Hi, Anon! Thank you so much for coming to me with your questions. First off, you are in my prayers and I will be praying that you become happier and healthier by the day. I am so thankful that you are still here to send me a message. =]
Your question is a tough one, but I will do my absolute best to answer it. (If any of you followers happen to have suggestions or words of wisdom that would help Anon, please send them my way!)
Each and every person is raised in a unique environment and a unique home - no two people were brought up the same way, and how we are raised does have an effect on how we grow up. Similarly, each person’s faith journey is unique; how they come to know and love God and how they practice their faith is different from how everyone else does it.
If you don’t mind, I’d like to give you a short anecdote that may be of some help: I was raised Roman Catholic. My parents had me baptized when I was a baby, they made sure that I received all the sacraments at the appropriate times, they took me to Mass on Sundays, etc. However, my parents got divorced when I was 16, which was also when I was able to drive myself around. Essentially, my faith became largely my own thing when I was 16. I started going to Mass on my own, occasionally with one of my parents, and became very involved in my parish. I like to say that my friends at church helped continue to raise me in my faith since I spent so much time with them doing various things like youth group and whatnot.
Now, the reason I told you that anecdote was to try and show you that a) we each have our own unique faith journeys and b) no matter the circumstances of how you are raised, you can always turn to God and overcome the difficulties you have faced in your life.
Regarding your question as to whether being raised more devoutly would have made your life better, I must tell you having faith does not mean that your life will be free of troubles and difficulties. Speaking from personal experience and after reading about the lives of saints, being close to God does not mean that you will have a life free of tragic or traumatic moments. However, having faith does help you get through these troubles, that much I can promise you. In that sense, it makes your life infinitely better because you can, with the help of God and His grace, find the deeper meaning in the troubles you face and realize that your ultimate happiness and destiny is not of this world. If you seek God with all of your heart - or at least as much of it as you are capable of at a given time - you will find comfort in Him. He wants us to be happy, but the happiness that He wills for us is not what the worldly definition of happiness, rather it is an eternal joy greater than we could ever imagine. Trials and tribulations are often key in helping us achieve this perfect happiness and growing closer to God. There are plenty of churchgoing people who are unhappy and confused, trust me. We don’t have all the answers, but we turn to God because we know that He does. Sometimes, you just have to have faith in Him and His plan.
As for your past relationships, if I read your question correctly (please forgive me if I didn’t), are you saying that you are not quite sure about your sexuality? If that is the case, I would say that prayer and reflection will help you be certain. Catholics (and, quite frankly, all people) are called to love and care for our LGBT brothers and sisters! To be honest, I am not sure how to respond to your statement that you don’t want to be attracted to the same sex anymore. Personally, I believe (and the Church teaches) that our sexuality is not a choice, rather it is a part of who we are and how we were made. If I may, I’d like to direct you to two resources: here and here. I’m hesitant to continue answering this question because I do not want to steer you in the wrong direction. Please don’t hesitate to send me more questions if you feel inclined, though!
The main point is that we are to embark on this journey with God and let Him work in our lives; He knows how to meet us where we are, challenge us to grow closer to Him, and how to help us when we fall. Do not lose hope! God knows you better than you know yourself, and if you truly want to know and love Him, He will help you. I can’t tell you how He will help you, but He will.
I’d like to leave you with a couple of quotes and songs that have really helped me when I’ve struggled with life events. I hope they bring you comfort!
“Be who God intended you to be and you will set the world on fire.” -St. Catherine of Siena
“Do not anticipate trouble, or worry about what may never happen. Keep in the sunlight.” -Benjamin Franklin
“The flower that blooms in adversity is the most rare and beautiful of all.” -Mulan
“To live without hope is to cease to live.” -Fyodor Dostoevsky
“You may have to fight a battle more than once to win.” -Margaret Thatcher
“Faith to Fall Back On” by Hunter Hayes
“Let It Go” by Zac Brown Band
“Keep Your Head Up” by Andy Grammer
Pax et bonum, friend. =]