Shawn Derritt is a husband, a father of two, a counselor, and a Christian recording artist. He is also struggling with homosexuality.
It's a struggle he's had since his youth.
He recently sat down with The Christian Post to talk about his music and how he has been wrestling with homosexuality even while married to his wife, a woman he described as "the greatest example of God's unconditional love."
Derritt, who holds a Master's Degree in Counseling Psychology from the University of Kansas, had always been an avid churchgoer and a worship leader while growing up. During his youth, he struggled with same-sex desires but it wasn't until he was in his early 20s that he began act on them.
"I loved God with all my heart but did not know how to walk away from the struggle or walk away from the sin," he said.
As a professional counselor, he understands that homosexuality can result from an individual's experiences during the most primal time of a person's life – as a young child.
He observed that "sexuality has so many variables involved. We are born male or females where God's plan includes a male/female relationship but how we get there and learn how to walk that in a godly way is different."
For him, the absence of his father and the rejection of his male peers was one of the core reasons why he always seemed to seek acceptance and love from men.
"For me," he elaborated, "it was wanting to be loved and respected by men, like the old saying,' some love is better than no love.' So in my mind I thought 'I know this is wrong but these men want me and want to be with me.'"
Other people may have experienced sexual abuse or abandonment. It is "something that happens with us that interferes with that natural process that God meant for us to develop into heterosexual beings," he noted.
Derritt encourages men and women who struggle with homosexuality not to torture themselves but rather look for core reasons why they struggle with the sin and ask themselves "what am I really looking for?"
"It's important to find what exactly you are looking for and then that hole (emptiness) … gets weakened. It means that you are able to recognize what you were originally looking for," he said.
While Derritt is a firm believer that God will take care of everything, he also noted that it is important to be realistic about the struggle and recognize that it is something that can take years to resolve. It took him and his wife, Saskia, about five to six years to come out publicly with their story and create their ministry – Christ Inner Healing Ministries – based on their own testimony.
"We wanted to make sure we weren't going on this adrenaline drive thinking 'let's change the world' because the reality is, it's going to come back."
During his marriage he gave into his struggle for seven years. Although Saskia knew he was struggling with homosexuality, she chose to marry him anyway. But when he was unfaithful to her with a man, it was the betrayal that hurt her the most.
He confessed that it is not realistic to think you will never be tempted again because "in all sin, regardless of the sin that you were coming out of, you are going to have moment s where the enemy of the soul will come back and try to lure you back into that."
"Every day we have this tree set before us and every day God says 'don't eat from that' and we have to choose," he illustrated.
His wife chose to forgive him. Today, they lead a ministry together and even wrote a book titled Naked and Unashamed.
Derritt's latest album, Thank You, gave him the nomination for best Gospel Album by the Independent Music Awards. He is currently working on his next album project.
The Gospel artist wants to remind people to be patient and loving towards those who struggle with the temptation. As a living example of someone who is able to say "I'm walking out victorious" each day, he only hopes to show everyone that it is possible.
"Everybody is tempted with something. Jesus Christ was sinless and he was tempted. The temptation is not the sin; it is what you do with the temptation."
On the Web: http://www.christinnerhealingministries.com/