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Nov 03, 2021 2625 Kim Zember

From Vice to Virtue

Prepare to be transformed as Kim Zember recounts how she freed herself from a homosexual lifestyle

I was born and raised in a devout Catholic family with two older brothers in Southern California. I grew up knowing God and His love.

Until eighth grade I went to a Catholic school where I was protected by God’s grace, but I struggled against it. I wanted to be like everybody else. Unfortunately, my parents heeded my pleas to transfer to a public high school where I treated people badly so I could get the attention I craved. I knew that the Lord had created me for greater things—to help others, but I was bored and I kept my eyes on myself.

Riddled with Guilt

In my senior year, I felt an attraction to a girl at school. I still don’t know where that desire came from. I didn’t have any sexual abuse in my life or any bitterness towards men. I started pursuing her ardently in a conniving, self-seeking way, wooing her into a romantic relationship. One night, when we were both drunk, I succeeded in breaking through to achieve the physical relationship that I thought I wanted. If only someone had stopped me in that moment before we connected in a way we were never meant to, and told me where this would take me.

I hungered for more, just like when I eat a brownie, I want more, even though it’s not good for me and leaves me feeling sick. But she knew there was something wrong about what we’d done, felt riddled with guilt and didn’t even want to talk about it. I also knew that it was wrong, so I hid my relationships with women by dating guys, not because the Church said it was wrong, or because I cared about what people would say, but because a still, small voice within me was crying out to be heard, “I have better for you Kim.”

Sadly, I suppressed that inner voice, drowning it out by chasing women and money as my career in real estate took off. On the surface, it looked like I was doing well, making lots of money and dating a series of guys. But it was all built on lies. I dated a girl for almost two years, but nobody knew. I lied to everyone. I was becoming another person. I was one person with my girlfriend and another person with them. I was a chameleon with whoever I was around.

A Twist

The biggest draw for me was the emotional intimacy I experienced with women, not the physical relationship. They understood me; I understood them. I had always felt a desire to help people, especially if something was broken inside them. I never knew until later that it was a gift. But Satan wants to twist your special gift for his own purposes because he creates nothing.

He twists and distorts everything, especially the goodness and gifts of God. That affection that God gave me for women was meant to be used to build healthy friendships, to support each other. But Satan twisted that when I crossed a line and expressed that affection in an inappropriate physical way. Every relationship that I was in became twisted and unhealthy. Although they were amazing people and I was able to help them in some important ways, like getting off drugs, I was hurting them in much deeper ways.

I went to see a Catholic counselor, shared everything with him and he affirmed that I was gay. I could never accept that, but he told me that I didn’t understand Scripture. My ears loved hearing it, but I never had peace with that because I knew that wasn’t true, although I accepted it because it meant that I could do whatever I wanted.

Exploding Heart

At 23, I was dating a wonderful Christian guy. My heart was drawn to him and his love for the Lord, so when he told me that he loved me, I should have been ecstatic. Instead, I got furiously angry, because I knew what was going on inside me and my secret relationship with this girl. How could a guy who was so connected with God love me? How could someone who was so spiritually motivated, love someone who was so materially motivated? When I questioned him, he simply said, “I love your heart, but if you want to know your heart, you need to ask God to show you.” I was dumbstruck. I went into my room and cried out from the depth of my heart, “God show me my heart”. I didn’t expect God to answer right away, but I felt myself lifted up into a scene from my life that I had totally forgotten. I saw myself in 7th grade, listening, enthralled, to a priest speak about his mission in Africa. I grabbed my mother’s arm and told her, “I want to go to Africa.” Although she reminded me of how much I hated dirt and flies and discomfort, I wouldn’t quit, so we went up to see the priest afterwards. He listened attentively, then hugged me, saying, “If the Lord ever wants you in Africa, He will take you, just keep praying”. Although l had no memory of this, my mother later confirmed it.

I felt my heart exploding inside. I called my boyfriend and announced, “I’m going to Africa!” The Lord spoke and I ran. He showed me what I was created for. All that passion could be poured out and have a massive effect on other people. I saw kids who had lost their parents, who weren’t eating. When you hug that kid, and you get lice from that kid or contract their skin rashes—those are truly gifts. These children truly transformed me and opened my heart.

The Lord says that if you want to find me, look among the destitute, the widow, the orphan, the poor, the imprisoned. I came back from Ethiopia with my heart alive and beating. I gave up my career earning $200,000 per year, sold my house, my car and everything I had. I moved back to Ethiopia with the guy who had opened my heart to all this. Before we got married, I confessed everything I’d done and he said, “If you want to be with women then you could choose that, but if you want to be with me, then choose me” and I chose him.

Downward Spiral

On the night of my wedding I got on my knees and said “Lord I will never cheat on this man with a woman” and I meant it with everything I had. What I didn’t understand was that I didn’t have the strength to do that on my own. I needed my Savior’s help. I wasn’t immersed in His Word. I was just going through the motions. It’s good to develop good habits by going through the motions like brushing your teeth and saying your prayers, or dragging yourself or your children to Mass because you’re engraining good things, but it’s just a beginning.

Just a year after we married, when we returned from Africa, I cheated on my husband with a married woman. We both left our husbands and ended up divorced. This started a rapid downward spiral in my life. Things began to get worse when she wanted to have a baby. That’s where I drew the line because I knew that a baby needed a father and I didn’t want to play God, so we broke up. For another two years, I had a series of relationships with women, but I felt more broken with everyone. I was breaking my own heart and breaking other people.

My family loved me through all this, but they never condoned my actions. They always affirmed what God has made me to be and called me to higher things. It wasn’t hateful. It’s what I needed. They always reminded me that I was made and created for more. When they realized that inviting my girlfriends to join in family functions was affirming my lifestyle, they made the hard decision to say they couldn’t do that anymore, I felt angry, accusing them of being judgmental, and withdrew for a while, but they were the ones who were still there for me no matter what.

Power of Surrender

When my latest girlfriend cheated on me and I felt at my lowest ebb, I turned back to God in tears, praying, “Lord, I surrender. I trust that You are God and I am NOT. If You show me that You have better plans than me, then I will serve You for the rest of my days.”

That night, my friend, Daniel took me to a prayer meeting with an African preacher, but when I noticed how beautiful the pianist was, I had to cover my eyes to avoid temptation because I didn’t want to see anything but God. When they called people forth for prayer, I went up with my friends, but kept my eyes tightly shut. As we reached the head of the line, I was stunned to hear the preacher blasting Daniel as if he knew all his faults. I had never experienced prophecy and I was afraid of what he would say about me for everyone to hear.

Next moment, the preacher started declaring victory over my life in the name of Jesus Christ. He declared, “You have surrendered your life to Him and finally you have given it all. You will live for Him in everything.” He spoke the words that I had cried out to God in offering my surrender, the redirection that I had begged from Him. I knew that it was God Almighty speaking to me through him.

All these years I have been able to sustain in God’s grace and my spiritual life has completely transformed. The key to walking in freedom is to have a personal relationship with Jesus. Having a deeper intimacy with Him through Daily Mass in Holy Communion, daily time with Scriptures, frequent confession, Adoration, Praise and Worship music, going to Catholic conferences and being in Christian community have all helped in my walk with Christ. As I began to do more and more of all these, I found myself doing less and less of the other things, which helped me to grow in the Spirit and out of my flesh. For me everything fell in place as I grew in personal relationship with Jesus. Surely He leads us all out of darkness and into His perfect light!

I hope that my brokenness can bring hope to anyone who needs encouragement to stand in the truth of God because what God has said will always be better than our own opinion. Let God continue to be God. Listen to Him when He speaks of His plans for males and females and relationships. He showed us what love is on the Cross. Love is sacrifice. My life is not my own. He is calling me into a deeper relationship with Him every day.


Kim Zember

Kim Zember is the founder of Overcome Ministries. She is a dynamic speaker and mentor for young adults and adults struggling with same-sex attraction. Through her book, "Restless Hearts: My Struggle with Life & Sexuality" Kim offers encouragement to those seeking peace and joy for their own restless hearts.

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