Where has God been hiding?
Since the age of 4 I have known that I was female, trapped in a body that did not reflect the truth of my existence. To avoid hidings and abuse I learned to hide the truth in my fear. So good did I become at this that, together with society’s expectation of me, I married at the age of 23.
The problem was that the real me did not disappear. I have two lovely children and became a pastor of a church (it was one way to wear a frock). In all my years as minister of a mainline denomination I still could not bring myself to tell the truth to people out of fear of what they would do and say to me and my family.
I only managed to tell my wife after 24 years of marriage and my children two years later. Still I preached openness and honesty and felt continually guilty that I could not be me. This added to another sense of fear. Eventually out of desperation, I told the church and a few people in my town.
I had not let go of my fear, believe me, and the result proved me right in hiding for so many years. From my congregations’ side, little changed. We lost a family but everyone else was understanding and supportive. However, from another denomination, which shall remain nameless, I received a few delegations. Two Christian men physically beat me in my office one day. Christian women have verbally abused me, in my office on a few occasions. If I were to say that all is now plain sailing that would be a lie. Everyday when I leave home, there is the possibility of abuse and discrimination. From my own office, right through to petrol attendants.
But I have learned one thing, that to hold on to fear is to deny God. Since June 21st when I went fulltime, I have known the joy of not reflecting a lie. The peace of God, in being able to be real. The comfort of God, when I have suffered, and the love and protection of God in many situations. Above all I have discovered how merciful He is, and when I let go my fear, that allows me to be merciful in my thoughts and deeds as well. The hardest thing has been to get the church to pray for my abusers, when retribution with a baseball bat would have suited them better. Together we have learned to sow love seeds. In terms of Micah 6:8 “To do justly, to love mercy, and, to walk humbly with our God.”
Letting go of my feeling that God has been hiding was a releasing experience. It brought me a sense of freedom I had never known. Learning that you grow to be more joyful in the crucible only when the heat is turned up has released me to know the presence of God in some of the areas of my life where I thought I was completely alone.
I know I am in a difficult situation right now. I know it is life threatening. I know the choice at the end will be mine and mine alone. Yet I have this hope that God, who knew me before I was in my mothers’ womb, who knew all my days before one came into existence, this God who at great cost gave His Son that I might not be lost, I have hope that He might direct my choices along His paths, because He loves me.
I hope I might know His love when faced with those choices, which are pretty bleak when faced alone.
Letting go of fear will not change my circumstances but it may change me, I hope!