I lived with discontent and fear for many years. I was a pastor in a conservative Christian denomination, the Seventh-day Adventist church. Despite doing my best to do and live in harmony with my beliefs and this community, I couldn’t ignore that something wasn’t adding up. In my moments of doubt and spiritual crisis, the one and only thing that has ever brought me back to faith has been the boundless and sacrificial love of Jesus. It’s not just the love that was coming my way, but the love that characterizes God. I have never been able to escape the conviction that sacrificial love is at the center of the truth of the universe. I am forever captivated by this love.
My discontent also came from the awareness that my own sexuality was not what my church told me it should be. Being a woman who is attracted to women is not for me an experience of being carried away with lust, it is the experience of being able to see love in a different way and a different place, but the love was not different. As hard as I tried, there was something in the back of my mind telling me that love between women is beautiful. However, the church brought me nothing but shame. I knew I had to hide my feelings. I knew I had to find a way to believe what I was supposed to believe, what I thought the Bible taught, and what I needed to believe in order to hold onto everything in life I held dear.
One day, I became unable to manage the dissatisfaction and dissonance I lived with. I began to read, study, and open myself up to the will of God in a way I never had before. Finally I was ready to hear. I was ready to understand.
Jesus tells a parable about a man who goes into a field and finds there a valuable pearl that someone had buried. He immediately goes away from that place and sells every single thing he has to buy that pearl. The treasure God gave me was not only the knowledge that my sexuality is holy, but that God is much better than I could have imagined. Instead of ordering and ranking his creation, instead of depriving some of love because they don’t fit the right boxes, God is for love. God is pleased by Love. God is Love.
In the parable, after finding the pearl, the man went and sold everything he had to buy the field. The part that has always struck me is that Jesus described him as selling all his things “in his joy.” That’s the miracle that God has performed in my life. I have found more joy than I imagined someone like me could know. Yes, I sold it all when I came out as a bisexual woman. The job, the community, and the security are gone. My new life may not have security like the old one does, but I have joy. The dissonance is gone, the fear is gone, and in their place is peaceful knowledge that God is better than I ever dared imagine.
Now I’m in the business of sharing this vision of God, and helping others to reconcile their faith and teachings about queer sexuality. Let me know if I can help. You can send me your questions in the top right corner, and I would love to hear your stories as well.