Fifty-Four. From Chaos, Everything.

fromchaoseverything

You meet me in my earth

You meet me in my dirt

You meet me in my mess

You call this a temple

You call this a home.

You live in my pitted stomach

You cry in my choked chest

You rest in my twisted bones

You call this a temple

You call this a home.

When my eyes burned in the mirror

all You said was,

“Holy, you’re a temple. Holy, you’re a home.”

Forty-Nine. Between The Cracks.

Hope grows between cracks in the asphault
In the downtown ghetto streets that contour
the government housing intentions of my heart

no one notices the daisies don’t care
about gang related violence
as long as they get enough air and water and sun
they’re all just fine

Who would’ve thought it but life is finding a way
through this wasteland of cynics, concrete, and pain.
There’s a man down here somewhere between
the Saturday cartooons and the dirty magazines.
He’s raising the dead in the graveyards
Where we’ve laid down our dreams
His name is Hope.

-John Mark McMillan

Twenty-Five. The Ache In Achor.

Oh, Indulgence
what I gave to satiate you!

All for silver, gold, and a cloak of brilliance

I coveted and took
witheld and hid
stood indignant, covered myself with pride and fear.

Oh, Israel
What I did to trouble you!

Lies, shame, and a crime of proportion
I earned my stones
invoked judgment
offended counsel, tainted the nation with ashes and crimson.

Oh, Hosea
what You’ve done and given to restore me!

Romance, vineyards, and a gateway of hope
You persuaded and promised
torn and healed
revived tenderly, dressed wounds with dignity and white.

Twenty-Four. Mister Piper

“This is a wise and cautious balance. It is wise not only because with God all things are possible, but also because “either-or” thinking is especially unsuitable when dealing with sexual orientation.
There are not simply three groups: Heterosexual, homosexual, and bisexual. There are hundreds of variations of impulses that make up our peculiar sexual identities. This means that “change” is not a movement from one of three groups to another of three groups. Rather, it is a totally unpredictable reconfiguration of dozens of impulses and desires. And these desires and impulses are interwoven with dozens of personal and relational and spiritual realities, all of which are moving and shifting as God and his word and his people come to bear on the totality of a person’s life.
Is change possible? From this perspective change is inevitable. We are all changing — in a hundred ways including how sexuality fits into our lives. And for the Christian, the Spirit of God and the word of God are gloriously in the mix. It is a lifelong quest.”

John Piper on “Reorientation.”

Nineteen. In, Mostly ‘Out,’ & The Spaces Between. Part III

The first step in all of this meant admitting my total helplessness to restore myself or to be this awkward super Christian thing I formerly let people and even myself believe I was. As Brennan Manning or Donald Miller would both echo in their books, (Ragamuffin Gospel and Blue Like Jazz respectively) it is better to be a beggar at the door of God’s mercy than to live in rich man’s delusion.

I had been the “pharisee,” I had been the “sinner,” and now I was coming into an understanding of myself as a child of God in a way totally unexperienced up until that point. As it turns out I think we’re all a bit self-righteous at times, a bit rebellious at times, weird at times (most of the time) but all the more immeasurably loved by the Father. Amazing grace they call it and more than just saying that, singing that, or accepting that just as an idea it was becoming more and more of a transformative reality. I had been asleep and God came and woke me up. He woke me up and laid out the next steps of the path.

So after all this wooing and all the milage made I had the opportunity to transfer to Columbia International University which in its conservative approach to the Bible and lifestyle choices made me incredibly nervous… but I was just compelled that this was where I needed to be to start grappling with what I was finally able to reference as “same sex attraction.”

[…Which I’d like to just pause and laugh at because , well, that’s a really formal and impersonal phrase for something that hasbien (don’t act like you didn’t know that was going to get thrown in here)…and is incredibly informal and deeply personal. ]

August of 2010 rolled around and it marked my first exposure to group therapy and accountability partnership. I was received by a school and a congregation that made it clear that this fight was not my own. I was shown that God’s primary vehicle for waging war against my struggles, doubts, and insecurities was going to be His people…His Church and this was just as alarming as it was enchanting. 

There was room for me at the Table. And I became acquainted with the strangest and most beautiful sense of belonging .

Since this time I have stumbled along this funky …but very narrow path of sanctification, experienced defeat, known triumph, and been delivered of so much the confusion and shame that characterized the days of this former life. I’ve learned that there are no unique or ‘worse’ ways that we fall short but rather we’re all these peculiar hypocrites in transition…people who are no longer who they used to…but aren’t quite yet who they are going to be. I’ve learned that whether or not my impatience, my indulgence, my pride, or my ‘gay’ gets prayed away …I am nevertheless empowered to live a life free of the chains and identifying powers those things used to have on me.

I am learning what Philip Yancey calls “God’s alchemy of Redemption,” that God’s power is precisely in and through weakness, NOT in the absence of it. I am a daughter, a rascally one I’ll say though…of the Father and through all of life’s questions I am being  sustained by His promises. So whether ‘healing’ means that my ‘orientation’ changes, I form one specific attraction for a male spouse, or I live my life in celibacy, I am not my sexuality & neither are you, and  I count it privilege to be a part of the depth, height, and width of God’s true love. 

“He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.” – Jim Elliot