Nutrition Facts: May we really see people through the eyes of Jesus…we might just see them for what they will one day be! Active Ingredient: Faith
We hear many stories as you might imagine – like the 16-year old girl who asks to attend our FAMILY CARE seminar because her father is a post-operative trans-sexual; or like the anguished Mom of a 15-year old son who is livid with anger after their home church removed her son from the youth group for refusing to renounce same-sex attractions.
Sad stories…so much pain.
This week, I received a phone call from our 19-year old friend Madeline. She has given me permission to share this story with you. I sent her my account of her story for her review and sign-off prior to publishing this. We trust one another – but it is always best to check with others before publishing their private story. To be clear, Madeline is not her real name.
Madeline grew up in a strong evangelical Christian home. Madeline loves and worships Jesus…she also happens to be gay. She would call herself a Gay Evangelical Christian.
Some of you may be uncomfortable with that term. That’s ok. There’s something more you need to know about Madeline. She was repeatedly raped by a non-family male as early as 4 years of age. Is it any wonder that she has retreated to the safety of being held in the arms of women?
Madeline was referred to us through some friends. She originally contacted us about 9 months ago.
Let’s think about this – Madeline has NO incentive to be talking with LTH! She has no misunderstanding about my decision to surrender my homosexual identity to Christ over a decade ago…and she has no misunderstanding about our belief that homosexual relationships are sinful. She also has no doubt that we LOVE her and are here for the long haul to walk with her through her journey…
Madeline is just 19-years old…she’s a child in many respects. She’s right at that very difficult age where transitioning from dependent child to independent adult presents many challenges. With the horrific abuse in her history, it’s NOT surprising that she’d be really struggling at this time.
While Madeline’s life might not look “Biblical” to many people, I would challenge us that our own lives all too often fail to look “Biblical.” At this point, we are thankful that Madeline is committed to seeking healing related to her abuse while she is young…and that she has entrusted us with her story.
So earlier this week, Madeline calls. Her voice is particularly upbeat. It has been 2 months since we last talked and I’ve thought about her a number of times but busily let time slip by. She says, Bill, I have an update. I said, Madeline, let’s hear about it.
She says, Well, you know I’ve been working hard in counseling to work through the abuse. Well, last week…I had a breakthrough. For the first time, I had flashbacks of the actual abuse. Just knowing that I could tap into those memories comforted me that I am not just imagining things…this REALLY did happen to me. It is painful, but it’s also given me a sense of relief.
She continued, Well, the reason I’m calling you is because you’re one of the few evangelical Christians I know who is not trying to pressure me. I told another evangelical mentor and friend about my flashbacks and she said, “Oh Madeline…those are not memories…you’re being Satanically oppressed by your un-confessed sin.”
Oh Madeline, those rapes are not real…they did not happen…your battle is not against flesh and blood…you just need to repent.
Boxing the wounded…
After the call, I wept for Madeline. When I hear about the typical 19-year old waywardly veering off the narrow path, I always think “patience.” When there is rape involved, I can only think “a LOT of patience.” This journey could take years…much longer than what we’d like. But then again, some of our journeys also took years…and some of us might even admit that God is STILL trying to pry away an addiction or two from our stubborn hearts. Saved by the blood of Jesus…but still struggling. We’re no different…
I am humbled by a simple conviction: Jesus loves Madeline. He is opening doors of healing at the depths of her heart. He knows the order of things that need to be worked out in her life in the coming months and years. The external appearance of things might not be so important for this season of her life. If I truly TRUST that Jesus has Madeline in His grip…then I can surrender my spiritual angst about her sin and simply walk with the wounded. Just as Jesus walked and continues to walk with me…
There is freedom in believing God loves others around us…it gives us the freedom to sacrifice our need for “clean” Christianity and allows us to enter into the spiritual messiness of human brokenness. In that place of peace, we are truly free to simply listen, pray, comfort, reassure…and love dear friends like Madeline.
You can join us in prayer for this young woman. May Christians around her simply listen, wait, engage, encourage and pray. Let’s not box the wounded…let’s walk with them in the love that Jesus has for them.
Madeline, we love you. We’re always here for you dear friend…