Room To Grow

by: Laura Gantt


There have been times in my life when, what felt like an unsolvable problem turned out to be a beautiful gift - something wonderful and special. It has been my experience that that what I have feared the most has been what was different. But, that raises a lot of questions. Isn't the rare and unique the most desirable? Why do we fear what we don't understand? To those of us who say we know God, why do we question what he has given us?

My life seems to be a proving ground to answer some of those questions. I have had a series of wake up calls that have shown me a completely different side of life and of God. Let me explain....

Like many people who were raised in an ultra conservative religious atmosphere, I had a heritage of guilt, self-recrimination, and judgment. The God that I heard about as a child was rigid and severe. When my church used words and phrases like "redemption" and "salvation", it was about rescuing me from a life after death of hell and brimstone in the future, not to a life of peace and support in the present.

I can still clearly remember one summer afternoon, a long time ago when I was just four years old. My daddy had just gotten home from work and I was telling him about asking Jesus into my heart. I may have been young, but I have known since then that he has always been with me.

A limited, negative view of the Bible and theology permeated my life. In our house, we had more"do not's" than "do's". My family did not go to bowling alleys because alcoholic beverages were served there. Going to school dances was not acceptable because the music was "worldly" and that was the same as "sinful." So, I never drank, smoked, nor did I hang out with those who did. But the narrow box this put me in never seemed to fit. There had to be more to life.

In the early 1970's, I attended a small Bible college in the Pacific Northwest. The first weekend I met my husband. We were 18 when we met and 20 when we married. He definitely was the right person at the right time. He still is.... We just celebrated our 25th anniversary.

In our early years, we continued trying to do the right things. We had three children. We built careers that eventually led to our own business. We worked hard, we prayed hard. But, as the years passed, the feeling that something was missing was still there.

The first awakening was in the spiritual lives of both my husband and me. We began to question the negativity of the messages we heard, and began to think there should be more to the concepts of love and acceptance; that grace must be more than what we said before a meal. When we occasionally had a glass of wine, or sometimes went dancing, lightening bolts did not strike us down. People began to be people, "sinners" and "saints." I began to realize that every day I could feel God's care and affection, especially his forgiveness.

Sometime in my mid-30's, I began to experience my second awakening. A nagging realization began to grow within me. I liked women. In fact, I was very much attracted to women. I vacillated between feeling shameful, and hopeful. At night, when my world was quiet, without the phones ringing at work, or children calling for help with homework, it became like a demon who wouldn't leave me alone. I can't begin to count the nights I fell asleep praying to God to take away this desire for a same sex relationship. But it didn't go away. I felt so guilty. Everything I had learned said homosexuality was an unspeakable sin. Finally, I felt desperate. Not knowing what else to do, I stopped praying for God to take the desire away, and asked Him to help me find a way to fulfill this need.

God's answer to me came in a way I never would have anticipated. (Doesn't it always?) Soon after my husband and I turned 40, a woman came to work with us. She had no place to stay, and we had a large house with a spare bedroom. Both my husband and I are very giving people, so it was logical to have her move in. She was friendly, smart, and rather attractive. She got along well with our children, and we enjoyed having her around. Best of all, she was a Christian. For the sake of her privacy, let's call her "A".

It was Christmas-time and "A"; and my husband went to a client's party. I had other obligations that evening. After a few drinks, she admitted to him that she was bisexual - and she was interested in me. Unbelievably, I had not yet told him of my predicament!

Up until then, my guilt and self-recrimination had got in my way. I am ashamed to say that I had feared my husband would judge me as I had judged myself. I had gotten so caught up in my own feelings, in my own closed mindedness, I had projected my fears onto the one person who knew me better than I knew myself.

But, I knew I had to be honest with him. Soon after that fateful Christmas Party, one evening I sat down with him, and told him the whole story. Needless to say, it was an incredible moment of intimacy and compassion, two people revealing their hopes and fears. Even after 20 years of marriage, we still had room to grow as a couple, and as individuals. He was the friend I had married. He listened, opening his mind and his heart. He allowed himself to become a key player in God's plan.

At my husband's suggestion, I talked with "A". Let's just say things worked out. I soon became fulfilled as a woman. "A" stayed in our lives for awhile, then moved on. Time passed. We have now had an incredible woman in our lives, whom my husband and I both love and adore, and call "Wife." With her came a beautiful step-son that we are raising together. Best of all, she is a devoted Christ follower, and we regularly challenge each other in our own relationships with God.

We have created a different style of marital commitment consisting of two bisexual women and one straight man. Living under one roof with my youngest son and my wife's son, we have our own alternative family. While this arrangement would not work for everyone, it works for us. It has given my husband and I a way of lovingly incorporating my bisexuality into our collective life. The three of us are able to bring a new dimension into each others lives that which was not possible before.

Not that this story is full of light and sunshine. We have seen our share of storms, had our times of despair, soul searching and trials. As an alternative family, we have faced our share of discrimination, personally and professionally. Some of our family and friends don't accept us. They closed their doors and have shut us out of their lives. We have experienced personal loss and hardships because of our relationship. But through it all we have never experienced the loss of God's peace or blessings.

Psalms 139: 14 - 16 provides the explanation. Even before we were born, God knew us. He designed us - who we are and those unique traits that make us all individuals. He knew our souls (our essence) and with careful consideration of how we would act and react in this world, he tailored lives for us to live and created people for us to live with that would compliment us. For some of his children, this has involved same sex relationships. He only asked that we trust him enough to allow it to happen.

As I look back on what I have gone through in 45 years on this earth, I can clearly see how God has held my hand and led me through whatever it was that I could not get through on my own. He pushed me to go to the one particular college where I would meet my Husband. When I was ready to accept who he had designed me to be, he placed a woman within my reach. And when I was ready for a lifetime commitment to one special woman, he gave me my Wife.

Should I continue to doubt my sexuality and feel the shame and guilt of my upbringing? I could only do that if I were to believe that God makes mistakes. There have been too many coincidences in my life, things that worked out for the best despite what I trying to do, for what has happened to be anything else but a master plan developed by Someone who unconditionally loves me.


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Books:

Families of Value : Gay and Lesbian Parents and Their Children Speak Out

Jane Drucker


The Lesbian and Gay Parenting Handbook; Creating and Raising Our Families

April Martin



Also In This Issue:

Esqueertology: Gay Christians' Right to Hope

My Hope

All Other Ground is Sinking Sand






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