Typically, I do not begin my blogs with prayers. I pray before I speak anywhere- whether aloud or silently to my God- but I never utter a word in public without talking to Him first. However, when it comes to writing, I normally have time to sit with God completely before I revise and post, so prayer is not needed. But today is different. Today I must pray before I continue with this Monday Message. Please pray with me.
Abba, there is so much of me that I never wanted to share. So much of me that I would have been fine keeping tucked inside of the deepest depths of me, but for You I will release. I release the words, stories, and pain that held me hostage and in deep bondage for so long. Lord, I pray that You would guide my words, guide my heart, guide my hands as they type. Let everything that is said be of You and for You. As I shed another layer of me, please, Lord, continue to heal me and continue to set me free. Most importantly, Father, may this message that You have sent set someone free. May someone come to know You in a way that they never have before; may they find liberty in You. Lord, I pray that they would release the yoke of bondage that confines them and take on Your yoke of freedom. I pray for the readers of this message, Lord, that You would stir up their hearts and help them find true and complete liberty through You. Lord, nevertheless, not my will, but Your will be done. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.
Ok; here we go…
There are many things that I have openly shared over these past two healing years. I have shared that I am a survivor of rape and that my brother was the person who raped me. I have shared about my alcohol and marijuana use and my food misuse/abuse. I even shared about the depths of my depression and how it caused me to lose care in proper hygiene and financial matters of my life. I have shared about the good of my life and I have shared about the bad. I have shared it all that you, the reader, may be able to see yourself in my stories, but also see a redeeming and loving God through it all. I have shared everything that you may find freedom in Christ. I have shared almost every area of my life except one; a brief (one month) period of my life back in my 20s that still haunts me today…
I had a girlfriend.
I was in a homosexual relationship.
My God, my heart raced as I typed those words and tears are welling up now as I try to continue writing…
On Thursday night I had this dream that rattled me. I had a dream that an ex-boyfriend was upset with me for that previous homosexual relationship. I distinctly remember how I literally felt guilty in the dream. The feeling of guilt was so overwhelming that I woke up still feeling guilty! I went to the bathroom and then came back to bed and posted this message on Facebook.
I was so sure that it was the enemy using his tired bag of tricks to try to throw me off whatever God had planned for me. But as my Friday morning progressed, I realized that God was trying to talk to me. He had been telling me for months that it was time to share this aspect of my life…and of course, I had been ignoring Him for months.
“But God, I am a licensed minister- I can’t share that part of my past!”
“People will judge me more than they already do.”
“What kind of mentor to young girls would I be if I shared that?”
Those were the questions that circled my mind all Friday morning as I fought HARD to not write this post… yet here I am writing and there you are reading. I guess I should explain how it all happened…
My youth was a blur because of the rape…
My teens were a blur because of the food…
My 20s were a blur because of the alcohol and men…
I had been through so much pain and continual hurt and disappointment from men that when I moved to Frederick and a colleague started showing me kindness in a new way, I gravitated towards it. I won’t say that she “lured” me in or any leading words like that, but I will say that I was beyond tired of the pain that came from men and I didn’t want to hurt anymore. I justified my feelings by saying that she knew my pain because she had been through her own pain; she could relate to me. Truth is, we were just two women who were extremely hurt and extremely confused. But, like the methods of my past, I needed something to take away the sting of my past. I needed something to numb me and remove the feeling of abuse and unwantedness (that’s a new word today) that I was feeling. I knew that it was a phase; we both knew that I was not in it for the long run, but it felt safe in the moment. Talk about false security.
Towards the end of this fling, I lost my job (Ding, ding, ding- God is calling!) and really began to understand the gravity of what I had done. I distanced myself from her and the entire situation. Yes, I would tell new boyfriends in the years to follow about that month of my life, but I definitely didn’t share that with anyone else. I already had people who either hated me or loved me because of what they thought they knew about me and I didn’t want to change their opinions of me. I was content with being Michelle Early, the church girl with the spotted, yet unknown past. So, I buried that experience in a box that I prayed I would never have to open again, but then God happened…
Over the summer my best friend, Amy, and I wrote an anthology about new beginnings with God. We wrote four stories apiece but never shared with the readers who wrote which stories. I remember the day that I read her story Covered. I was kinda in my feelings because I thought she was dead-wrong for using my life’s story without talking to me first… but then I came to realize that no one knew my past so that wasn’t my story. (I also recognized that if God had given it to her, she had to obey Him.) I fought major battles within myself about publishing that story, but ultimately, I knew it was all for God.
Even though Covered was a fictional story, it was also my truth. God really did deliver me from homosexuality, promiscuity, alcohol misuse, marijuana usage, and the idea that I needed to feel loved or completed outside of Him.
Beloved, when I tell you that I did not want to share this, please believe, I DID NOT WANT TO SHARE THIS. But I soon realized that by keeping it hidden within me I was:
1. Giving the enemy power and leverage over me. Any secret that we keep is an opportunity for the enemy to use it for his twisted works. He is able to take that secret and allow it to eat us up with guilt and shame for the length of the secret. We also become slaves to that secret, doing whatever we must do to keep the secret safe from others.
2. Not allowing God to completely heal my broken heart. As I mentioned in last week’s Monday Message, I had spent so many years giving God a piece of me to heal at a time. I gave Him the rape and let Him work on that. Then I gave Him this and He healed me, so I gave Him that. I was letting Him piece-heal me when He wanted to completely heal me. God cannot heal what we don’t give Him.
Friend, this is what I need you to understand: God can only heal what we give Him and whatever we don’t give Him, the enemy will use for his evilness. The enemy wanted me to believe that holding all of that in was for my good. The truth is, hold it all in was killing me all the more. I thought I was set free before, but now… WOAH– I am REALLY set free! I have given my everything over to God and trust Him to heal all of me.
Release what you hold- or what holds you- and let the Lord heal you from it all.
Scriptures for the cause:
2 Corinthians 5:17a