In Restored to What? I said we would take a closer look at the act of restoration. I went on to say, “What I came to recognize was that my personhood and identity had been buried beneath my sexual identity as a lesbian. I saw that my personhood and true identity needed to be unearthed, reclaimed, and restored back from the miry effects of the fall and sin into the original integrity and beauty that God intended me to reflect to the world around me. Foremost, it was how I viewed myself that needed to be restored. In addition, how I viewed both men and women needed to be restored.”
From personal experience I can say restoration is a process. In many ways, my life had to be stripped down to the core and rebuilt from the frame up. My framework needed to be rebuilt relationally with both men and women. As I have stated in the past, my belief was that both men and women only wanted to use and abuse me. I lived life in a state of relational hyper-vigilance, especially when it came to Christian people. My friend Mary DeMuth says, “If you have been hurt by the church then God will heal you through the church.” That has been true for me.
God began to bring both men and women who were Christians into my life. They were people of character and compassion. They treated me with dignity and respect. Gently they inserted themselves into my day-to-day life. The guys would do little things like be available to unload a carload of groceries for a food pantry I served at, or open doors for me. They offered warm gentle hugs. The men I became close to were sensitive-souled in nature and had never identified as gay. The women who befriended me were respectful and exercised great boundaries. Equally important, they were not overbearing girly-girls, but loved sports and the outdoors as much as I did. Yet they displayed an inner feminine beauty and they were not lesbians, but ever-straight women. They were confident of who they were, gentle in spirit with a great sense of humor. These interactions over time debunked many of my perceptions about masculinity and femininity. The best part of these relationships is that these folks weren’t intimidated by me or where I came from. They genuinely accepted me just as I was without forcing me to be someone I was not. These relationships were not self-focused or self-seeking.
My biggest discovery has been that healing comes in the context of community and learning to engage in relationships with people through boundaries, mutual respect and care for one another. . . by being transparent with one another and in general walking through life together. . . where the focus is one central purpose, and that is to know Jesus and to make Him known to others.
The distorted lens through which I saw men and women was being restored to an internal 20/20 vision of who I am: that my identity is not based in my sexuality or gender, but rather in my relationship with Jesus. I will not reach complete healing this side of eternity, but I can walk in increasing relational health and become who God has created me to be—a child of God, a woman made in His image. Today I recognize that people are fallen and broken and relate to others out of their brokenness. Equally important is that God has healed me to a place where I can treat others with value, dignity, and respect. He has brought me to the awareness that I can be an image bearer of the One who created me and reflect Him to others. I now realize that I must embrace Christ’s call to become transformed and remade from within in my thinking and motivation for living.
Thanks for following my journey.