Finally Coming Out

Pride Month started to honor the 1969 Stonewall Uprising in Manhattan. It started out as just a march on June 28, 1970 – the anniversary of the the Stonewall Uprising – but pretty quickly spread to the entire month of June. The Stonewall Uprising started like a typical night – a police raid on a gay bar. What was different this time was that the gay patrons fought back! LGBT History Month is in October.

I’m sure you’re familiar with the acronym LGBT. But there are other variations of this acronym. LGBTQ, LGBTQIA+, LGBTQIA2S+. So what do all those letters mean?

L is for Lesbian – a homosexual woman

G is for Gay – homosexual (usually specifically about men)

B is for Bisexual – sexually attracted not exclusively to people of one particular gender; attracted to both men and women

T is for (1)Transgender, (2)Trans, or (3)Transsexual – (1) denoting or relating to a person whose sense of personal identity and gender does not correspond with their birth sex; (2) denoting or relating to a person whose sense of personal identity and gender does not correspond with their birth sex; (3) a transgender person, especially one whose bodily characteristics have been altered through surgery or hormone treatment to bring them into alignment with their gender identity

Q is for (1)Queer, (2)Questioning – (1) denoting or relating to a sexual or gender identity that does not correspond to established ideas of sexuality and gender, especially heterosexual norms; (2) the process of a person determining their sexual orientation and/or gender identity

I is for Intersex – a person born with a combination of male and female biological traits; a general term used for a variety of conditions in which a person is born with reproductive or sexual anatomy that doesn’t seem to fit the typical definitions of female or male

A is for (1)Asexual, (2)Allies – (1) a person who doesn’t experience sexual attraction; (2) a person who is not LGBT but who actively supports the LGBT community

2S is for 2 Spirit – a third gender found in some Native American cultures, often involving birth-assigned men or women taking on the identities and roles of the opposite sex; an umbrella term across American Indian and First Nations cultures for a person who embodies both male and female spirits within them

+ is for – used to signify all of the gender identities and sexual orientations that are not specifically covered by the other initials (pansexual, demisexual, agender, gender fluid, non-binary, polyamorous, sapiosexual, etc.)

This post is to give a small taste and explanation about what Pride Month is. I live in the south, so there’s not anything done for Pride month where I live specifically – nothing that I’m aware of anyway. But there’s something else.

I’m bisexual.

I told my mother that for the first time a couple weeks ago. I was so nervous coming out. I felt shame because everything in my culture and society said that what I am is wrong and means I’m going to hell. I didn’t want to upset my mother, stress her out, or hurt her. For a long, long time I said that I was sparing her the potential pain and trauma of knowing that about me, thinking that she would never need to know. But over the past several months, I’ve felt this need to share it with my mother, my best friend, the person I’m closest to. I started to cry before I even got the words out. And what I said in the beginning didn’t even make sense to her.

“Mom, I’m not straight,” I blubbered.

“Straight about what, honey?” she asked, all concerned and worried because I’m crying.

“I’m bi.”

“By what?” I continue to cry. “Oh! You’re not straight.”

That’s how it went. I had had two cups of coffee so my anxiety was through the flipping roof. I was scared. I felt like a child. But my mother took it with grace and love and made me feel secure and safe and loved.

She did add that I was the one who had to tell my father. Which, as of writing this, I have not done so yet.

My mother explained her position like this. God made us all the way we are. We don’t choose who we love, it’s not a choice whether you’re LGBTQIA+ or not. And if God made us that way, why would he not love us? And if he loves us, who are we to judge and condemn someone for being who they are?

It was really hard to not cry at that for me. She explained it so easily, so simply but with so much love in it. I really am very, very lucky. I’m blessed.

Below is a version of the bisexual pride flag. It’s also my phone background now. For Pride Month and in honor of my (at least halfway) coming out of the closet.

Happy Pride Month!

A Time for Everything

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens:

a time to be born and a time to die,

a time to plant and a time to uproot,

a time to kill and a time to heal,

a time to tear down and a time to build,

a time to weep and a time to laugh,

a time to mourn and a time to dance…

Ecclesiastes 3:1-4, NIV

The list continues, but that doesn’t make it any easier to understand. My cousin should still be a mother of three right now, but she’s not. After only a few days, her twin boys were taken from her. They were life-flighted to another state then to a different hospital in that state. In the end, it didn’t work out. The babies both died.

One of the reasons that I struggle with Christianity and doubt it is for reasons like this. Why did God give her those two beautiful baby boys, and then take them away? Why would she get only a few days with them? How is she supposed to explain to her first born (who’s only 3) that his baby brothers are gone? That he’s not a big brother anymore? It breaks my heart.

I want to cry just thinking about it. For days their lives were hanging in the balance, not knowing if either would survive, not knowing what was wrong with them, praying constantly for them, for my cousin and her husband…

And God answers by taking them away.

I don’t understand. I don’t know anyone who would understand, or be able to explain it. Other than to say that it was “God’s will” and who are we to understand the ways of God? To me, that feels like a cop out answer. I don’t feel satisfied with that. If it’s all in God’s plans, if he knew it was going to happen, why would he let her go through that pain? I can’t imagine the kind of pain she’s in. She’s lost her two sons, but she still has to be strong and try to explain it to her other son. The pain that she’s in that she can’t show because she doesn’t want to frighten her son… None of it makes sense.

I don’t understand. I don’t get it. Is everything in God’s plan? It’s all his will? He knows everything that’s going to happen? He can do all things? But he can’t save the babies, he can’t spare the family the pain of that loss? How does that make any kind of sense?

My heart breaks for her loss. I cry about it. I can’t even begin to imagine the kind of pain she’s in and going through or the kind of strength it takes for her to continue to be a good mother to her firstborn son. I’m so frustrated and sad. I just… I have no words.

finding faith

For the past several months, maybe a year, maybe just over a year, I’ve been in serious doubt and questioning my faith. There are still a few sticking points I have, but I’m dealing with it.

I’ve read books on polytheism, paganism, and other faiths. I’ve read a lot of books on these. I had questions going into it, and while reading it more questions arose. Traditional Christianity just didn’t seem to fit with me anymore. It felt forced and fake. I felt like a fraud. There were parts of these other religions that seemed to fit more with me which made me doubt whether or not I should even call myself a Christian. And to be honest, for a while, I didn’t call myself Christian.

In fact, it’s actually pretty new that I’ve “reclaimed” my faith. Quite new. And with a totally different outlook. Partly due to a book I stumbled on. I didn’t realize it was a Christian book until I got to Barnes & Noble and it was under the “Christian Living” section.

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/church-of-the-wild-victoria-loorz/1138670206

It seemed to answer or solve a lot of my problems that I was having. It gave me a new perspective on Christianity. Something that I desperately needed. It’s a good book. A really good book. But I can see how for some it wouldn’t be.

It’s about taking church from indoors, separate from the world, and taking church back from the men who’ve used it to control and contain others. It’s about knowing that you aren’t above the world (if that’s the right way to put it). It’s about knowing that you belong to a cycle and a circle of life with other animals and nature. Loorz describes nature as our church and how being a part of it is vital. We’re not separate from nature; we don’t dominate nature of any kind. We work with nature. We protect it. We love it. The earth, the animals. Everything is a part of God. We need to take care of it. Loorz says several times in the book that you could be called a tree-hugger or a heretic worshipping nature, which I can see some people interpreting it that way, but I don’t.

But ask the animals, and they will teach you,

or the birds in the sky, and they will tell you;

or speak to the earth, and it will teach you,

or let the fish in the sea inform you.

Job 12:7-8, NIV

Nature isn’t a resource. The earth isn’t a resource. It isn’t a thing. It’s living and breathing and we only survive because of the delicate balance – but we’re losing that balance. We’re using up everything we were given to take care of because we want to conquer it.

Preserve. Protect. Learn from it. Let it guide us.

Moment By Moment

I heard, or rather read, something recently that hit me. You know sometimes you can hear something a thousand times and it doesn’t sink in, but one day you hear it and it does — whether it’s a different phrasing or you’re ready to hear it. That’s what happened to me.

Being a Christian, I think of all the things I have to do to be a “good” Christian. But what I heard struck me. I can’t remember the exact phrasing, so I’ll paraphrase it. Every day is a decision to follow Jesus. That hit me. Instead of thinking of the whole big picture which overwhelms me and makes me feel like giving up and why even bother when I know I’m going to fail already? But looking at it as a choice every day made all the difference in the world.

Each day in the morning I wake up and open the Bible app. I read a devotional and listen to the audio version of the Bible verses being discussed. Then I tell myself, “Today I’m going to follow Jesus and do what He would do.” Of course, I still fail in small ways if that makes sense.

My mother always says, “How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time,” to me whenever I get stressed out about something I have to do. That’s what it is. Take each day as it comes. Don’t worry about tomorrow or the day after.

Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough troubles of its own.

Matthew 6:34 NIV

For those in need of comfort

The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.

He makes me lie down in green pastures,

He leads me beside quiet waters, He refreshes my soul.

He guides me along the right paths for His name’s sake.

Even though I walk through the darkest valley.

I will fear no evil, for You are with me;

Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.

You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.

Surely Your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life,

and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

Psalm 23

Praying for Prisoners

This may not be a popular post, but I think it needs to be said. And so does my church, apparently. It’s been something that’s been on my mind for a while.

I watched the show 60 Days In, and if you’ve ever seen that show you get an inside look at what it’s like for prisoners of all types — capital murders to misdemeanors. You hear their stories. It gives prisoners a face and story instead of just thinking of them as a lawbreaker and getting what they deserve. “If you can’t do the time, don’t do the crime.”

I’m not saying what they’re doing is right or wrong or saying it’s what they deserve or don’t deserve, but what I am saying is that we can’t decide that. As far as we’re concerned, they’re fellow children of God. They are people that we need to pray for.

My pastor said something that stuck with me enough that it’s been weeks later and it still is rattling around in my head. To paraphrase it, he said something like how we treat prisoners reflects our love for Jesus Christ. Now, if you’ve seen 60 Days In, you’ve seen some of the horrible conditions of the prisons and the inhumane treatment of prisoners.

Keep on loving one another as brothers and sisters. Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it. Continue to remember those in prison as if you were together with them in prison, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering.

Hebrews 13:1-3

May the groans of the prisoners come before you;

with your strong arm preserve those condemned to die.

Psalm 79:11

So pray for prisoners. I always hear people saying to pray for the world leaders, the leaders of our country, the leaders of our churches, etc., but I can’t recall a time when I’ve heard pray for the prisoners. Pray for them. Pray for everyone, but the Bible seems to especially say the widows, orphans, and those in prison.

Meditation

Meditate (v): 1. to engage in contemplation or reflection

2. to engage in mental exercise for the purpose of reaching a heightened level of spiritual awareness

3. to focus one’s thoughts on: reflect on or ponder over

Meditation, yoga, all these “new age” things seem to be very popular lately. I know there are some people who believe that yoga is un-Christian because of its roots. I, however, don’t believe that. It may have roots in another religion, but it’s still a great way to exercise, stretch, and relax, and I really don’t think God is going to punish me for working out.

That’s beside the point. People tend to associate meditation with the new age bit and all that. But here’s the thing, meditation isn’t just new age or for Buddhism or Hinduism or anything else. There’s meditation in the Bible.

It’s all throughout the Psalms. In so many verses, they talk about the Lord delighting in our meditating on His word.

“Blessed is the one…whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on his law day and night.” -Psalm 1:1,2

“We meditate on your unfailing love.” -Psalm 48:9

“May my meditation be pleasing to him, as I rejoice in the Lord.” -Psalm 104:34

“My eyes stay open through the watches of the night, that I may meditate on your promises.” -Psalm 119:148

And so many more…

So we’re supposed to read the Bible and meditate on it, think on what we read, let it marinate and seep into our bones, let it be written on our hearts. That’s how God wants us to read the Bible, I think. If we soak ourselves in His word, surround ourselves with His truths they become our truths. That’s how I imagine we should spend our time with Him, how He wants us to, and that’s how we hear His voice.

Get rid of all our distractions and focus on Him.

Got 5 minutes?

If you have a spare 5-7 minutes in your day somewhere, maybe your drive to work, drive home, between running errands, drive to school, whatever it is I have a suggestion.

Try out Pray the Word with David Platt podcast. They’re short little, mini-sermons I guess you could call them. They end in prayer.

It’s a good way to start/end your day or if it’s in the middle while you’re at lunch before you start reading that really good book or watching an episode of that hilarious show, check out this podcast. I really think you’ll be moved. It can’t hurt anyway. Spending time in God’s Word is never a bad thing.

I’m an aunt!

So yes, a while ago I posted about my sister having a baby boy, almost a year ago. Well, in November I became an aunt again! My brother’s wife had a baby boy as well.

It’s strange to think about how these two little boys came from nothing, to existing, and they’re going to have their own lives. Lives with funny stories, sad stories, stories they’ll never tell their families. It’s just a very strange feeling to realize that there’s a new generation in your family coming up. I’ve always been the baby and things always stopped with me, but now there’s a new generation of little baby boys who are going to become rambunctious and wild and so loved. They’ll be so loved, by their parents, by their aunts and uncles, by their grandparents.

How lucky are they?! To grow up in a family knowing that they’ll be loved no matter what happens, to know that no matter what happens they’ll have family to turn to when they’re hurt or scared?

I have that in my immediate family, but not my extended family. Now that I’m these babies extended family I’m going to make sure they know that they can always come to me with anything and that they’re loved so, so much.

Birth… It really is kind of an amazing thing. A miracle. And I got to witness! I got to see them grow in their mom’s bellies; I saw them the day of their birth. I’ll see them the day they graduate high school. Hopefully I’ll be there to see their first date, but I doubt it. But I’ll definitely get to meet the girlfriends or boyfriends they have. Because no matter their gender identity or they sexual orientation or however is the right way to put it (if I’m wrong, tell me in the comments because I’ve never heard differently and I live in a place where being PC isn’t a big thing), no matter any of that, they’ll be loved and cared for. I want to make sure that they always know that. It doesn’t matter any of that stuff. They’re going to grow up to be good people with a family behind them that would do anything for them.

Because that’s what everyone needs and what everyone deserves from their birth. They’re innocent and pure and it’s the world and the people around them that shape them into good people, or people others dislike. But Jesus tells us to love our neighbors as ourselves. There are no qualifiers on ‘neighbors’ at all. It’s just our neighbors, our fellow people. Humans. We all deserve to be loved, unconditionally.

This started out as a celebration post and turned into a rant. If you’ve read this far, you’re awesome.

tl;dr I now have two nephews to spoil!!

Thanks Y’all

I just want to thank any of you who threw out a prayer for my grandmother because the tests all showed good things, healthy heart, no signs of a stroke or heart attack.

She got to go home last night and sleep in her own bed. I’m sure it was much nicer than a hospital and being woken up every couple of hours to be tested.

A sincere thank you to those of you who prayed!