It is a shame that gays and lesbians are questioned often the authenticity of their relationship with God. Many are rejected by their family and friends and are not welcomed into “Church” because many Christians do not believe one can be gay and “Christian”.
I hid my sexuality for almost twenty years. I knew I was gay but had decided not to live that “lifestyle” because it was not accepted. So I got married and had three children and decided to raise my children in a “Christian” atmosphere. I got very involved in the church and my kids and God became my life.
The problem with this picture is that I wasn’t happy in my relationship with my ex-husband. Year after year I began dying inside. No one knew, but I longed for an intimate relationship with a woman. I wanted to be “me”. I longed for freedom from a relationship that was dead.
When my children were teenagers I finally had had enough and began the proceedings to divorce. I also came out of the closet. It was a tremendously difficult time for everyone. Where was my God then? I honestly did not feel God’s presence.
It was an incredibly dark time for me but deep inside I knew that I had to stop pretending to be someone I wasn’t. I did pray and began studying the scriptures concerning homosexuality. At the time I was finishing up my graduate degree in Theological Studies from a very conservative university and I challenged their doctrine as well.
I left the “church” of course. I was called evil, deceived, disgusting, etc. I was shunned by some of my friends and even my children for a period of time. They couldn’t see how they could love “me” as a homosexual. It was during this time I had decided to be firm in my resolve to stand my ground.
My teenagers told me that they would love me and hang out with me if I “stopped being gay.” I told them I was not willing to do that. I told them that I was gay and I was the same person that they had always known. I stood firm in my belief that one can be gay and love God and serve God and people.
It took about six months for them to realize that mom wasn’t going to miraculously change to being heterosexual. I can say now, almost two years later, that my children and I have a wonderful relationship. They have seen me continue my relationship with God and help people as well.
I don’t just “say” that I love God and Jesus … I act. That is where the proof lies I believe. They have seen me go on a missions trip to Puerto Rico, volunteer for a local non-profit organization that helps underprivileged children, become a resource parent for two teen girls at a local children’s home, and simply reach out and love people! They have seen God shining through me and this to me means so much!
There are still others that say that I cannot be gay and Christian. I don’t let them get to me. My aim is to love and please God, not man. Jesus said people would know we are followers of Him by our love for one another. That is my aim. To love people and serve them however I can.
When you are asked, “Where is your God?” I would suggest you not try to debate or prove. God lives in us. God wants us to relax and slow down and take time daily to spend with Him. If your life does not reflect love, justice, and compassion, ask yourself why? Are you making the effort to connect with God and others? Are you allowing what others think to hold you back? Don’t. Keep your eyes on God. We don’t have to prove anything to others. We are simply to love, forgive, and encourage.
Probably the first year after I left my ex was the darkest night of my soul. I did not feel God or much of anything except extreme pain. I could have given up so many times but I didn’t. I knew deep within me that I loved God and that I wanted to serve God and people. I knew the light and love of God dwelt in me and I knew that if I just held on and kept pressing forward I would be alright and so would my children.
I was right. God was and is with me. I’m reminded of a quote by Teresa of Avila: “The feeling remains that God is on the journey too.” God journeys with us and that makes me smile! Where is God in anyone?
When I look at people or converse with people, I can usually get a sense of whether they are spiritual or not. When people look at me or converse with me, I want them to see God’s characteristics in me. Am I loving? Compassionate? Serving? Peaceful? Hard worker? Kind? Is faith important to me?
Make it your aim to please God, not man. Be secure in your relationship with God. Let God’s light and love flow through you to others. This ought to be our highest aim.
A writer and poet who worked for 12 years in the mental health field, Dominica Applegate is the author of the book Recycle Your Pain: It Has a Purpose and a poetry collection titled The Pain, It Shapes Her World. Her work has been published in Elephant Journal, Mind Body Green, CafeTruth, Sober Living, and The Addiction Advisor.