A worship leader who turned away from homosexuality to follow Jesus has shared an online testimony about how an encounter with Christ restored him to faith at a time when he "backslid" for six months.
Virginia resident DeUndrae Cockrell detailed how he became "born again" on a June 15 episode of Delafé Testimonies, a YouTube channel with over 300,000 subscribers that aims to "create the world's largest archive of Jesus testimonies."
Cockrell grew up attending a Pentecostal church in Columbus, Mississippi, and had his first same-sex-attracted thought at age 4 about a minister in his church.
During his childhood, Cockrell was molested by two family members. This led him to watch pornography by age 13. He started having strong same-sex attraction in high school.
When he entered college in 2005, he began acting on his same-sex attractions while still involved in his church as a worship leader.
Two years later, Cockrell said, God "ministered" to him after the sudden death of his sister, with the experience not happening at church or during worship.
"I was in a room, and the Lord began to let me know, 'You belong to Me and I love you.' And to be honest, that confused me and baffled me because I'm waiting on the hammer and the judgment. And He tells me He loves me," Cockrell said.
"In that moment, my life changed because this God loves DeUndrae, who's dating men. I was about to marry one, actually. I went from having a fear of the Church to seeing God in such a way of love that it caused the fear of the Lord."
Cockrell went through a period when he was "on fire for God" and even dated a woman for a few years while at World Harvest Bible College in Ohio, around 2011. He described it as the first time he ever felt a "real" attraction for a woman. He "loved" her beauty, mind and as a person.
Although he felt he could be vulnerable with her about all that he has gone through, the woman broke up with him.
"The issue was her parents didn't like me. Her family felt like I was still a homosexual," Cockrell said. "She then breaks up with me two days after my birthday."
"This breakup was hard because she broke up with me, and I found out she was actually talking to another guy at the same time. And, of course, the enemy used that, that was the open door. And now my journey shifts."
Cockrell said in 2013, he "backslid" — or turned away from God — for six months to pursue a homosexual lifestyle once again.
"I went on this journey where I then tell God, 'if this is what being in an opposite-sex or heterosexual relationship is like, I don't want it,' because I felt betrayed because I put myself out there. And when I put myself out there, the person that I put myself out there to was not able to handle the fullness of me," Cockrell said.
"Because of the height of the betrayal, I leave this delivered DeUndrae behind. And I walk away from God for a period of time. It really brought a lot of disgruntlement. I was bitter. I was angry. I was angry with God because I felt like God allowed me to go into this."
Throughout the half year of backsliding, Cockrell pursued men romantically but felt hesitant to commit, saying he felt "the pull of God" telling him, "this is not you."
While watching a movie on the television one day, Cockrell said God spoke to him again, telling him, "I've never had an issue with you loving men. I had an issue with you loving the wrong one."
"And He said to me, 'I pursued you. I love you.' And He said, 'What else will they have to offer you, but temporary gratification and heartbreak?'" Cockrell said. "I was like, 'God, what if I fail you again? What if I walk away? What if I destroy my reputation again?'"
Cockrell thanked God for his family and close friends, who guided him through the process of becoming a born-again Christian by rededicating his life to Christ.
"It's that friendship. It's that everyday walk to wake up with the breeze of His presence," Cockrell said. "To wake up knowing that He's with me. And to wake up knowing that He wants to satisfy me and that I can be satisfied in Him."
Now as a single man and life coach who has rededicated his heart to God, Cockrell said that he still encounters temptations to act on same-sex attractions from time to time.
"I honestly get to experience Him in ways that are so real, even when temptation comes. Because I get faced with temptations. The temptations to go back still come. The temptations aren't absent just because of my walk with God," Cockrell said.
"I stopped thinking that 'oh, since I'm delivered, the temptation leaves.' Since I'm delivered, I have the power to respond to the temptation. And I have the right perspective. And so, it feels good to be free."
Nicole Alcindor is a reporter for The Christian Post. She can be reached at: email@example.com.