing again to the Lord all while still trying to make it okay in my head that I can be gay and Christian. It was like this constant back and forth kind of thing.”
But the more he read the Bible and spent time with God, the more he wanted to change.
“One day I was in prayer and the Lord spoke to me and He said, ‘It is not a gay to straight transition. It's from broken to whole transition.’ I was finishing up my makeup and I remember looking in the mirror and thinking like, ‘I don't want to do this anymore. This is not who I am.’ I began to feel less and less connected to Velma and less and less connected to the LGBTQ and all the things I was doing. I’m not going to participate in those things because I want to pursue Jesus more than I want a man. I began to feel this happiness, this joy, because He genuinely cares and loves me.”
Blake opened up to Christian mentors who helped him stay accountable. He also met a Christian woman while in college who’d struggled with same-sex attraction as well and the two became close friends and then fell in love. Years later they married and are starting a family. Blake is now a pastor sharing about the wholeness he found in Jesus Christ.
“God can deliver you and make you free. Wholeness is when you begin to truly rely on Jesus for everything. The more that I went after Jesus, the less that I cared about my ex-boyfriend, then the less I cared about walking into a room and being attracted to eighty percent of the guys in there. Just going from being this druggy drag queen and seeing that the Lord had a purpose for me is just mind boggling. The Lord moved in such a way that He restored my relationship with my dad. I was looking for a man to fill that void in my heart. I finally found one that completely gave me everything I need, and His name is Jesus.”
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