Wounded Healers

by Mikael “Dr. Mike” Elam, MDiv

As a Christian, I have served in many faith traditions since my youth. I’ve been Catholic, Non-Denominational, Presbyterian and Baptist. Through all these years and institutions of theological teaching I’ve had a secret, a secret for which no one could offer a healing. I would get a condemnation or get a listing of scriptures depicting some evilness and my abomination in the eyes of God. No one said, I understand. No one wanted to listen and not judge. Right or wrong what I was going through was real not imagined. Because of pressure as a black man in part and the Ignorance of Human Sexuality as a whole, there seemed to be no hope for me, not even in my perception of GOD.

My prayer life consisted of asking and pleading with God to remove this from me. Let me be an alcoholic or a drug addict, at least I knew there would be help for me. So I became an addict, a sex addict and New York City offered a plethora of places to satisfy my addiction. My addiction eased my depression, comforted my oppression and nursed my suppression. My addiction was not my problem, my secret was. I gave into my addictive behavior and then spent weeks in deep depression promising God never to do it again, only to repeat the behavior again and again. Suicide was becoming an option.

I honestly felt God was not listening to me, but God was. I kept putting my sexuality as a priority, but the Spirit kept telling me that’s not it. It’s not the source of my problems. Despite this struggle I gained leadership roles in churches, started new programs and received numerous accolades, but this secret was killing my insides. I needed to purge, but where? I tried Christian counseling but that failed miserably. I then went to a White gay counselor who couldn’t relate to my particular circumstance. Where would I go? Who could I trust, Who could I get to listen?

Upon This Rock

In the fall of 1996, I became a regular visitor to St. Paul Community Baptist Church. And by the following Spring, I became a member. After reading, “Upon This Rock, The Miracles of a Black Church;” I was certain that this was the church for me. I just didn’t know how much of an impact it would have on me. St. Paul offered a variety of ministries to choose from, but one in particular caught my attention, “Wounded Healers”“Wounded Healers” is a ministry dedicated to helping people involved and/or recovering from alcohol and drug addictions and those who have been affected by them. “Wounded Healers” is a no holds barred type of ministry. It’s a place where your issues can be addressed. Why you picked up? Where did you pick up and with whom? And long has it been since your last hit?
Everything is openly discussed and kept within the four walls.

“Wounded Healers” helped me open up my sexuality and I received the healing that I was looking for, liberation and most important. Love! No more closets, finally I was free from my secret and private pain and my freedom came in all places a Black Baptist Church in East New York Brooklyn, with an Intentional Men’s ministry and that’s a fearless act.
Now, my coming out did not mean for me to march for gay rights nor did it mean that I would be the next grand marshal in the gay pride parade. It just meant at the time, that I had come clean with my secret and private pain. There is healing in revealing. The more secrets you let go, the greater the chance of stepping out of the closets in your life. The healing process had begun; a healing within my circumstance. I soon realized that there are some things that we all have to work through in order to glorify God. I’ve learned that there are lessons in the coming out process.

Stepping out of the closet Is a Fearless Act, It is an Empowering Act. Audre Lorde once said, “When we speak we are afraid our words will not be heard or welcomed, but when we are silent we are still afraid, so it is better to speak.”
Dr. Katie Geneva Canon, “Tell your truth even when they say it’s a lie, tell it anyway”

It is a Divine Act: Isaiah 65:1 “I reveal myself to those who did not ask for me: I was found by those who did not
seek me. To a nation (people) that did not call my name, I said, “Here I am Here I am”

As I look back on my life, witnessing what the Lord has brought me from, the words of the epistle of James 1:2-4, 2 comes to mind. “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trails of many kinds because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. V.12: Blessed is the man perseveres under trail, because when has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.”

“Wounded Healers” celebrates 26 years of ministry and I have been the director of the ministry since 2012.

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