No. 3 – Who is this blog for?
Cinque Terre, Italy: 2015
To the curious friend and churchgoer who isn’t sure where they stand on LGBTQ issues: Thank you for joining this and entertaining your curiosity. I know how often anything surrounding these issues has been radically revealed as sin, sin, sin. I know what it’s like to feel torn because your faith is a key part of your identity, yet it’s forcing you to see things one way, and your heart is genuinely torn. I have been in your shoes. I hope through your joining in — and regardless of where you land — you are able to find clarity and pursue greater love than you have known. This is for you.
To the adult survivor of sexual abuse who has never told anyone: Somehow, you have managed to minimize the damage done. There is fear in you about saying what happened out loud for fear that the pain will overtake you. I have been in your position. You deserve freedom from that pain and fear. This is for you.
To the child who feels different from the other children: You see things differently and you feel things differently. You believe that the different parts of you are bad. You feel shame that you do not experience things like other kids. I have been in your position. I want you to know without a shadow of a doubt that there is a strong man out paving a path for you with the hopes you find that path, and experience deep, deep joy in celebrating who you are. This is for you.
To the teenager who is wrestling with your sexuality: The intensity that the everyday brings is hard because you are carrying a heavy layer of shame, because you are unable to identify what will bring you relief, amongst so many rules you have heard. Your sexuality is beautiful. It is a gift. It is significant in how you connect and give/receive love. Please be kind to yourself. Know that wherever you land, you are deeply loved. I have been where you are. This is for you.
To those suffering silently, alone and considering suicide: Your pain is real, which is why you are hurting. You have the ability to feel, and that can bring about a sense of hopelessness. Please hear me: Whatever you are going through, and wherever you are: Your pain is understood and felt by so many. You are not alone in the confusion, sadness, and overwhelming intensity of needing relief! If you commit yourself to hanging on, you will find relief in this life. You will look back on these dark hours, as a time that you grew in your capacity to love, see, feel and know. You will be a force to be reckoned with, because of that dark chapter. Please hang on. Please … hang … on. I have been where you are. This is for you.
To the Atheist who was once a part of organized religion: I know you have seen and heard the impossible from the pulpit. I know many of you simply cannot justify a God who represents the hate of those marginalized. The great news, from my view: He doesn’t! The very God many of us do not believe in, in fact does not exist. He is far greater than what we were taught. Although, our belief is different, I deeply respect your willingness to read along. This is for you.
To the parents of LGBTQ kids, teens, or adults who don’t know where they stand: Thank you for joining me in this discussion. I hope that as you digest every word, you have a greater need to be with your child, no matter how they identify. I hope that no matter what has happened before today, that you are determined to engage with your child, and let them know that you want to see and know them … every part. And if you cannot, I hope you question why. I hope you dig deep and become curious to the pain that will cause your child. You will never regret your ability to be available for your child during this challenging chapter. This is for you.
To those hurt by church: To those who have been judged while they made right decisions for their health. For those who gave and gave and were turned away when they needed something in return. For those who heard bible verses used to trap you in the walls of shame. For those who were in leadership and your secret lives were exposed, and lives were ruined. For those who have lost relationships because the other is so deeply engaged with their faith, that they are not capable of seeing you. For those who were shamed for their sexuality. For those who became addicts because they had to find relief from their pain and couldn’t find that within their manmade faith. For those who are LGBTQ and your parents’ religion has caused them to be dismissed from your family system. For those who needed compassion in your darkest hours, and instead received judgement. For those who have been violated by anyone in church leadership. To those who have kids who were wounded by others, in God’s name. To those who reached out for help and received harm. To those who have had an abortion and feel God judges them and is ashamed of you. To those who have felt they could no longer attend church as they are because of decisions you have made. I have been where most of you are. I am terribly sorry about your pain. This is for you.
To those following along to cause harm and inflict hate: I wish I could see your pain. I wish the lens I looked through in life pierced directly through your hate and put a light on your wounds. I wish I could compassionately reach out to you and understand the driving force of your disdain. I wish you could silence the voice in you that says you are entitled to inflict pain on any other human in the name of God. I wish you could recognize that if in fact, there is a judgement day, that God will hold you accountable to how you loved. I wish you well. I wish you relief from your hate. I wish you could encounter the true God that says, “nothing can separate you from the love of God.” I wish at that point, you would find solace, and know you are far more like the rest of us than you know.
To the broken hearted. The hopeless. The anxious. The confused. The addict. The victim. The performer. The spouse hanging on. The parent full of doubt. The scapegoat. The hungry one, working to overcome. This is for you.
Be well. I am fighting for each of you.
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