Can Your Life Really Change? More How Jesus Transformed Me And Can Do The Same For You

My story’s beginning is not a time of my life I would ever want to re-live. And yet, I am very thankful for my life then. I am not ashamed of anything in my life. I am not proud of the choices I made either as they were sin. I am forgiven of them and walk in freedom. What I share next in my life is Jesus truly moving in very mighty ways. On a day-to-day basis, it was very negligible. Yet, it was happening!

A key Scripture that I sense we (Jesus and I) practiced was during this season of my life was, “Listen to my voice in the morning, Lord. Each morning I bring my requests to you and wait expectantly.” Psalms 5:3, NLT

Another Scripture that is a powerhouse in driving me to never give up on God is, “Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.” Ephesians 3:20, NLT

So, here is more of my story…

After we started attending a different because of the prompting of our youngest daughter. With a group of men from this church I attended a Promise Keepers event in Kansas City and this shook me to the core of my being, I surrendered.  But, I kept my dark secret as I correctly sensed if I came clean I would be rejected.  I was very loved by this time at our church and very involved.  I was a deacon, very active in drama ministry, men’s ministry, started an encouragement/prayer ministry, and loved doing everything I could with the youth – both high school and junior high. I even taught some children and adult classes too. This is proof that God will empower us and allow us to work with Him even when we have deep secrets.

Now, I must tell you from the time I graduated college until I married, and then once later when out of the country with a small group of guys I worked with, there were three times I acted out on my SSA desires.  All three times the other man initiated the very inappropriate behavior.  I rationalized away the seriousness of these acts as I only responded. Each time, I made it stop before much happened because I became VERY scared!  With one of the men it happened over a few months, becoming more and more dangerous. I allowed little to happen because he was married.  He moved out of the state with his wife and I was very glad.  As I look back, I know God shielded me. I did sin for what I allowed.  Even sin can teach us as each time I would analyze what happened and know it was wrong. There was little enjoyment when there was so much guilt and shame, more secrets. It was not worth the minuscule physical pleasure.

After Promise Keepers I became involved in an accountability group with several guys. This stuck with three of us.  We met for over five years and…I kept my secret the whole time.  Almost every time we met I was determined to tell them but I would cave due to fear.

I finally had a great job with a small Internet company and our financial life was turning around slowly.  We had become grandparents of two amazing grandsons who I practically worshiped.  These were the children I never got to have.

Life was good in so many ways, other than my deep dark secret.  I was in and out of porn and, as far as I knew, no one was aware.  It was dragging me down, hard and fast.  I stayed strong in studying the Bible, was an avid reader of Christian non-fiction books (“self-help” is what my wife called them), and yet I still persisted in the porn/masturbation/lusting after men.

The owner of the Internet company I was working for decided to move his business to Orlando, Florida.  He offered to move all his employees too by presenting to us a move package that included purchasing our homes, six months wages for our wives as they looked for jobs, and many other perks.  I did not want to move but I didn’t want to be unemployed again!  While making this decision, I finally caved and told my secret to the two accountability buddies.  It was a huge relief to share this secret and get it outside my body! One was really cool and understanding. He offered to help in prayer and holding me accountable to stay away from the porn.   The other guy was verbally supportive but almost immediately he was different around me.  This confirmed my suspicions on telling my secret and how people would react.  This was approximately three months before we moved to Florida.  I prayed and prayed truly believing this move was the best for us.

We moved, got settled, and lived happily ever after.  No!  The first six months in Florida my wife was one very pissed off woman!  I had taken her away from her two daughters, now three grandchildren, her family, her home.  I kept loving her as I knew it was the right move for us.  We found an amazing church within a couple of months. We were loved on by so many people who truly helped to save our marriage.

I had some setbacks with the porn so I sought out three guys to meet with and told them I had been deep into porn – not saying the particulars while they presumed it was women, and this helped me to break this awful stronghold.  Now really, Christ through them and in me receives all the glory!

We lived there for approximately four years and I became very bored with my life.  I had a fantastic job, we lived in sunny Florida, had a great townhouse, friends, and church, yet I was very dissatisfied.  I started taking professional acting classes and improv classes–actually considering pursuing acting as a real career.  I did tons of dramas at church with much praise and encouragement. Several people were suggesting that I should seek opportunities to grow this talent in one or more of the many theaters, shows, etc. in Orlando as it has tons of opportunities.

At the same time my Bible study and “self-help” reading had greatly increased too.  I prayed much, asking God what He wanted me to do.  A sage older man at church one Sunday suggested, “go to seminary.”  About the same time, another man I had really grown to respect was encouraging me to go on for formal theological studies too.  So, after considering three different universities, Regent University in Virginia Beach was suggested as an option.  I really liked the school’s website.  It really “felt’ right after much prayer so I decided to do it.  Other factors in this decision included: Regent was the only seminary I could find with an online program, it did not have “Christian” in the name (I still do not know why this was important and believe I’ll understand as time passes), and I did not have to take Greek or Hebrew as I barely could manage English!  Yes, these were very deep spiritual decisions.  I am being precocious and yet I know deep down that these were valid and He led me to this amazing school for many, many reasons!

In seminary I shared my secret three more times, each as an act of obedience to what Christ wanted me to do.  The first was at His command via a course syllabus. Yes, God speaks in many ways. The second two times were more profound and as a result of surrender and answering His call to, “follow me.”  Because of these acts of obedience, the sin in my life was falling away and this greatly aided in hearing and understanding Him!  We must choose to be holy (set apart, not perfect), follow scripture, and as we journey the relationship with Jesus grows so deep – I want this for everyone!

I had a preaching class where I was to deliver a sermon on campus in which the scripture I was using for it was the woman with the hemorrhage in Luke chapter 8.  The semester was progressing and I needed to work on this sermon. One day while in the shower, I asked Jesus how to finish the sermon I was to deliver and I clearly heard Him say, “tell your story.”  My instant answer was, “NO!” Then, I knew in my soul I could not tell Him this. So, I prayed, “I will do what You ask and I will need Your courage to do this as even the idea of this scares me to death!” It is amazing how I find He can talk to me while in the shower as my defenses are greatly down – must be something true about being naked before God!  I know what is more true is being naked before Him in our souls as we share secrets and bare all to Him. What happens then? Freedom like no else can give, comes!!

I graduated seminary in May 2010 not having a clue what to do with this master’s degree, deeply in debt to student loans with more freedom that I really understood and, with so much more to come!!

I prayed, fasted, asking key people to pray for me as to what God wanted with me.  My brother had lost his job and was starting a MAT program to be a teacher.  I had looked into this program when we moved back to Missouri from Florida in 2008 but I had two years left of my theology degree and did not want to tackle two programs of study at one time.  Teaching is why I started my theology degree so I took my search to a deeper level with a three-day fast and a trip to IHOP (International House of Prayer) in Kansas City to spend the third day of my fast in their prayer room for almost eight hours of persistent prayer, seeking God’s direction.  During this time I had two Scriptures speak to me that were pointedly about teaching and once I clearly heard, “teach.”  So, I enrolled in the same program with my brother and started pursuing a teaching certificate and another master’s degree.

In May 2011 my world, along with almost everyone else in my community, turned upside down.  A F5 tornado took out 30% of our city and with it my dad perished.  He was missing all night and the next morning God led my son-by-marriage and I right to him.  Prior to the tornado I had interviewed for a few teaching positions and had not had a contract offered to me, so I had started talking to a software company about a position doing support.  I felt like I was going backward as this was the same type of work I had done when I started seminary and was so very dissatisfied.  This company offered me a job so I accepted, thinking I would keep looking for a teaching contract.

After the tornado I knew I could not handle a teaching position.  You see, after my dad was killed and we found him, the next morning my oldest sister died of a stress-induced heart attack from losing our dad.  My family was truly devastated. This pain was almost unbearable, or so I thought. I did not know what was to come though.

I went approximately a month and then started seeing a Christian counselor.  This helped me to deal with the loss but also started me on a journey to the root of my SSA.

Our hearts contain almost an endless number of rooms.  There are rooms with great treasures like: integrity, strength, honesty, courage, confidence, and many other jewels.  There are rooms that have been vacated and need to be cleaned, redecorated, furnished, and used again.  And, there are rooms of great hurt, brokenness, despair, and tragedy.   We found the room that contained pain like no human should go through.  You see, I was molested when I was three years old.  This was revealed through much, much prayer – miraculous prayer – constant feeding on God’s word, His tender sweet voice, and a plethora of other ways He gently encouraged me to follow Him in this journey.

Before starting counseling I completed information about my life, I held nothing back. One item I shared was a flash memory from my early childhood. I had no idea what it meant or even if it was me. This was the only piece of evidence we had to lead us to my room of extreme brokenness. Jesus went before me, met me there, and brought me healing.  This is a story, a very powerful story, for a different post.  Just let me say, we can be in more than one place at a time through inner-healing prayer, or what some would call healing memories prayer.  This prayer was the incubator allowing me to face this tragic event. Jesus come into this room with me and my three-year-old self who had been locked in there alone, terrified, hurt beyond words, betrayed, lied to, used, and left behind by many, but worst of all–by me!!

Honestly, when reflecting upon my life it is a miracle that I am alive now.   My counselor told me this once, sharing that most people with this brokenness turn to drugs, alcohol, sex, etc. in such extremes that their lives are usually short.  God is, and has been, so merciful to me!  He loves me like no other and this is true of you also.  He is love.  I John 4:8.

I am now a man with more wholeness and healing than I could ever have hoped for with much more to come as my Lord and Savior is so generous to me. I know we are not done yet.  Proof of this is that I recently celebrated one year of freedom from masturbation. Previously I had almost two years of freedom in this.  I have been free of porn for almost ten years now.  I see a man who is attractive as a child of God and possibly a brother in Christ and do not have lust in my heart as I did for so very, very long.  My marriage is growing and thriving with no secrets.  Those closest to me know my story and still love me.  Most have more respect and see the courage and might of a warrior of Christ–He truly has transformed me into this warrior!

I have freedom!  I love my heart!  I give all credit for this to God and how He pursued me so gently, wanting to bless me with salvation from my sin and truly give me a life no one else can give–an eternal, full, life now–with Heaven yet to come!  And, I want this for you too.  So, I share my story, our story–meaning Jesus and mine–as I am nothing without Him.  I share my life so the world will see how REAL, ALIVE, LOVING, and KIND our Heavenly Father is and how Jesus truly saves and redeems us from our sin to give us a life we could never grasp on our own.

I pray you know exactly what I feel and have this freedom.  If you do not, I offer here through this blog to be another person in your life to walk with you showing you freedom is available for you also, as God is so very generous and will assist you to have freedom too.  You will have much, much hard work to do with Him. It will cost you everything. The reward will be priceless!

This blog is for us. Who am I talking about? I am reaching out to anyone who wants freedom. I want you to consider the cost. I have paid all. Do I have more to pay? Yes, there will always be more to pay as freedom is a lived out reality trusting Jesus, doing whatever He asks, when He asks. We will love and minister to each other as we journey together, with Jesus. We have found each other here for a reason and if you want freedom like you see in my life, it can happen. If you have the freedom I describe, or better, then I want to journey with you as we need to band together. This is an arduous journey and we cannot do it alone. If you lack freedom then this blog can be for you if you are willing to tell your secrets, surrender, and let Jesus into the rooms of your heart that harbor brokenness, allowing Him to heal you in miraculous ways. I’ll share how Jesus and I worked together to be real in future posts. If you think any of this story is amazing…just wait as there is so much more to tell you. His love never stops amazing me!

 

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About Carey Oster

Life is a great treasure chest. I am thankful I believe this now as in my past, I doubted. I strive to be realistic knowing that the best is yet to come. This is true on “mountain top” days as there will be taller mountains to scale with views even more awe-inspiring. And there will be dark valleys to tread through which seem unending, but never are. Both are times to treasure when with Jesus.

Comments

  1. Peter Brown says:

    Carey, I had the honor of being present at Regent for two of those three times you shared your SSA struggle and I commend you for your bravery then. It seems your bravery has grown as these posts about you are bluntly truthful. You are an honorable, genuine man of God! Keep walking in freedom brother!

    • Thank you Peter! You, and many other men God put in my life, loved me even after knowing my dark secrets and I attribute this to one of the key reasons for my healing. Secrets kill our freedom. You are a dear friend and brother and I love you very much.

  2. I think you are an amazing man. A very brave man. A light in the darkness. An inspiration to secret keepers (don’t we all have secrets?). I am a little sad that I never knew your struggle all the time we have been friends. But maybe it wasn’t time. I have always believed you to be wonderful you – after reading this I believe you are even more so wonderful you and I appreciate who you are and who’s you are. Your story is hard to read, not just because of you but because of me too – I know there are many secrets that I hold close as well. God knows my secrets and He knew yours too…you are a brave soul to put it in writing for all to see. Thanks for being man enough to tell the truth of your pain and redemption and to display the glory of God through your healing. I knew we were supposed to be friends a long time ago – now I have some more understanding as to why. 🙂 Love you even more.

    • I love you so much Kippy! Your words made me cry like a big “Sister Sally.” I’m fine with being one as tears always clean the windows to my soul. You are right – I am being brave. It’s really hard. Not as hard as Jesus’ suffering for me and He told us we would suffer too, right? I’m so thankful for the freedom He has given me and I want the world to know God is REAL and Jesus loves them more than they can ever understand. True love transforms. Jesus is true love as He has transformed my life. I let Him in and did anything He asked of me. We (He and I) have had the most amazing journey with so much more to come. Please don’t keep your secrets any longer. I believe they are one of the enemy’s greatest weapons used to keep us from truly living in freedom. I’m here for you if I can do anything, ever, for you!

  3. We have a lot of similarities. I was lousy at sports and never fit in. I was picked on some, but not much name calling. As an adult I was active in church, read the Bible, prayed for healing. But I wasn’t sold out in love. When I went to Men’s Encounter weekend, Jesus spoke to me big time. I fell deeply in love with Jesus and am I different person. I am in the healing from SSA. When I get farther down the journey, I hope I can be bold like Carey. I too am working to root of my addiction. I have been able to share with a few people I have a sexual addiction and it is freeing, and I need the prayer. I am still only able to tell 4 people the SSA part. Thank you Carey for your blog. I am waiting for more.

    • I am so glad I was able to share my story, basically what is here, with you and all the men that weekend and know He used it, along with everything else that you encountered, to speak to you. I know your journey is very difficult right now. Jesus is healing you. You will receive the rewards from saying “no” to sin and “yes” to Him in due time. Thank you for having the courage to post your comment. You are a mighty warrior – whether you believe it or not. Facing down fears and trusting God and His word is what Mighty Men of God do! Love you my brother!

  4. Carey,
    Thank you for sharing your story — such courage. Your story opens the door for others to consider being honest about their pain, their secrets; and for some, it will be a pathway to wholeness. May God guide you as you continue to let your light shine!
    “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lamp stand, and it gives light to all who are in the house.” Matt 5:14-15

    • Thank you Carole! I truly believe you are right and that is the hope of my blog – to share how real freedom is and that it is available to anyone who lacks it and is willing to pay the price.

  5. Denise Kramme says:

    Thank you for sharing, for being so genuine. I’m sure this took a lot of courage, & I thank God for your willingness to do what He has called you to do. Much love & hugs!

    • Thank you Denise! Yes, I have faced down many fears in this journey and I am courageous because I have trusting Jesus to be with me the whole way. He has never left me and He never will. You know, only with Him do I feel comfortable using the word “never.” I will go with Him anywhere He wants and I will share anything He asks as I have freedom to do so. No more secrets in this man’s life! Love and miss you!

      • Denise Kramme says:

        Miss you, too! It was a difficult year when we first moved, but every time I look at our sweet Eulalie, I know there was a good reason for the timing of our move!

  6. All that you have endured in your life has made you who you are today. And that is someone that I love and that I am proud of. I am so very thankful for the father that God blessed me with – my life would not be the same without you. Love you so much!

    • Thank you my dear, precious daughter! I am so thankful for you. There have been, and still are, so many motivators that have influenced me during this journey and you, my most treasured joy – family – was instrumental in helping me decide to surrender and let Jesus have all of me. He has done a great work in me and I have worked hard with Him. I know I would have lost all if this would not have happened. That would have been a senseless tragedy. I love you more than I can say or show, yet I will continue to do so often falling short. I will trust Jesus to fill in the gaps.

  7. Paul Smith says:

    Thanks for sharing your story by way of a blog. “It is for freedom that you have been set free.” “If the Spirit sets you free, you are free indeed.”

  8. mike Stewart says:

    Great story Carey! Thanks for sharing. It’s truly cleansing to lift a burden like that off your shoulders. If only more people would, they would experience the freedom that comes with it. I’ve removed my burdens and focused on Jesus. The grass is greener, the sky bluer, you appreciate everything that’s been overlooked, everything is a blessing, be it good and bad, loving people is easier no matter what they’ve been through. I would never of said that 10 years ago. It’s truly a blessing to know you. Love and Blessings on your continued everyday journey with Christ. LUB

    • Mike, I’ll never forget the first time I spoke about my struggle out loud in prayer with God. It was so freeing and it certainly didn’t end there (as this blog is proof of that!). My hope is my story will inspire anyone, with any struggle, to know Freedom is real and Jesus will help them too, providing they are willing to do the hard work required to have it. I’m very glad you have Freedom too and are living under it’s blessings! Love you too my bro! Thank you for your encouragement and support – I treasure both!

  9. Carey, thank you for inviting me to your blog;-) When a secret is exposed the devil loses his powers! You now experience true freedom! Amen! I cling to the verse Luke 7:47 “For she who has been forgiven much, loves much.” and “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” Romans 8:1 There is power in the Word of God. It is true the washing by His Word is powerful and transforming in so many ways! Your blog and other posts makes my heart burden to pray for these struggles. I know they are powerful. My Spiritual mother came through this battle too …she never gave up on the Lord or being a worship leader but always truthful and transparent with the struggles. She is a Godly and lovely married women–I can’t wait to see her this summer! It’s so great to be around Christians who are open with their struggles and love you through them! Big hugs to you Brother.

    • Lesley, thank you for the Scriptures. There are so many that help us as we journey with Jesus through struggles, or strongholds. The Word speaks Truth into us as long as we chose to listen to the Word over our sinful desires. I really pray my blog will help anyone struggling with unwanted SSA/homosexual desires and others who have different struggles too. Hopefully everyone will see how real Freedom is for me and know it can be real for them too, no matter what the struggle! I am very pleased your Spiritual mother is open and transparent with her life as I’m sure it helps many others. I am contemplating the correlation between how open and transparent one is with their life and the amount of freedom, the degree of shedding of shame and guilt that burdens them. The more open the more transparent and free. The less open then the greater degree of shame and guilt. I know when I have opened up with people and share in total honesty that people are compellingly drawn to the transparency, not me really–the raw, risky, totally truthful story of my life. I think that is it–the story with Jesus totally wrapped up in it is so powerful! Because He has walked with me then I have learned to trust Him knowing He will never leave me or forsake me and I can share as it’s about Him and I, not me alone. He makes all the difference! Bib, big hug back to you! Love and miss you tons!!

  10. Kimmy Lankford says:

    Carey, I appreciate you so much. Thank you for sharing your story. You are so brave and so……..Godly!!!!!!! This blog is so inspiring. I desire the relationship you have with Christ. I respect you so much. Thank you for telling your story. I can’t wait to read more!

    • Kimmy, your words are very powerful and I accept them. I want for you to have as great, or greater, relationship with Jesus than I have! A thriving relationship with Him will build up and create all your other relationships in your life to be so amazing! I appreciate you so much. May God bless you and your family immensely!

  11. I admire your courage my friend! Thanks for blazing this trail.

  12. Carey, what can I say? I’m (almost) speechless…. THANK YOU for heeding Jesus’ call in your life. Being so open and honest with your life and struggles is just what I needed to hear right now. I pray God’s continued blessings into your life, my friend. I admire you so much for “coming clean” to not only others, but with yourself and God. I expectantly wait for your next post to see how your journey is going. Love you, my brother!

    • Lou, your words of encouragement me much to me and I thank you for them. I am glad that what you read helped you at this time in your life. I have been on a two-part mission for a season now. First, legacy. Second, reckless abandon with Jesus. I know this blog is fulfilling both. It is what He wants me to do. It is good to do what our Lord and Savior asks of us. Love you too, my brother!

  13. I think you know that I feel that each person should be loved in life for who they are! To me who you are, and who you will always be, for me is that Uncle that would always help me with my math, and who always had a smile to lift my little heart when I struggled. You and Shirley have an amazing love, and an amazing family. Every marriage is work, and every marriage has struggles. Yours has always been worth the work, just as I feel mine and Jason’s has. I cast no shadow on anyone who decides a particular relationship is not work that “work”. I only say it to assure you that I am glad you felt your relationship was! We will likely never agree on same sex relationship philosophies, but I will always be glad that you are happy with “who you are, and have become”. I hope for you and Shirley happiness always as I love you both very much!
    Love,
    Krista

    • Krista,
      I agree with you and also know for everyone God has a great plan and we often “settle” for so much less that what He desires for us. He is good and gracious and will not force His plan on anyone. Therefore, we have much work to do in life letting Him in and allowing Him to transform our hearts and lives. This is very scary and requires much faith. Our story (Jesus and me) is powerful and I know if Jesus can change the wicked desires of my heart into righteous, holy, pleasing desires according to His Word, He can do the same in anyone’s life. And, I believe if I am to call myself a Christian and follower of Jesus (which is key as many people are Christians but are unwilling to follow Jesus–be His disciple) then I must surrender my desires to His and allow Him to do whatever it takes to change them. This is key. Yes, I love everyone as you do. And, I will never stop being a living testimony of what Jesus has done in me. If it inspires someone to think, “Wow, if Jesus can do a wonderful work in this man’s life then maybe He can do [fill in the blank] in my life?” This [fill in the blank] can be anything including unwanted SSA/homosexual desire. For me they were totally unwanted. This is key!
      I hope I am always an Uncle you love as I love you more than I can say! I cast no shadow on people either. If my story does so then it is not me – it is the power of Jesus in my life and someone is being convicted and doesn’t like it. I cannot help that. For them, I will love them and pray they will surrender too. Maybe we will agree on same-sex relationships someday as I know anything is possible with Jesus. He’ll change one of us…which one? We’ll see!
      Love you tons!
      Uncle Carey

  14. Jason Weldon says:

    Cary, this blog is very inspirational I look back on the retreat in seminary with you Marc and Jason as a pivotal time that God was speaking to us and encouraging us. God Bless, Jason Weldon

Love to know what you think!

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