Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Out of the Darkness

I have debated about whether or not to post this because it has some language in it and it's not pretty, but I feel led to share it. The reason why is because God has brought nothing but good out of my willingness to tell my story, and this is an important part. It is a glimpse of my struggle out of darkness, during the times when I longed for the security of Egypt. I knew my old lifestyle was slavery, but at least I was familiar with it. Please know this one is a little rough, and understand when reading it that there was a battle waging for my heart.

Just a little over 2 years ago, on Sept 8th, 2009, I wrote this:

It's raining right now...coming down in droves, but deceptively quiet.

I'm losing you. Losing this battle. Feeling ashamed, feeling alive, feeling that tainted satisfaction of letting myself go, feeling the vague possibility of being loved. That's all it is, really. Just a need to be loved. And wanting to feel something real, something tangible to satiate. I need to be "taken care of" in every sense of that phrase. It's been a long time. I would almost settle for a meaningless fuck if it meant someone wanted to touch me. I'm feeling pretty damn undesirable right now.

I have stopped resisting the thoughts. They run rampant...with each fall it's harder and harder to pick myself up again. Part of me burns with anger at the seemingly insurmountable task of purity for you. Another part of me could just throw my head back and laugh. Another part of me pleads with you so desparately...can't I just give in and quit fighting this? Throw in this towel and say fuck it? Cursed nature...or nurture...or whatever the hell they want to attribute it to these days. I'm too old to be having an identity crisis. Maybe too old to change the core of who I am and make it stick. I'm sick of being good. I want something raw and carnal. Temptation is screaming at me from all directions, and whispering in my ear at night.

I swing from one end of the pendulum to the other. One minute I am on fire for you, the next I'm as far away as I can possibly stand. I know you will never leave me or forsake me, but I am the one who puts the distance there. I turn away from You. I don't want to feel you...I don't want to hear you, or come to you. Tired of being Miss Polly Pure, tired of feeling like I have to hide who I've been, and consequently, who I am. Tired of polarizing and being an enigma. Tired of restraining myself when I want to say fuck.

I'm glad not many people from church are on here, and I doubt the ones that are would read this. Unlike FB, my mom is not on here, thank God. Anyone who is on here and does read this, whom I suspect are few and far between, here you go. Hope you like this extra special glimpse into my hidden, conflicted side. I will probably delete this so read up while you can.

Oh God, please help me. The rain is coming down louder now. How ironic is that?

Then, two days later, on Sept 10th, 2009, I wrote:

I don't know why, so I will choose to believe your ways are higher than mine. I don't know when, so I will wait on you, Lord, more than watchmen wait for morning. I don't know how, so I will trust in you with all my heart, acknowledge you in all my ways, and lean not on my own understanding.

You are the great physician, binding up the wounds of the brokenhearted. You are slow to anger and abounding in love. You are sovereign over all my sorrow. You are the healer, redeemer, and deliverer. You are the light at the end of my tunnel, my hope, and my savior.

Lord, have mercy on me. Clean me with hyssop, and I will be clean. Wash me, and I will be whiter than snow. Refine me. Create in me a pure heart, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.

Nothing is impossible for you. I will hold fast to that.

Glory be to God for sustaining me throughout the climb out of the pit. The identity crisis and war in my heart was one of the darkest and most awful times of my life, but it was also the most beautiful because His light kept shining through. He kept showing me I could trust Him. He was my hope and my light at the end of the tunnel. He lifted my heart. And I can say this with definity, it certainly was not my own strength that kept pushing me forward. He carried me.

Sometimes, I just look to the sky and think how thankful I am that I let Him. I cry tears of joy, gazing up and thinking, "We're a team, You and me...but mostly You." ^_^

Now, I am a married woman. A HAPPILY married woman who is totally in love with her husband. Having the time of her life reveling in this blessing from God. For the first time, I feel that my love is pure and healthy and true, and orchestrated by Him. Praise God for this miraculous thing. Brings me to tears EVERY time I think about it.

When I think of what's next, I pray I don't get boring. I fear that with this lifelong struggle being over, I won't have any more huge steps of faith to take and I will just get complacent. But I am praying that He will bring them. I am praying He will continue to call me to walk BIG. He has proved Himself to me so faithfully that I almost want him to call me to do something I am afraid of. I want to be bold and stout of heart, and never lose this fire for Him.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

The Beginning

I knew it was coming. I knew he was going to ask me out. I had sensed a change in our friendship, suddenly starting to wonder, "Does he like me?" and the even more alarming question was, "Do I like him?" He was so cute, smart, and funny. He had integrity. He loved music, had a great job, and was responsible, but the thing that attracted me most was his heart for the Lord. He was a small group leader, he was active in church, but he wasn't one of those stuffy types. He knew how to have fun.

But I also knew I was screwed up and not capable of dating anyone. How were we going to date when I still hadn't completely worked through my issue with same sex attraction? I knew I wasn't ready. I knew God wanted to do more healing in me before I could be with anyone. Hilarious when I think I know something. That's when God grabs whatever I "know" like an etch-a-sketch and gives it a good shake. And then He starts sketching away with his own picture. :-)

When I finally did ask God about Billy, it was on a whim. I was walking across the street after my lunch break. "God...do you want me to date Billy Jones?" And this is what I heard: Yes! It wasn't a whisper or a feeling, it was an answer. A loud, clear, excited answer. If you can do a double take with God's voice, I did. I was not expecting that. After all, I was screwed up and knew I shouldn't date anybody. But it was clear. Sometimes we wait for a response from Him, but not this time.

I was scared, though. Not only was I messed up, but since we had known each other for 2 years, my fear of losing Billy's friendship messed with my head. I was torn about whether or not I thought it was a good idea. I needed more confirmation. I asked my Mom to pray.

A little background info--Mom has been fasting from chocolate for a little over 10 years, praying that God would give me a husband. She had been praying this prayer since I was little, but when I first announced I was a lesbian, she decided she would give up chocolate and pray to the Lord until I was married. Throughout all my lesbian stuff, she prayed and fasted from chocolate. She's a prayin woman. So, I asked her to pray about whether or not I should date Billy.

She called me the next day. "Now don't get weirded out, but you asked me to pray about Billy, and I did. I prayed before I went to sleep last night, and when I slept, I had a dream about chocolate. I dreamed about gobs and gobs of glorious chocolate. I couldn't eat it yet, but I was going to be able to eat it soon."

What??!! I laughed hysterically. My eyes couldn't have been wider. Seriously, Mom? You should not have not told me that. You made me nutso.

I asked another friend...more green light. Ok ok, OKAY God!! I get it. But am I gonna do it? I'm still screwed up, don't you see? (It's awesome when we ask God if He sees something. I wonder if He's like, Duh.)

As all of this was happening, a friend of ours, Rachel, was having her 30th birthday party at a beach house in Galveston. Billy asked if I wanted to ride down there with him, and I nervously agreed. I couldn't figure out what I wanted, I was so scared he would ask me out and I didn't know if I wanted him to. That was on Friday, August 27th, 2010.

It was an awesome night. After dinner, everyone went out to the beach and stood on the shore, beers/cocktails in hand, talking about Christian faith. The moon was an incredible orange-red, and I remember marveling at creation. With our pants rolled up and our feet sinking into the muddy sand, we talked for a long time about predestination, free will, and the sovereignty of God. Then, we moved to the patio and talked some more.

At around 2:30 am, people started dropping out and going to bed. Suddenly, I realized Billy and I were about to be alone, and then we were. Crap!! "Kay, so G'nite!! See you tomorrow!!" I tried to scamper in, but he said, "Yeager, wait." My nerves hit the ceiling. I knew this was it.

He came over and got in front of me, blocking me from the door, and opened his arms for a hug. I hugged him, putting my head under his chin and my ear to his chest. His heart was thumping at about 4000 mph. I thought, "Crap, he's gonna have a heart attack right now before he can even say anything."

He was precious. He was obviously very nervous, holding me too tightly, and he managed to stumble out, "So, uh...I've noticed that we've..uh..been hangin out and uh...I just think that there uh. Well, I think there's something there." ^_^

Something about vulnerability draws me. It's not so much the vulnerability but the childlike innocence that goes with it. It's a sweet thing and something to cherish--reminds me of how Jesus told us to have faith like a child.

I said, "There is something there, but I don't know. If there was anyone I wanted to date that goes to our church, it would be you. But I'm scared. I am screwed up. You know I'm screwed up, right?"

"Yes." Insert awkward pause. I thought, He's not supposed to agree with that.

I plowed forward. "I am not healed. I don't know, I don't know. You know my story!! I mean, I think I know, I think God told me to date you, but I don't know if I'm supposed to try to date you exclusively or if I'm supposed to date you and us be open to dating other people or what. Have you prayed about this?"

"Yes." Crap!!! He had!!

"I need time. I don't know. Seriously, if I were going to date anyone it would be you, but I just need to figure out what God wants me to do. I have prayed about it, but I don't know if it's right. Can you give me like a week to keep thinking about it?" What an awful thing to tell him. A week? That's like, a month.

Then it was totally awkward. What do you do after that? "K, G'nite!!" lol. I could tell he was upset. I was completely freaked. I went into the house and laid down. I was sharing a bed with Rachel. She knew my story, and we talked for a little bit about what happened and why I was afraid. She was yawning alot...when she told me she needed to pass out I couldn't blame her. It was 3:30 am.

After that, I lay awake, alone with my thoughts. And it started to sink in...how much of an IDIOT I was. Here was a man who had all the qualities I've ever dreamed of for a potential spouse--integrity, intelligence, wit, kindness and thoughtfulness, cuteness and sweetness, a wonderful heart for God--I knew all this from being his friend for so long!! Was I really going to rely on my own fear rather than what God had revealed to me? That was the clincher--I had gotten so much affirmation from God, what more did I need? Everything my mom had prayed for, everything that I had been praying for the last 3 years was happening right in front of me...was I really going to let it pass me by?

The next morning I went to Billy. I apologized to him, told him I was sorry for letting fear get in the way of where I felt God leading me, and that I wanted to give "us" a shot. God's idea of healing my sexuality was obviously on His time, not mine.

And guess what? We're getting married in 9 days.

I tear up as I write this because God is just so good. More and more, He shows me how real He is in my life and how much I absolutely can trust Him with all my heart. He has called me to take some major, monumental, terrifying steps of faith to show me how amazing it is to live by His understanding. Those scary steps have been some of the most beautiful and blessed things that have ever happened to me. And the awesome part is that all this is only the beginning. :D I will continue to take those steps of faith, only now with a husband. And I am so excited to see where God leads us.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Real Love

Man, did I ever go through some crazy times with Rachel. We used to fight and fight and fight. At times we would break up and get back together, usually in the same day. We were often in some kind of turmoil, but we just couldn’t end it. Even when times were awful, the pull to stay together was so strong. The glue that bound us would not give, even when we were miserable and both knew we probably needed to break up.

Maybe it was because the good times were so good. It was fantastic when we weren't fighting. When we were good, I was flying high. Elated. Our relationship was unlike anything I had ever experienced before, such an incredibly intense bond. I was completely known and understood by her. My heart felt closer to her than anyone else before her--a soul connection. I was sick in my gut when we fought, and we fought often, but making up was incredible.

From the start of our relationship, Rachel was my everything. She was my core, she was my world. Whatever made her upset made me upset. Devastated. Unable to think of anything or anyone else, I depended on her for how I felt. My whole day would be made or broken based on her. We were so close...too close for me to have my own feelings apart from her. I was so wrapped up in her, I didn’t have myself anymore.

But the rush was addictive. It was intense and passionate. Whether we were fighting or making up, we were at level 10. The constant roller coaster ride became the norm. We functioned in cycles, being on top of the world one minute and going down to the bottom of the pit the next. We were addicted to each other, addicted to the moment, to the whirlwind of emotion.

We were jealous--very much so--which made no sense because we were in contact almost constantly. If we weren’t physically together, we were texting or talking lovey dovey stuff on the phone. Or we were talking or texting mean stuff on the phone, sometimes deliberately ignoring, fighting, screaming, whatever. We were highly possessive of each other, so possessive that I didn’t want her to do anything without me. When I wasn’t with her, it sucked. I missed her so much even if we weren’t in contact for only a short while. I needed her way too much. When I sensed we might split up, I freaked. She was my everything, how could I lose her? When we fought, even the thought of losing her would hang over me like a dark fog. We fought so often that I lived in that fog.

What it felt like was passion, what it felt like was a connection, but what it was was obsession. What it was was codependency. What it was was deceitful…was it really love?

As I reflect on all this, thinking about my years of being in the gay lifestyle, I realize that what happened with Rachel and I is not uncommon. All of my same sex relationships, along with most of the ones I've ever personally seen or heard about, have been roller coaster rides. They have been jealous, possessive, unhealthily close, prone to fits of anger, sometimes even verbally or physically abusive.

And they contradict what an ultimate source of wisdom says about love:

Love is patient, Love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast. It is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. (1 Corinthians 13:4-7)

If love is truly love, then it is not dysfunctional or codependent. It is patient and kind. It is not possessive or jealous. Just the opposite, it always trusts. It is not rude, selfish, or grudge-holding, nor does it delight in evil.

I remember my hurt as I was making my way out of the lesbian lifestyle, as I was realizing things. It took a long time for me to swallow what He revealed about the nature of my relationship with Rachel. How could I question whether or not it was love? How difficult is it to even consider that a relationship of almost 3 years, one in which I had invested so much, could not be love? To think "it wasn’t really love" pissed me off and felt like a slap in the face.

It sure felt like love. My whole heart was attached to it, I know that. It’s funny how hearts work, though, they deceive us sometimes. They may lead us away from truth. As I started to look at our relationship honestly, I had to evaluate: Was it love, or was it more like obsession? It is easy to mistake passion and obsession for love. I began looking at the real truth rather than my emotions. It wasn't easy.

It helped me to acknowledge, though, that the concept of "real love" applies to straight couples, too. Heterosexual relationships that are a mess--they are not really genuine love, either. Those couples can be just as dysfunctional and codependent, showing the exact same characteristics of unhealthiness.

Ok, one might say: What about the same sex couples who are genuinely happy and don’t have the dysfunction? What if they don't have the typical characteristics, and they have been together for a zillion years? Aren't those relationships an example of "real love?" They would be, except that "Love does not delight in evil, but rejoices with the truth." Sin is evil in God's sight, so sexual sin is evil, gay or straight. A love that delights in sexual sin, or evil, is not really love in His eyes, since love does not delight in evil.

There is only one who loves perfectly, who expresses it perfectly, and whose love has no sin attached. It begs the question: Well, is anyone capable of “real love,” then? Not like Him, but I think we are capable of "real love," and I think it has to do with our intent. We are capable of “real love” and show it when we try to love like Him, and love within His moral law. When we attempt to love like He does and keep sin out, then it’s truly love. It may not be perfect, but it's not delighting in evil. Instead, it's protecting, hoping, perservering, and rejoicing with truth.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

By The Stream

This is what the LORD says:
Cursed is the one who trusts in man, who depends on flesh for his strength, and whose heart turns away from the LORD. He will be like a bush in the wastelands; he will not see prosperity when itcomes. He will dwell in the parched places of the desert, in a salt land where no one lives.

But blessed is the one who trusts in the LORD, whose confidence is in Him. He will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit." Jeremiah 17:5-8

Bushes in the desert must be really stressed out. They are hot, withered, and thirsty all the time. They are parched and literally dying, waiting for their next drink. They could use some friendly people to go out and water them, but nobody lives out there because it's lame!! It's hot and dry, with the same land stretching for miles and miles. There is little life or color; it's a hopeless and bleak existence for those bushes.

But trees by the water must be really chill. The awesome thing about being one,I'm sure, is that you are totally secure. You don't worry, you don't fear, you don't panic. You're above all of it, and you just are...and it's because you aren't concerned with providing for yourself. Instead of expecting rain, you just draw from the stream. Instead of relying on someone to water you, you just drink to your heart's content whenever you want,because your roots are planted in the thing that gives you life. Never getting thirsty and never withering, you're good. You are healthy and you always have green leaves and fruit to show for it.

I love Jeremiah 17:5-8. These are my favorite verses in the Bible because the similes demonstrate such a truthful example of my life. I remember the person I was before Christ. I know what it's like to trust in the things of this world for happiness. I also know what blessings occur, what wondrous peace there is, in planting myself beside His living water.

I used to be a mess. I used to trust in man for my happiness, putting all my stock into people. My friends and my significant other were so important to me,what happened with them could make or break my day. Because everything is so unpredictable with people, I was a constant rollercoaster of emotion. There were some good times, but they were never sustainable. Even the "goodtimes" didn't seem to quite satisfy. Most of the time, I lived in the anxiousness that comes from trusting in man.

I also lived out the anxiousness of depending on flesh for my strength. I was a pothead, and I hung out with potheads. I was very addicted to getting high. I also used to be a slave to my sexual desires. Totally hedonistic and selfish, I lived for my flesh's satisfaction. But again, it was never enough. The "good times" always left me wanting more, and it was awful and erratic trying to obtain them.

Then, a series of events gave me a taste of what it was like to trust in the Lord. My eyes snapped open. He brought me to a place where I could not deny His existence. I tried to keep doing things my way for awhile, but I just couldn't. I was miserable. Finally, I thought, Ok, God.Have it your way. I am going to really seek you out for forty days. I will pray to you, I will listen to you, and I will read your Word.

And something miraculous happened. He proved Himself to me, so faithfully. I sought Him and He met me in that parched place of the desert. And when I tasted the water he offered, I knew that it was different from that of any other. It wasn't just my body being quenched, it was my heart and soul.

"Jesus answered, 'Everyone who drinks thiswater will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.'" John 4:13-14
And as I slowly started putting more and more of my confidence in Him, He SAVED MY LIFE. I was no longer weary, no longer bleak. No longer was I living from one drink of water to the next. I started making my way out of the desert, so I could plant myself by this stream. The process was not easy for me, because even though the desert was terrible, I was used to it. But I made it out of there, letting go of the things that I had been seeking for my happiness, and trusting in Him.

Nowadays, I can't say that I'm as chill as that tree by the water all the time.:-) It is still a process to remain by the stream, and I pray that it always will be. He is my strength, and I don't want to think I am above accidentally wandering back into the desert. But I fully know the difference now, the difference between living life for this world, and living life in Him. The joys of this world are bleak and dead, but being rooted in Him brings life. So, day by day, I will plant myself by the stream.

Thursday, June 2, 2011


"For freedom Christ set us free, do not submit again to a yoke of slavery." Galatians 5:1

We are free from sin. Free. Once we are made new in Christ, we are no longer under sin's dominion. It has no precedence or power over us, only the power we choose to allow it if we put back on the chains.

But this verse means even more to me at this point in my walk. It also means that as a follower of Christ, I have free will. I am a free creature, free from any spiritual legalism. Free to follow Christ, not out of obligation, not with rules attached, not out of guilt or condemnation, but out of desire.

Free will is such an awesome gift from God. It allows for real love. Real love, genuine heartfelt love, requires choice, otherwise we would be like robots. We would have no active part of love, no heart behind it, if it was placed upon us. But God gives us freedom of choice to love or not. That is what allows for genuine love to be, and because He orchestrated it all, we can trust in His goodness.

He is so good, so good, and I have not been mindful of it lately. I don't know when it began, but a poison began seeping into my thinking recently. I have slowly been starting to act as if He were a tyrant, as though He required rules and obligations on my time with Him. I was making sure I closed every prayer, even the one-sentencers, with "In Jesus' name, Amen," that I blessed every meal with the same repetitive saying, that I prayed a certain way every time, that I fulfilled certain disciplines so as to have a "complete" quiet time with Him. I just slowly started doing this, not even really being conscious of it...never stopping and questioning if these rules were really from Him. And I was putting more focus on the rules I put upon Him instead of just Him.

It baffles me because I know Him better than that. I know Him better than to think He would attach all of those stipulations on our time together. Love relationships don't work that way. I'll say it again, real love is a choice that comes from desire, not obligation. Spending time with someone you love isn't subject to a bunch of rules, a checklist. It doesn't require certain things to happen. It isn't ritualistic, in fact, it's just the opposite. Part of the joy of relationships is not knowing what conversations will unfold, what surprises will blossom. And our God is the king of surprises...

Why was I putting Him in a box? I was more about what I thought He wanted me to say to Him instead of just talking to Him. I was praying how I thought I should pray instead of just letting loose my heart. All of my own rules were on my relationship with Him instead of His only rule--my absolute freedom in Him. Why did I think I had to do these things in order to spend time with Him, to be near Him? He is so much bigger than that!!! No wonder I was resistant to my quiet time; no wonder I was struggling to do it. I had forgotten such an important part of His goodness: my freedom. I am not under the law, but under grace.

And His grace is my freedom. Not only am I free from the chains of my sin, but I am free from any restrictions on going to Him. I do not need to prepare the floor to get on my knees, Jesus prepared it for me. I do not need to edit my prayers, God would rather have my authenticity. When Jesus made the way for me come to Him, His grace allowed me to come just as I am. I am free. I am free from obligatory rules, free from boundaries. Free to worship Him out of desire. It makes that desire burn so much brighter in my heart.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Facebook Debate: In Defense of the Christian Faith

Brian: The christians actually stole everything from prechristian sources....renamed them...from stories in the bible to jesus's story itself....horus was born on dec 25, baptized at 30 by anup the baptizer, who was beheaded, had 12 disciples, healed the sick and blind, was crucified buried for 3 days and resurrected....not to mention the 50 or so others that share identical stories....history is fun!!!

Me: Brian, if you're talking about gods like Osiris, a corn god, that's very different from Jesus Christ--an attested historical figure for whom we can pinpoint a date and a location in history. The story of Osiris is very plainly about the death and resurrection of crops. The festival of Osiris was celebrated on November 13th--the same day the grain planted in the ground. If you read the Osiris story along with any of the other “corn god” stories, you see the explicit parallels between the events and characters of the story and the events surrounding the sowing and harvest. In the “corn god” myths, they're not trying to hide the fact that it is about vegetative life alone, not claiming death as a sacrifice for mankind or resurrection as a symbol of salvation.

With Horus, I’d like to know where you got your information. As far as I can tell, any of the claims of him being a carbon copy of Jesus can be discounted for lack of authentic documentation. The theory originated with Gerald Massey, an English poet who lived in the 1800’s. He wrote about similarities between Horus and Jesus, using his primary source as the Egyptian “Book of the Dead,” and who knows who wrote that. It certainly isn’t as accredited of a source as the Bible. You should note that many of the claims Massey made cannot be corroborated with the actual Horus stories from the primary source, but even if they were true, this book came out only a few hundred years ago. Who’s copying who?
There is a reason Christianity has lasted for over 2,000 years, while myths and stories have faded away. Nobody believes Horus or Osiris or Mithras was the son of God anymore, if they ever actually did.

As a Christian I am often accused of being close minded or blindly believing by faith what would negate science, and this could not be farther from the truth. I just have found factual evidence and philosophical standing to back up my beliefs, and I would urge you to do the same--with an open heart and mind. There is an element of faith we have to have either way.

Brian: Ugh...I tried to respond to this on my cell and somone called and deleted everything...ill answer you in detail tomorrow. I promise :-) before I go ill leave you with a quote....
"The belief in the Bible as the sole source of faith is unhistorical, illogical, fatal to the virtue of faith, and destructive of unity." -The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume XIII, "Protestantism", Section III A -Sola Scriptura ("Bible Alone"), Nihil Obstat, February 1, 1912 by Remy Lafort, D.D., Censor, Imprimatur. +John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York. (online source: http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/12495a.htm ) the bible is bullshit and. The God of the Old Testament is arguably the most unpleasant character in all fiction: jealous and proud of it(a very petty human emotion and hardly something a perfect being would feel); a petty, unjust, unforgiving control-freak; a vindictive, bloodthirsty ethnic cleanser; a misogynistic, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent bully.
One must state it plainly. Religion comes from the period of human prehistory where nobody-not even the mighty Democritus who concluded that all matter was made from atoms-had the smallest idea what was going on. It comes from the bawling and fearful infancy of our species, and is a babyish attempt to meet our inescapable demand for knowledge (as well as for comfort, reassurance and other infantile needs).

Me: Wait, what? I thought we were talking about Jesus. :-) I think you have to acknowledge that you did not respond at all to what I said previously, but changed the subject entirely.

To respond to what you’ve said, the Bible is an authenticated and accredited resource that withstands the test of time for over 2000 years. It has been quoted, scrutinized, and used for citation by scholars, writers, and researchers alike. It has also been supported with archaeological findings and hard proof, and if you are interested in researching any of that, I have several links for you to check out: www.facingthechallenge.org/arch2.php, www.apologetics.org/ThehistoricityoftheNewTestament/tabid/68/Default.aspx

All that being said, though, the Bible is not my sole basis for faith in Christ. My faith also comes with logical, philosophical reasoning, and the hard evidence I noted in the earlier links. Perhaps more convincing, though, is this: My personal life experience with Christianity—the dramatic changes in my life and the lives of others—cannot be refuted by anyone. I have seen amazing, awe-striking, breath taking things come from faith in Christ. No one says “Atheism saved my life” or “Atheism freed me from hate, hurt, addiction,” etc, but people do say that about Jesus.

I find it ironic that you call the Bible “bullshit,” but use it to talk about your view of God. (You have no other citation to support the way you describe Him.) In terms of all the adjectives you use, I would like to point out that there are many instances in the Old Testament in which God showed His favor, blessing, and grace. In terms of the times when He showed His wrath, I ask you this: Would a parent be a good one if he didn’t punish his children for doing wrong? Doesn’t just anger and discipline come out of love rather than malevolence?

With what you said about religion being an ancient attempt to meet our human demand for knowledge, comfort, and reassurance, I agree. But it makes you wonder, why would we be wired so deeply to want something more? Why would mankind be seeking something to explain, guide, and comfort, for centuries, if there wasn’t anything there?

Much respect. If you want to continue this conversation anytime, please do. You can also message me personally if that floats your boat.

Brian: youre right....got off track. Jesus...im contending that the jesus story is unoriginal and stolen...Horus was one example....so lets step back from horus...lets look at the others...Now the birth of Jesus Christ was in this wise. When his mother, Mary, was espoused to Joseph, before they came together she was found with child of the Holy Ghost." Yes, and the Greek demigod Perseus was born when the god Jupiter visited the virgin Danaƫ as a shower of gold and got her with child. The god Buddha was born through an opening in his mother's flank. Catlicus the serpent-skirted caught a little ball of feathers from the sky and hid it in her bosom, and the Aztec god Huitzilopochtli was thus conceived. The virgin Nana took a pomegranate from the tree watered by the blood of the slain Agdestris, and laid it in her bosom, and gave birth to the god Attis. The virgin daughter of a Mongol king awoke one night and found herself bathed in a great light, which caused her to give birth to Genghis Khan. Krishna was born of the virgin Devaka. Horus was born of the virgin Isis. Mercury was born of the virgin Maia. Romulus was born of the virgin Rhea Sylvia. For some reason, many religions force themselves to think of the birth canal as a one-way street, and even the Koran treats the Virgin Mary with reverence.... (i can give more examples if you need them)
not to mention that the multiple authors — none of whom published anything until many years after the Crucifixion — cannot agree on anything of importance. Matthew and Luke cannot concur on the Virgin Birth or the genealogy of Jesus. They flatly contradict each other on the "Flight into Egypt," Matthew saying that Joseph was "warned in a dream" to make an immediate escape and Luke saying that all three stayed in Bethlehem until Mary's "purification according to the laws of Moses," which would make it forty days, and then went back to Nazareth via Jerusalem. (Incidentally, if the dash to Egypt to conceal a child from Herod's infanticide campaign has any truth to it, then Hollywood and many, many Christian inconographers have been deceiving us. It would have been very difficult to take a blond, blue-eyed baby to the Nile delta without attracting rather than avoiding attention.)
The Gospel according to Luke states that the miraculous birth occurred in a year when the Emperor Caesar Augustus ordered a census for the purposes of taxation, and that this happened at a time when Herod reigned in Judaea and Quirinius was governer of Syria. That is the closest to a triangulation of historical dating that any writer even attempts. But Herod died four years "BC" and during his rulership the governor of Syria was not Quirinius. There is no mention of any Augustan census by any Roman historian, but the Jewish chronicler Josephus mentions one that did occur — without the onerous requirement for people to return to their places of birth, and six years after the birth of Jesus is supposed to have taken place...

[Religious belief] is a totalitarian belief. It is the wish to be a slave. It is the desire that there be an unalterable, unchallengeable, tyrannical authority who can convict you of thought crime while you are asleep, who can subject you - who must, indeed, subject you - to total surveillance around the clock every waking and sleeping minute of your life - I say, of your life - before you're born and, even worse and where the real fun begins, after you're dead. A celestial North Korea. Who wants this to be true? Who but a slave desires such a ghastly fate? north korea has a dead man as its president, Kim Jong-Il is only head of the party and head of the army. He's not head of the state. That office belongs to his deceased father, Kim Il-Sung. It's a necrocracy, a thanatocracy. It's one short of a trinity I might add. The son is the reincarnation of the father. It is the most revolting and utter and absolute and heartless tyranny the human species has ever evolved. But at least you can fucking die and leave North Korea!

Violent, irrational, intolerant, allied to racism and tribalism and bigotry, invested in ignorance and hostile to free inquiry, contemptuous of women and coercive toward children: organized religion ought to have a great deal on its conscience.
how about this one? The museums of medieval Europe, from Holland to Tuscany, are crammed with instruments and devices upon which the holy men labored devoutly, in order to see how long they could keep someone alive while being roasted. It is not needful to go into further details, but there were also religious books of instruction in this art, and guides for the detection of heresy by pain. how loving religion is no?
Many religions now come before us with ingratiating smirks and outspread hands, like an unctuous merchant in a bazaar. They offer consolation and solidarity and uplift, competing as they do in a marketplace. But we have a right to remember how barbarically they behaved when they were strong and were making an offer that people could not refuse. The Bible may, indeed does, contain a warrant for trafficking in humans, for ethnic cleansing, for slavery, for bride-price, and for indiscriminate massacre, but we are not bound by any of it because it was put together by crude, uncultured human mammals.

I have met some highly intelligent believers, but history has no record to say that [s]he knew or understood the mind of god. Yet this is precisely the qualification which the godly must claim--so modestly and so humbly--to possess. It is time to withdraw our "respect" from such fantastic claims, all of them aimed at the exertion of power over other humans in the real and material world.....

as for Atheism. Our belief is not a belief. Our principles are not a faith. We do not rely soley upon science and reason, because these are necessary rather than sufficient factors, but we distrust anything that contradicts science or outrages reason. We may differ on many things, but what we respect is free inquiry, openmindedness, and the pursuit of ideas for their own sake. The only position that leaves me with no cognitive dissonance is atheism. It is not a creed. Death is certain, replacing both the siren-song of Paradise and the dread of Hell. Life on this earth, with all its mystery and beauty and pain, is then to be lived far more intensely: we stumble and get up, we are sad, confident, insecure, feel loneliness and joy and love. There is nothing more; but I want nothing more....

A modern believer can say and even believe that his faith is quite compatible with science and medicine, but the awkward fact will always be that both things have a tendency to break religion's monopoly, and have often been fiercely resisted for that reason. What happens to the faith healer and the shaman when any poor citizen can see the full effect of drugs and surgeries, administered without ceremonies or mystifications? Roughly the same thing as happens to the rainmaker when the climatologist turns up, or to the diviner from the heavens when schoolteachers get hold of elementary telescopes.....
Scientific critics of religion such as Daniel Dennett have been generous enough to point out that apparently useless healing rituals may even have helped people get better, in that we know how important morale can be in aiding the body to fight injury and infection.

People are frightened of death, and the central lie of all religion is that there’s a cure for this and an exception we’ve made in your own case: an eternal life offered if you make the right propitiations and the right abjections. Well, I’m sorry. I think that it's the height of immorality to lie to people like that. That’s why [religion] survives.

Me: Ok, about the virgin births, I don’t think you can lump mythological characters and actual historical figures into the same category. There is a difference—mythological characters have no specified date/location in history and no documentary proof that they ever even really existed. Many of the ones you mentioned are obviously mythical legend, not even being fully human. For the historical figures that do have a specific date and location in history, I question whether or not miraculous circumstances regarding their births could be validated.

Jesus’ virgin birth could be questioned in the same way, but here’s what gives the gospel story credibility: 4 separate authors give their own or chronicle other eye witness accounts of the same events. True, some give details that others neglect, but absence of certain details within the accounts is not contradiction, it simply means one author found something of more significance than the other. (Is this what you mean when you say Matthew and Luke could not concur on the genealogy of Jesus? It could be that one mentions more descendants in the bloodline than the other. Also, I don’t know how you got that they did not agree on the virgin birth--this just isn’t true.) Plus, there might be small discrepancies in their testimonies, but that is to be expected. On trial, witnesses of the same event will naturally have differences in recounting it due to personal circumstances/viewpoint. I believe small differences actually lend more validity to the gospel story because if they were all exactly the same it would be cause for suspicion.

Me: There are many large religions and even some Christian cults which stand upon the claims of one single individual who says he received special revelations or visions allegedly from God. However, the accounts of Buddha, Muhammad, or Joseph Campbell (to name a few) have no witnesses, no evidence, no verification whatsoever. Buddhism, Islam, and Mormonism originate solely on the claims of one man. The difference with the Bible, Old Testament and New Testament alike, is that it has been historically proven with archaeological findings and other evidence (see links I noted in the previous comment) and corroborated by numerous authors. “SIMPLY PUT, THE BIBLE IS THE MOST influential book ever written. Not only is the Bible the best-selling book of all time, it is the best-selling book of the year every year.” (http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1601845-2,00.html#ixzz1KesAUQp1) You must acknowledge it as a credible source, even without belief in it.

When you say “the Bible was written many years after the Crucifixion,” I would like to respectfully disagree. As far as when the New Testament was written, plenty of evidence suggests it was written and circulating before the close of the first century, in other words, less than 100 years after Christ’s death. (http://carm.org/wasnt-new-testament-written-hundreds-years-after-christ) This article talks about the origin of the gospels, and states a case for why: http://carm.org/apologetics/evidence-and-answers/when-were-gospels-written-and-whom Lastly, here is an article which uses geographical regions in projecting a timeline for the apostle Paul’s letters, and also corroborates the same 100 year time span: http://www.bombaxo.com/paulchron.html With all due respect, I really hope you will check those out and at least keep an open mind. I would be willing to check out any sources you cite or would like to refer to me to back any of the arguments you made. I believe we must be responsible for our beliefs, willing to back them with either research or solid reasoning. I am not sure where you got your information about Caesar Augustus, but if Jesus’ birth is within a six years of when it was supposed to have taken place, I personally think that strengthens my case more than yours. Regardless, I would be willing to research any discrepancy if you gave me documentation for your argument.

In response to what you said about religion (or in my specific case, Christianity) being a totalitarian belief similar to slavery, I wonder why so many people would voluntarily adhere to it, then? Lol. It is not so much a fear of death as it is promise of life, and people would not willingly subscribe to spiritual beliefs for over 2,000 years if those beliefs “enslaved” them. From my own experiences with Christianity, I have seen quite the opposite, for myself and others. I’ve seen fulfillment, joy, peace, and freedom.

Perhaps the freedom comes from the focus on grace, making Christianity different from any other world religion. Basically, there are only two types of religion in the world. One type, to which every other religion on earth besides Christianity belongs, teaches a concept of heaven and God, and the only way to attain this conceptual heaven is by making your good deeds outweigh your bad deeds by the end of your life. Or, to put it another way, heaven is attained by man’s greatness.

Christianity on the other hand, teaches that heaven cannot be attained by man’s greatness because all of us are wicked. (This would attest to what you wrote about the atrocious and bizarre practices of medieval Europe—it speaks to our wickedness. With Christian history as with any human history, I would not argue that there have been brutalities and wrongs done—Christians are wicked and broken like anyone else.) But for Christians, heaven may be attained because God became man and paid the penalty for our wickedness, to provide a way where we don’t have to pay it. In other words, Heaven is attained because of God’s greatness. (http://www.christiantruthanditsdefense.org/religions)

With what you said about “religion’s monopoly,” I think one can believe that science/medicine were created by and can be used by God to heal people, not negating one or the other. I personally believe God can use and work through doctors, medicine, technology, and any science.

In response to what you said in your beliefs on atheism, I respect you. I think openmindedness and respect is key in religious disagreements. I do hope that you will take the time to read any links I posted and keep an open mind, as I have done with you.

Stephanie: i have been quiet this whole time but now i have something to say... do you really believe that you're wicked krissy? cuz i don't- i don't think any of us are wicked christian or not. it seems like the perfect token- an exuse to act bad the way you're saying it... in other words, this guy is punished for everyone's everything! where is the incentive to be a true/honest/good person at all? i think that we all have things to learn through grow through and not all of it will happen in this single lifetime/life form, so you better attain greatness through man kind, our earthly things, and one another....

Stephanie: and one more thought.... have you ever noticed how everyday drama can be exagerated in 2 weeks! let alone 100 yrs..... not trying to gang up on ya girl i love you- just a thought i had while reading yalls stuff

Brian: Lack of Historical Evidence for Jesus

Jesus and Krishna


Serious but Fascinating Biblical Research

Who Wrote the Bible and Why it Matters

Religion: the ultimate tyranny

im in a hurry ill post more later. hope youre having a good day :)

Steph: something else i found truely interesting were the gnostic gospels

Me: Hey, Steph! :-) I didn't take it as you trying to gang up on me at all, girl, no worries. You raise good points and I would like to respond to them, just when I have a little more time. I have no problem with debating as long as people are respectful, and I am glad this seems to be the environment. No ad hominem. :-) Brian, thanks for sending me those links...I have looked at a couple of them but not all, but I will check them all out before I respond....maybe tomorrow I will respond to both of you. Hope you had a good day, too. Later!!

Bill : http://www.mnn.com/earth-matters/wilderness-resources/photos/lazarus-species-13-extinct-animals-found-alive/rediscovere

Bill: No one has mentioned the fact that the old testament more than likely came from the Sumerian texts predating all of it with a large percentage of similarities. Which would also explain the jealousy aspect. This is all theory and conjecture... being stated as fact. When in most scientific communities they can't even agree. Also what about Akhenaten which stated there was only one God. Thus delivering the idea. I don't buy into to much of what either side says. More discoveries are being made every day. We still do not even know how the pyramids were built but yet there they stand and at the same time we can say definitively that Jesus was a myth. I believe everyone spends way to much time on proving that the bible was historically incorrect rather than taking from it what the message is as in most religions. Details and twisting of the bible word for word has done nothing more than push one own belief systems on others. When most of us have never even seen the original Scripts. To me its like a 1970's encyclopedia. How many items have changed since then. But yet it was written then as scientific fact. Oh wait we were wrong again. Lets just change this no one will notice. So scientifically speaking lets write a book 100-300 years after Christ died and expect it to be 100 percent accurate. So if a lot of it is inaccurate then lets dismiss the entire book. Its NOT A HISTORY BOOK OR AN ENCYCLOPEDIA. The wizard of Oz is a book with a message 2000 years from now I wonder what they will say? This is all irrelevant anyway the anunaki are coming back next year to enslave us all then this will all be a mute point.

Bill: oh yeah not to mention Quetzacotal. He is coming back as well. OMG Its an invasion!

Bill: oh yeah Deviled eggs are awesome!

Me: Steph—to answer one of your points, (I will get to the other one later.) I don’t just think I am wicked, I KNOW I am wicked. I know I am self centered, prone to envy, easy to anger, impatient, all kinds of bad stuff. I believe all human beings are on the same page--even though some of us may have more sin in our lives than others, none of us are without it. If we had to earn our way into heaven, we would all fall short, because to get there you would have to live a completely sinless life.

In Christianity, Jesus’ sacrifice for mankind’s sin is not a reason to be as sinful as possible, far from it. Acknowledging that He paid the full price on the cross is an incentive for obedience. Our trying to live right is done out of love for Him and appreciation of the gift of eternal life. It inspires this devotion, and that’s what causes us to try to be like Him, to offer ourselves as living sacrifices, but we know we fall short. That’s why we are dependent on His righteousness and grace. We rely on that righteousness rather than our own. That’s the gospel in a nutshell. It is the most fulfilling thing I’ve ever known.

Me: Brian, to respond to you: Reponse to Lack of Historical Evidence for Jesus
To quote your author: “Mark was written before Matthew and Luke (c. 100 C.E.) but after the destruction... of the Temple in 70 C.E., which it mentions. Most Christians believe it was written in c. 75 C.E.”
Homedude is straight up wrong. Mark does not mention the destruction of the Temple, and you can read it yourself for verification. None of the gospels mention the destruction of the Jewish temple in 70 A.D., and this is very significant because it was a prophecy of Jesus that would have been recorded. "As for these things which you are looking at, the days will come in which there will not be left one stone upon another which will not be torn down," (Luke 21:6, see also Matt. 24:2; Mark 13:2). In 70 A.D., when Romans sacked Jerusalem and burned the Temple, the gold in the Temple melted down between the stone walls and the Romans took the walls apart, stone by stone, to get the melted gold. Such an obvious fulfillment of Jesus' prophecy would have been recorded by the gospel writers if they had been written after 70 A.D.—it presents a strong case for them being written and circulated before this time. With the Crucifixion happening in 33 A.D., this means the gospels were written less than 40 years after Jesus’ death.
(To speak to your point, Steph, I think it would be a lot easier for hearsay or verbal story to be exaggerated or altered over time, but not written, religious documents considered sacred. These would be meticulously transcribed.)
Again, to quote your author: “The canonical gospels are not the only gospels. For example, there are also gospels of Mary, Peter, Thomas and Philip. These four gospels are recognized as being pseudepigraphic by both Christian and non-Christian scholars. They provide no legitimate historical information since they were based on rumors and belief. The existence of these obviously pseudepigraphic gospels makes it quite reasonable to suspect that the canonical gospels might also be pseudepigraphic.”
Because of the early church’s staunch position on authenticity, several gospels got rejected for inclusion in the Bible, as this author contends. I think it would be reasonable to assume that if they were going to exclude some, any gospels were carefully dissected and investigated for plagiary. Only the authenticated ones, in which they could be certain of authorship, would be included.

As far as whether or not Jesus’ disciples were actual people as opposed to myth, I think it takes more faith to assume that all of them, as well as all their accounts, are myths or fabrications. It just seems unreasonable to try to excuse each and every account and the existence of each and every person as fiction rather than believe that all the evidence is cumulative and substantial. Respected historians recognized by both Christian and non-Christian scholars (Josephus, Eusebius, Papias) speak of Jesus and His disciples as real people, and the early church authenticated their gospel authorship.

Furthermore, if it were all a farce, why would these early believers, disciples and others, risk their lives and die for it? Early Christians were persecuted, flogged, jailed, and MARTYRED for speaking the gospel. “Eleven of the 12 apostles, and many of the other early disciples, died for their adherence to this story.” http://www.allaboutfollowingjesus.org/christian-persecution.htm These people were willing to take their beliefs in Jesus to the grave!! If it were all just a deception or fabrication, do you really think this would be the case?

Response to Jesus and Krishna/ Whomever Else Ya Got
I am willing to acknowledge that Christ’s story has similarities to other alleged gods as well as other myths/stories. However, the differences between His story and the others are ones that I have mentioned already. Christ was an actual person with a specific date and location in history, and we widely acknowledge his reality, having walked the earth. That makes Him different than any fable unable to be verified with an origin/documentation. Also, any real historical figures that claim miraculous circumstances regarding their births have no other evidence to support their stories except for their own accounts. (Not very convincing.)The Jesus story is different, simply for the fact that many eye witnesses can corroborate, and circumstantial as well as hard evidence all point to the same truth.
The fact that there are so many myths/stories with similarities speaks to our human desire for it to happen. We are wired so deeply to want a man conceived by a miracle, able to perform miracles, and for him to be the savior of the world. We’ve been cooking it up for centuries, dreaming about it, telling stories of it, wishing for it, and waiting for it before the time of Jesus. One of C.S. Lewis’ arguments for Christ was this: What if Jesus made the myth a reality? What if Jesus embodied it and it came true? We know He was a real person. We know real people testified on his behalf. We know the Bible is a respected and credible source. The case for Christ is strong.

Response to Jesus Myth Grew and Grew
To quote the author: “There is not one piece of evidence, outside Christianity's own story, that this individual referred to as Jesus ever existed, certainly not as Son of God…”
This is not true. Many credible secular scholars take as fact that Jesus walked the earth, verified with many authors of the New Testament as well as non-Christian sources. Josephus, Tacitus, and Pliny the Younger, Eusebius, Papias, and the Talmud all wrote of Christ, and some written accounts even acknowledge His claims as the Son of God and the historical Crucifixion. This is widely acknowledged as credible documentation.
To imagine that the whole religion of Christianity is a farce, that these respected historians did not document reality, that there never was a Jesus, that the millions of Christians over centuries of time have been brainwashed by lies, that the whole Christian religion is a conspiracy, that none of the authors of the New Testament existed, that if they did they all lied about their identities, and that they risked their lives for mere deception, is at best improbable and at worst ludicrous. I’ve said it before and I will say it again: it would take more faith to believe all that than it would to believe it happened. As I said in my very first comment, you have to have some element of faith either way, but the case for Christ is strong, and I don’t think you can discount the possibility of it being true.

The other articles you’ve referenced repeat much of the same thing, and I would be repeating myself to dispute them. The article “Religion: The Ultimate Tyranny” I already disputed in an earlier comment by mentioning that Christians have been voluntary pursuing their religion for centuries, and it being about freedom rather than slavery.

I have had an awesome time debating with you, Brian. Thanks for challenging me and making me responsible for my beliefs. Two books that you could look at to see the other side, if you wanted to: The Case for Christ, by Lee Strobel and Evidence that Demands a Verdict Volume 1 and 2 by Josh McDowell. Amazing stuff.

Me: Good grief, Bill. I haven't even read yours!! Haha.

Steph: at the risk of sounding too much like a high school counselor... truely... how does it make you feel to know that you and all that you are (soul, acomplishments, good deed, etc) would never be good enough? i know you said it's fulfilling, but elaborate a bit more for me tho i'm sincerly curious. because i feel like i am eternally trying to live up to being a good person but it seems like christians feel almost guilted into it rather than just wanting to do because its the right thing...

Me: It doesn’t make me feel like I am an especially bad person or wallow in guilt or anything to know I am sinful--Christian theology says every human being is on the same level. Every one of us sins, and no one doesn‘t. It’s not like it’s on a grade scale, it’s pass or fail, and we all fail...we have all sinned. Even our attempts at being good are tainted with selfish motives.
But knowing that I don’t rely on my own righteousness is a relief!! It is freedom in Christ, not slavery or guilt, that motivates me. Knowing that I am not justified by what I do creates such a thankfulness in me...I am justified through my faith in what Christ did. His work on the cross makes it possible for me to have salvation through faith in Him, not my own deeds. It is freeing. So, it is not wallowing in guilt that inspires me to love/serve others, become more like Christ, have integrity as a human being, it is out of love for Him saving my life. I WANT to do what's right because He sincerely pulled my life out of a pit.
The way I saw it, what did I have to lose by seeking out Christ for 40 days? I read a book called “Purpose Driven Life” by Rick Warren, and allowed my mind to be completely open to the Christian doctrine. He proved Himself to me so undoubtedly that I have never turned back.

Me: In fact, to wallow in guilt isn't really accepting that Christ died for whatever sin you feel guilty for...it is not Christian theology at all. The Bible says there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.

Me: To respond to you, Bill, have you ever heard of the Dead Sea Scrolls? (I’m sure you probably have.) Discovered in Israel in the late 40’s/early 50’s, they contained every book of the Old Testament except for Esther, and show no variation from the times in which they were written (proven by carbon dating to be roughly 200 B.C.-70 A.D.) to the present date. This is overwhelming evidence for the reliability of the Old Testament. “The Hebrew scribes who copied the Jewish Scriptures dedicated their lives to preserving the accuracy... These scribes went to phenomenal lengths to insure manuscript reliability. They were highly trained and meticulously observed, counting every letter, word and paragraph against master scrolls. A single error would require the immediate destruction of the entire text.” http://www.allabouttruth.org/origin-of-the-bible.htm
Here are some other sources which show proof of the reliability and authenticity of the Bible, saying it way better than I could:

Friday, March 11, 2011

The Hope That Does Not Disappoint

And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.
Romans 5:2-5

After Mexico, it took almost a year before I got serious about living my life for Christ. Part of the reason it took so long was because I knew it would be a complete life transplant. I realized everything God was calling me to surrender: my paranoid thoughts, selfishness, drugs, friends who were a bad influence on me, and most of all, my same sex attraction and relationships.

I hesitated for so long, clinging to my old ways out of security and familiarity, and during that year, I grieved. God had opened my eyes, showing me how much He loved me and wanted my heart, how could I ignore that? I literally could not find satisfaction or content in any of the things of my past, anymore.

However, when I tried to relinquish my old self, it seemed I could not live that way, either. I was so messed up. I'm not trying to talk up my ordeal because I know people have gone through worse, and I know 3 years isn't that long, but it sucked. It was heart-wrenching and uncertain and scary. Going through a major, awful identity crisis, I wondered who I even was anymore.

I had separated myself from all of my old friends, but hadn't really felt comfortable "being me" in front of my new ones. I didn't even really know who "me" was anymore. I isolated myself out of the discomfort. I had the Lord, and He gave me some solace, but I missed people. I missed being comfortable with myself.I missed love and being in love. I hated the uncertainty of my new life. Still crushing on women, I felt like I was back in the closet, and that made me mad. Hadn't I already gone through this turmoil and finally accepted my same sex attraction? I hated taking a step back into the agony of hiding my deepest, darkest secret.

Sometimes, I wondered why I was even trying to let God heal me of homosexuality. Giving up the drugs, my old friends, and my old way of talking was difficult, but fully surrendering my same sex desire was the hardest thing I've ever done. God gave me the realization that healing would be Him working through me, not something I could do on my own, but I did have to surrender it over to Him. He couldn't take it from me with it clenched tightly in my hand.

I so desparately wanted it to be ok with Him. I looked at literature which said homosexuality could exist within Christianity. I read about Christians who reconciled being gay with their faith...but none of it rang true. I could not deny what the Lord spoke to my heart...His gentle answer. He did not scold me, He did not shake His finger at me, He just gave me truth, tenderly.

In accepting this truth, I suffered greatly. I would cry out to God, asking Him why. I was soooo tempted to throw in the towel, seriously considering giving up and just going to the gay bar. I thought, "God, I'll give you everything else, I promise...just don't make me surrender that....anything but that. I can't do it." I would plead with Him, "I've already given you so much...I have changed, can it please please be enough?" I would grow depressed and wonder, "Will I ever really be me again?" Sometimes, I would be angry at God and just say, "I can't do this, I cannot continue doing this, I'm done!!"

Once, as I was looking back over my journal entries to Him, I saw a common theme: torment. I also saw that my same sex attraction was not lessening. Instead, I had been experiencing one female crush after another...women from church!! I hurled my journal across the room and looked up at my living room ceiling with rage. "Is THIS the life you have planned for me??!! Is this what you want??!!" I told Him I would not, I could not do it anymore.

But, something in me kept me going.  Something in my heart held my head up and kept me strong, in stubborn defiance of what I wanted to do. I plowed ahead, I kept perservering, kept putting one foot in front of the other. I didn't know why and I didn't understand it, but I did it anyway. He kept pushing me through.

Then came the times when I had NO HOPE. That was the worst. I could not even dream that I would have a healthy relationship with a man. And I certainly didn't want to get married and be secretly crushing on women throughout my marriage!! At least by this point, I wasn't isolating anymore. I had slowly started to open up with some of my friends at church, being honest with several of them about my same sex issue.

One night, I went to a "girls night" thing with some of those friends, and I fell apart. I didn't even know how upset I was until I started talking about it all. My utter dejection, my fears, my HOPELESSNESS all came pouring out, and I bawled. I admitted that I was crushing on yet another girl. I said, "I just don't believe that I will ever...EVER be able to have a healthy relationship with a man...ever. Men don't desire me, and they never have. I have always been attracted to women....I have NEVER been able to see myself with a guy. I don't believe I will ever be healed."

Everyone was trying to build me up, saying sweet things, and I finally just interrupted and said, "Whatever, I know you guys are saying all that because you're supposed to, but do you really believe it? Do you really think that someday I will have a healthy relationship with a man?" I totally expected silence and glances downward, but without hesitation, my friend Chanda said, "Absolutely!!" I looked at her, incredulous. "I totally believe you will be in a healthy marriage relationship someday. I believe you can and will be healed of your same sex attraction." She was so sure of herself, so confident. It was crazy because even though I did not believe it myself, I knew she really did believe it. I knew she was sincere, and her hope lifted me up just a little. Her hope became my little glimmer of hope. Sometimes when we lose hope, we must cling to the hope other people have for us, letting them hope for us...

And about hope, the Bible promises this: "Hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us." (Romans 5:5) If God has called us to something or promised us something, our hope in it will not disappoint us, no matter how long it takes. God would not have called me out of my lesbian lifestyle unless He planned on healing me. No matter how hard our plight or how difficult our suffering, we can keep hoping and trusting in Him.

Now, I absolutely marvel at what happened since my surrender. God brought me completely through the fire, out of my darkness and into His light. Much to my shock, He orchestrated a healthy relationship with a man, a wonderful, Godly man. More surprising is this: I am totally in love with him. It is the first time for me with a man...the FIRST time a guy has ever made me feel beautiful or comfortable with my feminity. Even more shocking: I am healthily sexually attracted to him. God has worked a miracle in my life--oh me of little faith!! ^_^

I see my Billy's heart and it is amazing, more beautiful and sincere than I could have ever dreamed up for myself. He is patient, generous, genuine and kind. I feel like he often puts my happiness before his. He always pays unless I fight him, he opens my door, he offers to give me back and foot massages. He puts up with me taking forever at the grocery store. He compliments me, and tells me I'm beautiful...

Praise God for the blessing of him. The miracle of him!! I want to marry him, because I have no doubt that God orcestrated all this. I know, because when I feel my faith in the Lord at its strongest, I feel my love for Billy at its deepest. The two are undoubtedly connected...I know it's what He wants. I know God would be honored if we did marry, and He is the glue that BINDS!! :-)

So, I believe with umost certainty that God has a reason and a purpose for everything, especially our suffering. I also believe He gives us more than what we ask for, bigger and better than our wildest dreams, when we stick it out with Him through the fire of our trials. When we persevere with obedience throughout our suffering, such beautiful and awesome fruit follows. When we don't understand, when we want to give up, when we want to say forget this walk....we keep walking. His blessings await.

With regard to my own personal suffering, God prepared me and grew me and refined me, and increased my hope. I would not be able to know how much His blessing means or be able to appreciate it nearly as much had I not gone through the fire. Now, I see the fruit of my suffering. I know it was a part of His sovereign plan, a part of His intention of blessing me, and a part of Him showing me that hope in Him does not disappoint. Praise Him for the miracle that happened in my life.