Melissa Fryrear: Free at Last
By Shannon Woodland with Debbie White
The 700 Club
Melissa Fryrear didn’t fit in with the other teenage girls at school.
“I was not having the crushes on the other young men,” she tells The 700 Club. “I realized I was having crushes on the girls instead.”
Melissa says a traumatic event in her life left her confused about her sexuality.
“I had been sexually violated as a child by a man outside of my family. That affected my gender identity in that I thought it was bad to be a woman. It was second best. It was a liability to be a woman, because it meant that I could be hurt.”
At 16 years old, she had her first lesbian relationship, and by the time she was in college, Melissa had embraced a lesbian lifestyle. For 10 years Melissa went from one failed relationship to the next. Her life was disintegrating.
She recalls, “I was involved homosexually. I was not having successful relationships. I was abusing alcohol almost on a daily basis and the drugs on the weekend. I was an emotional cutter. I was overweight. I was not healthy, and life was becoming more and more unmanageable.”
Her live-in partner was fearful of Melissa’s outbursts where Melissa would scream, hit walls and throw things. Finally, she could take no more and confronted her. Melissa thought about going to church to get help, but she didn’t think she’d be welcome there.
“I presumed to know what Christians thought about gays and lesbians. From a few snapshots through television or stories from some of my friends about their Christian families, I just presumed that all Christians hated gays and lesbians.”
Melissa’s presumptions were tested on a daily basis. Her boss, a Christian man, treated her in a way that was contrary to her preconceptions.
“Bill was so gracious toward me, kind and respectful, and as we worked together for years in this professional environment. Eventually I knew he was genuine, safe, trustworthy and that he genuinely cared for me as a person.”
After many spiritual conversations with her boss, Melissa asked her partner to go to church. She said yes.
“There was a couple in their 70s, Doris and LJ, who were pillars in this church, and of course one look at me, they knew exactly what was going on. They were like Christ to me -- stepped right into my life, scooped me into their arms and knit me into their hearts.”
Doris and LJ taught Melissa about the Bible and showed her God’s love. One day, Melissa responded.
“As I was alone in my bedroom, I was just sitting on the edge of my bed and saying those sweet tender words in the stillness of my heart, ‘Jesus, will You come and be Savior and Lord of my life?’ He answered that prayer that afternoon. He put a new seed down in my heart and began to grow something I would have never, never imagined.”
Melissa’s partner also made a commitment to Christ, but it took time to work out the complexities of their relationship.
Melissa says, “We were so emotionally entangled, enmeshed and codependent. That was a process of slowly untangling our lives from one another and from the gay and lesbian community that we were a part of. It was amazing how God worked that out from three- or four-month intervals of time where we repented of sexual behavior, yet we still shared a bedroom and a bed together. Then time unfolded, and that didn’t seem right. Then [we] eventually realized we can live together. That’s not right. We need to move apart. God fully separated our lives in 1994.”
Melissa sought counseling through Exodus International, a ministry that promotes freedom from homosexuality through the power of Jesus Christ. There, she was encouraged in her new life.
“God healed those wounds in my heart, and He began to teach me [that] woman is good. Femininity is good. She’s equal to man in masculinity, and they both share that crown, that dignity of creation.”
For a number of years, Melissa has been on the staff of Focus on the Family. She travels around the country offering hope to those living in homosexuality.
“I have so many points of reference of who I use to be versus who I am now. It is, radically, two different people. ‘How did You do that, Lord? How did You do that? Thank You for doing that.’”
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