Today, I’m sharing with you something incredibly personal. As I’m typing out these words, I can feel my heart beating faster in my chest, wondering if this is a huge mistake. This blog will come with consequences. This blog begins a bigger fight. And it’s been a long time coming.
And I hope that after this, you’ll stick with me, that you’ll keep praying for me, that you’ll keep your heart and hands open to what God is doing with my life, and be inspired to look to see what God is doing in yours.
Today, I am telling you a part of my story because I believe that by telling our story, we set others free to share their story.
Today, I’m telling you the truth. And you can disagree, throw it in my face, call me names, declare me a heretic, but this is what I’ve always been meant for. This is the truth and the truth has set me free.
The following was written on August 13, 2015…
Today, I got a package in the mail. It contained a tank top and necklace, the word ‘brave’ was scrawled across the fabric in multiple directions.
I put it on, I looked at myself in the mirror, and in many ways it was a prayer for me, or maybe a prophetic word, a truth I had not yet grasped. I am brave.
Bravery doesn’t always have to look like something historic or monumental. It doesn’t ever have to be seen by another human. Sometimes bravery looks as simple as getting out of bed in the morning and facing another day. It looks like shaving the side of your head or putting on something that makes you feel good about yourself when others tell you it isn’t flattering. Sometimes it’s saying no to something you want to eat but you are really trying to take control of your health.
Sometimes it’s putting down the bottle and picking up the phone to call someone you love and telling them something important.
That’s what I did today.
Today, I was brave.
I felt different when I woke up. When I was talking to God, He brought to mind this moment nearly a year ago when I was in church and heard You Make Me Brave for the first time ever.
You make me brave,
You make me brave,
You call me out beyond the shore unto the waves…
No fear can hinder now the promises You’ve made…
No fear can hinder now the Love that made a way…
I knew what that meant in my spirit. I knew what God was telling me in that moment. I felt like that was the word was calling me to step into. Brave. Be brave my son. Go, and know that I am with you. But I couldn’t. If I did what God was asking of me in that moment, I stood to lose everyone I loved, to be shunned and pushed aside. But you won’t ever lose me.
That day was the starting point of accepting what God was doing in me, finally bringing a great work to completion, a solidity to my identity in Him. It looked nothing like what I was told it would be, and was more than I could have dreamed for.
Today, I stood on my back porch, the coolness of late summer around me, and tears brimming at my eyes. This was it. This was going to change everything. I began the small trek from my back porch to the small peninsula outside my house knowing that with each step, I was coming closer to the unknown, and knowing that this would bring me closer to God.
Today I took a step towards God.
Today, I was brave.
I walked towards the water. Petrified, tears streaming down my face, my heart felt as if it had stopped beating completely. Be brave.
“I am brave,” I said aloud. “I am brave because You are brave. You fight for me. You have always been victorious.”
And I’ve been told to pick up my sword and fight for love.
Little did I know that Love had won for me.
Regardless of how this conversation went, I had won. I was accepted. I was loved. God had assured me of this and in no way was I going to be cast from His presence.
“God,” I said, “I need you right now. Front and center.”
As I selected my mom’s name in the contact list of my phone, I took a deep breath, mustering every bit of serenity I could. I heard the wind rustle the branches, felt the ground below my feet, and smelt autumn approaching. Indeed, everything is changing. A new season is beginning right now.
We spoke for a few minutes about things that were probably important, but my thought were bent on two words that I was dying to say, two words that had weighed on either shoulder like Atlas holding up the world. More than a decade of sorrow and heartache enveloped them; nights of weeping and pleading with God for mercy. Countless circles with others sharing my shame and declaring I wanted freedom from something I now know that God never wanted to remove from me; years of wrestling with the same question over and over and over again:
“God, will you love me no matter what?”
And the answer was always Yes, my love.
The sun was sinking below the tree line and my breath finally steadied enough to tell her the greatest secret of my heart, two words I never thought I’d say.
I went onto explain and justify and share what 11 years of secrecy looked like, how I came to this place where I felt more in love with God than ever before because I understood how much He loved me and how I can now love myself.
“And you know I love you no matter what, right?” my mother replied, sobs being choked back.
“I do, Mom. I do.”
The conversation didn’t have much development beyond quelling some fears, restating things we said, and assurance of love. She said she didn’t quite understand and needed to process, but I wasn’t going to be disowned or pushed away.
Today, my mom was brave, too.
Sometimes bravery looks like accepting something you don’t understand as it is.
Sometimes it looks like loving your child as they are and letting that be the beginning and end of everything.
Sometimes bravery is loving people enough to tell them the truth.
Sometimes bravery is believing the songs we sing about going into deep waters with God, and trusting that even in the darkest nights, His light shines brighter. It’s realizing that we are that light, and that it can burn brighter unless we love ourselves the way He loves us:
Unconditionally. As we are. Faults and bruises. Fear and doubt. Our full authentic selves.
Today is August 13.
Today I put on a tank top that had the word ‘brave’ on it.
Today I stepped into the deep waters that I’ve been praying about for years.
Today I told the truth.
Today I chose to love myself because God loves the man He created.
Today I came out the closet.
Today, I was brave.
And if you are reading this, and you are LGBT, know you are not alone. You are loved by God and by me. Be brave.