God Made Me Gay
It is easy for some of us to be told what to think and how to think and not spend the time finding our own individual values and ethical principles. This was the case for me, for many years, within Christian Faith Center as a child and at Christ Church Kirkland (CCK) as a young adult.
The nature of any organization is built on a system of shared beliefs and so it seems “normal” that anyone looking to belong to a specific organization will adopt the same values.
Moral influence and beliefs can come from many places; our parents teaching, our spouse/partner opinions, the culture within our church, social norms within our jobs, and through friends or media. Influence is everywhere, and motivations behind these influences can come for a variety of reasons…power, money, control, revolution, equality, justice, liberty, good and evil. The thing is, all of my influences were wrapped up in the church. My parents and sisters were in church, my friends were in church, I went to Christian schools, I worked for people in my church, I only read Christian books and only listened to christian music. I was isolated and taught only the Christian world view.
Free thinking is something I didn’t discover until my late 30’s. Questioning authority was something that made me very uncomfortable in my youth. I wasn’t taught to think for myself. I was raised, like many others within the Christian community, to follow orders and do not ask questions. I obeyed my parents, the Lord, and eventually my “disciplers” and elders within CCK. Because of this blind faith, I gave away my power and my freedom. This weighed heavy on my heart and I felt a deep sadness throughout most of this time in my life, but I could never put my finger on where the sadness was coming from. A sadness I learned to cleverly disguise.
In the 38 years that I attended church, heterosexual relationships were the only way. Our church held seminars, taught sermons, and organized retreats on heterosexual marriages and what love was supposed to look like, all the while teaching us to believe any other form of love was a sin. I have never desired a man and yet every female around me was talking about their desires for men or their marriages with men. So, I suppressed my natural inclinations and followed the pack. I did everything I could to conjure up feelings for a man. I prayed for the desire for my future husband. I prayed that God would take away my natural desire for women. When asked from my church friends or “disciplers” what guy I was interested in, I always played the game and chose a guy whom I thought could be my husband. The only way to have a sexual relationship was to give and receive love within a heterosexual marriage, and so I remained celibate.
Even though I struggled with my sexuality, I could NEVER address it. I didn’t know how to honestly look at it. No one in my circle was gay. No one in my life was talking about being gay. The only message I had ever heard in church about homosexuality was they choose to be gay and they are in living in sin. In order for homosexuals to be right with God, they needed to be healed from their sickness.
This mental crusade carried on for 20 years. This erroneous doctrine caused much heartache, denial of my true self, jealousy, and a continual striving to be picked by a man. It wasn’t until I left CCK, left my church friends, left my job from a church member, and moved to a tiny island off the coast of Honduras, that I realized I had concealed so much of myself by just trying to fit in and belong to a group of people who all believed the same. I realized how deep-seated fear had controlled my life and worldview.
In 2013, at the age of 38, I moved back to Washington State from Utila, Honduras. During this time, I was conscious of how I wanted to re-enter American life. I knew I needed time and space to work on myself on a deeper level than I ever had before. I wanted to face significant issues about who I was and how I wanted to live.
My dear friends, Barney and Erika Olsen, invited me to come to live with them. They opened up their home and hearts to me. They were not church-goers. They simply loved people and were of service to others in their life. At the same time, I had the opportunity to work for a friend just two days a week, rather than a 9-5 job. He too was not a church-goer. He was a free-thinker. He was accepting of all types of people and lived by his own moral code. This time and space became a recipe for deeper discovery of my own beliefs and sexuality.
I was finally in a place where I had no church influences. I stopped reading my Bible. I stopped reading Christian books. I stopped talking like a Christian. I stopped writing in my journal like a Christian. As quickly as I could, I removed anything that resembled the Christian way of life. Why? Because I wanted to see what I really believed without any of those former influences. I wanted to remove fear and people-pleasing and re-evaluate my morals and beliefs. I knew that God was real. I knew that he wasn’t going anywhere. I knew that he wasn’t going to disown me for asking questions. I knew that whatever was real in me would emerge. I knew that whatever was love would remain. I knew that God didn’t need all of my Christian verbiage and philosophies. I knew that I could be seen by God and he would love me unconditionally.
I spent my nights in the quietness of my room, facing for the first time in my life this question of my sexuality. It was there, in the quietness of my bedroom that I lit a candle, turned the lights down low and began to read on the subject of homosexuality. Because I was still coming out of the church teachings on the subject, I began with a book called, “Washed and Waiting” by Wesley Hill. As I read his honest account of realizing he was gay, I had to put the book down because of the weight of all the years I had denied my sexuality. Just reading about his account as a gay Christian with a similar story as mine made me weep. As the book laid on my lap, memories began flooding my mind of being a little girl and having more feelings toward girls than boys. I was inundated with memories from age 5 and throughout my adolescence, where other girls were aware of boys and I couldn’t relate to them. I sat there in my bedroom, almost paralyzed, as these memories were unleashed.
I finished “Washed and Waiting” with one paramount question. How could God make me gay and then require me to remain celibate? How could this loving God that I had known and been taught to obey my whole life, create me to suffer by never being able to be in a loving relationship just because it would be with a woman? Why would God create me with such love and then expect me to never be in a relationship where I could give and receive love, like those in heterosexual relationships?
So, I furthered my learning by finding another book on the subject. “God and the Gay Christian” by Matthew Vines. In his book, Vines set out to answer questions that were also burning on my heart. How can celibacy be a calling when it is mandated for gays, not chosen? He spent 4 years researching the 6 verses in the Bible that speak about same-sex relations. He also tells of his own story of being gay and the road he and his family traveled in his discovery of reconciling his sexual orientation with what the Bible said.
It was there in the quietness of my room, where I created space to find out what I believed for myself, that I could finally acknowledge, God made me gay. He put this desire in me and after all these years of hearing it was sin, I no longer believed this was true. This Christian judgment no longer held any weight. I was still Jill and I loved God and he loved me.
Since this quiet time in my room, I have reread my journals over the past 20 years and recounted the type of relationship I longed for. For years I prayed for the perfect companion, attended seminars about healthy marriages and spent uncountable hours observing others within their relationships. All the while thinking about how I wanted to show up in my relationship.
The irony is, as I searched for a male companion within the church, I never dated during these 20 years. When I became honest with myself and my sexual orientation, my companion showed up within 2 years. A new, pure friendship that blossomed into an old-fashioned romance…just as I had been waiting for.
“Blind belief in authority is the greatest enemy of truth.”
Jill just as you have concluded that “why would God make you gay and then not allow you to be in a loving gay relationship” – I ask you – why would God make anyone gay and then speak against it in His word. He doesn’t contradict his own word. There are a multitude of scriptures that speak on many levels to some of the things you’ve talked about here, i.e., “there is a way that seems right to man but that way leads to destruction.”
The very center of being a Christian and a disciple of Jesus Christ is that our minds are renewed and conformed to the word of God. We are set free by THE Truth, not by our own individual free thinking truth that we make up to suit our desired lifestyle (in reference to the free thinking people you mention). When Jesus rescued the woman in adultery he didn’t tell her to go back to her adulterous lifestyle, he said go and sin no more, because he knew what sin does to us – any sin. However, he does refer to sexual sin as a sin unlike any other because it’s a sin against your body, which is his temple.
Jill, I love you. I’ve always loved you and will always love you. You are precious and a delightful creation of God. But that’s exactly why I have to speak up here. I will always stand on the side of God and his word firstly because it’s Truth and then because – at the end of my life, I will have to give an account for what I believed and how I have walked that out. And you will too. We are in a period of time right now where the love of many in the body is growing cold and indifferent toward God. Much of the church has been captivated by the culture, whose leader is the spirit of the age. The things you are reading that are supporting you in your decision are being influenced by this spirit.
And before you decide that I’m judging you – there is only one Judge and it’s not me. We are all judged by his word. You are the only one that can make the decisions for your life, but for any of us, if we say we choose Him, then it has to be everything about Him and the Bible says – In the beginning was the Word, and the Word became flesh in the form of Jesus and dwelt among us – so we cant separate his word from Him and say we love Jesus and live the way we want to.
I know you love Jesus. I know he has had first place on the throne of your heart. Don’t allow the enemy to deceive you. I’m not denying your feelings but I’m compelling you to resist and turn back to him. He is worth far more to you than this lifestyle or this person. You belong to him, not to yourself or any philosophy, or any person. I love you.
The way you speak and write from your resilience is truly beautiful.
There certainly is something redemptive about asking better questions or “free thinking.” Giving our questions the attention, care, creativity and sensitivity they require elicits a better answer. Not everyone has the capacity to let big open-ended questions work on them in deep ways. Some (dare I say most) feel secure and satisfied being “fed” an answer. I can speak to this, because I was that person too.
The courage you’ve found to be transparent in your journey is something only true seekers can appreciate. Your story and the lessons you’ve learned are precious. Thank you for sharing your journey with us.
“I will always stand on the side of God and his word firstly because it’s Truth and then because – at the end of my life, I will have to give an account for what I believed and how I have walked that out.”
B.R. – This must be an amazing ability to ALWAYS know what side God is on…Bravo for your all knowing ability.
And BTdubs, I think we all know who you are…
Jill I am so happy for you. I am glad you have found this freedom and glad you get to experience the love, sex and relationship part of life.
I heard about this from a friend from our old church. I love seeing people that have thrown off the BS shackles and are living life like they never have before.
So so Happy for you!
Jill, this post more than any other (except your wedding post!) resonates with me SO deeply. I too had that quiet revelation in my room, a couple years after CCK imploded, after all their noisy bullshit had finally quieted. Shit, I am super gay. And I finally feel at home in myself. And you’re right: when you know who you’re looking for, it’s a hell of a lot easier to find them. I’ll have my own wedding photos to share in just a few months 🙂
Would love to catch up! Shoot me an email and maybe we can meet up for a good heart to heart.