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As I mentioned in my first post, discussing same-sex attraction (SSA) or homosexuality in the Chinese Christian community is not easy. There is a cultural stigma: a “face-saving” mentality. We are not to do anything that will shame the family. Any aberrancy to good, Christian behavior is kept hidden. However, any external attributes that make the family look good can be shown off to others (i.e., attending an Ivy-league school, becoming a doctor, etc).
Despite this cultural stigma, I have been blessed by parents who have been supportive throughout my spiritual walk. Although I have never discussed SSA specifically, they are aware of my emotional dependencies and have supported me with unconditional love. I am thankful for my father who sat with me as I discussed my emotional dependency issues with my youth pastor when I was a teen. He also helped me find counseling. There has been healing in my relationship with my mother.
Today, I still dare not share my struggle with my church. I hold a leadership position, and I am a big spiritual sister to many. There is fear that people will look at me differently. Perhaps some might worry that I will be attracted to them. I am not ready to widely share my struggle. Possibly one day – with God’s help.
Through some difficult years, I have experienced deep spiritual growth through the “refiner’s fire.” I have learned to manage healthy boundaries in my female friendships. I have never acted on my SSA, but this remains a vulnerable area in my life. I have never considered myself a lesbian. I simply struggle with SSA and emotional dependency. This is not my identity; my identity is in Christ Jesus alone. Even in the midst of the pain surrounding my struggles, the Lord has brought joy, peace, purpose and hope to my life.
Bill Henson’s Lead Them Home message has given me new insights. I realize that repression and isolation are not healthy. I am now building a wider support network – even if it is outside of my church. At this time, I just do not think the Chinese church is well-equipped to safely care for those struggling with SSA or homosexuality. I am happy to report that my support is growing – and I am being embraced with love. I know that as a beloved child of God, I cannot struggle alone. One day, it is my hope that I will find this support in my church.
Post Note: Thank you Grace for having the courage to share your powerful story. It is so clear that Christ is walking with you, giving you strength and comfort, and opening new doors to needed support in your life. Grace, you are an inspiration. Thank you!
Attention Church Leaders: My Shift 20.20 training program is designed to help ALL churches enhance their care of LGBT+ people – and those like Grace who experience SSA. The cultural reservations around sensitive issues like homosexuality are important to respect, yet our mission as Christ followers sometimes requires us to step beyond our comfort zone to care for and extend Christ to various people groups. Let all of us partner in working toward Grace’s hope that Chinese teens and young adults struggling with SSA can increasingly be cared for – by their families and within their churches. Contact us to find out more.
New Series: Not everyone is ready for “whole-life” surrender. Many people are too early in their faith journey. Yet there is another kind of surrender – I call it “Front-End Surrender.” Which kind of surrender are you at in your spiritual journey? Join me starting tomorrow for my new series that will equip families and churches to care for LGBT+ and SSA teens and young adults in the evangelical church. God bless you.