What is my Next Step?

•December 11, 2012 • 21 Comments

It has been awhile since my last post.  My life has been full lately.  I continue to process the deep wounds in my life.  Between work and  processing through the darkest seasons in my life; I have been stretched thin emotionally and physically.  A very wise friend  of mine Ricky Chelette from Living Hope Ministries told me “this is a process not event.”   Thank you Ricky for those wise words they have sustained my commitment  to the healing journey time and again.  Many  internal changes are taking place deep within me.

Since April of 2012, I have been job searching in the greater Dallas Forth Worth area.  These are challenging and competitive times for every position open.   However God in His wisdom has been preparing me me to make the transition to the DFW area.   I have been challenged  to entrust this aspect of my life to Him.   During the last month or so I have noticed a very internal switch taking place within me.  As December began I became very aware that I would be making the move To Dallas very soon.  In my mind this meant I would have a job and the ideal place to live.

However, I am discovering  God often has a different path for us to follow one that rarely matches our own plans.  In fact it most often defies our own understanding and moves us to press into God for all that is needed for the next step of faith.  This is very apparent in my own life.  God has made provision for me to move to Dallas between the end of December and mid-January.  December 28 will be my last day on staff at my church. I will be leaving behind good friends some who have become  family to me.  That’s the bitter sweet part of this decision.

This move is a step of faith on my part as I will be going with a small cushion and no job on the horizon.  However, I am confident this is the next step in my journey.  A good friend of mine reminded me of the clip from the Indiana Jones film the Last Crusade where Indy comes to the Chasm and must  to choose to take a leap of faith into the unknown.  Enjoy the scene accompanied by Jeremy Camp and his song Walk by Faith.

I know some will think I have lost my mind in taking such a risk, but sometimes you have to do what God tells you to even when it appears illogical and seems impossible to understand.  Hum, I think I have been here before  just about four years ago when I took my first steps of faith and God placed it on my heart to move to East Texas.   This time I have a clear concept of who God is and a confidence He will provide what I need as I embark on this adventure.  “It’s impossible, nobody can jump this…its a leap of faith.”  Indiana Jones Last Crusade.

Thank you for following my journey.  Please feel free to leave comments and questions.

Hope

Why Look Beyond Sexuality

•November 3, 2012 • 1 Comment

For the last week or so my heart has been filled with empathy for many young lesbians that seem to be coming across my path these days.    I don’t pity them at all.  I don’t hold malice for their expression of sexuality.  I seem to be seeing beyond the outward appearances.  I am seeing a craving, a longing for acceptance, a longing to find themselves in relationship with other women.   I also see needs driven by defensive behaviors because they are doing what comes natural to them.  What they see themselves as created to be.  I really get that!

In contrast I have seen several older lesbians walking around with a bitter edge oozing from their beings.  That persona seems to scream stay the hell away from me, I have been hurt, misunderstood and I have nothing left to give.   My heart breaks every time I have this encounter.  Oh my wounded sisters I wish there was a way to convey to you the healing I have found in a true relationship with Jesus.   I know I was spiraling at a rapid speed down this path to join the ranks of the walking wounded.

The anger that dwelt within me permeated every aspect of my life.  I have discovered that the anger was only an outward expression of deep seated fears; I was wounded for not being understood, heard and for being born the wrong gender.  I couldn’t relate to other girls and women in the culturally acceptable ways.  If there was a God at all he made a mistake in allowing me to be born a woman.  I also was of the belief that my Same Sex attractions were part of his design. So you see my friends to write to you as a Christian is not a pronouncement of judgment;  in the last three and half years I have been on a journey to look beyond the obvious of what has felt  natural to me.   I have chosen  not to be influenced by the voices that shout loudly it’s a matter of choice.  I  have chosen to go directly to the source God Himself and invite Him into the process and show me what is true  about sexuality.

 More often than not I found myself in place of offense by many statements made by members of both communities.  I have determined that really all that matters is Gods view and what He has said in the Bible.  Yes we can pick and choose what we want to believe and we can each twist and turn it to fit our own worldview.  I would say all of us no matter how what we think about sexuality tend to do so. In my studies I have concluded there is a third alternative.  This perspective includes elements of sin (knowing the right thing to do and not doing it.)  Even when it goes against what feels natural.  It includes a component of deception; I believe the one who tells humanity lies is the devil.  No not the horned dressed in red guy with a pitchfork we see frequently depicted in our culture.  But rather a fallen angel who strove to become god and now is Gods arch enemy.

His motive is to destroy all that God holds dear to Himself.  My friends every person ever born; which includes you and me are Gods most treasured creations.  The greatest victory the enemy of God and of your soul can achieve is “to convince you that you are someone other than who God created you to be.” Patrick Payton  The enemy of our soul rejoices in our rejection of our true identity.   He dances when we blame God for designing us as the wrong gender.  When  we chose second best in our relationships and give into his deceit that only the same gender is for us he wins and imprisons our minds, emotions and body.  That angers me and it should anger you enough to search out the truth yourself.

In closing today I want to share a passage from the Bible I recently read I John 3:19-21(Common English Bible) 19 We know that we belong to the truth, and we feel at ease in the presence of God. 20 But even if we don’t feel at ease, God is greater than our feelings, and he knows everything. 21 Dear friends, if we feel at ease in the presence of God, we will have the courage to come near Him.

I invite you to join my journey resolve your faith and identity, to engage in honest conversation with God. Your comments and thoughts are always welcome friends.

Hope

A Letter to Young Lesbians

•October 25, 2012 • 16 Comments

Dear, Young Lesbian Couple,

I ran into you today several times at Target not intentionally but our paths just kept crossing.  With each encounter my heart filled with sadness almost to the point of tears.  I am writing to you as one who has walked your path you are embarking on for several decades.  I am a person who fought for freedom to be out and proud.  I know you hear messages every day that affirm you to embrace  your true self and love the one your with.   I promoted those messages for well over 20 years to people just like you.  Would you take the time to read some thoughts I had after seeing you today.

What struck me today was how your presence seemed to protrude a deep need for acceptance.   Your intense affection for each other appeared to say that the other was the only reason to live and breathe.  I had the opportunity to catch a brief glimpse in each of your eyes; I saw confusion, a lack of confidence and acceptance about your own bodies and gender.  This seemed to propel you to grasp and hold each other even tighter.

My young friends, I have been there and lived in that state the majority of my life.   Over the course of life, my partners were my “everything.”  They became my reason for existence and I lost who I was in them and for them.   I was willing to do whatever was necessary to gain their acceptance and approval.  This most often meant stifling my dreams and purpose and even desires.

As an older sister I can tell you this is no way to live.  What you think is only natural and love in the end becomes tangled cords that will strangle all you really are.  One of you will eventually dominate the other with your needs and desires and out of loyalty or more rightly fear you’ll remain in a dead-end relationship, going nowhere and  sucking the life out of you.

Even worse one or both of you will become so frustrated and have so many expectations left unmet by the other that you may begin to engage in hostile arguments.  God forbid those fights become violent.  I have seen two of my friends come to blows with the loves of their lives and then left for dead.  Their souls seared through and through.  I pray you never find yourself in this place.

So what is the point of this letter?  I wanted to challenge you to consider if this; is really the life you want to lead.  Ebbing and flowing out of pain and need.  Feeling fulfilled in the moment by “her” and then feeling a lonely desperation that there must be something more even as you lay next to “her”.

In the course of my life I have  had two long-term same sex relationships and well over 30 short-term encounters.  Ultimately I discovered none of them could fill the void deep within me.   I often sold a part of my soul for a brief moment of affirmation and “love”. However at 49 I discovered the “One” and only one who ever could fill my deepest needs and even desires.

No it wasn’t a woman or the woman.  Nor was it a man.  It was Jesus I engaged in relationship with Him and found Him to be the”One” who filled my hearts longings, healed my brokenness and wounds and gave me a true sense of who I really am.

I hope you will not take the path I took my young friends and waste a good portion of your life accumulating deeper wounds than the ones you so readily displayed today.  I hope you will not spend your life moving from one partner to the next hoping and wishing that she will meet your deepest needs; only to walk away more lonely and hurt than before.  I hope you will not expend your energies trying to find your self, fighting constantly to defend who you are.  Yet when left alone,  you wonder who you really are.

My young friends would you consider Jesus, not the Jesus you see hanging in your grandmother’s house or hear from some suit ranting and raving from a platform condemning and judging people to eternal damnation.  I am talking about the Jesus of the Bible, He was both God and man come to earth to rescue us from ourselves and restore us to a right relationship with Him and God the Father.

I am praying for you tonight as I finish this letter that you will discover the only “One” who can fulfill your life and put you in touch with your true-self.

I welcome you to join my journey,

Hope

Is Surrender the Pathway to Life?

•October 16, 2012 • 6 Comments

As a highly independent and most often guarded person surrender is a dirty nine letter word.  Yet as I stated in my last post that surrender and self denial, are what Jesus asks of us.  Most often He asks us to surrender and deny ourselves the things that drive us.  For me it was and is my sexual identity.

I can testify that didn’t come easy or overnight!  Yet I am discovering that surrender is bringing healing and life to me.  I know it makes no since to our humanity that seeks comfort, pleasure and security; to deny one one’s self the things that define us and seemingly fulfill us.   That is because we function within the tangible physical realm.  God on the other hand functions within the spiritual realm and beckons us as His children to step over into His realm.

Trust is a key element to surrender; without trust we will claw and fight for control of our lives.   I have begun to understand That God is the essence of truth, goodness, fairness, kindness, and justice.  He is worthy of my trust, He is worthy of my surrender.

God empowers us with the ability to choose if we will yield to His control.  For it is only through the freedom of choice that we can engage in a healthy relationship with Him.  Without choice He is reduced to a sadistic task master; and we His disposable pawns.

However, the surrender process moves me out of the familiar into the unknown.  It reduces me to the vulnerable selfish core of my being.  Yet it is at this place that I see what and who I need the most.  It is not my lofty ideals of life.  It is not my sexuality.  It is not my desire to be in the arms of another woman.

What I really need is to be purely and unselfishly loved.  No human is capable of doing so.  We humans ultimately are motivated by our own wants, needs and desires.   Only God is capable of loving us unconditionally.

I need to be heard and understood.  Yet without fail others will not hear me or understand who I really am.  Again this is the nature of humanity and the crux of rejection and pain common among us.  Who better to understand us than He who created us with intention and purpose?

To be loved, accepted, and understood are basic needs we all share.  If other people who were placed in a position of responsibility to pour those elements into our lives failed to do so;  then we walk around with gabbing holes in our souls.  We seek to fill those voids and wide variety of ways and yet we fail miserably.  I have come to know that only God can come and fill the voids within my life.

If the path to life and healing and fulfillment are through surrender then no cost is to great!

I  welcome your thoughts .

CHOOSE HOW YOU WILL LIVE IT!

Why Surrender…self denial really?

•October 9, 2012 • 13 Comments

One of the most common statements I hear from my gay identified friends; is why would you deny who you really are?  I don’t understand why you need to surrender your sexuality.  Why would you walk away from your friends and community, who understand and accept you?

These are questions I have asked myself and  wrestled with over the last three and half years.  Here is the answer I reached; as a follower of Jesus it is what He asks us to do “deny ourselves”!  Here are some key Bible verses that support this idea.

23 Jesus said to everyone, “All who want to come after me must say no to themselves, take up their cross daily, and follow me.”  Luke 9:23 Common English Bible

“If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross daily, and follow me. 24 If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it. 25 And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but are yourself lost or destroyed?”   Luke 9:23-24 New Living Translation

“Anyone who intends to come with me has to let me lead. You’re not in the driver’s seat; I am. Don’t run from suffering; embrace it. Follow me and I’ll show you how. Self-help is no help at all. Self-sacrifice is the way, my way, to saving yourself, your true self. What good would it do to get everything you want and lose you, the real you? What could you ever trade your soul for?”  Mark 8:34-37 The Message

Surrender and self denial are hard concepts to embrace and even more challenging to live out.  I have concluded that G_d places this expectation upon us not because He is sadistic in nature, but because He has only the best intentions for our lives.  He ultimately only seeks our highest good, desiring only what is best for our lives.  Surrender has become an aspect of my life as I come into agreement with God and His word. (the Bible)

Secondly, what God asks me to surrender or deny myself of be very different than it is for anyone else.   I have willing chosen to surrender my sexuality to the leadership of Jesus Christ, not because it felt good or was easy; but because it was the central aspect of my life that I derived all meaning and pleasure from.  In essence my sexuality was my god.  I lived for over four decades believing that being a lesbian was part of my genetic make-up.  Again I still believe that sexuality is comprised of one’s environment, choices, perceptions, and genetics.

So what does surrendering my sexuality look like?

1.) I have accepted the Biblical definition of sexuality.  This means, that God created men and women to be together in a marriage relationship.  This is God’s optimal best for both men and women concerning sexual relationships.

2.) I have come to realize that we live in a fallen broken world where every aspect of our humanity has been affected by sin.  I think it is possible that even our genetic make-up can be altered by the effects of sin.  Therefore we suffer with the effects of relational brokenness in every aspect of our lives.

3.) I have had to embrace the Bible as wholly true or not at all.  It is not to be taken out of context nor is a pick and chose free for all.  If this is so then I am obliged to live my life in accordance with it even if this means denying myself what I think to be right or natural.

4.)  I must embraced the fact that any sexual relationship outside of the marriage relationship is a sin. (knowing the right thing to do and not doing it) This would include Same Sex Relationships and heterosexual relationships outside of marriage.  Let me clarify that at the time of this writing my attractions have not changed and I am not seeking to be in  a martial relationship at this time.  I willingly  to choose a life of celibacy and sexual purity.

Yes, I know there are a multitude of self proclaimed Christians that do not live in accordance with this aspect of God’s word; but then again this isn’t about them.  It is about my personal relationship with Jesus Christ and holding myself accountable to His word.  What others do is between Him and them.

It is never painless to deny ourselves; most often it is extremely costly.  For me I have choose to deny myself the right to same sex relationships and to live in sexual purity, because  I want to honor God with my life.  In exchange I have gained internal peace that is not explainable.  I know who God is and found Him to be good and just and worthy of whatever He asks of my life.

Not an easy message to share in a world that revolves around self pleasure and personal fulfillment.  I think it comes down to this; will I live for myself and what pleases me or will I follow Jesus not matter what the personal cost is.

In conclusion, I do know God honors our choice to follow Him or not He does not force his will upon us.

 What will your choice be?

My journey grows richer with each passing day.  I welcome your thoughts and questions.

•October 2, 2012 • 2 Comments

Great thoughts from my friend Randy Thomas

My Journey to Sexual and Relational Wholeness

•October 1, 2012 • 12 Comments

Up until three and half years ago, my life revolved around Marriage Equality and Gay Rights issues.  I hated Christians because I thought a hateful God had rejected me. I couldn’t stand His intolerant, critical people. For 50 years I believed that I was born a lesbian. For me being gay was more than a lifestyle, it defined who I was.

Growing up, the landscape of my home life was explosive and chaotic.  My father was a walking time bomb and I was often the target of his rage.  My mother was distant and cold.  Both of my parents physically abused and sexually molested me well into my teen years.  In addition, they made it understood that I was not who they wanted because I was born a girl; this deeply disappointed my parents and I felt complete rejection early on in life.  That rejection of me as girl drove me  to prove to my parents I was faster, stronger and smarter than any boy could be.  I longed for their acceptance.

By 11 I had my first girlfriend and my parents separated.  I lived with my mother, and my father stopped the sexual violations.  I wanted nothing to do with men.  My only exposure to them either involved violence or being used by them for their pleasure and most often in a violent manner.  My mother became more aggressive in her behavior towards me.  I hated home, I hated my family.   I spent as much time away from them as possible.  I started partying with college aged people and seeking out relationships with older women.  These women were emotionally available; something my mother never had been for me.  They genuinely accepted me as one of their own.

As  a young adult, I tried to be involved in a few churches, yet each time I revealed my struggle I encountered one of two responses.  I was shunned and asked to leave, or I was told I had demons and prayed for but with no change. I abandoned Christianity for good   and immersed myself in the gay community for the next 20 plus years.  My politics aligned with those to the far-left, and I passionately fought on the front lines for gay rights.  On a personal level I sought peace by aligning myself by practicing Buddhism, Shamanism and seriously considered converting to Judaism, yet peace evaded me.  Over the course of time I had several meaningless encounters with women and two long-term relationships with women significantly older than me.

In 2006 I had a car accident in which I sustained a traumatic head injury that would change the course of my life.  I lost the ability to read or write, my job, and resigned myself to a life filled with doctor’s appointments and 31 medications daily.  This of course put a strain on my relationship with my long-term partner and it slowly began to unravel.  I was lost and felt as if my soul had been murdered.  I desperately wanted peace and yet saw my life as meaningless. In 2008 during the Jewish High holidays I sat in temple one night and cried out to God, that if He was there I needed His help.

Within a month I reconnected with one of my friends from my young adulthood.  In February of 2009 I visited my friend in East Texas.   During that stay she asked me some very key questions like if you are a proponent of marriage equality, why aren’t you married?  Gulp, I don’t know.   What is it that you want or need most in your life?  I answered peace.  To that, she responded by sharing John 14:26 “I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.”  That verse penetrated my heart and spirit.  I was desperate and my life had been stripped of meaning, I had no peace of mind, and I felt completely alone and had no reason to continue living; could Jesus and the Christian God possibly be the source of life and peace?

Toward the end of the visit my friend woke me up on Sunday morning and informed me we were going to church.  We arrived 45 min. early.  With that she said, “Let’s have Sunday school.”  She opened her bible and read me first Corinthians 6:9-11: you know the one that states “that homosexuals will not inherit the Kingdom of God.”  I had seen that on many signs at gay rights rallies held by hateful people who spewed unkind words my way.  My immediate response was, yeah here it comes you know the part where once again I will be rejected by God and one of His people.  However, as she read verse 11, “Some of you were once like that. But you were cleansed; you were made holy; you were made right with God by calling on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God,” something shifted inside of me.  I wanted the life and peace the Bible and God were offering me in that moment, I surrendered and asked Jesus into my heart.  I quickly realized that my lifestyle did not please God. I knew the decision would most likely cost me my long-term relationship with my partner and many friends.  In that moment all that mattered was the peace and life He was offering me.

When I returned to Seattle, my partner had changed all the locks on the doors of our home and refused to speak with me.  In an instant I was homeless.  I stayed with friends and tried to plot a course for my life.  In the midst of all of this, God seemed to impress on my heart to move to East Texas… I on the other hand was less than enthusiastic about the idea.  My conversations with God on the matter went something like this: “Are you kidding me?  East Texas is the polar opposite of Seattle and who I am.  I will hate it; there are no mountains and the people all go to church and want nothing to do with gay people!”  Despite my best arguments God made it evident that this indeed was His plan for the next step in my life.

Once I arrived in Texas my friend kept telling me I needed to go to church, and my attitude was, “NO WAY, those church people don’t want a lesbian to walk through their doors.”  Amazingly enough God directed me to a church that simply loved people and wanted them to discover who they were in Christ.  I spent several months slowly acclimating to church culture. Soon I was volunteering and establishing a relationship with the staff.  My pastors met with me and shared that they had never walked beside someone coming out of the lifestyle and would help me find the others to walk beside me.    I told God He could have a year to show me if this Christian thing was for me, and in no way would I be abandoning being a gay person, because it was who I was.  Since that time, God has graciously   healed my mind and body; I no longer take any medications and am presently employed full time at my church.  He has directed me to Living Hope Ministries, where I have learned about my true identity and found tools for sexual and relational wholeness.

God did not wave a magic wand over me and caused me to go from gay to straight.  I have had to take an honest and hard look at my life and what the word of God has to say in terms of sexuality.  This has been an intense process for me. In the midst of the process God has healed my father wounds and taught me how to relate to men and women in a healthy way.  I am currently in counseling and dealing with my abuse issues.  I have discovered, while I may not have a choice about being gay I do have a choice as to whether, I will live a life that honors God and identify as His child.

Since, I have embraced my faith I have found indescribable inner peace.  I am on a journey to resolve my faith and sexuality and as a result, I have discovered that we each are created in the image of God and He desires for each of us to engage in relationship with Him. True “change” is about being made new in the image of Christ and discovering who God has made us each to be.

Thank you for joining my journey.

Your thoughts and comments are all ways welcome

 
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