In the Midst of Dying: Guest Blog Series

Here’s a thought-provoking and honest piece from Josha.

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Nobody chooses to have cancer, do they? If cancer were a choice and if being gay were a choice, I’d choose cancer.

I have the blessing of sitting by a beautiful, older woman with the sweetest spirit during Sunday morning worship on many occasions. Her grandson is terminal and has been told by doctors that he has 2-3 months left of life on earth. I’ve never met him personally, but his extended family is very important to me so my heart goes out to him and all his family and community. He is a young man with a wife and two small children. Because of these circumstances, it makes facing death extremely difficult, however the man has been very strong and his faith in the Lord is inspiring many people in such away that you can’t help but see the work of God in action. This is the bright side of his most unwanted condition.

Lately I’ve been asked by various friends from our church circle, “Have you seen his blog?” Apparently his insights and writings are moving men and women to tears and they are stirring people to look at their own life and become better people and to walk a better Christian life. I have intentions of visiting his blog, however I have had an aversion to it. There are two elements to my aversion. One, I find myself jealous of him. Two, it makes me feel so sinful to be stressed about my sexuality while this young man is facing death.

My true thoughts are that I’d rather be dealing with cancer than dealing with the conflict between my sexual orientation and church. I’m jealous that this young man gets to die and that people see his faith as being strong and noble. And their hearts go out to his family with love and encouragement. Yet, in my case, I feel like if these same people knew what I was coming to terms with they would “love” me, but feel betrayed, hurt, and deceived….while these are not my intentions. (Honestly, I’m trying to live in such away that honor’s God). I feel like they would think my faith is weak and that Satan has twisted my mind. Their heart would go out to my amazing family with pity and perhaps wonder what my parents did wrong. So, yes, I would choose cancer if I had a choice.

My fear is that I will read this man’s story of dying to himself and living for God and be slapped in the face once again that I am failing to die to myself as I “justify” my sexual desires.

I’m jealous of the idea that this young man’s pain will be over soon. He will not have to endure the physical strain. He will not have to endure watching his family, watch him die. He will be at peace and his family will find comfort in that he is in a good place with no more pain.

While this is happening, I will continue living with the pain of not fitting into the social and Biblical norms. The pain of the messages that:
“Homosexuality is an abomination.”
“Homosexuality is impure, unholy.”
“Homosexuals are on a path to hell.”
“Satan is lying to you.”
“Your sexuality is not valid, it is a sin.”
“You are not trying hard enough.”
“You are not trusting God enough.”
“You are not praying enough.”
“You are disgusting.”
“You need to change.”
“You do not see God’s truth.”
“We love you, but your sexuality is not what God wants for you.”

And I have to watch my family suffer as they try to understand and as they wrestle with what they believe to be true and with what I believe to be true. They do not have peace about this and I do not feel complete peace when I know my loved ones are not at peace.

PAUSE
(At this point in writing these thoughts I took a break and proceeded to find the young man’s blog).

I found it and read the latest entry that he had posted and he spoke of the excitement of what he has been observing happening in regards to the kingdom of God and how “It’s happening.” While he is dealing with the prospects of dying he is observing that people are becoming more responsive, open and more hospitable and as he stated, “Those who follow the ways of Jesus refer to this as gospel living. Jesus referred to this kind of stuff as the kingdom of God breaking into the world.”

And then his following statement hit me hard,

“This is what I’ve lived my life for and to think that it could emerge without me makes me incredibly jealous!”

While I have been jealous of his potential dying, he is jealous of not being around to watch and be involved in the momentum of this movement of the Christian walk in his community.

I totally relate to his words that described this movement. I’ve experienced it myself here and there and it IS exciting! There are times I have that same excitement while I’ve been on the journey of coming to terms with homosexuality, until fellow Christians “remind” me that my sexuality is an “abomination.” Knowing that I can’t change this about myself, hopelessness starts to set in. BUT, Jesus is all about hope. And when I read stuff like this young man has been writing, I feel a sense of hope in that there are people out there who are BEING Christ before using scripture like a rule book that sends you to hell.

As it says in Ecclesiastes,
“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heaven:
a time to be born and a time to die…..
What does the worker gain from his toil? I have seen the burden God has laid on men. He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end. I know that there is nothing better for men than to be happy and do good while they live. That everyone may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all his toil—this is the gift of God.” (3:1-13)

We are in the midst of a small part of the larger story. We are merely a season among the span of eternity that has been placed in our hearts.

In regards to homosexuality, many people have experienced a season of death. Some have killed themselves because of the shame, humiliation, and self hate as a result of anti-homosexual messages. Some have been murdered. Some continue to live yet they feel dead inside and are in deep depression making them feel paralyzed and not fully living. And when they are told their depression is due to lack of knowing Jesus, they are sent into deeper depression…and some actually believe that the Lord hates them…how can hope and life be found when the very essence of hope is perceived to hate…. causing a sense of an eternal death sentence.

It is time to kill the negative messages in order for healing to take place.

It’s NOT my choice to be attracted to women (this is FACT no matter what other people might say), but IT IS MY CHOICE to serve and seek ways to honor God with my life’s circumstances and that is what I will continue to choose to do. I die to myself in this way, as I have not made it my primary goal to indulge in my sexual desires. I have not left God because of my sexuality. I continue to worship with my church family who views my sexuality as sin.

I’m still learning.

I’m learning that my sexuality is beautiful and that the God-given desires are beautiful. And that someday the Lord may bless me with a wonderful person to share my life with and I will continue to learn how to keep my sexuality beautiful, as God intended it to be. And, I continue to learn what it means to die to myself and live for Christ….living for others.

In honor of the young man I have mentioned above, I will refrain from jealousy of his dying and I will embrace this time of living in which people’s hearts are softening and who are being more responsive as they seek to meet the needs of others as Christ.

6 responses to “In the Midst of Dying: Guest Blog Series

  1. Mandy, you are beautiful. God has plans for you to share this understanding. To those whom much is given, more is expected.. if I were to choose… I chose to be who God made and intended me to be… to live fully for Him, to show others His love.

    • Thank you, Anita! While I absolutely needed to hear that… I should make sure I point out that Josha wrote this article. :) I must say… I quite relate!!

  2. Josha – So much of what you share today of your feelings and concerns about being a Christian and gay, I share. Except the part about being envious of someone dying of cancer, and preferring his situation to your own. I appreciate your honesty (keep it coming) and part of me wishes I felt that way. But I am still enjoying this strange solid peace and peculiar joy and relief from the discovery that I am a lesbian, even though I know others think it should make me feel ashamed and embarassed and distant from God. On the contrary, it has enlivened my walk with God, prayer life, hunger for the Word, and heart for the lost. I cannot for the life of me figure out how that is a bad thing.

    Although it no doubt carries an element of selective perception on my part, I think I see a growing willingness among believers, especially younger believers, to reexamine the Christian position on homosexuality. To take the time to study what the Bible says about homosexuality, which I am also discovering is actually very little. There may be an emerging openess to considering whether it is possible to live a life that glorifies God as a gay person. That is exciting, as you point out. I am grateful beyond what I can express for people like you who are out there, with me, doing what we can to live an authentic life with Christ as a lesbian. It is that kind of living that God can use to change the world.

    A book I have been reading and re-reading lately is called Raw, A Poetic Journey. It is a collection of poems and other compositions by Christian gays. One entry called “Battle Hymn: A Queer Christian’s Guide to More Than Survival” written by Tonetta Landis, includes the following statement, which I have been dwelling on quite a bit lately:

    “Be indivisible. Your Christian world will insist that you cannot be gay. Your gay world will view you with suspicion because you are a Christian. You will feel the pulling in your chest. When this happens, keep in mind that for any part of you to survive authentically, all of you must survive relentlessly.”

    And this,

    “Hold close your unique vocation to be a source of tension, a problem, a warning, a question, a bridge, a beginning to cognitive dissonance, an invitation. Do not be alarmed. The call is to be fully alive. To be awake. To be honest. It is to spend all of yourself extravagantly.”

    That is the path we are on. It is quite an adventure and requires absolute bravery. Keep walking, keep praying, keep seeking, keep trusting, keep carefully listening to Christ. The rest of us are walking right here beside you and are glad for your companionship along the way.

    • For me, it feels like this journey has an ebb and flow kind of feel. I’ve experience the relief (that was one of the best moments as I recall), and there is doubt, excitement, joy, depression, confusion, hope, excitement, confidence, insecurity, frustration, excitement….and then round and round it seems to go….

      I’m glad for you being in a season of “enjoying this strange solid peace and peculiar joy and relief from the discovery….” That is a great place to be in! For me it comes and goes….that is the ebb and flow feeling.

      I definitely want to be who God has created me to be, but I would be lying if I said it wasn’t hard or if I wished at times for something else.

      I think the majority of the time I embrace life with no problem….especially at work, when serving others, when hiking and being in the outdoors…..
      It is during my dark moments that I find myself being envious of someone with cancer as the dark moments come about when I’m wresting with moving forward…stuck between a path I now believe to be pure yet is seen impure among the majority of those closest to me….this continues to conflict me…and I feel tired and warn down from the negative messages.

      I love what you said about how this has strengthen your walk with God. I’ve experienced that as well…in fact, when people insinuate that my walk is not close with God, it makes me laugh as that is so far from the truth. There have been times that all I had was God, period.

      It is in the hard times that we grow and it is after the hard times that we experience the most joy…..that is a very clear biblical principle (prime example, the sufferings of Christ). So, I try to keep that in mind and trust that God is at work during the “dark moments.” It is easy to embrace this time when people are being open….I’m still working on embracing this life during the dark times…

      I really appreciate the quotes you shared and your last paragraph. I’m craving companionship with people like me who are on this same path. Seems like they are mostly on the web, so it is good to hear the kind of encouragement you have shared.

  3. Pingback: Am I Allowed to Dream?: Guest Blog Series | Coming Out Christian

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