Jon’s Story – I am His

by Jon Cooper

Hello, my name is Jon Cooper. I’m a faithful believer and overcomer in Jesus Christ. I was born on August 20, 1972. I was the last of eight children. I grew up in Memphis, Tennessee.

I was very shy and timid in my younger years. I was always getting beat up by my older brother. My sisters always seem to protect me a lot. Unfortunately, my mother was verbally and physically abusive, whereas my father was there, but “not there.” He had a physical presence in the home, but not an emotional one; at least that’s what it seemed like to me. I have since forgiven her and given it to God.
I tried to have the utmost respect for both of my parents, but they didn’t make it easy.

From the age of 5 to 15, I was sexually abused by my older brother. During my early teenage years, I started getting curious about the male body and having feelings towards men. I did not understand exactly what it was. I had thought it was love. As I got into my high school years, my emotions and feelings became stronger towards the same sex.

At the age of 19, through all of the struggling, I made a decision to turn to Jesus Christ. Although I was saved, I did not understand why I couldn’t love in that manner. I started going to an Exodus ministry meeting that happened every Friday night in Memphis. Exodus was a group for those struggling with same-sex attraction. I learned that I could be free, but still did not exactly understand how.

In 2001, I had met a young lady and thought that she was the one. I was miserable for most of the marriage. The best thing that came out of the marriage was a beautiful son by the name of Gabriel. After nine years of marriage, I decided to walk away from it, because I did not feel the healing or the change in my life that I was expecting. I thought this was how God made me. That He made a gay man. I moved to Florida and met a gentleman and we got married.

In 2016, I met a godly man by the name of Russ. He was an evangelical Christian who followed the Word of God strongly. Even though I felt like being a gay man was who God made me to be, Russ would tell me otherwise. Around the same time, another gentleman moved into the same apartment Russ used to live in and told me about Journey of Hope Ministries of Brevard. I was reluctant at first, but in February of 2019, I decided to go to one of the meetings. When I told my best friend Russ about this decision, he was happy for me and rejoiced and praised God for the decision.

Two weeks after I started going to the meetings, he passed away. I believe I was one of the reasons he was put on this earth. It’s an honor for me to know that God chased after me and used this man to reach me in prayer. Another blessing I received through Journey of Hope was that I met a couple of wonderful people who have walked beside me all this time: Duncan Heinly and Will Pennington. They are other men that I can call true best friends.

In 2019, I also started to attend Celebrate Recovery. I learned that we are all broken, and only God can fix us. I took inventory of those who have wronged me and those I have hurt as well. I learned more about myself and continued getting closer to God.

On December 13, 2019, I divorced the man I was married to. This was a necessary step to achieve wholeness in Christ. These soul ties were being broken and my relationship with the One who matters, Jesus Christ, became stronger. With these decisions God has shown me and spoken to me about a lot of things that I’ve never thought about before. Here is a wonderful example of something God said to me back in August of 2019:

Who is he? What can he give you that I cannot? Is he not as broken as you? I have given you life. “Call to Me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known.”
Jeremiah 33:3 (ESV). I love you, John. Look at the cross and see My love. “For God so loved the world, that He gave his only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16.

Remember what I have said to you. You are not a gay man. I have spoken over you who you are. You are mine. “In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace,” Ephesians 1:7

“In that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you.” John 14:20 (ESV)
You are a new man, a new creation.“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” 2 Corinthians 5:17 (ESV)

I thank God for showing me who I am. That my identity is in Him alone. I look forward to seeing what God has in store for me next. Thank you for letting me share.