Sunday, March 1, 2009

Created in the image of God: Part III

Created in the image of God: Part II is HERE
Created in the image of God: Part I is HERE

During those times, I began to understand the first concepts that would bring me out of the lies and into the truth 9 years later. But it would take going all the way into the dark places first, before I could come to that truth.

What I still didn't understand was in my believing that I was somehow "wrong" and "sinful” and then suppressing those feelings; those beliefs became poisons eating away at my mental, spiritual and emotional health. I thought I was just shutting down my feelings for women, but really I was shutting down all my feelings. I became a complete emotional blank.

In those same years my marriage was finally beginning to show signs that all was not well in denial land. My ex started drinking a lot more, we fought constantly and it was just all around hell. My two boys were what really kept me going for a long time. I did leave him for 6 months in 1996, but agreed to reconciliation if he would quit drinking. He did, for about 5 months, but I had let him move back after 3 of those. I knew I was his enabler but a huge part of me didn't care. As long as he drank, I didn't have to worry very often about having sex with him. That is cold hearted, very, and I know it, I am not proud of it.

I went a very long time with out sex. I didn't really mind. I told myself I was frigid. I mostly believed that.

In 1999, my ex collapsed at a grocery store and was diagnosed with advanced vascular disease. At first the doctors and surgeons believed that he could be helped with surgery. They removed the affected arteries and replaced them with Gore-Tex tubing. After two years and about 20 surgeries later, he was declared permanently disabled. He was 44 years old.

When the first round of surgeries started, I worked part time and temporary jobs, not really wanting to work full time because I was always afraid he might have a heart attack or fall down when the kids were home with him alone. I no longer enjoyed being home, he was always there and he was always drunk. He could get around, walk, do things, he could have worked a part time, low stress job, but he didn't want to. I knew his self worth was very low, I tried to make him see that he still had a lot of life left in him, but he didn't see it that way. I couldn't take watching him kill himself slowly so I eventually had to go back to work full time, at a local golf club and after a year I accepted the position of Food and Beverage Director. That position kept me out of the house 10 to 16 hours a day (but at the same time was flexible) and it also kept my mind off of anything personal.

The boys and I during this time were very involved with the Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts. I was my younger one's Den Leader and I sat on the board of my eldest son's Troop. I would also bring them to work with me on the weekends, they would take golf lessons and we would have lunch together and then I would, if I could, make a short day of it and go home with them or movies or what ever.

I didn't have much time for talking to God during the first four or five years. Don't get me wrong, there was no anger or resentment towards God or even questioning why, I didn't feel anything at all really. I was tired, just too tired to talk or even think. I almost liked it that way.

During the slow season about four years ago, I caught a movie on IFC called When Night Is Falling. I had no idea what it was really about, but it was a little quirky at the beginning, a woman professor was engaged to another professor at a Christian University in Canada. Her dog died and she picked it up and put it in the freezer, LOL. OK I was hooked......I understood that she couldn't bear the loss of her dog, she loved the dog more than her fiance. (Lorrie can tell you I get the strange symbolism of movies, just a gift I guess.) As the story progresses, she ends up at a Cirque du Soliel type circus, with a beautiful trapeze artist. She keeps going back, fascinated with this woman, they become lovers and fall in love.......I shouldn't spoil the end if you haven't seen it. OMG I WAS THIS WOMAN. I knew the despair she felt, the inability to connect with her fiance, the endless loneliness, the conflict with her beliefs, everything. It was repeated several times that month, I tried to watch it each time I could, I think I managed 5 at least.

This movie cracked my ice, it didn't break it all the way down, but it sure did crack it. I let myself long for something more for the first time in many, many years. I was still stuck on the straight thing, kinda, I still couldn't admit, even to myself I was a lesbian, but I began to think maybe I was bisexual. Looking back, I don't know why I would find that more acceptable, but at that time, I did.

Something happened to me a month later. On Christmas Day actually. I got angry. I got angry with my life. I got angry at my ex, I got angry at God, I was really angry with myself. I didn't yell, I didn't say a word actually, but I was angry and I stayed that way for months. I woke up with the boys that morning for what else? Christmas Day. (Now, this isn't for pity that I say this, this is just how it was OK?) There was nothing for me. NOTHING, zilch, zip, zero. Not from my ex, not from the boys. I was not surprised because maybe only once every 5 years or so, would there be something from my ex. And it was the same with my birthday. I would give hints of what I might like, but I had learned over 16 years not to really expect it. I asked my ex once why and he always said he didn't know what to get me and he figured I would get myself something. LOL. He didn't get the hints now did he? I realized my sons didn't even know when my birthday was because it was never celebrated. I had gotten tired years ago of making or buying my own damn cake so I stopped.

See, that ice was really cracking now. Where before, I DID NOT FEEL WORTHY, I was beginning to. So, I made up my mind that I was going to start to feel something again, and it was not just going to be anger. I wanted a Christmas present really bad and I met him about a month later. Well, I was still mostly in denial, OK?

He was funny, he didn't drink, he was tall and healthy and charming. He works on an oil rig in Saudi Arabia, well, he did then, I don't know now, he was well traveled and educated and I found him fascinating. And he was the most open minded, non-judgmental about sex and life, person I had ever met up until that time. And I don't mean he liked really kinky stuff, he just had this attitude that sex was natural and not shameful and that it was unnatural to deny it. And he was easy to talk to. I had an affair. It was exciting and he made me remember all the hopes and dreams for my life that I had dropped along the way. The ambitions and passions too. I had no desire to marry him, or leave my ex at that time either. But he sure helped knock some more of that cracked ice off. He would work for 8 weeks and then have 4 off. I saw him for at least a few days every 8 weeks.

I found myself talking to him one day about my attraction to women. There was no shame in it, no embarrassment, no holding back, I just told him about it. He told me that my denying it was wrong and that I should explore it. He, laughed and said if I wanted him to join in he would be happy to, but he also said he didn't have to.

On my birthday that year I slept with a woman for the first time in my life. I knew I was at least bisexual, but even then I kinda knew I wasn't. It was everything anybody who had ever talked to me about sex said it was. It felt like it was the most natural thing in the world to me. It was only to be a one night stand. Months later I would find I was very glad it was.

Afterward, I thought I was having a nervous breakdown. I didn't know I was actually coming out of the one that I'd had for years. I couldn't stop shaking, I felt elated and then depressed, I would giggle all afternoon and cry all night. I knew I couldn't stay married any longer. I knew I couldn't continue to live a lie, nope, not one more day. I told my ex I wanted a divorce but not the total reason why. He was shocked a little, but finally agreed. The boys at first wished to remain with their father and help him out. I moved out a month after the divorce was final.

Looking back, I truly believe the next two months were destined to happen. You see, I didn't know how to meet lesbians. LOL. I didn't know what I was looking for in another woman. I didn't know if I just didn't want some real alone time. I signed up on, and put my profile up, listed my likes and dislikes, what I was looking for sort of and set my filters for within 25 miles, etc., etc., etc. I received many emails from men. I dated a few, all of them were very nice, but just like 20 years ago, there was no real click going on. I got a few from women too, most wanted a threesome with their boyfriends or husbands, not a friendship or "more", lol. I emailed some without boyfriends back, I didn't hear from most of them again.

One day, I was checking out my profile and mail and I noticed I had some emails in the "filtered" file. I opened it, they were all from too far away. I went to delete them. One caught my eye, it was her "handle." I am not going to reveal more than it had the word suburb, but it intrigued me because until recently, I had thought of myself as sort of "suburban." I opened the email and read a very thoughtful note about someone coming to Reno for a business trip and wanting to meet someone while she was here. I first thought I would write and say sorry, you live to far away. Then I thought, "Oh just delete it." And then I answered her back saying maybe I was interested in meeting her, could we maybe exchange a few emails? The odds of this being my Soul Mate still boggles my mind. I do see destiny and divine intervention written all over it now. The rest is absolutely wonderful history. And I think a whole different story.

I hadn't exactly begun talk to God yet, but I did start to listen. He asked me if I was going to continue to believe lies, or would I start to believe the truth?

He started one by one to show me all the lies I had been believing and living my whole life and then He began to show me the truth.

The biggest lie I had believed was that to be a lesbian meant I was evil and an abomination. I had come to a point were I even tried to explain my attraction to women as being a temptation by God to test my faith. That still small voice asked me: "Tempted for 40 years? Jesus was only tempted for 40 days!" God does not allow us to be tempted beyond out limit to resist and is it our faith he tests? Our redemption is not really based on OUR faith, but the faithfulness of God to keep His promise that all who call upon the name of the Lord are redeemed. What glory is there for God if it is my work that saves myself? Who's work is it that I believe, Jesus tells His Apostles that "It is the work of God, that you believe"

And when did children get tested for their faith? Jesus was 30 when He was "tempted" I did not know how to speak of it as a child of 6 and 7, but it was women I wanted to grow up and marry, society just didn't give me a choice. When I said I loved Mrs. Byrd, or Beth, no one put anything into that statement coming from a 6 year old in the 1960's. Of course I loved my teacher and a friend, why would they correct me at that time?

And why would I be tested when that very test, that temptation was ultimately what held me back from the person I was created to be? Had I not passed the "test" over and over and over and over again? Does not God want each of us to reach our potential as a full and complete human being? But I was so full of self loathing. Self loathing is not from God. We are created in His image, who do we hate if we hate our self image?

To save space, I am going to provide several links that discuss what I learned on the real sins of Sodom: Sin and the Sodomites; What Was The Sin Of Sodom?; and Whosoever: Sodom & Gomorrah

What of the thousands of passages that show us what God considers sin and evil? Anymore we hear little of these. Here are but a few:
Jeremiah 23.14 "I have seen also in the prophets of Jerusalem a horrible thing: they commit adultery, and walk in lies: they strengthen also the hands of evildoers, that none doth return from his wickedness: they are all of them unto me as Sodom, and the inhabitants thereof as Gomorrah."

Proverbs 6: 16 - 19:
These six things doth the LORD hate:
yea, seven are an abomination unto him:
A proud look, a lying tongue,
and hands that shed innocent blood,
An heart that devises wicked imaginations,
feet that be swift in running to mischief,
A false witness that speaks lies,
and he that sows discord among brethren.

Proverbs 19:5 A false witness will not go unpunished, and he who breathes out lies will not escape.

Exodus 20:16 “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.

False witness is slander. Slander is malicious lies told to harm another person.

And what of the "gender variant" persons of faith in the Bible and of ancient times? I am speaking of eunuchs. We think of a eunuch only as a "castrated male". But in ancient times there were two kinds of eunuch: natural eunuchs and "mutilated" eunuchs. A natural eunuch was a gay male, a mutilated eunuch had, usually by disease or accident had damage done to his testicles or penis and was unable to procreate on his own. There were also men who had themselves castrated or were castrated to serve in government appointed posts open only to eunuchs. They were considered more trustworthy around money, less greedy and less likely to take bribes since they would have no children and thus no need for a family fortune. There were also men who were castrated in order to serve God more fully without the distractions of a sex life.

Where do I get this information from? There are several sources, Pliny the Elder was a Jewish historian and in his histories, he assigned eunuchs and hermaphrodites to the "third gender called half-male," Josephus, very often quoted by modern Christians as the historical authority of the time of Jesus, states in Jewish Antiquities IV 8,40, speaking of natural eunuchs indicated that in the case of some, since "it is evident that their soul has become effeminate, they have transfused that effeminacy to their body also." And from Jesus: "For there are eunuchs who were born that way from their mother's womb; and there are eunuchs who were made eunuchs by men; and there are also eunuchs who made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. He who is able to accept this, let him accept it." (Matt 19: 8-12) Jesus was speaking to His fellow Jews at this time, Eunuchs in the Old Testament were prohibited from serving in the Temple and many other duties.
And in Acts 8:27-39 Phillip is sent by the Lord to convert a eunuch from Ethiopia. I notice he was not told to stop being a eunuch.

In ancient Roman Law it is laid out by the Roman jurist Ulpian in a document known as Lex Julia et Papia, Book 1 (Digest 50.16.128), that "Eunuch is a general designation: the term includes those who are eunuchs by nature, as well as those who are mutilated. In stature he places the natural eunuchs first. " The mutilated Eunuch was designated as one diseased and the natural Eunuch was designated as one not diseased.
The law (D 28.2.6) says that someone who cannot easily procreate is nonetheless entitled to institute a posthumous heir, but it gives no concrete examples of such a man. In the same context, it states that the "eunuch" holds this right as well, while "castrated men" expressly do not. Ulpian makes a distinction between the non castrated Eunuch and the castrated Eunuch.
Whole eunuchs who were freemen, unlike mutilated eunuchs, were eligible for marriage and for adopting children (D, 28.2.6). In fact, anatomically whole eunuchs had all the rights and duties of ordinary men.

There is no word in the Old Testament, either good or bad, about lesbians. I won't read into Ruth and Naomi more than is there. Only Paul has something to say about women and sex in the New Testament: "For this reason, God delivered them to degrading passions as their females exchanged their natural sexual function for one that is unnatural."

That is it. Look at what is being said. He is speaking of degrading passions and exchanging their "natural" function for one that is "unnatural." In the whole context of this chapter, he is talking about idolatry, greed and corruption. You can read into it that it is about lesbians if you wish, you can also read into that they had sex with multiple partners and participated in orgies, or you can read into it that they had anal sex with their partners and you can even read into that they did not wish to have children since that was considered at the time the sole purpose of a female having sex. You may think I am being snide here but I am not, to me, trying to be heterosexual was very unnatural. And my relationship with Lorrie is anything but degrading, it is the complete opposite actually.

And perhaps the newest truth I am learning is that our lesbian natures, are truly gifts from God.

Psychologist Mark Friedman, from a series of tests administered to both gays and lesbians, found that the homosexuals he tested were superior to their heterosexual counterparts in such psychological qualities as autonomy, spontaneity, orientation toward the present, and increased sensitivity to the value of the person. (Psychology Today, Vol. 8, No. 10 (March 1973), 27-33)

While gays and lesbians make up probably 4%–6% of the population, a study of the biographies of 1004 eminent people found 11% of them to be homosexual or bisexual, with certain categories higher: 24% of poets, 21% of fiction writers, and 15% of artists and musicians. (Myers, David, Sexual Orientation and Science” in LeDayne McLeese Polanski and Millard Eiland, Eds., Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth, The Alliance of Baptists and Baptist Peace Fellowship of North America, 172)

I personally believe we exist as a bridge between the male and the female, the bringing together of the sexes. And I believe because God is truly neither male, nor female we can express His whole nature made up of many facets. I have used the terms He, His and Him, but they are meant to be universal and unisex.

I am awed by the universe and its Creator, I am awed by its diversity and its magnificence and most of all I am grateful and awestruck to be a part of it. I am filled with joy that I have been given a true partner in my life to share it with, to love and be loved. Isn't that really what we were all created for? At last, I know I am wonderfully and fearfully made.
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