One Man’s Journey Out of Homosexuality to Peace with a Loving God Came through Surrender

By Aliya Kuykendall Published on June 6, 2024

The first time Ken Williams became aware of feeling sexual desire, it was for another male.

As a scrawny, unathletic child with a desire for heart-to-heart connection, he never fit in with the other boys. They mocked him for not being masculine enough, telling him he was gay. Williams didn’t like himself. From the time he was in first grade, he began to experience crushes on more masculine boys — someone he felt could supply what he was personally missing. 

By the time he was 17, Williams was addicted to masturbation. He sometimes used gay pornography — and several inappropriate sexual encounters left him ashamed and suicidal. For years he begged God to take away his homosexual desires, but felt frustrated.

He never fathomed that he could have the life he has now: free from addictions, in love with his wife of nearly two decades, and a father of four.

Williams, cofounder of the CHANGED Movement based in Redding, California — a ministry to people dealing with unwanted same-sex attractions and gender confusion — says a key theme in his own story and that of other overcomers is learning to know God as a loving Father.

“He’s good. That’s what happened to me — I discovered how good He was and how kind He was,” he says.

From Suicidal to Surrendered

Williams will be one of the featured speakers at the annual HOPE conference, hosted by Restored Hope Network, an interdenominational coalition of Christian ministries serving those who desire to overcome relational and sexual issues, which will take place in Rocklin, California, on June 21 and 22. The ministries offer transformational therapy, also known as change-allowing therapy. As a speaker at HOPE 2024, he will be sharing his testimony of what God has done to bring him freedom from the same-sex attraction he struggled with as a young man, which he also tells in his book, The Journey Out: How I Followed Jesus Away from Gay (2021).

Some critics who don’t believe change is possible may think Williams is now living in bondage to religious ideology because he’s not embracing his previous same-sex attraction. But Williams disagrees.

“I know what bondage feels like,” he says. “I was suicidal as a 17-year-old over dabbling in an LGBTQ life and not feeling that was right for me. When I gave my life fully to the Lord, saying, ‘Whatever Your will is for my life, that’s what I’m doing,’ that’s when I started to experience peace and joy.

The good news is we’re surrendering to the kindest, most loving, most generous Person that’s ever existed. I’ve never regretted my choice one time. I’ve only experienced life. It just wasn’t on my own terms.

“We don’t really experience people finding breakthrough in their sexual feelings so long as they’re focused on trying to change those feelings,” he tells The Stream. “When I finally say, ‘Lord, I don’t know what to do with this, but regardless, I’m going to follow You and I give You my whole life, my whole heart, my body, my everything. Can I know You deeply?’ We see transformation in that place of intimacy with the Lord over time.”

His Wife’s Beauty Captivated Him

Williams’s own story is one of finally surrendering his desire for marriage to God and then realizing his attractions were changing.

“In my journey, after years of struggle, I finally realized, ‘I need to just put this on the altar, basically — the idea that I’m going to have a marriage to a woman or a sex life that goes with that, the whole thing. I need to to lay all that down and I need to just follow Jesus as best I can,’” Williams says.

After several years of following Jesus wholeheartedly, without expecting it would necessarily lead to marriage, Williams found himself one night at his church’s young adults group, feeling something new toward one woman.

“I had gotten to know this girl for about the previous year, and I just thought she was the most amazing person,” Williams says. “I loved talking with her. She was so kind, and hospitable and fun. I looked across the room one night and I saw her. She had this long hair. She was playing with her hair, and she had this big sparkly belt on. She kind of dressed like a middle schooler even though she was 25. And I thought, ‘Wow, she’s so stunning.’ I looked away and then I felt like I wanted to look back — take the second look.

“That was the first time I had ever done anything like that with a female.”

By that point, Williams had let go of focusing on marriage and was only focusing on becoming more like Jesus.

“I had laid all that down. But the Lord was doing a work inside me and was transforming me by the renewing of my mind, and I turned around and noticed that I had feelings for her. We’ve been married [now] for 18 years.

“Where it goes wrong a lot — it’s like, ‘Oh I’m trying to get all of these results.’ I believe the Lord wants those results. I believe He wants every person to live in radical freedom. It’s just that I feel like we do have to surrender deeply in order to experience what’s on the other side.”

The Change in Feelings Flows from a Changed Heart

Williams says it seems natural that changing one’s focus, motives, and community result in changed thoughts and feelings.

“When your focus comes off of gratifying yourself, and you get in a community of people who are intently pursuing deeper relationship with the Lord and you’re on that track for years, there’s a whole lot of brain rewiring that happens because [you] haven’t been meditating on the same things [as] previously,” he says.

“We know neurologically [how] pathways get formed in the brain,” he continues. “It’s kind of a highway and [rehearsed thoughts make] it easier to travel. Well, if I change the subject and I’m focused away from carnality [and] on a relationship with God and being about His business,” different neural pathways are formed, which lead to overall change in a person’s life. “That’s me partnering with God to experience the new-creation life He had planned for me.”

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Williams has said previously that he finds when someone is truly stuck in homosexual feelings and not making progress, the holdup is often because that person is either not fully surrendered to God’s lordship, or not being completely vulnerable and honest in confession, which would free them from shame. The call to be vulnerable and to surrender, he points out, is not unique to people who are seeking to overcome homosexuality or other sexual struggles: Regardless of their particular types of drives or sin patterns, every person will have more internal peace and wholeness when coming into alignment with the Creator.

Finding the Answer the Rest of the World Is Looking for, But for Different Reasons

In fact, Williams says, the lessons people with experiences like his have learned are key to the meaning of life.

“Every human is asked to lay down their lives and follow Jesus,” he says. “It costs everyone in different areas, but the good news is we’re surrendering to the kindest, most loving, most generous Person that’s ever existed. I’ve never regretted my choice one time.

“I’ve only experienced life. It just wasn’t on my own terms. We lay down our carnal desires and our preferences because He’s King, and then the King gives good gifts. We receive those out of fellowship with Him. The closer that I have walked with God, the more I have experienced the fruits of His Kingdom: righteousness — being in right standing with God and experiencing that — peace, joy. Every person is crying out for that.”

Williams says the root of homosexuality is “an intimacy problem” — relational brokenness — which means intimacy is the solution.

“The good news is, He’s a relational God. He created the concept of relationship and intimacy,” Williams explains. “So I get rehabilitated by being in close fellowship with Him and with the community that He gives to me.”

For those for whom relational brokenness has been the biggest challenge in life who then experience new life in God, “if they keep going with God, they end up experiencing a ton of intimacy,” Williams says. “And then they’re able to turn around and offer that to the rest of the world, which is really looking for the same thing for different reasons.”

 

Aliya Kuykendall is a staff writer and proofreader for The Stream. You can follow her on X @AliyaKuykendall and follow The Stream @Streamdotorg.

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