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Trapped by Desires He Couldn’t Understand

“It felt wrong,” remembers Jose. “And at the same time, the attention from a male figure - I craved that attention.” Jose Hurtado lived most of his childhood in Mexico City, where, at five years old, he was sexually molested by a neighbor. His father was a migrant worker in the United States who was away for months at a time. “So it caused me to go back to my perpetrator. You know, I was in a state where I was young and I was looking for - I needed the attention of a male father figure.” The abuse stopped after a year, but it left Jose with feelings and desires he couldn’t understand. “It kind of warped my identity as a child. Because now I’m internalizing something that’s not supposed to be part of me.” Several years later, his father could afford to move the whole family to the United States. As a teen, now in California, Jose stopped fighting the feelings he knew were wrong. “I started believing that this is the way I was born. I didn’t want these feelings. I couldn’t make them go away. I was upset that, I felt like – I was confused. And I felt like well, if these are not my feelings, if I didn’t choose this, then it’s okay.” Jose decided to seek out the only affection he had ever known. “Maybe I should just go out and experience life and be what I feel. So I did that. At the age of 16 I started using my brother’s ID to go into nightclubs, to gay nightclubs. That’s how I was introduced into that lifestyle.” By 18, Jose was living a very promiscuous lifestyle. “You just keep getting hurt and keep getting hurt because that’s not -it’s not fulfilling you. It’s not love. It’s you trying to fulfill your desires through another person, or at another person’s cost. It left me empty, it left me still broken.” He also started abusing drugs. And as he kept going from relationship to relationship, the shame and drug abuse grew worse. “I was addicted to ecstasy, cocaine, marijuana, crystal meth. So I was just trying to numb myself from reality because reality was so painful to me and I found that being in that altered state, my heart wouldn’t hurt that much when I was in that state.” Jose asked God to change him. When nothing happened, he assumed God wasn’t listening. “And I would take the nonresponse as well, ‘Do You enjoy watching me go through what I’m going through?’ So it made, in my mind, in my heart, it felt like God was being cruel. Because how could You be this good God, and see me suffer this way and allow me to go through this?” One night, Jose tried to overdose on ecstasy and cocaine. “I had gotten just sick of life. I knew that the amounts that I took was enough to kill me.” Jose woke up in his bedroom. He realized he should be dead. “And the first thought in my head was, ‘I gave you a second chance.’ All of a sudden there was an inner knowing inside of me, like really strong, like God is calling me. And my prayer was, ‘God, if You’re going to do this, You have to go all in with me. I remember being in my room and just saying, ‘God, I give You my whole life.’” Jose knew then that only Jesus could help him change. “‘I’m tired of this back and forth. You know. I feel so broken. I don't know what to do. I don’t want this life anymore. I just want Your life.’” Jose found a church, where a pastor took him under his wing, and helped him find healing. “I had let go of my old lifestyle, old friends. I mean talk about forsaking everything to follow Jesus, that’s what was happening.” He met Danielle at the church bookstore in 2008. “My first impression of Jose was just his heart. He was this person who loved Christ. I mean, Christ just kind of oozed out of him. And I just knew that I just wanted to be around that. It was contagious what he had.” Jose soon told Danielle about his past. “That wasn’t even an issue,” recalls Danielle. “And I had told him that from the very beginning, ‘I don’t care where you’ve been, what you’ve come out of. You don’t have to carry that shame. That’s not who you are. You know, you’re a child of Christ. You’re a child of God.’” They married in 2011, and their son Ethan was born two years later. Jose uses his story to encourage others caught in the homosexual lifestyle to get help. “All you need to do is really get alone with God, it’s not that difficult. And say, ‘God, just show me who You are, lead me to where You want me to be.’ And when you receive love, you’re able to give love. What I used to be is not who I am now. So I’m just a different person. Jesus actually transformed my life.”

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