June 17, 2016 would have been my mom’s 81st birthday – 1 month and 1 day after she flew to heaven. I miss her, but I am so glad my memories are with me and I carry her in my heart. I DO hear her voice sometimes say to me “I still think you’re the best” when I mess up or whatever. I also know she definitely loved me even when I hid the “true Gina” so many years ago, and continued to love me when I began my journey of authenticity. I love you Mom, and I know someday I will see you again! Thanks for loving ME, all of me. Enjoy your day celebrating in Paradise.
The shooting in Orlando, Florida in the early morning hours on Sunday was a horrible tragedy. It was a horrific mass shooting that was both a terrorist shooting by someone who identified himself with Isis, and an act of domestic terrorism by someone born here who bought an assault rifle and decided to use it […]
This is a post I made on Facebook today, and I am sharing here as well.
Warning: This is a hurtful video that I do not support, but link to substantiates my statements here, and this is a somewhat politicized post. I apologize for both, but silence does not stop the hate that is put out there. I will not be silent.
Note: The link to Pastor Steve L. Anderson’s comments has been deleted from YouTube for violating their policy on hate speech. I am very glad for that, because it was definitely filled with hate.
Yesterday, a few comments I read and interacted with said that Christians cannot or do not hate. That there is not an agenda against homosexuals and that this was not a hate crime, but a Muslim Terrorist Attack. I personally have not heard the investigators on the Orlando mass murder state they have determined if this was a terrorist attack or a hate crime, so I cannot argue one way or another. But, this Pastor is sure it was not a hate crime against gays. He is sure the murderer was Muslim and a terrorist. But beyond that, this man who has taken the sacred place of preaching the Word of God said the murders in Orlando brought some good news – “50 sodomite pedophiles are now dead”. This man says this in the name of MY GOD. I stopped watching the video at that point, because finding good in what happened alone is egregious, hateful, and shameful.
Friends who are Christians, if you truly believe murder is something that brings “good news”, you grieve me.
Friends who are Christians, if you truly believe there is not at least a minority of Christians who hate me for no other reason but the fact I am a lesbian, and use the Word of God to justify that hate, you grieve me. This man hates me and wants me dead, or at least would be happy if I were killed, only because I am gay.
Friends who are Christians, if you can on one hand admit that you have sin in your life or at times make or have made immoral decisions, but have been saved by the Grace of Jesus Christ, and on the other hand can ALSO believe that someone else’s “moral failings” such as being homosexual opens up risk or created a situation where it makes sense that innocent people were murdered (aka, well they were at a gay bar, so if they were not gay/not in that place, they would not have been killed), you grieve me. ALL have sin and fall short of the glory of God, but any boasting I can make is because of my Lord, Jesus Christ. He does not want me murdered for any failings in my life, because He already died for them.
Friends who are Christians, if you are not upset that a man, for WHATEVER REASON, walked into a public place and murdered 50 people and injured over 50 more…….if you don’t even have a brief moment of sadness for the lives lost and all the families that lost a son, a daughter, a brother, a whatever…….you grieve me.
Friends who are Christians, if your argument is “well, MOST Christians don’t feel the same as this Pastor” and stop there, you grieve me. If you don’t stand up against this hate, you allow it to continue.
Friends who are Christians, if your FIRST thought was to worry about gun control, blame all Muslims, point to Obama as if this was his fault, you grieve me.
Friends who are Americans of any faith, our fellow Americans were murdered today. Lives were stolen and those who were killed, to my knowledge, did not break any laws to justify their death. They were not given the opportunity to be convicted of any crimes, they were deemed guilty without any review, and were sentenced to death. That is not the Aemrican way where we are innocent until proven guilty without a reasonable doubt. Those lives that were ended tragically deserve more than a quick sweep away due to the fact that they were homosexuals.
Finally, I try not to live as a victim, but the fact remains that I am condemned, ridiculed, tormented, and judged more often than you know. Sometimes it is in my FB feed through posts made by YOU. Sometimes, it is in internet posts that I come across. Sometimes it is from friends in PM. Sometimes it is from strangers in person in public places. I try to take the high road often and give others room for their own beliefs and their rights as Americans to free speech. But I will NOT, ever, accept that hate doesn’t exist. I will not sit back and say overt and articulated hate in the name of Jesus Christ is right. We are better than that. I am better than that. This hate is real, and it does nothing for us as a faith community nor as a nation.
I will be praying for Pastor Steven. And I will be praying for those who have been killed. And I will be praying for my family.
I have been in my “reconstruction” place as I navigate so many emotions and changes and memories, and what nots. As I’ve slowly come back to “the swing of things”, I have noticed that life and struggles and emotions of others have continued without me. I don’t mean that in “they went on without me”, I mean it in the sense of “wow, some hard stuff has been going on with people I love.” So today, I’d like to ruminate on one of those issues.
Everyone wants and perhaps even expects loyalty from those who are in their lives. Family, friends, even co-workers; the expectation is that they will have your back. I know in my own walk I try to be loyal, but I am sure there are times when my definition of loyalty has not aligned with the definition of someone else. But, I think we can all agree that there is a tacit understanding that you should be able to trust, at a certain level, people that exist in your daily life. That expectation is much bigger for those closest to us, especially the one we love and plan to spend the rest of our life with. And, I guess that is the basis of this post.
Being LGBT, Deana and I often deal with people who do not accept our relationship – I’ve written about this topic a few times on this blog. There are several classes of people in this area; those that support us to our faces, but cannot be “out” to allow others to see their support, those who are very direct with their opinions but still hang with us in group settings, those who were direct with their opinions and have chosen to not be our friends, and those who are direct with their opinions and refuse to accept or allow themselves to be around the one we love. It is the last group I will address today – this group is especially tricky when it involves family.
I have a small but powerful number of older people in my family who do not accept my marriage to Deana. To cut to the chase, they love me and have sort of accepted the fact I am a lesbian, but they refuse to accept Deana and in fact will not accept her in their homes. If there is a family gathering and they can control the guest list, she would not be invited. If there is a family gathering and they cannot control the guest list, they will either not attend if Deana is there or avoid her like the plague. For my part, this is a tough situation, because I LOVE these family members and I want to be able to fellowship with them, I want to interact with them, and I want to be loved by them. AND I want them to love Deana. It is TOUGH and anyone in this sort of situation I have huge sympathy for because it isn’t pleasant.
But here is the deal – I have chosen Deana. I love her with all my heart. I have pledged my life to her, in sickness and in health, and we have married each other (aka “become one”). She is so important to me, I have been legally and spiritually linked to her. I esteem her so much that I live with her, I dream with her, I plan with her, and I will grow old with her. She is my WIFE. The Bible says that we leave our parents and cleave to the one we marry. And I will add, whether or not you agree with same-sex marriage or accept the spiritual or even the legal link involved, I have raised Deana to a level that in all acceptable circles (especially if this was a heterosexual relationship), she is the #1 person in my life. NUMBER ONE!
So, if I am in a situation where I am invited to a family gathering and Deana is not invited, that is an affront not only to Deana, but to ME! We have become ONE, and yet a piece of me has been relegated to not even be esteemed enough to be invited, no matter what pretense is offered as a reason for the exclusion. Because of that, I do not entertain the idea of going without her, because doing so adds credence to the fact that our relationship is somehow shameful. That are relationship is deficient. That our relationship is inferior. And that is not fair. Further, I love Deana so much that I would NEVER, EVER choose ANYONE over Deana, because my loyalty is to her first. I have been invited to Christmas gatherings that I have not attended because Deana was not invited. And believe me, that was hard, it was painful, but it was right. Because, Deana is my family, and to leave her behind would be leaving a piece of me behind and it would be a dagger to her heart. I would be just as guilty as my family that have overtly rejected her if I went along and played in that game. I would reject her as well by going.
That’s not to say that visiting said family is wrong. I love my family and I also respect their choices. Deana understands that too and gives me room to have them in my life, and understands the importance of their place in my life and the need to interact with them. I absolutely enjoy spending time with them, loving on them, and being with them. But, unfortunately, there is a true line that has been drawn that I will not cross, and clearly articulated to my family members that if they do not include my wife (a piece of me) to family gatherings, I will not attend. I absolutely respect their stance, but there is cost to them if they keep it. Because, as much as I want to be loyal to my family, being loyal to my wife trumps that. And I believe it should be that way.
There is a piece of me that resents this is even an issue, because 100% of the exclusion stances are related to our sexuality. I resent that other people can be jerks and treat said family horribly, but they are welcome because they are straight. But even in admitting that, I will always stick to being loyal to my wife first. I pray for others who find themselves in this situation, and I truly pray that they make the right decision when dealing with it. I have seen too many relationships torn apart because loyalty gets sideways. And I understand the pain and struggle when you’re caught in the middle. But try to remember, LOVE should not make you choose. But if you have to choose, choose the one you will grow old with. At least, that’s the way I have chosen to lead my life. And know this, I also believe that SOMEDAY, through the Grace of God, there will be restoration to this situation. Maybe I will write more on that later! 🙂
This week I received a long overdue massage, a 90 minute one in fact! Myriad stresses have done their toll on my body, so I practically apologized to my therapist knowing he was sure to find my muscles a mess. I had prepared mentally for the massage all day – cleaning my mind to enter into as close to relaxation as I could, focusing on the stress and knots of my muscles being released as I planned to control my breathing. In……out…….easy…….feel the stress being released…….clear all thoughts but the feeling of my therapist’s hands press out the tension from my body.
Focus. Relax. Breathe. Repeat.
It was about 45 minutes into this process, and I was feeling pretty good I might add, a thought hit me. It seemed to come out of nowhere. The thought was loosely based on the following verses:
Matt 11:28-30 ESV “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
When I get a massage, I do not focus on the knots, the aches and pains, nor the stress that has wound me up. No. I focus instead on relaxing. On the releasing power the therapist’s hands and the impact they have on my body. The feeling of the cleansing breaths that I take, the feeling of the air exiting my lungs as I envisions every cell of my body getting loose and relaxed. Of how healthy I feel. How strong I am in the relaxed state. Of how slowly my heart is beating as the blood begins to flow at a more effective rate throughout my body. And as I realized that, I also realized that maybe God doesn’t want us to be these uptight followers that focus only on “being this” or “doing that”, but instead “resting in Him”!
I think we Christians focus way too much on creating a mechanism of our own efforts to make ourselves holy. We go to church multiple times a week. We present ourselves in such a way that we cannot be pointed at as sinners. In fact, we separate ourselves from “sinners”, maybe avoid places like movie theaters or bars, and then we decide at some point that we are suddenly holy. Or maybe we never feel holy and then get sad or mad or frustrated. Maybe we get a little arrogant or self-righteous. But through it all, the efforts are all ours. I am NOT saying any of the efforts are bad – hear me – I just think perhaps they are the wrong things to focus on.
Instead, I think Jesus was trying to explain a few things. I don’t know, I mean He said He fulfilled the law and covered our sins and, because of that, we are saved. He said above that His yolk is EASY, His burden is LIGHT. We get so busy trying to be what we think we need to be to seem acceptable to Him (or maybe the others struggling within our churches, let’s be real), that we forget to even SIT next to Jesus, let alone REST in Him! And, as the massage and this idea rumbled quietly in my head I realized that this Truth is bigger than I anticipated. We don’t necessarily always need to DO anything! Sometimes we just need to rest, and when we do we actually LEARN from Jesus.
And, when that lightbulb turned on, I thought of the last 4 visits/days I had with my Mom. Usually I am the project manager in all things; I talk to doctors, I get nurses to care for her better/faster/more diligently, I update family members and buy groceries and arrange for this and for that and whatever. I was a bit irked with myself the last 4 visits though, because I was out of character and just stood or sat right next to my mom. I didn’t really get ANYTHING done. I didn’t even work remotely on my computer. I felt WEIRD and I felt unproductive. I almost felt worthless. My character was so out of place. And yet, those 4 days with my mom I will cherish FOREVER. I said more to her in those days than I have in years. I learned tidbits I had never heard before. And I told her the most important things I could about how I felt for her. When I just rested beside her, everything fell into place. And now, weeks later, I know I will never have that time again, and it makes it all the more powerful to realize…….thank GOD I was out of character! Action and doing are not the devil, by any means, but they are not a deity either that needs to be adored. Take time to rest in Jesus, and to rest with those you love. And maybe even rest when getting a 90 minute massage. The Lord said it, not me! 🙂