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Ron Elmore’s Story

Ron Elmore

Ron Elmore

Life started with its own set of challenges. My father died of cancer three months after my twin brother, and I was born. Within two years, our mother lost everything, as fire destroyed the family home. With nine mouths to feed and no husband, Mom had to place us in an orphanage. Before my twin and I were five years old, she began preparing us for the transition into the Children’s Home where my older siblings had moved. I did not want to go to the orphanage. I cried even as she painted a picture of playmates, school and being with my brothers. I feared to leave and began to believe she did not love me.

Arriving at the orphanage, my brother and I was incorporated with the younger boys and forbidden to enter the other end of the building that housed our older brothers. The orphanage was strict and regimented. Discipline came from anyone older than me. Often hearing only criticism, feeling afraid and abandoned I began to have nightmares. I dreamed of calling out to my Mom, frustrated that she could not find me. I could hear her calling my name. But I could not respond to her. (Unable to express what had happened and unknown to anyone, a family friend had sexually abused me even before coming to the orphanage.)

As a little boy, I hurt from the perceived abandonment of my Mom, the rejection of my brothers and others, and the ongoing abuse that became a pattern. During my young life, I was abused in every way: physically, verbally, emotionally, spiritually, and sexually.  I grew up afraid, a confused little boy who did not trust others or the world around me.

Growing up in the orphanage I was made to go to church. At fourteen, I began to feel close to God. Even as I wanted to be a Christian, I also had begun to have sexual encounters with other boys my age, and there was the problem! I did not understand how to reconcile the two. I did not believe homosexuality was God’s best intentions for me and I did not understand my same-sex attractions. Guilt slowly led me to think if anyone really knew me they would not love me nor allow me to talk about God. Instead of running to God about my thoughts and feelings, I ran from him in shame and condemnation. I ran for fifteen years attempting to reject God.

When I left the orphanage, I was hurting and sexually confused. At first, I stayed with my mother while I finished my junior year of high school. At the end of that year, my sister and her pastor persuaded me to move to Virginia to finish high school and perhaps go to a Christian college in the area.

I did move. However, life changed again during the following summer break. While at the beach I walked blindly into a gay club. With the blaring disco songs of a famous vocalist, I began my very long journey away from God in pursuit of my own feelings and attractions. I believed I had finally found honest relationships where I could be me. I also loved the energy of the clubs, the sense of belonging, and the acceptance of who I was!! Though, I did not know who I was.

At the urging of my Mother, to be like my brothers, I joined the US Air Force. Stationed in Washington DC, I became more and more ambivalent about God. For several years, everything was great with an overabundance of everything I thought I wanted.  Still, I developed a more profound suspicion of others mixed with anger. During that time in my life the bars, bookstores, bathhouses, alcohol, drugs and promiscuous sex was my entertainment, and I felt empty inside. There was nothing that satisfied this longing inside of me.

In 1987, a co-worker, who knew I identified myself as gay confronted me. “Ron, she said, you need to go back to where your joy is.” Those were the simple but powerful words used by the Holy Spirit to pierce my heart and change my life. Suddenly I remembered how I wanted to serve God. I remembered when I was a little boy Jesus had come to me and told me he loved me. That afternoon I could hardly wait to get home from work. Arriving home, I sat on my porch with a beer in hand thinking. Suddenly it was impressed upon me to come home. I then heard clearly from the Holy Spirit, “Ron, if you stay where you are, you will die. But if you come back, you will live.” At that time coming home was my moving back to NC. And so I did!

My walk in dealing with my same-sex attractions and behavior was slow but progressive. During the first two years, I cried. A lot! But the tears washed my soul. The grievous pain of much loss and the separation from all I knew was great. Not surprisingly many in the Christian community turned their backs on me when they learned about my past. They could not look beyond my faults to my underlying needs. On this journey, God taught me His genuine heart for the church was to compassionately respond to the valid need for love, acceptance, and affirmation, of those who have same-sex attractions or identify as gay, without ever condoning the sin.

God pursued me and found me and transformed my life. Our Father in heaven calls us to live a holy life. We have a sin nature, but He gives grace abundantly, every step of the way every day. His grace is sufficient. God has given me yearning for righteousness and holiness. At one time my thoughts were consumed with homosexuality and all that that entailed for me. God, through His son Jesus, has renewed, transformed and sanctified my mind by the Holy Spirit.

I answered God’s leading to walk with those who have unwanted same-sex attractions and other sexual addictions in May 1996 by founding Beyond Imagination in Raleigh, North Carolina. That same year, God favored me exceedingly abundantly above what I could ever think or imagine by bringing me an exceptional woman, Ann Marie, to be my wife. We married on June 28, 1997. My story of His healing and redemptive power is still ongoing. I am still growing and changing. I have found there is forgiveness through Christ. He does heal and restore.  II Chronicles 7:14 says that “if His people who are called by his name, will humble themselves, pray, seek his face and turn from their wicked ways then He will hear from heaven, forgive their sin and heal them.” The Lord is good!