In Christ Alone…

Did you ever have rituals at bedtime as a kid?  You know, the kind that you felt kept the scary monsters away?

scared kid

For me it was the running, flying, leap into bed.  Somehow I thought if my feet didn’t come near the floor of my bed, the scary monsters underneath of it couldn’t get me.  I also thought if I kept completely covered by my blankets (just my head sticking out), they wouldn’t be able to see me and if they couldn’t see me, they couldn’t get me.   When I was really little, I watched the Wizard of Oz and those darn monkeys scared the heck out of me. My mom had to create what she called “monkey spray” to spray away all the monkeys so they wouldn’t get me while I slept.  It’s funny how kids minds work.

I was reminded of these things yesterday.  The things that scared me as a kid…and the things that scare me today.  And yesterday was a pretty scary day.  I went to church like I do every Sunday.  Only this particular Sunday was the first Sunday after my blog went public.  The proverbial cat was out of the bag.  Now I know my entire church has not read my blog… I have no idea who has read it really.  But since I posted it on FaceBook I know that some people from church have seen it.  So, to walk into church was a little scary.  I know how some people feel about this topic so I wasn’t sure what response I would get from them.  I’m happy to report it went really well.  Not because of anyone’s particular response towards me (no one said anything about it at all), but because I felt so FREE!  I finally felt authentic, genuine, REAL. It wasn’t that I was trying to be fake before… I wanted to share this a long time ago, but God’s timing is perfect. And He gave me His perfect peace yesterday.  I felt and still feel so blessed.  Thank you Lord that the tears I’ve cried have blossomed into something I never thought possible.

Our worship team sang, In Christ Alone by Keith Getty and Stuart Townend (one of my favorites).  The first verse spoke to me so much yesterday:

In Christ alone my hope is found
He is my light, my strength, my song
This Cornerstone, this solid ground
Firm through the fiercest drought and storm
What heights of love, what depths of peace
When fears are stilled, when strivings cease
My Comforter, my All in All
Here in the love of Christ I stand

Amen and Amen!

And just think… if it was scary for me to walk into church yesterday…how do you think a gay person might feel walking into a church?

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Poked with a stick…

Have you ever seen a hornets nest?  They are the strangest looking, most fascinating thing I’ve ever seen an insect make and they can get really big.  We had one several years ago in a tree a few feet from our front door.  It was really weird because as big as it was, we didn’t see it right away.  We just happened to notice what looked like a face in our tree.  Creepy!

It looked something like this:

hornet nestDoesn’t it look kind of look like a face screaming in the tree!  It was freaky.  So what do you do when you have a hornets nest in your tree? It was really big and my husband is not a big fan of bees so we called an exterminator. I was really curious about how the exterminator  was going to deal with it, but he told me to stand back.  He then went to his truck and got a stick.  When I saw that, I thought “are you kidding me??”  I went up on my front porch where I could still see, but had an escape. He took the stick and poked the nest, and then ran like a little girl to his truck.  The hornets were swarming everywhere.  I of course ran into the house.  I peeked out the living room curtain and I saw him in his truck on the phone.  I guess he wasn’t an expert in hornets nests and was getting some advice.  He came out of his truck with a can of spray that had a really far reach.  He was able to stand back and he sprayed the heck out of the nest.  The hornets eventually either flew away or died and he was able to take the nest out of the tree.

So why a story about our hornets nest?  Well, I guess because I feel like I’m poking the Christian community with a stick.  I’m tackling a subject that can be touchy in the church.  And I guess I just want to put it out there that I am totally for Big “C” church…meaning the Body of Christ…not just my home church.  I feel like I’m being led to write this blog to reach out to the church and let people know that sometimes the way some Christians handle this subject is very hurtful.  There have been times that I’ve been with friends or in a Bible study where someone would say that “gay people are freaks”, or that “God should strike them all dead”, or it didn’t matter what their own sin was…”they could never forgive that sin”.  Well, all I can say is I’m glad they aren’t God (smile). None of these people knew that my son was gay… and they were part of the reason I didn’t tell most people. It was like being sprayed with judgement and if my faith wasn’t strong… I would have left the church like the bees left their nest.  When they said those things, they were talking about my son.  I was listening to those comments and then going home and some nights staying up all night with him so he wouldn’t kill himself because he didn’t want to have those attractions.

I forgave those people because I knew it came from a place of ignorance; they didn’t really understand what it was like… how could they?  I’m not here to debate.  I know what the Bible says and my son does too for that matter.  I’m here to share my story in hopes that it will help other parents who may be going through the same thing.

1 John 4:7-8 (NIV)

Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.

Why…because love matters.

Perfection is over-rated…

I thought I’d post a little earlier than I usually do to talk about my wedding since today is my 25th wedding anniversary (I got married when I was 10)…well not really (smile).  When I was a little girl, I knew that I wanted to grow up and get married some day.  Now I wasn’t the type to collect pictures and ideas along the way, but I did think about it.  I’m a simple girl…most comfortable in jeans and a t-shirt and I hate getting dressed up, but I have to admit wedding dress shopping was a lot of fun.   So this post is for all the soon to be brides out there.

There is a lot of planning that goes into most weddings and mine was no different. You have the dresses, the venue, the flowers, the cake, etc, etc, etc.  Well this is how mine went….

church

I went to get my hair trimmed a week before the wedding and the person cut 4″ off.  My hair looked sooo different, and I was really upset because it didn’t feel like me.

Two days before the wedding I got really sick, went to the doctor, and found out I had strep throat.  That same day I checked in with the dress shop because they were behind on my alterations.  They assured me that my dress would be ready the next day.  They told me that they would call when it was ready.  I waited all day, but no word from the shop.   I called them early evening only to find out that they had just closed the shop for the day. My wedding dress was in the shop and my wedding was the following morning.  They said they would send it over to the tuxedo shop next door that was open a tad bit later then they were and I had to run there to get the dress.

The next morning (the day of the wedding) I noticed that the address for the church on the wedding invitation was wrong.  It was close.  I can’t remember the exact address, but it was something like 101, but should have been 1001.  A simple thing to miss.  So, I was worried that no one was going to find the church.

When the photographer got to my house, it was obvious to see that he had broken his ankle.  The pictures took much longer than they should have and he informed me that he couldn’t go to the reception, but would send his assistant.  I think it was some random guy that he plucked off the street.

My limo was late, therefore I was late getting to the church.

Just as we were getting ready for the first bridesmaid to walk down the aisle, the organ made a horrific sound and stopped working.  So, all the girls AND my dad and I walked down the aisle in silence.

We had talked with the priest who married us beforehand and let him know that we wanted to take a cloth and wrap our hands (it is a tradition from another culture, but don’t remember what it is called – sort of like tying the knot).  When we got to that point in the service, he basically tossed it to us and said, “I’m not sure what I’m supposed to do with this.”

At the reception, the DJ got the names of the bridal party wrong and actually announced my best friend as the bride.

We gave a list to the DJ of songs that we wanted played during the reception one of which was a tribute to my grandmother who had passed away 3 years earlier.  I wanted to dance to one of her favorite songs with my grandfather.  The DJ waited until the reception to tell me that he didn’t have the song…right as my grandfather and I were getting ready to do the dance.  I asked if he had any Engelbert Humberdinck because that was one of my grandmother’s favorite singers.  He said he did. Unfortunately, I didn’t ask him what song he had of Engelbert’s.  My grandfather and I went to the dance floor and…

The DJ played “Please release me” which lyrics go like this:

Please release me, let me go
For I don’t love you anymore
To waste our lives would be a sin
Release me and let me love again

What a song for a tribute!

It rained….and…

We found out shortly after our wedding that the priest who married us murdered a nun because she found out he was molesting girls (story here).

Now obviously this was not a perfect wedding.  But you know what…we have funny memories.  If it was perfect, we wouldn’t have the stories to share with our kids.  So brides…don’t sweat it.  In the long run, it really doesn’t matter.  And 25 years later we are still happily married.

Beauty in ink…

I have a confession to make…I am absolutely fascinated by tattoos.  I think they are so beautiful (well most of them…some are downright scary).  If you asked my kids, they would probably tell you that I am totally against them.  It’s not that at all. I’ve just always told them if they are going to get one to be smart about where it is on their body…and to make sure they will still like it when they are 80 (smile).  I really appreciate the artistic expression of a tattoo. I envy the talent and confidence it takes to draw something permanently onto someone’s skin.  I’m sure there are times in public that people think I’m a total creeper for staring at their tattoos.  I’m just fascinated about the story behind them.  One of these days I’ll get up the nerve to ask someone.  Every once in awhile I will catch one of the reality TV shows that have competitions for tattoo artists.  It is just amazing to me.  As much as I appreciate tattoos, I personally do not have any.  I’ve never come across a design that I like enough to put on my skin forever (that I would still like when I’m 80).
Flower-Orchid-Pretty-Tattoos-Designs
The shows that I watch give the stories behind the tattoos that people get.  Sometimes it’s to honor someone in their lives…maybe someone they were close to that has passed away.  Others get tattoos to pinpoint a moment in their lives that is meaningful to them.  At times, it’s because they have a design that they just really like and want to be reminded of on a daily basis.  And let’s face it, there are those who get tattoos when they’ve had one too many to drink.  Regardless of why, it’s always a personal choice to get a tattoo.  It got me to thinking…what if we didn’t have a choice.  What would we do if God decided to tattoo our bodies with our sins.  Something to help us to remember what we’ve done…maybe as a deterrent to not do it again.  Things like…

I’m a cheater

I’m a thief

I am prideful

I’ve lied

If God did decide to do this, I guess we could cover up the tattoos.  There are many people who get tattoos and no one ever knows about them. As a matter of fact, this year will be the first year that a Miss America contestant will show her tattoos.  She said that many girls have them in the pageant, but they choose to cover them up.   But if they were our sins, how could we ever cover up all of them…

I harbor bitterness

I hold onto anger

I’m jealous

How about…I’m gay

I think if you are a believer you can agree that we all sin.  Many of our sins are private…no one knows about them (except for God of course).  But if you are gay, and you come out, that is something that is very visible.  Something that the church calls sin.   I feel, however, that most believers (I know not all of them) treat the person themselves as sin.  Someone to be totally avoided. And because of that, many gay people go to great lengths to keep their true selves hidden.  It is a terrible way to live.   This brings me to my point…and the point of this blog.  My son is gay.  I would like to share my journey that began six years ago when I learned this about him.  I know for “church people” this is a controversial subject,  but I invite you into my story to share with you what I’ve learned along the way.

There is another reality show on TV about tattoos that is my favorite.  The artists help people who have the most embarrassing, ugliest tattoos and transform them into beautiful works of art.  It is truly amazing what they are able to accomplish.  When they are finished, it’s like the old tattoo never even existed.  As believers, we have someone who does that for us too…Jesus.  He takes His blood, covers our ugliness, and transforms us into new beings.  Forgiven…the old is gone.  Why…because He loves us…even gay people.cross And…love matters.

So I have a blog…now what?

Has God ever whispered something to you?  Something that made you stop and say, “Are you sure??”  That’s how I felt when I heard God whisper…start a blog.  What exactly is a blog…what do you do with it?  My first thought was “I don’t know nothing about birthin’ no blog.”  And then there was “Ain’t nobody got time for that!”  But all joking aside, I really have no idea what I’m doing :-).  I’m just trying to be obedient to that whisper.

God has been with me on many journeys in my life.  I’ve dealt with mental illness and alcoholism in my family.  I lost my mom suddenly to a brain aneurysm when I was 28.  I’ve had an auto immune disease for the last 19 years.  All of these have been difficult situations that stretched me and helped me grow into the person that I am today.

Six years ago, my life was turned upside down.  Something I never expected.  The journey has not been easy and the road sometimes very unclear.  I am so grateful that God is in my life and He guided my path.  I felt Him tell me that everything would be ok.  But the “ok” was totally different than what I expected.  I can say that this journey has been the most difficult because it was the first one that caused a crisis in my faith.  I hope to unfold this journey through this blog.  My hope is that it will help someone who has gone through something similar.

God is faithful.  He never forsakes us.

1 Corinthians 16:13-14  (MSG)

13-14 Keep your eyes open, hold tight to your convictions, give it all you’ve got, be resolute, and love without stopping.

Why….because love matters.  I hope you join me on this journey.