When we left our home state, we had filmed our “story” – at least, in part.  Our church used our video (about a 5 minute clip) as part of a series called FAQ – Frequently Asked Questions.  Some of the topics in the series included “How Can I Know the Bible is True?” and “How Do Faith & Science Mix?”  The last message in the 4-week series was “What Does God Really Think About Homosexuality?”  The series started after our departure and as the time ticked down towards our story being shown publicly, we got more and more nervous.

You see, we were never fully open with people in our church.  Sure, the leadership knew (we told them), and those in our Recovery Network knew.  People we knew wouldn’t reject us were trusted with our “real selves.”  Everyone else was a friend, a co-worshiper, or a co-worker in the church, but didn’t know our full story.  Many people thought of us as “one entity” – as in, “I can’t think of one of you without thinking of the other,” which is pretty cool.  But we still kept a side of our real lives veiled.  So understandably, we were nervous about “letting it all hang out” and telling “God and everyone” – although God already knew.  <wry smile>

The message was preached by a a friend of ours and a very dear staff member also helped to write the message, knowing our full story and having his own strong feelings about how the Church has wounded, hurt, isolated, and alienated those who deal with SGA.  And one of the first sentences in the message was, “I’m sorry.”  They went on to say that the apology was for all, but especially those who had been wounded by hateful words, hateful attitudes, and harshness in the name of Jesus aimed at those who struggled (openly or otherwise).  There were gay couples in the audience who showed up just for this message – to see how it would be “handled.”

I was so very proud of my church that day – I listened to the podcast as soon as it was available, and we had words of kindness, love, and compassion on our Facebook walls, in our inboxes, and on the phone.  Instead of being a scary day, it was a day of receiving love from people we had worshiped with for years.  God blessed us richly through our obedience and willingness to put it out there.

Fast forward to today.  We’ve found a church where we are comfortable, challenged, and feel called – a church that preaches the Gospel message with a side of justice, mercy, and humility.  We are meeting amazing people and being challenged every time we step in the door to “up our game.”  It’s a good place for us to be.  But even knowing that it’s good for us to be here, we haven’t gone in full-bore yet.  We don’t want to go in wearing a sandwich-board that says, “We struggle with SGA in our marriage,” and yet it’s an everpresent part of who we are.  My husband’s struggle is lessened over what it once was, but there is still more ground to cover.  There are still wounds that need exposure to daylight and healing, and there are things that have been said by others that have caused him (and quite frankly, me) to go underground.

Our pastor was teaching on Genesis 2 and Genesis 3 – standard ‘creation story/the fall of Adam & Eve/promise of a Saviour’- stuff.  He spoke briefly about the design of marriage and then stopped.  He said, “I’m sorry” to people in the congregation who were either fully-gay or struggling with SGA.  He apologized for the things that had been said/done/conveyed over the years in the name of Jesus that caused pain.  And then he affirmed his obligation and duty to not water down what the Scripture says about marriage (i.e., between a man and a woman), but to couch it with mercy and compassion for those who feel as though a heterosexual marriage is far beyond their reach.

We were in the front row (I’m easily distracted otherwise) and wept.  We were so touched and clasped hands together while we listened.  My husband leaned his head over to me and I whispered, “Just in case you needed a stronger sign that this is where we’re supposed to be…” and smiled at him through my tears.

We don’t need to wear a sandwich board declaring our struggles.  As we meet more people and find friends who are a good, close match for us, we’ll share our journey.  We might end up sharing it publicly again – I have no idea.  But I know that the leadership won’t reject us and that our wounds will be treated with care and compassion here, just as they were in our old church.

Apologies go a long way to healing a wounded heart, and we now know two strong men who love God and love people who have stood up and apologized for actions they never took, for words they never said, and for attitudes they never held – all in the name of love and mercy towards broken people.  What an amazing thing and how God is using that in our lives.

His and his,

This entry was posted on 222229H Aug 2010 and is filed under Forgiveness, Marriage Building, Path to Healing, SSA. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

  • The Groom

    Cori, I hadn’t been on here in a while, but had followed you through FB and wanted to let you know how much I appreciate the testimony and encouragement you have received and given. This is a great ministry and I’m glad to see affirmation from the Lord of your big move and potential ministry, in whatever capacity.

    Congrats and thank you.

  • cori

    Thanks for the kind words, Groom. At some point, even this blog will likely be “unmasked” and we’ll let our real identities out – but just like God’s leading and timing doing it with our church congregations, it will have to be His leading. 😉

    I appreciate your support, my friend – ever so much. :)


  • http://www.sensuouswife.com/blog Shula

    I am so glad to hear this. Wonderful your church is so supportive.
    .-= Shula´s last blog ..Talk to each other when you’re tempted =-.

  • http://www.sensuouswife.com/blog Shula

    Oh my friend, I am so proud of you. Very proud.
    .-= Shula´s last blog ..Talk to each other when you’re tempted =-.