slowing down

So I’ve been quite sick since Wednesday. I’ve been reading about adrenal fatigue since I’m suffering pretty acutely from it, and it seems that this getting sick often and not being able to get over it quickly thing is normal when your adrenals are depleted.

I started out feeling incredibly frustrated that I couldn’t do a darn thing about the fact that I had caught some germ and was rapidly going down the path of sickness again. Of course, I was reminded of my last blog and the new mindset God has been working on in me, and though I feel terrible, the last few days have been much easier emotionally. I let go of my frustration and have just been…well…sick! I’m taking lots of vitamins and drinking lots of water and making chicken soup and trying to get lots of rest, but I’ve just been sick…feeling awful…not getting a lot done…and all the other things that go along with being sick. It doesn’t feel great, but just living in the life that I have /right now/ is great in and of itself…sick or not. Of course this is all new for me, and it’s very odd and anxiety producing at times to step out of the “comfort zone” of the way I’m used to thinking, doing life, and responding to things.

I can’t change the fact that I’m sick, though. So I figure I might as well learn from it and show up for my life despite it.

I’ve been doing a lot of reading in my “slowing down” time. I find the most amazing things to read. Some of them are articles online, and I’m reading The Lord of the Rings again, and Blue Like Jazz (by Donald Miller) in the Bible study we’re in. Today I came across some poetry on Andrew Marin’s blog that was so real and raw and mind-blowing.  You can check it out here… http://www.loveisanorientation.com/2011/electroshock-therapy/ Definitely put some of my feelings and experiences (and those of some of my friends) into words. I’m so inspired by the girl who wrote it, Karen Bowlby. She isn’t afraid to approach the stigmas that cause so many people to be shamed when they need to be loved.

So I’m sick, and I’m slowing down while I get better, and I’m feeding my brain while I’m at it. It’s not a trip to Disneyland, but I am learning a lot. And I get so excited about the learning that happens in the every day working it all out. The practicing, practicing, seeing things happen, feeling like it never will, living it out kind of change. It can only be done in process, and even though it doesn’t all feel awesome, I’m so thankful for the process that is life.

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perfection, obsession, and letting it all fall apart

This weekend was full to the brim! Friday night I went to Dave and Buster’s for the first time to celebrate the birthdays of two of our dear friends. I’ve heard about Dave and Buster’s as kind of the adult Chucky Cheese….a place where you can go and play games and eat and have fun. The food was pretty good (I had a salad of course, since the restrictions on what I can or can not eat are pretty strict right now), and it was fun to be with my friends. My introverted self couldn’t really get in to the game part of Dave and Buster’s though. I don’t feed off of other people’s energy….in fact it usually drains me…so imagine a huge space filled with tons of people, loud games, and flashing lights. Yeah, my brain was on overload. I get so quiet in situations like that, and I tend to get pretty down on myself because I feel like I should be different somehow. We’ll come back to that thought.

On to Saturday! We had the amazing privilege of going to see U2 in concert on Saturday night. I entered the night feeling a little nervous because I was afraid I would have the same reaction to a lot of people and even more noise. I didn’t want to get quiet and feel the urge to withdraw. I wanted to experience the band and the music and have fun with my girl and my friends. I actually did better on Saturday night, the show was incredibly amazing and I loved being able to sit there and watch it.

I had a moment where everyone in our group had left for some reason or another and I was sitting by myself just watching the thousands of people in Invesco Stadium. At first I just lost myself in thinking about people and their differences and how much God loves everyone. Then the wave started. I’ve never seen that many people do the wave. The wave actually went around the whole Bronco’s football stadium like 7 times before it started to die out. That was pretty fun to watch. I found myself feeling amused watching the silly excitement of people, but I had no desire to join in. I had a moment where I wondered if this should be a problem…that I like to watch and analyze and take in and think about things so much more than I like to participate a lot of times. Again, I started to question my personality and wonder if my kind of personality gets people like me (or myself) anywhere. Of course then there is always the question of where am I trying to get myself and what’s so important about it?

On to Sunday. Went to church and thoroughly enjoyed it. After all the stuff I’ve been thinking about, just letting go and worshiping God with everything that I am was wonderful. It’s great to be able to take all my thoughts, all of the things I don’t understand, and all of my perceptions of myself and such and just lay them at the feet of the Lord. It was a precious time for my heart.

Sunday afternoon Lindsey and I got some Indian food and then saw the 4th Pirates movie. It was so good! On the way home we walked downtown a little to get to where we parked. While I was walking I was getting lost in my thoughts again. I was feeling weighed down by all the striving that goes on in my mind. Striving that looks a lot like a hamster wheel.

Over and over I think about where I should work, if I should work, when I should write, what I should write, what I should do, how I should do everything I do, on and on and on. I’ve always had this issue. This problem of obsessing about every little detail in my life because I think I need to be something or be doing something that is “other” than who I am or what I’m doing. Even though my life really is in the best place it’s ever been, I still deal with the same old crap I’ve always dealt with…..second guessing my dreams, putting lots of pressure on myself to be something that I can’t even define.

It really was like my eyes were opened, and I could see my life from a different perspective as I walking Sunday afternoon. I suddenly realized that all the things that have the most impact on me and my life are things that I’ve had very little control over, haven’t seen coming, or haven’t asked for (or even wanted!). I didn’t ask to go through a lot as a child, I didn’t have any choice in the family or time period I was born into, I didn’t ask to be or try to be gay, I didn’t plan on meeting Lindsey, I didn’t plan out my personality with it’s quirks and introverted analytical tendencies…..yet, these things effect my life in the largest ways possible!

I realized that the things that I “strive” over on my hamster wheel aren’t the things that “create” my life or who I am….I realized that trying to get every choice right and every day perfect and every situation ideal did nothing for my life at all. The question that came to my mind was one that asked if the things I try so desperately to control actually do anything for my life, actually change the course of my life, or actually create the life I love….and the answer was a resounding “no!”.

The things that have shaped me and continue to shape me into the person that I am are actually things that I have very little control over. I haven’t “made” my life happen. Life just keeps happening whether I want it to or not. In fact, life would keep happening whether I existed or not. Ok, so I know this isn’t rocket science, but this idea was like discovering gold in my mind. Do you know how much anxiety is created in us when we try to control things we can’t control? Or when we try to reach something that isn’t actually there? Like perfection?

The truth is that God is the author and perfecter of my life. Not me. Living my life doesn’t require a lot of obsessing, striving, worrying, etc. My life already exists…I can’t create it. What I can do is lean into the life I have been given. What I can do is “show up” (as my good friend, alison, says) for the life that God has created. I can’t do anything more than live today as the person I am, as the person He’s created me to be and is shaping me into. I can show up as that person and own who I am and enjoy who I am and love others.

I still can’t quite wrap my mind around this new idea. I’ve been so used to pressuring myself to be something I can’t even define, and I do it so automatically. I start a conversation with my sister…and instead of just being present and being myself, I start to obsess in my mind about saying all the right things and communicating love perfectly. It happens so fast and all of the sudden that in most situations I’m like, wow, I’m doing it again. I start writing in this blog and all of the sudden I’m not being myself anymore and I go into “must communicate what I’m thinking perfectly” mode.

But that’s not what life is about, and it’s certainly not the way I want to live my life anymore. So I would say that I’m on a different track, but that would just be feeding my old way of thinking. What I will say is that I’m listening and keeping my eyes open for God’s working of this change in me….keeping myself open to being aware of when I’m in perfectionist mode….and letting myself be a little raw…

I’m looking for signs of life in me instead of striving in my mind about how to create it.

I’m looking for a job as just a job and not a huge statement about me.

I’m leaning into my introverted, quiet, thoughtful personality instead of wishing I could play games with the best of them at Dave and Busters.

I’m enjoying my tendency to watch instead of worrying that I should be doing the wave with the rest of the people at Invesco Field.

I’m letting my writing be a little confusing and a lot of processing instead of trying to be the best communicator out there.

I’m embracing the things that I love instead of worrying about how to keep them special.

And I’m allowing myself to be imperfect so that maybe I can take my eyes off of myself and take in the view that God is constantly creating all around me.

I’m falling apart a little bit, so that maybe I can live from a place of wholeness that only God can create.

finding community in the rain

The rain in spain stays mainly on the plains of Colorado evidently. It hasn’t rained this many days in a row here in CO since 1995. Ugh! The cold rainy days, day after day after day, are so draining! To add to the cold, our building turned off the heat to the entire building already. Which means that it’s freezing in our apartment and I can’t do much about it! I’ve spent a couple of nights lately bundled up in socks, pants, long sleeve t-shirt, and a hoodie with the hood pulled up over my head to get warm enough to sleep. Craziness!! I’m longing for the sun and for warmth. I can’t wait until the day when I can go out on our patio and sit in the sun and actually get warm!

This cold and rain is making each day feel like a hot soup-good book-never go outside kind of day, but life can’t be like that every day! I feel bad for Lindsey because she has to force herself to get to work every day even though the weather makes you want to stay in. Even the dogs are feeling it!

Bo has his sweater on of course because it’s freezing in here! Hum drum…such a gloomy day.

My remedy for this day? I slept till 11am, ate one of my favorite things for lunch (salmon and veggies), and hung out with my very good friend, Sapp. We talked, laughed, and played video games. Thanks for coming over, Sapp! Community is such an awesome thing to have! I am so thankful for how God uses community to show us His love and deepen our ability to do relationship. If you look up “community” in the dictionary, it all sounds very removed and formal. But community to me means learning how to trust, having fun, letting go of life’s stresses to just enjoy the comfortable presence of others, sharpening one another with deep conversations and sharing our stories, encouragement, truth, helping each other, saying the hard, good, and “building up” things, having fun and sharing life. I’m so thankful for my community!!

Have you appreciated your community today? :D

What does it look like?

So obviously the process of coming out to one’s friends and family isn’t an easy one. Everyone has an opinion. Some people keep it to themselves, and some people let me know what they think. Sometimes I’m blown away by the love and acceptance I see coming from some people, and of course, on the other side, I can become very drained by negative responses. I know that being a gay christian is controversial issue, but being a gay christian doesn’t mean I want to debate the issue. It’s interesting how because some people think you’ve “chosen” this, they also think it is your duty to debate the issue and defend yourself. I don’t think this is true. I believe it is up to each individual to take this issue and bring it before God and do the sorting out of it on their own. This includes the people in their lives with whom they don’t agree. You know that whole angle of trusting things to God? I really think that this is the only way that christians who don’t agree with me and other gay christians can stay in relationship with me and others. We have to believe that God is bigger than our interpretations of the Bible and our beliefs about theology. We have to believe that God will do what He says He will do, which is covering us with His righteousness, never giving up on us, and leading us into the truth by His Holy Spirit and love.

I hold on to that daily. I hold on to the fact that I have been seeking the Lord my whole life and that He knows my heart better than anyone. I hold on to the fact that His love is the greatest thing of all. I hold on to the fact that Jesus is who saves me. I hold on to the fact that He will continue to work in my life and lead me according to His will because He always has and the Bible says He always will until I go to meet Him in heaven.

So, I had a moment where I thought, what messages have Lindsey and I received that have meant a lot to us, that have let us know that the person believes in our individual relationships with the Lord (or just the bigness of God period!), that made us actually feel loved? What does that actually look like? I decided it would be a good idea to post some snippets of them here in my blog, not only to honor those people who have really communicated love to us, but also to look at (for myself and anyone reading this) some really great ways to communicate love to someone you may not agree with. (and no, this blog is not about a passive aggressive way to tell people in my life how I would prefer to be messaged….I’ve already responded at some point to every message I’ve received (whether negative or positive)…so I don’t need to do it here in this blog) This is all part of my journey right now and part of me living this journey with authenticity!

Why does it matter so much? Because you can’t change me (and I can’t change you), only God can. You can weigh me down and stifle me, but that won’t change who I am. We have to believe that God is bigger. We have to believe that He is in control. That He understands the people we don’t agree with and that He has a plan for them too. This goes for me as well. It’s so easy to become exhausted by the messages that tear me down, but I have to believe that God is bigger than those, that He will continue working in the lives of the people who don’t agree with me. It’s hard, yes, but, as I read in Mark today, everything is possible with God.

So what does a truly loving message look like? Here are a few examples…

(from an extended family member) “...who am I to judge? I will always love you no matter what , because you are my sweetheart of a niece. I know it was hard to admit it , especially in a family like ours. I’m sure you will get some flack for it, but I hope you know that you will always be loved.” 

(from Lindsey’s friend, Heather) “…the more that I have learned and seen some gay Christians and their pursuit of the Lord, the more it’s made me question the black and white belief that simply says you can’t be gay and Christian-end of story.

But I’ve become really convicted recently that it’s not okay for me to read scriptures or to tell those who ask me about my views on this topic, but just re-gurgetating what I’ve heard. The Lord has begin to show me that in general, I have become apathetic and lazy with my pursuit of Him. Because He WANTS me to search His word and search His heart, and not settle for just an easy answer. But so often, I settle for what’s the popular answer to hard questions, because it’s easier that way. It requires no discomfort, no tears, no late nights, no extensive praying. And God’s not okay with that. 

Basically, I don’t think it’s coincidence that you sent me that message last week. Because it’s something that I can no longer confidently say “the Bible is clear about”…because the Bible isn’t as clear as I thought it was. But it’s also not totally ambiguous either. I have recently realized that it is arrogant of me to think that I can speak truth into somebody’s life about something that it really between them and the Lord. Period. I’m prideful to think I have all the answers.

The only thing that covers all is Him and His grace and love. And I have to hang on to that. ….That’s just been on my heart recently, and when you messaged me, I felt like it was affirmation from the Lord that I need to humble myself and recognize that He is God and the only one with answers. He is not surprised by anything we do. He knows us.

I want you to know that you are someone that I have always admired and valued. And your sexual orientation does not change that. Your heart for the Lord and your pursuit of His love have impacted me dramatically, over the past several years that I’ve known you. I love you, and you being gay does not put fear in my heart. I don’t have clear understanding about it, but it doesn’t change who are to me, at all.”

(from a long-time friend and mentor of mine) “….All I want you to hear me say is “I love you”. You will always be Stephanie to me…the young girl sitting on my back porch in GA learning to trust…the young woman beautifully fighting through incredibly difficult seasons of life…the one I’ve laughed with and cried with. Whether or not I agree or disagree is not the issue for me. What matters most is that you know beyond a shadow of a doubt that I love you and that you will always, always, always hold an incredibly special place in my heart. We have been through so much together. I can’t imagine life without you, even if we don’t get to spend time together like we used to.”

What amazing messages to receive! None of these people said once that they agree with Lindsey or I, but the messages weren’t about agreement or disagreement. None of the messages were about changing either one of us. None of the messages implied a desire to debate or involved questions that asked us to defend. Each message was at the bottom line loving. Each message put emphasis on the people that Lindsey and I truly are….real people, God-loving people, special people, people worth loving. Each message left Lindsey and I feeling loved no matter what. Each message didn’t make us feel like gay people who the Lord is not with. We are a lot more than our sexual orientation. Our life is a heck of a lot more than all about our sexual orientation. Each of these messages treated us like that is true. These messages didn’t focus on the fact that we’re gay, but that fact that we are people who are loved by God and worth the time it takes to know us, to understand us, and to show us love.

I can’t begin to describe what a difference you can make in a person’s life by reassuring them of the presence of love and the fact that God’s love can reach anywhere. (gay or not!) This is how we make an impact in a person’s life. This is how we continue in relationship with them. It doesn’t matter whether you agree with their theology or not. Love is still greater and will still make a difference.

I don’t claim to have all the answers. I’m not a debater. I know this issue splits churches, friendships, and families. But I believe in the power of love. I believe in it’s power in my life, and I believe in the power fearless love can have in any person’s life and heart. I believe that God’s love is the biggest force out there. I’m going to keep trying my very best to live in this love. Thank you to all the people who have been voices of love to us during this process. I’m learning to let go of the messages that don’t make me feel loved because that’s what God’s love is doing inside of me. God’s love is taking me from a place of anxiety to a place of hope, understanding, surrender, and trust.

Though you can’t see it from where you’re reading, I just smiled. And that is good.

Questions?

This morning I fed my soul while I fed my stomach. (oatmeal with honey, strawberries, and banana or blueberries has been my breakfast of choice lately) I’m reading Mark. My enjoyment of the gospels right now focuses around my desire to constantly know Jesus better. I figure that studying His time on the earth will help fulfill that desire and open my heart and mind to Him in new ways. I’ve read Mark many times before, but God always shows me knew things as I enter scripture and seek His heart.

Today I read Mark 6 and 7. I was struck the most by the first part of Mark 6 where Jesus returns to his hometown and isn’t received well. God impressed on my heart how the people in Jesus’ hometown thought they knew Him the best and therefore totally missed out on a lot of who Jesus really was. It was a really big encouragement to me because, as you might imagine, being gay and being a follower of Christ invites a lot of doubt, questions, and judgement over my life and my relationship with God. Sometimes I wish I was impervious to the doubt and fear because it’s very discouraging. But, I was reminded by this passage that Jesus shook up people’s firmly held beliefs about God  and that reminds me that we can never know for sure all that God is doing in the world or in the church or in any one person’s life. Keeping my eyes on Him gives me strength to remain in His love despite the opinions (and all the other things going on) around me.

Don’t get me wrong. If you don’t understand me or agree with me, that’s ok. But I think it’s always good to focus on the unconditional love of God before we approach any issue! This has brought immense encouragement to me today.

Now, I know there are many questions that people have for me (and for Lindsey) about how we arrived at the conclusion that being gay is ok. Don’t worry, we were both raised in church and we know how most Christians feel about “the gay lifestyle”. (whatever that may be in your mind) So I thought I’d post a link to a blogger that has become a friend of mine. She has written some amazing stuff about the verses in the Bible that refer to homosexuality, and she does a much better job of explaining it all in words than I ever could do! (plus, it’s already written down, so that saves me a lot of writing time!! ;)) She is a straight christian with an amazing story of how God changed her thinking and brought more truth into her life. If you have any questions about what Lindsey and I believe (and have spent a lot of time studying ourselves) on what the Bible says about homosexuality then checking out this link will be a great starting point for you!

http://canyonwalkerconnections.com/2011/01/scripture-and-homosexuality-a-look-at-the-verses/

Kathy is also on facebook (look her up in my friends), and she loves talking about this issue with anyone and everyone. It’s amazing. :)

Know that this is just a summary of some of the things God has been teaching me about His word. I continue to search after Him with all of my heart. I am confident that He will continue to bring me into the light of His truth and surround me with His love. And I am willing to follow Him wherever He leads. Both Lindsey and I have made that commitment to Him, and we don’t believe we have the corner on truth or that anyone but the Holy Spirit does. We are willing to lay down our relationship if we ever feel that is what He desires, but as we continue this journey we discover more and more freedom in Him, and we are both growing in our relationships with Him more and more every day.

I write all of this because it is my hearts desire to share my thoughts, to bring others alongside me in this journey, to give you the opportunity to see life from the perspective of someone who might be very different from you or might not be, but especially to continue to live my life with authenticity and honesty, trusting in the unconditional love of God, and trying my best to live with a fearless love and infect others with a passion for a fearless love.

It is only by God’s grace that I stand.

On being gay

There isn’t any really easy or clever way to begin coming out as a gay person. Something happens inside of a person at some point (hopefully….if God is moving him or her forward in life) where living as 2 different people doesn’t work anymore. The secret life of a gay person becomes harder and harder to maintain. The dual desires inside, the private thoughts and struggles and joys just can’t stay in anymore. Hiding isn’t fun, but as a gay person growing up in a Christian environment there isn’t any choice but to hide. Really, let’s be realistic….one could always argue that I had a choice to tell somebody at 12 years of age when I was majorly crushing on a girl on my basketball team (ok, totally obsessed with her). One could argue that I could have told somebody that if I saw a guy and girl walking down the street it was the girl I was checking out. One could argue I could have told somebody that when I stumbled across a lesbian movie on HBO it clicked in me in a way I knew it wouldn’t for all the other women in my life. One could argue that I could have told somebody when I started falling in love with a girl and I knew it. I had someone tell me once that they believed I would tell them if I was struggling with same sex-attraction. But let’s get serious, when you grow up knowing that being gay is one of the worst possible things you could be, then you don’t even think to tell people things like that. You cringe inside, close your eyes, look the other way, justify that you’re just admiring how skinny said gorgeous girl is, and most of all repeat over and over to yourself, “I’m not gay, I’m not gay, I’m not gay.” When you are unhappy in every relationship with a guy you’ve ever been in, you tell yourself that you just think too much, that it’s not the right guy, that you just need to be a better person…closer to God…read lots of relationship books so that you can understand men and be a great girlfriend and eventual wife…stop stressing so much and just enjoy yourself in a “normal” relationship. And then at some point, you get tired, it gets to be too much. Gay or not, living with a huge secret, living as two different people inside, drains you in ways the human heart can’t go through and stay whole and healthy.

So there was a season of denial that was easy. It was easy to repeat my mantra over and over whenever those feelings came up, “I’m not gay, I’m not gay, I’m not gay.” I figured if I never paid too much attention to that part of me, repeated my mantra if that part of me scared me too much, and never thought about or acted on being gay, then I would be fine. I dated guys….any time a guy excited me it was because it felt so amazing to be wanted, to have someone pay attention to me. I told my parents I didn’t even want to date my first boyfriend, but when he told me how much he liked me, I changed my mind, and dated him for a year. Every time I ever felt attracted to a guy was because I had some fantasy in my mind about said guy that hoped he would be some sort of protection from the shit in my life and a way to feel beautiful, wanted, and validated. When I hit my 20’s things started to get harder. Every one was getting married. My desire to get married, to even be with a guy was getting less and less. At 23 I met a girl who would change my life forever in more ways then I ever imagined. I knew I was falling for her when she would text me and my stomach would do flip-flops and my breath would catch in my lungs a little. She would text me before 5am in the morning when I was on my way to work, and I knew she was thinking about me. Not thinking about me like any of our other friends, but really thinking about me. I started repeating my mantra more….”I’m not gay, I’m not gay, I’m not gay.” When she asked me (innocently as I needed a place to live) to move in to her second bedroom, I was overjoyed. I was already at her place constantly. We were the best friends that two friends can possibly be. We fit perfectly. Being together was as natural as breathing. I knew in my heart that I would always be with her….that she was my forever. Gay or not, I knew it would be me and her till we die. I was relieved to be able to say that I would be living my life as a single girl with my best friend, and our companionship and compatibility would go on forever. I would never have to worry about the hardship of dating another guy or (the worse thing in my mind) marrying one. It was a great set-up because she didn’t want to date or marry any guy either. She wanted to do life forever with me as much as I did with her. And there we were. People would ask me about our relationship, and I would say, “we’re just 2 single people who have decided to do life together forever.” Our lesbian friends laugh at us now. “How could you not have known,” they ask. The truth is the more I did life with her, the more I did know, but I believed if I never told anyone and never acted on it then it wouldn’t be true about me. I believed if I kept it all in then I wouldn’t be gay. God had different plans.

Yes, I’ve been gay for a long time. Yes, denying it didn’t make it not true. Yes, I spent years lying next to her fighting my sexuality all by myself. I never even told her how I felt. I got angry when people would suggest it or ask us if we were gay. I got angry because I was terrified she would get afraid of what everyone thought of us and leave me. I became very good at explaining our relationship in all the right terms so as to answer all the questions, quell the gossip, and calm the fears….my own fears just as much as everyone else’s. When we moved to Denver it was a relief because we didn’t have to deal with small town people and politics. We didn’t have to worry about being seen together anymore, or anyone asking us if we were gay, or people gossiping about us. We could form relationships starting over. Most of our friends in the town we were in in Georgia had already turned their backs on us because we “acted too gay”. We had already suffered so much judgment and rejection and gossip. We were so ready to start over. But being gay didn’t stay in GA where I left a bunch of judgmental people and terrible memories. (minus my school friends, they didn’t seem to care how “gay” she and I appeared…thanks guys)

In fact, the reality that I am gay was becoming more and more evident to me. I kept trying to keep the lid on the “box” inside myself where I kept my secret, but one day God ripped the lid off and threw it away. (I still can’t find it…) It was like all those years of hiding, all my ability to keep it in, was gone. I couldn’t hide anymore. It wasn’t even possible. One of my very best friends, Zack, asked me a question that changed my life and made everything pretty clear to me. He said…if you didn’t have her, would you want to be with another woman? I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that I would, and I finally acknowledged to myself that I am gay. And I finally acknowledged it to God. Then I began the journey of trying to figure out how I was going to stay alive.

You have to understand that the prospect of finally acknowledging to yourself that you’re gay is more difficult than you can ever imagine unless you’ve been through it. As a straight person reading this, you may think that the world is becoming more progressively open to gay people, but if that is your belief then you watch too many movies and tv show comedies and dramas and you spend way too little time realizing what it’s really like in the world for a gay person….especially a gay Christian. First I had to determine what being gay as a Christian meant to me before I could tell ANYONE I was gay. God is everything to me. I couldn’t turn my back on him just to be in the kind of relationship that straight people take for granted. God had already been planting seeds of love in me though. About a year before I acknowledged my sexual orientation to myself, I met a man named Andrew Marin and read his book called “love is an orientation”. (I would suggest reading it…no, it’s not “pro-gay”…it’s really a book about love and loving.) It made such a huge impact on me. I realized that to be a child of God is to be loved by God, that to be a child of God means that He is continually working in you to do His will and creating you into the masterpiece He has planned you to be since before you were born. This was a great comfort to me. I knew that my being gay wasn’t new to Him, and that he wasn’t shocked or disappointed that I was finally acknowledging it. I realized that it was Him pushing me to be authentically me. That it was Him asking me to be honest with Him, myself, and others….truly honest….for the first time in the 14 years I had been hiding the gay in me. So I started doing a lot of research. I started reading what people have to say about being gay and being a Christian. I told Zack what was going on (he was very accepting no matter what), I told another friend what I was dealing with (she told me I had to make a decision whether to glorify God with my life or not). And this is where I was…does God accept me? Or will I cease to glorify Him if I live as an openly gay person.

I secretly researched these things when she wasn’t around. I knew I had to fight the battle on my own….I had to decide what the direction of my life was for myself…I had to come to a conclusion about my sexuality and my relationship with God on my own. I had many heart-wrenching conversations with God. I prayed, I read, I talked, I emailed people that I didn’t even know who have done research of their own and asked for their point of view. One of these emails changed my life forever. I happened on a CNN article about a pastor in Denver (of all places) who is a straight evangelical and leading a church that believes that people can be gay and Christian. I emailed him immediately. Pastor Mark (at Highlands church in Denver) emailed me back the very same day. His email was full of understanding and love. We emailed some and he connected me with other people at the church who helped me see God working in a way I had felt and seen for a long time, but had never actually seen it lived out. I emailed another gay ministry asking for a mentor, and I was connected randomly (but we all know it was God) to the co-pastor of Highlands church, Jenny, whose story changed my life as well. I knew what God was doing, and I knew it was time to come out to the person I was hopelessly in love with.

We hadn’t ever done anything sexual, anything “gay”. I knew she was gay too, but I didn’t know where she was in her process of acknowledging it. So, I faced the task of coming out to her knowing fully that she might tell me that we couldn’t live together anymore and that she needed space from me. It was terrifying. I remember sitting in the bathroom crying my eyes out, knowing I had to tell her, knowing I couldn’t go back anymore, knowing the lid to my secret box was gone, knowing I could lose the person I loved more than anything. I thought about it being better to die then to live without her. I thought about God having a plan for my life regardless of her response. We were supposed to be getting ready to go to a bible study together. I came out of the bathroom and walked through the living room with purpose…she was coming out of the kitchen, ready to go. I told her I needed us to stay home tonight because I had to talk to her. It took a long time, and I cried a lot. But I knew there wasn’t any going back. I knew who I was. I knew who I wanted to be. I knew that God loved me and that His blessing was on me even as a gay person. I knew it was time to start being the me that I am. And I started with the person that needed to know the most.

Some of you already know that my courage gave her courage to face herself too….to start her own journey of reconciling being gay with her relationship with God. Some of you know that that led to us acknowledging (over time) our mutual love and feelings for each other, and committing (again) to do life together forever this time as a couple. A couple who believes in the ridiculous love of God, and His unconditional grace, purpose, and acceptance for us as gay, as people, as gay people, as children of God. For those of you who don’t know, this is my heart in text for you to read. God is everything to me, I’m in love with a beautiful person, I’m working on living as the whole person I am, I am changing and growing and becoming more and more of who God wants me to be, things are hard and things are amazing, and I’m gay.