Yesterday I was feeling a bit fed up. I put a Facebook post up on my personal account to vent. I wrote:
The more I tell people some of the stuff I’ve lived through in Churches, and the more I witness their horrified reaction, the more I realise how much I let slide, that I wouldn’t in any other setting, and how wrong that is … food for thought.
I had no idea I was actually planting a seed from which beauty was about to bloom, but the rest of the day took me by wonderful surprise.
The same morning, I got a message from a young man I knew a decade ago, who had been a good friend of my brother. He had now returned to the country of his childhood, and had lost touch. He told me he had read my message and wanted to run something past me. You know when your spider senses start tingling, and you think, this is something big … I sent up a swift prayer for guidance, and hit reply.
Sure enough, it was something big. We got talking, and throughout the day he shared parts of his story with me. The detail is his to tell, and I have no doubt that someday soon he will. But for the purposes of this blog, it is enough to share he had expressed his homosexuality within his Church, and therefore had been asked to leave. He had spent six months hurting, in pain, not knowing where to turn to talk, until he had spotted my Facebook message. A random, not connected vent from a woman he’d known briefly a decade ago. Yet it opened a door.
I was able to tell this young man he was wonderful exactly how he is, and that God was not that Church. I was able to reassure him of God’s love for him, that there were many Christians out there who, like me, believed homosexuality was not a barrier to any sort of love. I was able to give him a safe space to share, and I am honoured that he chose to use that.
Even more exciting? I have recently read an incredible book called ‘Beyond Shame’ by Matthias Roberts, which takes an afffirming view of queer sexual relationships. I tweeted him, he happily retweeted and within a couple of hours messages of support were coming in thick and fast from LGBTQ+ Christians reaching out in love. I was overwhelmed, and definitely got something in my eye. I will be eternally grateful to all involved in that twitter thread.
Even better??!! Our young gay friend who had up until yesterday only known exclusion started a twitter account today, and now has a whole new life of love and affirmation in the name of Christ opening up to him. I am in awe of the way God has changed this young man’s life in 24 hours, and I am humbled that They used me in some small way to facilitate this.
Whenever I get told that I complain too much, that I overshare, that I need to be quiet, that I shouldn’t speak out, I will always think back to this incident, and others like it. We need to speak out, plant these seeds, we need to let the world know we have these frustrations, so others like us can find us and share needs. What is the point of a room full of people all thinking the same thing but nobody feeling able to share it? How powerful when one person can stand up and say, actually, I feel this way, to then see a sea of nodding heads and relieved faces. That, reader, is why I am writing. Because I never know who my story will help, how, or when, but I know for a fact it does.
God bless you J, and thank you for sharing your story. I can’t wait to see you grow and share more.
Peace be with you.