Monday, November 5, 2012

Love Letter to my Husband

Dear Baby,

On our first anniversary, I just wanted to tell you some things I love about you...

I love the way you honor God by serving me.  The way you lug around my heavy pedal board.  The way you empty the dishwasher or do the dishes while I practice.  The way you FIX THE BRAKES ON OUR CAR, OR BUILD GUITAR PEDALS FOR ME!! (You are so awesome!!) The way you help me take care of the house before group.  The way you make me feel so appreciated when I cook. 

I love...

Your handsome face
Your pretty blue eyes
Your boyish giggle
Your love of music
Your incredible intelligence
Your sense of humor and wit

I also love...

...When I ask you a question about ANYTHING and you know the answer. 
...When you finish whatever song I start with your instrumental mouth part or background vocal. (Lol!!)
...When you take off running and jump on the HEB shopping cart and ride it through the parking lot to the car...EVERY time. XD
...When you are so inexplicably good to strangers...writing down the license plate number of somebody whose lights are on and going back into the store to have it announced, or stopping on the side of the road to help someone with a broken down car or a flat tire. 
...When you and I get into a gigglefest late at night. :D
...When you wiggle your toes without realizing it while we watch TV, or pick things up with your toes so you don't have to bend down.  ^_^

I love that you trusted God to be with me...helping me work through my broken past.  You did not fear, you trusted Him.  I love that you let me tell my story unashamedly.  You are a dream come true for me, living proof of God's faithfulness.  And it's not just that I'm married, but that I'm married to a man like you.   If there was any steadfast, solid example of a real man, it's you!!!  (And I am married to you....holy cow!!!)

In short, I am so desparately, passionately, 100% head-over-heels in love with you. Here's to our first year together, most certainly the best one of my life.



Friday, July 27, 2012

His Grace is Sufficient for Me

Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me.  but he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness."  2 Corinthians, 12:8-9

His grace is sufficient for me, with diabetes.  His grace is sufficient.

I am just a jar of clay.  Flawed, breakable, mortal.  Walking, impending death.  I am going to die one day, obviously, but the truth is that diabetes makes me more susceptible to an early death. Infection, heart disease, kidney disease, blindness, cancer, all of them statistically more likely in this little clay jar.

Yet I hold a treasure inside.  God's perfect power.  The Holy Spirit, the spirit of wisdom and revelation.  The power of eternal life.  Every spiritual blessing in Christ.  The freedom from sin, redemption, restoration, the blood of Jesus.  And that is sufficient for me. 

Through my weakness, His power is made perfect.  If I were perfect already, how would His power be made perfect?  There would be no process of perfection.  People would not see Him at work. 

We carry around in our bodies the death of Jesus, our remembrance of His blood and our brokenness, our sin, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed.  So that healing and redemption and restoration would be evident.  And we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. 2 Corinthians, 4:7

Change that lasts--redeeming power--is the Lord's, not mine.  He uses me...he uses my flaws, my imperfections, my pride, my critical Spirit, and yes, even my diabetes, to show His sanctifying power...that has nothing to do with me.  I have handled this diagnosis very messily, but praise God the Father, who brings me to my knees so gently...  

I think I was trying the "do more and try harder" approach to my diabetes, to prove I could handle it.  I was wanting to take the reins and do it myself instead of relying on my source of strength.  I kept trying to show myself that I could make this lifestyle change and do the "right" things.  Problem was, I would always wind up falling, messing up, miserable.  Praise God He has reminded me of my source of strength.

I surrender this and look to Him.  I know He is the only thing I can cling to for redemption and sanctification.  I know His perfect power is  the only thing perfect in this jar of clay.  And because his power is being made perfect through my diabetes, I will choose to delight in it.  To God be the glory for this weakness.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Diabetic, really?

I found out in October of last year that I am diabetic. I was getting blood work done and going to the gyno before Billy and I got married, just to make sure everything was ok. Turns out it wasn't.

The first indicator was a urine test. I had sugar in my urine. They immediately asked me if I was diabetic. Well, no....not that I knew of. A week later the tests came in to confirm my type 2 diabetes.

After the initial shock and disbelief I handled it incredibly well. I had the perfect Christian responses--God is good, I was thankful for the health that I did have, I know God had a plan in all this, diabetes was very manageable these days, everything was going to be fine. My close friends and family were so sympathetic, but for some reason I really didn't need their sympathy.

Then it sank in some more. Wait…what? Am I really diabetic?  Really?  Because that SUCKS.

I don't want to watch what I eat for the rest of my life. I don't want to think about it every time I have a meal, for the rest of my life. Do you know how often you eat? It's multiple times a day. The next meal or snack is constantly around the corner.

I don’t want to poke myself with needles and draw blood to test my blood sugar multiple times a day for the rest of my life.  For the REST OF MY LIFE, the first thing I am supposed to do in the morning is poke myself with a needle.  What a way to wake up!!  And I am not even on insulin, not yet, anyway.  I am just on meds.  I imagine someday I will be poking myself with insulin needles, too.

Guess what else?  At friend’s houses where people are serving food I don't need to be eating it.  Very unlikely for people to cook stuff that is good for diabetics at those types of things.  And at birthday parties or celebrations where there is cake and sweets, I probably shouldn’t have any of that, either.  I have noticed more and more since I’ve been diagnosed, there is ALWAYS a reason to celebrate somebody’s something.  And so I am ALWAYS either feeling like I need to deny myself or going ahead and pigging out like everyone else and then feeling super guilty.

Oh and the best part?  Alcohol is terrible for diabetics!!  I probably should really limit my drinking if not stop altogether, especially with beer which is only my favorite alcoholic beverage. 

I am angry. Diabetes feels like a constant state of denial.  I feel indignant, undeserving. I took care of my health. I was not overweight. Except for the 2-3 beers a night over the weekend and the occasional splurge, I was a nut.  I usually watched what I ate and tried to work out 4-5 times a week at least and even ate a lot of organic and tons of vegetables and green tea every morning.

But that didn’t work for me, and so now I am inclined to eat whatever I want.  For the past month and a half or so, I have fallen off the diabetic wagon.  It’s my way of denying that I even have this awful disease.  It’s my way of saying, I tried to do things the healthy way, but forget it.  It’s my way of sticking diabetes the finger.

I know it’s not right, though.  I feel bad both mentally and physically.  After eating whatever I wanted to most of this weekend, my blood sugar was very high this morning and I am just exhausted....

God, how do you want me to see this?  I need you…I am wrestling.  I know I am supposed to see your goodness in this...I know I am supposed to see this as a blessing.  I know I am being a big baby about it.  How do you want me to cope with this?  I need you to change my heart.   

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Letter to My Girls

As we talked about new relationships we are entering into or possibly entering into last night, I have to admit that I am troubled today.  The reason for that is, I want the very best for you…for all of you.  I don’t want you to miss out on being blessed immeasurably more than all you could ask or imagine because you settled for less than God’s will for your dating life. 

This morning, I went to find a Christian dating advice blog, or something to talk about this kind of thing, but they were all hoakey and lame. Maybe I am about to be hoakey and lame.  I just know that nothing I could find said what I wanted to say to you.

What I want to say to you, what I want to urgently tell you, is this:  Seek Him first when it comes to dating.  You can save yourself so much heartache and turmoil and dysfunction and sexual sin if you do that.  What does that look like?  Try to think of what He would have you do, and pray about it.  Pray before you enter into any dating relationship and think about whether or not this guy is good for your walk, or someone that the Lord would have you with.  Ask the guy questions about his spirituality at the beginning, and let that be a determining factor for you.  If he is not a Christian or if he is not on the same page with you in terms of being committed to growing in Christ, chances are he is not going to be good for your walk.  If you have a bad feeling or hesitations about whether or not it’s right, chances are, it’s not.  When you know it’s from God you will be sure.   

The second thing is: Do not be impatient when it comes to dating.  I have no doubt that any of you could be blessed with a husband who is a strong man of God, but you can’t get ahead of Him with your own will or understanding  or wanting to fill a lonely spot, because He wants your heart FIRST.  Does He want to sanctify you and make you ready for a husband?  Probably.  He will most certainly want to sanctify you, and odds are, you will probably get married.  Will it be on your time?  Probably not.  Will you have to be patient and go through some growing pains to be ready and in a place where God can bless you with a Godly, healthy marriage relationship?  Most likely.  Is it hard?  Yes.   But I know… I know with all my heart that it is WORTH IT. 

If anyone had reason to doubt seeking Him first or being patient in Him, it was me.  I was 28 years old when God got ahold of my heart.  As I entered into my 30’s and continued to surrender my sexuality and dating life to Him, being single for several years, I thought, What kind of guy is going to want me?  I am thirty years old and a former lesbian—and I am still screwed up.  What kind of guy who is strong in the Lord would be willing to accept my past and sometimes even my present…AND be willing to not have sex until marriage? I don’t even know how it’s going to work out, God!! Sexually or emotionally!! I have never even been in love with a man!!   

 But God is so faithful.  He showed me that I could not rely on my own understanding.  I sought Him first with all of that, and He paired me with a man who accepted me, past and all.  Not only that, but Billy waited for me until we were married, and now we are in a healthy, Godly marriage.  And if that happened with me, that can happen with any one of you.  It is my hope and prayer and vision for all of you…Godly men, Godly marriages, blessed and upheld by the Lord.   I am praying for you!!  I hope you will take this to heart. 


Friday, May 18, 2012

Wild Ride

For me, over the past 4 years, faith in Christ has never been a ho-hum, let me make practical decisions and do what I think makes sense, and God's sovereign will has got me. Not in the least. This journey with Him...this experience...has been a wild, crazy ride. It's been like white water rafting through the rapids, with the wind in my face and my stomach in my throat. Like slicing my way through the jungle with a machete, terrified of being eaten by some wild animal.  So that God could free me of myself.

He pushes us out of our comfort zones, in the most awesome possible way. When you really surrender your life and every ounce of your will for His, making decisions based on what you believe is His will for you, it is scary...because His will directly contradicts your flesh. Often times, it directly contradicts what you think you know. For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. Romans 5:17. But that's how He proves Himself and His power through you, when you die to self. When you die to your own decision making, so that He will be alive in you. And when you get that, and when you do it, He uses you MIGHTILY.

For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it. Luke 9:24.

It is not about our comfort, though. In Acts, when the first disciples were traveling across the waters regardless of comfort or safety or weather or people trying to kill them, God called them to that. When Paul was thrown in jail and flogged and mocked and persecuted for speaking the truth of Jesus, God called him to do that. When Jesus died a horrific death on a cross, taking on the sin of the world and allowing himself to be made nothing for us, God called him to do that. All according to His divine purpose.

Can you imagine what the earliest disciples would have done if they did what they wanted or thought was practical or reasonable? They would not have risked their lives by preaching to the Pharisees or almost killed themselves by traveling constantly across torrential sea waters!! Paul wouldn't have allowed such awful things to happen to him, either, and neither would Jesus Christ, the author and perfecter of our faith. It wasn't practical. It was dangerous, scary, and difficult, to say the very least.

So why did they do it? You will never know, unless you do it.  So do it. Live for Him, regardless of the cost, and He will show you His purpose for you, the most magnificent thing we can ever behold in this life. Live for Him and His will, and let your heart and your decisions be guided by Him. He will blow your mind with how much He will speak to you.

Too many instances in my life have been confirmed by this. If not for God, if I was making my own practical decisions based on what I knew, what I thought was a good idea, I never would have left being a lesbian. I never would have started dating Billy. I thought I was screwed up and incapable of dating anyone!! Thank God I didn't go by my own reasoning. If not for God, I never would have married Billy, either, and I have now never been more sure of anything in my life.  I am free of brokenness I thought I would have my whole life.

But I had to trust Him. I was called to take up my cross and suffer for a time, losing my life for His, not making decisions based on what I thought or felt at all. My heart was deceitful above all things. We are supposed to trust in Him and lean not on our own understanding. Our emotions, our circumstances, our decisions are tainted by flesh, nothing in this world can be trusted, only HIM.

It was hard, God had to transform me and transformation and change like that are difficult. But that is why we focus on the unseen. Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. 2 Corinthians 4:16-18. Hanging on to something more was what gave me hope and brought me through.

It's amazing and UNBELIEVABLE what He's done for me, and He can do it for you. It's scary and incredible and takes such courage and faith but He will guide you. It starts with acting like what you know about Him is real. Act like He speaks to you through His word, because He does. Pray with your whole heart like He hears those prayers, because He does. And then follow Him. He will save not just your soul, but your life.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

How the Gospel Changed My Life

I grew up in a Christian home. We prayed before meals and before bed time, and we went to church every Sunday, ever since I was a little girl. I don't remember not believing in God.

At 12 years old, I knew I believed but questioned whether or not I was actually saved, and the uncertainty troubled me. I had a talk with my mom and we prayed to the Lord together. I accepted Jesus into my heart as my savior. :-)

Soon after that, I got baptized with a few other people from church on a Sunday. Beforehand, when they asked all of us if we knew what we were doing, I just started bawling. I knew that Jesus had died for me.

But I didn't really understand faith beyond that.  For me, there wasn't as much of a daily, vital element to Jesus as there was for my mom or my sister. They would pray regularly and attend bible studies and church functions.  I was more like my dad, who didn't do much outside of church on Sunday, and didn't really want to.

Like I mentioned, our family prayed before meal times and before bed, and would also pray if there was a deep need or a crisis. For me, the praying before meals or bedtime was usually sort of a routine, obligatory thing. I began thinking of God as a stern, sort of distant being with alot on His plate. He had war, famine, sickness and grief--what would I matter to Him? I reserved prayers for emergencies only.

It didn't help that I had a secret. I had always struggled with same sex attraction, as long as I had known. I remember having crushes on girls from a young age and instinctively knowing this was something I should hide. So I did. I hoped it would go didn't.

My mom found out about it when I was 17, and after we had our first talk about it, she didn't handle it very well. I don't think she understood the fact or could even face the possibility that it wasn't a phase. I could tell my secret made her so uneasy that I learned I should not bring it up.

My dad was so focused on providing for the family that, in that pursuit, he had become emotionally passive and distant. He didn't realize he was doing this at the time, but after work he came home and sort of checked out. He was also pretty uncomfortable with big emotional issues or heavy stuff, so I didn't feel like I could talk to him, either.

I was so ashamed of my secret. I couldn't cope with it and neither could my parents. I entered into a long, silent time of deep suicidal depression.

Meanwhile, my sister deepened her path on the straight and narrow. She got further involved in church and her youth group and started being gone all the time when she got into her mid teens. Before then, we were very close, but I was 4 years younger, and when she got a little older she didn't really want much to do with me. I felt so rejected. I couldn't talk to her about the secret, either. And I lost one of my best friends.

I started rebelling. I couldn't accept myself, so I sought the acceptance of others. In my last years of high school, I started drinking, smoking, and smoking pot to escape. It was mild at first, but it increased and really blew up when I moved out of my parents' house at 19.

The further I got into the drug scene, the wilder people were, and the easier it was to admit my same sex attraction and start acting on it. Before long, I came completely "out" and began having full blown relationships with women. Throughout college, I had a series of dysfunctional relationships with girls and got further into pot and other drugs. God was still with me at the time, as He always was, but he was still an "emergency only" God in my mind, a far away God who had enough to worry about.

I was a miserable Christian. I was selfish and paranoid. I lived for people approval, pot, and women. Life was a roller coaster, and the high points never lasted long. But I never questioned whether or not all this, or specifically, being a lesbian, was ok with God. It wasn't going to change. It couldn't change. It was part of me. Besides, what did God care about me?

My parents were beside themselves during all this. The trauma of it brought my Dad to his knees before God. My mom continued to pray her heart out everyday over me and for my life, as she always had, but more desparately as I detached more. 

As I pulled away from God, my sister pulled closer.  She had done the polar opposite with her life, getting married and even becoming a missionary in Mexico.

When I was 28, I went to visit her and her husband there. One of the last nights of my stay, I had an experience that dramatically opened my eyes. My sister asked if I really thought homosexuality was sin or if I thought it was ok with God. For the first time, I had to admit, I didn't know.  It had always "had to be ok," but was it?  She offered to pray and I accepted.

And then, God allowed me to see Him in a way I had never seen Him before. He spoke to me, spoke to my heart. He wasn't a distant, far away God after all. He revealed to me that I was precious to Him, that He loved me more than I could fathom, enough to die for me, and that my life and purpose were more than anything I had been living for. As He flooded my spirit, everything I had been hanging on to seemed so small. And He told me the answer to the question of whether or not homosexuality was ok, and it wasn't in condemnation. It was a gentle answer.

When I came back to Houston, He began pulling me out of my pit, one step at a time. He showed me that I was right, I couldn't change my same sex attraction, I had to rely on Him. It wasn't me that would have to do the changing, He would change me from within. And my same sex attraction didn't have to be a part of me, either--regardless of how it felt, my identity was in Christ. All I had to do, my part, was to surrender myself, believe Him, and let Him work.

It wasn't easy, but He held on to my heart. I began going to church and getting involved there, and He used those followers of Christ in a mighty way to help me. They showed me the love and compassion of Jesus, and provided me an example of living for that. They did not condemn me or make me feel ashamed, they loved me and accepted me and prayed for me.  They believed for me when I couldn't believe. They were trustworthy and did not reject me or tell my secret when I asked them not to. They lifted me up, and taught me what it meant to be rooted and established in Christ.

God began to heal me in ways I never thought possible, and make me understand where my brokenness came from. He sloughed off the old and made things new, replacing my heart of stone with a heart of flesh. He broke through all the layers to the real me, and brought it back to life. I felt as though I had been raised from the grave. All my family's prayers for all the years I was gone were finally coming true.

But then, He did the most amazing thing of all. He blessed me with healthy, reciprocal love for a man. I didn't think it was was the first time it had ever happened to me. As our love deepened, I realized more and more that it was from Him. For the first time, this intimacy was pure and healthy, and acknowledged Him. Him first--what a marvelous wonder that is. I was 31 years old.

Now, that man, who is more wonderful than I ever could have asked for or imagined, is my husband. Now, we pursue Him together. My heart is full.  I have been renewed to breathe new life.

1 Praise the LORD, my soul;
all my inmost being, praise his holy name.
2 Praise the LORD, my soul,
and forget not all his benefits—
3 who forgives all your sins
and heals all your diseases,
4 who redeems your life from the pit
and crowns you with love and compassion,
5 who satisfies your desires with good things
so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

Psalm 103:1-5

All that is within me, Praise His Holy Name.

Friday, February 24, 2012

The Story

Something happened to me that I can't fully explain. I know it was by the Holy Spirit. I know it woke me up.

I had been living in a fog. I had no idea how unhappy I was, really. I was living for myself, living in the lesbian lifestyle, using drugs, living for the moment. I had never questioned whether or not homosexuality was okay with God. It had to be. There was nothing I could do to change it. It felt like a part of me, and always had. Besides, God had a whole lot more to worry about than little ole me. He had war, poverty, famine, what did it matter if I was gay?

But then, He spoke to me, He spoke to my heart. He told me I was precious to Him, that He loved me more than I could fathom, that my life was more than anything I had been living for. He opened my eyes to just a glimpse of how beautiful His love really is.

Then, He began pulling me out of my darkness, one step at a time. He showed me that it wasn't me who would have to do the changing, He could change me from within. All I had to do was surrender, and let Him work.

It wasn't easy, but He had my heart in his hands the whole time. He put His followers in my life to help see me through. He brought me people that showed me the love and compassion of Christ. They did not condemn me or make me ashamed, they loved me and prayed for me and believed for me when I couldn't believe.

He began to heal me and make me understand where my brokenness came from. He sloughed off the old, and replaced it with new. He broke through all the old layers to the real me, and restored it.

And then, He did the most beautiful thing of all. He blessed me with healthy love for a man. It was the first time that ever happened to me. I was 31 years old. And that man, who is more wonderful than I ever could have asked for or imagined, became my husband. Now, we pursue Him together.

What God did in me, the way He moved me, I could never fully explain. But I just can't wait to keep knowing Him and living this life for Him, Him alone.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Change is Possible

Change is possible for you, the discouraged one. You’ve fought for years, wrestled, given in, fought more, and still fight. But you are losing the battle. You cannot seem to overcome the thing that torments you. That plagues you, that follows you wherever you go. The big glaring darkness in your life. You KNOW it hurts you, but you just can't seem to let go of it. Maybe you’ve given up trying, quit fighting because you always lose. Change is possible for you.

Change is also possible for you, the one who seeks. You’ve been nudged gently, something speaks to your heart ever so softly about whatever may not be right. You hear a small voice that talks about that grey area in your life and you wonder, you suspect it may be wrong but you are too scared to face it. You think it might be wrong, maybe it’s not exactly right, but you can’t talk about it. It’s scary and painful. The results of changing it would be too much, and you just can’t confront it. Change is possible for you, too.

Wherever you may be, change is possible for you.

There is one who makes all things new. There is one who transforms, restores, redeems, and sets free. Better than any counselor, more effective than any self help book or program. An answer above anything this world has to offer, including your own efforts. You can’t transform your own will with your own will. You can’t change your own mind with your own mind. It’s like chasing your own tail, you may catch it for awhile but it will always slip away from you again. You’ve got to look somewhere other than you.

I was the one who heard the soft voice. I made one decision to really hear that voice out, agreeing to pray and seek. And there was a gentle love I had been ignoring for years that spoke to me. It told me that the way I was living my life, in homosexuality, was not the answer. He told me gently, not with a condemning finger, but with a love and devotion so overwhelming I have never been the same. That prayer sparked a series of events that transformed my life.

I am no longer a lesbian. In fact, I am married. I have been transformed and blessed to have a life of peace, joy, love, and fulfillment, regardless of my circumstances. I may have struggles and trials and turmoils, but they no longer own me. By the grace and strength of my Savior within, I can overcome anything.

As you struggle for change, don’t look for the solution to your problem. Look to the maker of all solutions. Don’t look for the redemption, look to the redeemer, the one who makes everything beautiful. The one in whom we HOPE and are not disappointed. Turn to Him, pray to Him for comfort and for answers. Pray that He would show you whatever He wants to tell you in His Word, and look for the answers as if you were searching for hidden treasure. Pray that you will be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Talk to people that truly KNOW Him, that have been transformed by Him and healed from whatever you are struggling with. And your eyes will be OPENED. When you really seek Him with all your heart and knock on His door, the maker of the universe will ANSWER. There is nothing to lose, and your life to gain.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

The Light of My Life

I never knew happiness could be so complete. I never knew joy could run SO deeply into my soul. My life has purpose, it has the deepest, utmost meaning, deeper than it's ever had, deeper than I've ever known. I have a soul, and it belongs to Jesus Christ.

I still marvel at being married. I still cannot believe the blessing of my husband. It is proof that Jesus is in the business of changing and restoring and redeeming lives. Not "fluffy God" who resides in everything. Not God who we can be or pretend to be on the same level with, not enlightenment, not nirvana, not my own spiritual greatness that saved me or changed me.

It was my savior, Jesus Christ, that SAVED ME. My SAVIOR, who lifted me up from the grave. Redeemed my life from the pit. Who continued and will continue to forgive me. Who loved me enough to die so brutally. Who was despised and rejected and knows my pain and suffering and my shame, intimately.

He was with me in the dark places. He held me. He comforted me. He enabled me and strengthened me to do what I could not do myself. Who am I kidding if I think I have anything to do with coming out of lesbianism, of coming out of the darkness of Egypt? It was ALL HIM.

I will never understand why such blessing and favor have been showed to me, will never fully comprehend the honor and awe of it. Why did He come after me?

I love Him. To Him be the glory forever and ever for however He will use me. Amen.