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RECONCILIATION

by Anonymous
  

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I dare not share my name, you understand? The fear of rejection and disfellowshipping by my family and church outweighs the desire to stand on the rooftop open, or as they say "out." Reader, you can name me if you please. Someday I will have a new name anyway.

Who am I? I am a Seventh-Day Adventist Christian. I was not raised in the church but became an SDA under the influence of my first girlfriend. I left home at 18 to move in with a woman five years older than me because I loved and adored her. She was not going to church then. She was dealing with her homosexuality in a way I soon begin to mimic. She was a young alcoholic, who drank to drown the guilt. At the time I didn’t have much guilt or conviction, and I certainly didn’t understand about alcoholism, but I joined her in the parties and drank to have fun.

She usually never talked about God, her church, or her convictions. They were buried deep in her wounded heart. But there is nothing like cocaine to bring it all up to the surface. We spent many nights on cocaine having the best heart-to-heart, deep conversations. For those of you readers who have not experienced the cocaine high, cocaine seems to stimulate your thinking and insights. It does not make you delirious or hallucinate, but it does make you very ill coming down. Anyway, it was during those hours that she taught me about her church, her beliefs, her convictions, and her desire to see me follow Jesus, even if it meant leaving her behind.

The Lord does work in mysterious ways! I always have considered myself very spiritually inclined and have always loved and respected the Bible. I read the Bible through twice even before graduating from high school. Naturally, my interest was aroused and I began to search these things to see if they were so. She arranged for me to have studies with a pastor. She even took me to church a few times. I am a bright girl, with lots of brains, so I researched and learned a lot during these studies. I was most blessed by a new understanding of hell, that God doesn’t burn people forever. I guess you could say that was when my relationship with Jesus began, with my first glimpse at His loving character. The southern church into which I was born preached fire and brimstone so much that I had begun to feel the heat already! So, in short, I was baptized, and my journey began.

I never questioned whether homosexuality was right or wrong. It had to be wrong. It was hammered into my young mind that it was the worst sin of all. And yes, I was the typical little tomboy and you had better not even think of giving me a doll! I guess I grew up in a typical American dysfunctional home! My dad was somewhat distant, at work all the time. I was terrified of him because of his temper and the harsh whippings he gave. When we did spend time together, he involved me with his love, guns. He took me hunting, target shooting, and to some gun shows. My mom was not a strong disciplinary like my dad. I could get by with anything when under her care, so I guess I viewed her as weak. For the most part my mom just turned me loose. I roamed the country side, the woods, and the neighborhood independently at a very young age. My earliest thoughts were of wishing to be a boy. I totally denied to myself that I was a girl and, for the most part, I was a little boy. I played only with boy toys, I never wore a shirt, and I even tried to pee standing up! I guess in my young eyes I could see it was a man’s world, and who in their right mind would want to grow up and be a southern slave, as women seemed to be?

I can remember my first attractions toward girls being in junior high. At 15 I had my first sexual experience with a girl I went to church with and afterwards, during my high school years, I had an affair with my female basketball coach. I never really called it molestation because I was a willing partner, but looking back she definitely blew her boundaries. I had a few male best friends, but when it would turn romantic I would freak. I loved them as buddies, but please don’t try and kiss me—yuk! I imagine I have the same feelings toward the opposite sex that you straights have toward the same sex. I was a unique teenager because I avoided all the cliques and hung around with the class rejects. I was voted most attractive, smartest, and most athletic, and I was headed for medical school. My decision to move out of state at 18 messed my educational plans up for awhile, since partying became a priority.

When I decided to be baptized, it was just a given that my girlfriend and I would stop our sexual relations, and we did. But I had not planned on having my heart ripped out. I had hoped our emotional closeness and support would remain, I had hoped she would return to the Lord and we could do this together. Didn’t happen. We continued to live together, but I moved into the spare bedroom. She began dating other women, bringing them home and was drunker than ever. I was dying. This lasted around 6 months till I just couldn’t handle it anymore, I should have left, but I didn’t. I turned to beer instead, and began my rounds of drinking to escape. Externally, things seemed to be like the good ole’ days, but it was never the same. I had to drink more to have fun, and I felt guilt. I had abandoned the Lord, but He didn’t abandon me. It wasn’t too long before He stepped in and moved my butt out of there, two states over miraculously. I suffered my loss and soon realized I was 23 years old and an alcoholic.

So the cycles began. For several years I struggled with severe feelings of hopelessness, guilt and legalism. I would quit drinking, go to church, and do all the right things, only to find myself going crazy with this lion inside me roaring to express himself. I was a young good-looking girl and never had a problem finding girlfriends. So when the lion couldn’t be contained I would call up my girlfriend, and we would get very drunk and, of course, have sex. Then I would feel so bad, I would cry, beat myself up, and try the church thing all over again. Of course, no one at church had a clue as to what I was struggling with. On the outside I looked and acted together, while inside I was so ashamed of my dark secret. This went on and on, from one extreme to the other, until the Lord stepped in and delivered me. He saw my tears, knew my pain, and cared. He called me to city mission work. I quit my job, quit school, sold my horse, and followed His leading. I guess I needed something drastic, and, for the most part, the cycles were broken.

I became a Bible teacher, a health evangelist, a colporteur, and I finally opened up. I worked in the city with some real Christian gems, people who really portrayed Jesus, who I felt I could trust, that I could share with and not be rejected or looked down upon. These people were wonderful, so loving and kind. I can say I have been one of the lucky ones, and the church did become a support for me. I settled in one of the cities to which I was called, found a job and went back to school. I began to grow and really fit into and belonged to my church family. To this day I am very involved. The journey wasn’t over though. I ended up living with my best friend from the church. She is a lovely Christian. I loved her dearly and we shared a room with twin beds. I had no sexual feelings toward her but felt very fulfilled in our relationship. She was not afraid to show me affection and I ate it up. We studied and prayed together, did church work together and I was so happy. Here, I thought was the perfect situation, a close relationship with a woman and the Lord, and no sex or even sexual feelings. Life was good, and I was praising the Lord. Then a miracle happened. She got a boyfriend. Over the next year she grew closer to him and further from me. I freaked. My perfect situation was ending. I watched as other friends did the same thing. I felt so out of place, so different, so doomed to be alone. I got very depressed as the wedding approached. My faith was crumbling, and I was angry, too. I felt abandoned, and a rebellious spirit took over. I soon acted on my anger, and my church attendance started slacking. I moved out and started hanging out at a low-key lesbian bar where women in their 30’s hung out. I started drinking again, dating women again, and developed a lot of new friendships in that setting. I had decided change was just not going to happen and I was not willing to live alone all my life. I deceived myself into thinking I could be a social drinker. That didn’t work and I found myself with a drinking problem all over again. I prayed for God to help me stop drinking and He did. I quit drinking, but I didn’t go back to the church.

I was sick of the legalism, of my attempts and failures. I felt my whole religious experience had been so screwed up, my thinking and all about law and grace, sin and righteousness. I realized I didn’t even know how to be a true Christian, to have victory, so I gave up trying. I was pretty happy, had a great job, was sober, and bought a home. I met and became involved with a wonderful girl. She was a really wonderful person and we fell in love. After dating for 6 months she moved in with me. She was so happy and so in love with me. She was a success in her job, highly educated and close to her family. She had not been raised Christian. On a few occasions her grandmother had taken her to a Methodist church for Sunday school when she was young. She was also a typical tomboy, very athletic, and much more masculine than me, but pretty. I really loved her and cared for her deeply. Soon I found my life too centered around her. I began experiencing some depression and loneliness because she was a workaholic and often traveled with her job, leaving me alone a lot.

It was during this time that I felt the Lord calling me back to Him. I felt lost and wanted to go back to church. But I vowed I would never leave or hurt my girlfriend. I was willing to be celibate, but not to leave her. So I began my walk with God again. I prayed desperately for my conversion and hers. She seemed to develop an interest in the Bible and was open to some of my conversations and attempts to share with her. I had been a vegetarian for years and went to great lengths to prepare healthy meals for her and influence her diet. I tried so hard to do what was right. Sometimes I couldn’t bear rejecting her and would have sex. Then I would ask for forgiveness and go on. She sensed my distance sexually and her unhappiness began. She did have an interest in the church but she did not share my convictions on gay sex at all. I ever so gently tried to express my convictions. There were other issues, too, that I had convictions on: movies, gambling, and Sabbath keeping. She would often get angry with me and attack me and accuse me of legalism and say that I made her feel guilty all the time.

I probably did. I am such a failure at knowing how to do this Christian thing. I am so sorry for making her feel repulsed by my religion, rather than attracted to it. I made a lot of mistakes and I am still hurting for her because of them. We were together for over five years, and then I guess she couldn’t handle it anymore. She began dating a woman she’d met at work, whose marriage was on the rocks. She left, and I guess they are still together. I never hear from her anymore. I felt so rejected, so abandoned, so hurt, so deeply hurt. It has been a year now and my wounds are not healed. I wanted to spend my life with her, in a celibate relationship. I am asking Jesus to help me deal with these feelings of mine. I have been blundering my way along. God has been so good to me. I really felt His presence after she left. He was there for me. He even lead me to the an internet group called GLOW to find the support and encouragement of other SDA’s who struggle with homosexuality. I have remained very active in the church and have stayed close to my church friends.

It has been over two years since I had sexual relations with her. I have found that if I am emotionally fulfilled sex is not even a temptation. Problem is, I haven’t been so emotionally fulfilled lately. My sexual urges had all but disappeared for several years only to begin to pop up again here lately. I have never had any sexual desires for men; therefore, these urges are directed to what I know and am comfortable with, women. However, I believe God can change me. I know He doesn’t always work that way. In a way, homosexuality is like a disability and, just as God usually does not go around healing everyone with a disability, He doesn’t seem to be in the business of changing homosexuals either. However, it does happen, and I sense He is calling me to change, maybe because I am naturally more feminine and don’t feel like a man trapped in a woman’s body as many others do. So I am open to this and even, for the first time in my life, somewhat excited about it. I have never even been able to kiss a guy before without getting nauseous. But with God all things are possible, and already I can admit to a small attraction for men. I am willing to follow if this is where I am led. I am in medical school and I have dreams of someday having a husband to do missionary work with. We shall see. My other struggle is learning to wait on the Lord, I am naturally very energetic, very type-A, and love to stay busy. I am a take-control type person and find it hard to let the Lord control.

I wonder, too, if the Lord is calling me to be a voice in the church in regard to the issue of homosexuality? I feel strongly about the attitudes of our church toward homosexuals and have been very upset with what I see. Just last week I took a lesbian to church with me. She was dressed just like a man, short hair and all. She looked very obviously lesbian. She was ignored when we walked in. No one shook her hand. Even the pastor didn’t speak to her. I guess straights are uncomfortable with all this? I felt so bad. I don’t usually receive that kind of treatment, because I am outgoing and don’t look gay. About a year ago I was sitting in a different Sabbath School class and the teacher was slamming homosexuals, claiming that it was the worst, most abominable sin there is, and on and on. I was in tears, not for myself but just for the attitude of the church at large, my church. He had many "amen’s" from his class. I belonged for awhile to the Kinship’s internet group, Kinnet (the SDA support group that approves of homosexuality). The bitterness there toward the church ran deep. There were many horror stories of how these people had been treated by our church. Many have abandoned God, some have committed suicide, and others either live hardened or depressed lives. I have heard stories of churches asking gay members to sign a paper documenting their celibacy, but I have never heard of a church asking the same of its single heterosexual members. This is not right. I do not feel ours is a unique situation, ours is the typical sin problem. We should not receive special treatment, for we are not different, nor should we receive worse or unique treatment. We are sinners and we are called to give up what is near and dear to us, what is comfortable to us, and what we find to be so natural to us. Sin has become natural to all of us. We are all called to take up our cross, and truly we all need encouragement. The verse that saw me through my separation was "He that loseth his life for my sake shall find it." Giving up the sexual expression of our love truly is losing our lives. I am so thankful for Jesus, for His non-condemning character, His love, His patience, His mercy, HIM. I am most anxious for His people to reflect Him. In closing please allow me to quote my favorite author below:

"It is of little use to try to reform others by attacking what we may regard as wrong habits. Such efforts often results in more harm than good. In His talk with the Samaritan woman, instead of disparaging Jacob’s well, Christ presented something better." Ministry of Healing 156

‘There are many who try to correct the life of others by attacking what they consider are wrong habits. They go to those whom they think are in error, and point out their defects. They try to pick off the ornaments, or whatever seems offensive, but they do not seek to fasten the mind to the truth. Those who seek to correct others should present the attractions of Jesus. They should talk of His love and compassion, present His example and sacrifice, reveal His Spirit. Talk of Christ, and when the heart is converted, everything that is out of harmony with the Word of God will drop off." Evangelism 272

"I am in great perplexity at times and have come to the conclusion when a case of error and grievous sin is presented before me, to say nothing to my ministering brethren if they do not know the matter themselves, but to labor earnestly for the erring one, and encourage him to hope in God’s mercy, and to cling to the merits of a crucified and risen Saviour, look to the Lamb of God in repentance and contrition and live in His strength.

‘There is not the mingling of the elements of character that bring justice and mercy and the love of God into beautiful harmony. There is altogether too much talking, too many strong words and strong feelings that the Lord has nothing to do with, and these strong feelings influence our good brethren.

"I am compelled to deal plainly and rebuke sins, and then I have it in my heart, placed there by the Spirit of Christ to labor in faith, in tender sympathy and compassion for the erring. I will not let them alone, I will not myself act the part of the adversary of souls as is represented by Joshua and the Angel. When I know that there are those who have fallen into great sin, but we have labored with and for them, and God has afterwards accepted their labors, when these have pleaded for me to let them go and to not burden myself for them, I have said, " I will not give you up; you must gather strength to overcome." These men are now in active service.

‘My mind is greatly perplexed over these things, because I cannot harmonize them with the course that is being pursued. I am fearful to sanction sin, and I am fearful to let go of the sinner and make no effort to restore him. I think if our hearts were more fully imbued with the spirit of Christ, we should have His melting love, and should work with spiritual power to restore the erring and not leave them under Satan’s control. We need good heart religion that we shall not only reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long-suffering and doctrine, but we shall take the erring in our arms of faith and bear them to the cross of Christ. We must bring them in contact with the sin-pardoning Saviour.

‘I am more pained than I can express to see so little aptitude and skill to save souls that are ensnared by Satan. I see such a cold Pharisaism, holding off at arm’s length the one who has been deluded by the adversary of souls, and then I think what if Jesus treated us in this way. Is this spirit to grow among us? If so, my brethren must excuse me, I cannot labor with them. I will not be a party to this kind of labor.

"I call to mind the shepherd hunting the lost sheep and the prodigal son. I want those parables to have their influence upon my heart and my mind. I think of Jesus, what love and tenderness He manifested for the erring, fallen man and then I think of the severe judgment one pronounces upon his brother that has fallen under temptation and my heart becomes sick. I see the iron in hearts, and think we should pray for hearts of flesh." Letter 16-1887

"The Lord wants His people to follow other methods than that of condemning wrong, even though the condemnation be just. He wants us to do something more than to hurl at our adversaries charges that only drive them further from the truth. The work which Christ came to do in our world was not to erect barriers and constantly thrust upon the people the fact that they were wrong." TC6, 122

Postscript: Where are you, my dear "nameless" friend? If you see this, please drop me a note -- no matter where you are or what you're doing.
Inge

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15 Feb 2010 08:20 PM