Afraid to Come Out

despair

I felt the earth shake under my feet, I was horrified, shamed, and considered suicide. I confessed my relationship to my leaders. Then the nightmare began.”

To all my friends, including new friends from the GCN Conference, so glad you are here. I was eager to write about the conference, but I am very sick. On the couch, tissues in hand. : ( So today, I am posting a story that a FreedHearts reader shared with me, which I share with her permission…

I have been a Christian since early childhood, and have passionately sought to serve Jesus with all my heart. I have been a leader, teacher, worship leader and all of that stuff.  At one point, I found myself in a relationship I never expected, even though I had always had questions about my sexuality. I felt the earth shake under my feet, I was horrified, shamed, and considered suicide. I confessed my relationship to my leaders. Then the nightmare began. People I had known and loved for years, in leadership, treated me like a leper instead of a beloved friend. I felt alone, shamed, full of fear, and had the sense that I had committed the ‘worst possible sin.’ I chose to go to a “we’ll make you straight” ministry, where they were at least loving and accepting. I decided I would just suppress any sexuality in my life because I wanted to serve God, and felt like that was the only way.

At the depth of my despair, I had a “vision” for lack of a better word. Jesus was standing before me. He asked me a question: Will you follow me? I was so discouraged I answered with “I don’t know who you really are, so I don’t know.” He asked me three times the same question. At one point he took off his rough cloth robe and put it over my shoulders. He said, This is my righteousness — it is the only righteousness you will ever have, and the only righteousness you will ever need. That melted my hardening heart, and I said, “If this is who you are, yes, I will follow you.” All the pain and shame left me, and I was able to go on with life. I know that is who He really is. I am in ministry, but never “came out” because it is way too risky. But lately I feel so sad about it. Maybe someday I can be fully who I am without shame.

I am in a traditional church right now, and it is sweet. I have been blessed to do a lot of traveling around the world for ministry. I know I am called to minister wherever I am, and I’m seeking God about where I really belong. It seems that to choose another lifestyle closes a lot of doors in the church at large. I want to choose the way that will be God’s choice. I am in between two worlds, and I don’t know how to put the two together without hurting people who would not understand. Am I a coward? I don’t know. But I will keep searching. Thank you so much for the support you offer to those in and out of the closet.

Shame is a dark cloak to wear, and it is too heavy for most of us. I long to encourage those out there who are struggling for air, and the freedom to come into the light of acceptance.

I have asked the Lord many times how he feels about homosexuality. When I was so despairing he said to me, I will take care of it, which at the time meant to me, let me take the issue off of your shoulders and trust me to carry your worry and pain. Jesus is so amazing, so kind and loving. I know his love covers a multitude of sin and weakness. As we stand under the waterfall of his grace, I find great comfort in the fact that I don’t have to know all the answers, only love.

10 thoughts on “Afraid to Come Out

  1. Beautiful! Anyone who has known the love of Jesus, on a personal basis like this, is truly blessed & truly loved by Him! So many “Christians” don’t even know what it means to surrender their own self- will to Him. Oh, if they only would! Only then would they truly experience His love & know how to love others without judging them!

  2. That is so heartbreaking. My son, sharing he is gay, has opened my eyes so clearly to our Lord’s true love and grace. It’s sad how many people that truly call themselves Christians actually do not imitate Christ at all.

  3. I would say this person should not think of themselves as a coward. Ecclesiastes chapter 3 talks about the right time for the right action. The right time for this person to come out is not yet. I have thought recently how hard it would be if I had to hide my attraction to women and the pressure and stress that would involve. It would take a strong person to do that so as to not get caught. How sad that the church shunned this person and did not reach out to them. Sounds like they were Christians in name only.

  4. Susan,

    Thanks for sharing this post, and I pray the person finds the comfort and strength she needs. And, hope you get better soon!

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