April 26, 2010

Take a leap of faith and God shows Himself every time.

Monday afternoon, the LAST week of classes of my spring semester. I can't believe that this semester is almost over, my days have flown by, but not so quickly I can't smell the roses along the way. However as I suspected these last couple of weeks have been challenging, I just need about 30 hours a day to get work and school done. As that is not going to happen I just choose to put on a happy face and deal with it the best I can. Thanks be to God that He is my sustainer, of my life and of my smile.

God has shown Himself mighty to me in many ways this year, but the ways most apparent to me are places I have stepped out in faith. School is of course one place, but another place is through a small group that I am facilitating with one of the elders at my church, along with a couple more people who have felt a calling to serve in this ministry whose love and compassion shine bright. I have written here before about centerpeace.org, an organization that opens up the table for discussion about Same S*x Attraction for the struggler. There are many people who were raised in church and hearing what Christians had to say about this struggle, and did not feel safe (rightly so in many cases), to share what was going on with their feelings.

The only expertise I have in this area is that I am a broken child of God, and I know how it feels to perceive yourself as being isolated and misunderstood and scared to death. Satan is VERY good at making us feel unloved, even if there are loving people around us. One harsh word that we hear can have us convinced "all" feel that way. That's just not true. My journey to walk a long side those with SSA started with my friend Carey who I have written about before. We had a blessed friendship and he was very open about his struggle and how he felt about it. If he would have been able to choose whom he would adore romantically it would have been a woman, and he even tried to walk it out for a while, but there was not a connection there. He did not feel safe to talk to his church family about this, so he entered the only community he would feel accepted and lived the lifestyle most of his adult life. He spent time with my family and there were occasions I would take him a meal, many times had tears streaming down his cheeks when we were together, he would always have his bible close, and we would search scripture together for him to understand who he was in Christ. He was LOVED. I never initiated any spiritual talk, he would be the one who would ask me questions and then our discussion would start. Why did he feel comfortable asking me? Because I had testified where my journey of drugs and alcohol had taken me. He didn't feel judged by me, because he saw a fellow sojourner and friend not someone who was asking Him to change to be accepted. I was just his friend.

He was my precious friend.

Fast forward many years and along comes Sally Gary who came to our church to talk about SSA with our bible class and her ministry of centerpeace.org. I immediately knew I wanted to become equipped, to start the journey of understanding, so that I might be of better use to God in this area. After she spoke to our bible class, I attended a month long study at a different church that she taught, then attended the conference late last year. The reason I am so excited to know and learn and understand is that there is ignorance all around us in our churches about how we should treat this struggle. Ignorance about how "they" just need to snap out of it. Try telling a man who is attracted to females to snap out of it and choose to be attracted to males. It just doesn't happen that way. Centerpeace is an organization that has caused controversy from both sides, you will find many Christians who think that Centerpeace is advocating the SSA lifestyle because they love the struggler without attaching rules and condemnation, and you will find those who advocate the SSA lifestyle disliking Centerpeace because it brings about feelings of discomfort for them. I find Centerpeace a blessing in every way. It is a safe place for the SSA struggler who wishes to walk out their s*xuality within the teachings of scripture.

This group that I am blessed to meet with are some of the most brave individuals I have ever met. They have felt the nudgings of the Lord and are willing to look to Him each day to be loved and guided into places that are very difficult and emotional. I am always inspired by people who will take up their cross and follow Christ no matter what the circumstance. Many of us bring wounds from our childhood, insecurities, lack of trust, trying to fill the empty places with whatever we can find, this group is no different, and together we are allowing God to speak into those old wounds, clean them, gently bandage them so He can heal them, most of all we are there for each other to point to Jesus, and to remind each other that we are loved.

God's Holy Spirit is doing a mighty work in the hearts of His people all over this world, it is a blessing when we feel that work taking place in ourselves and an honor when we are journeying with others that allow us a glimpse into their walk. All praise to the Father.