Rejection led Stacey to adopt an unsatisfying identity
"Leave the house or I will blow your brains out", Stacey Folds roared at his drunken stepfather as he held up a rifle to rescue his battered mother.
"As my stepfather walked out he told my mother to choose him or me. She chose him," Stacey recalls sadly.
Stacey was then 16 when his biological mother rejected him for the second time after his biological parents split up when he was four.
At age 15, he had moved in with his mother and stepfather but over that year Stacey says he was also molested by a trusted male friend of the family.
Following this abuse and his mother's rejection Stacey turned to drugs to "kill the pain", and was shattered again with rejection by his school peers.
"People called me homo, fag, queer. After you hear it so many times, I believed that I was gay," Stacey explains.
He dropped out of high school and detached from his devoutly Christian family, because, he says, "Their church said I was not welcome."
At a gay bar he searched for love and approval, and found enough excitement to stay.
"The lights, music, drugs and alcohol were fascinating to me at age 19," Stacey says. "I enjoyed it, or at least I thought I did."
Following a degree and a new job to get himself off drugs, Stacey recalls, "I got myself involved in a relationship with another man for ten years. It was a very tumultuous relationship – filled with deceit, lies and secrets.
"When he passed away in 2003 I moved back home and got a policing job in 2007. My life was still empty, but I loved my job. I still love my job."
In his workplace Stacey had a friend who both annoyed and intrigued him with his constantly good mood.
"Chad was always talking about his faith, and I didn't like him. I had no use for Chad, because, to me, God didn't love me and I didn't love Him.
"But for whatever reason I was drawn to Chad. I would listen to every word that came out of his mouth. To this day I couldn't tell you why, I just did."
In contrast to his friend's mood Stacey slid into depression and decided upon suicide in 2010.
"On my way home from a bar at 2am, I sped up to 190kph and at that point I believe God intervened. I chose to see my parents at their church the next morning as my way of telling them bye."
In that church service Stacey says, "God just spoke to me, and to be honest He ticked me off."
“I’m in a dark place; I don’t want to be there anymore”Stacey was so mad that he opened the Bible his mother had given to him years before, and he recalls, "For whatever reason the Bible spoke to me."
Stacey returned to his parent's church many more times, and finally asked Pastor Josh Buice to help him. Stacey likewise reached out to an old friend in the church, a man named Joey Rainwater who he had known for years.
"I told Joey that I was in a dark place and I didn't want to be there anymore. I gave my life to the Lord Jesus Christ and in that moment a weight was lifted off my shoulders."
The desires he had for decades changed instantly, Stacey says.
"I no longer desired to be with men or to curse. I wanted a wife and children."
After a year Stacey married Jennifer. Four years on, they have a son, Edwin, and are expecting their second child. "God has given ten times what I deserve," Stacey concludes. •