I feel led to open up about my where my relationship with Jesus started and a little bit of what He has brought me through. For all of my lovely non-churchy readers, I'm going to try my hardest to opt out of churchy language.
First of all, let me preface with my story is not what you may be thinking. It is a long post, but I really want you to read all of it.
Yes, I was raised in church. I first started getting to know Jesus when I was very young. I was led to pray and I enjoyed reading Bible stories. I even had some pretty cool encounters with angels and had one dream in particular when I was in 6th grade that has stuck in my head and my heart and has really shaped the way I relate to God. [this is what I dreamed: I was swimming in this deep ocean. I kept going deeper and deeper. The colors were so crisp and beautiful. I was full of wonder. Deeper and deeper I went. I even swam with a huge humpback whale. I can't even begin to describe the colors. At last, I came to the bottom of the ocean, only to find another shore to another ocean. I will expound later on this, so please keep reading] Even though I was raised in a "you're good if you know your Bible/ who's up for another Bible drill?!" type Christianity, I knew God was real and that following Him would be more exciting than knowing facts.
When my heart explodes with gratitude and I thank God for saving me from a life of sin, I do think back to when I was a little girl because that's when something else happened in my life. I was molested when I was very young by a girl friend of mine, who had most likely been molested herself or had encountered pornography. Every so often, not even every year, I would think about those experiences. Was it just normal curiosity? But no matter where the line was crossed between curiosity and molestation, it gave my enemy, the great father of lies, Satan, an opportunity to plant a lie in my heart and mind.
"You're really just a lesbian." "You're more than just a tom-boy" "Isn't that girl attractive?"
So from the age of 8 to the age of 22, I would have these thoughts. The most dangerous thing about being deceived is that you don't KNOW you're being deceived. I never acted on this. I never had a romantic relationship with a woman but the question of "Who are you?" and "What do you really believe" was posed continually. But in the midst of all that, God was still calling me and drawing me and allowing me to have experience after experience where I could not doubt that He was alive and powerful and wonderful. I would love to tell you about it, but that would make for a very VERY long blog post.
The debate going on in my head over this came to a head when I graduated college. I had moved back in with my parents in the Atlanta-area who were getting ready to move to Houston, Texas. I was working at Starbucks and wondering what my next move would be. At this time, I was separated from all my friends and my Christian family I had left in my college town. All alone, the lies increased in magnitude. At one point, I considered just giving in and moving to Dallas to live a homosexual lifestyle. I was starting to become more attracted to women and it seemed like I was drowning in this deception. At this massive crossroad in my life, the questions were "Who are you?" "What do you believe?" "Is God REALLY real? Or this who you really are?"
It wasn't until then that I made the connection between my being molested and this scheme of the enemy-liar to steal my relationship with God and my destiny. This made me MAD. Really really mad. So I basically cursed Satan out and said "How dare you? Do you think I can just ignore what I have experienced of God? I cannot forget. I will not forget. You will not drive me to live a lifestyle that is displeasing to God and is destructive to me!" I called his spade a spade. His words are lies. I was free from the tormenting questions and I was free to live my life with God. If I would have listened to Satan, I would not have married Michael and had John and Milo and I would be in a very very dark and desperate place. I can't imagine how unhappy and hopeless I would be right now.
And it's all because God chose to reveal to me that He was more real than anything I could experience in this world. If He would have left me in that "Just be good and know your Bible" Christianity, I would have no doubt moved to Dallas and lived a very different life. But in His kindness and His goodness, He called me to come to get to know Him. He said, "Laura, come see my wonders! Be amazed at my love for you!" I am forever grateful for His redemptive power in my life.
Homosexuality is wrong. The church doesn't help anyone by saying "It's okay. You don't have to change." It is not love to deny someone the freedom they could have, in the name of tolerance and a more palatable gospel. Yes, by all means, I love homosexuals and anyone else who is struggling so fiercely with such lies. I have been there. Jesus loves me and He loves you. He loves THEM! But it doesn't stop at empty "good-feelings" kind of love. Real love wants to see them free. Homosexuals are living a less-than-second-rate life compared to the life of freedom that is available by knowing Jesus and encountering Him.
Think back to my dream. The depths of the wonders of God are endless. He is a deep ocean of wonder. When you think you've gotten to the bottom of the Ocean, you find only another shore to a deeper ocean of beauty and magnificence.
God is calling everyone. Homosexuals. Bible scholars. Prisoners. Celebrities. He says, "Come! Take the freedom I have for you! Live the life I have dreamed for you!"
My prayer is that we all answer with a resounding "Yes!" and that we begin to dance in the freedom He has given.