My name is Nick. I am a Christian. I am gay. For some these two identifiers cannot be used together. From my study and understanding of God's enormous love, they most certainly can and whoever you are, you are embraced by God's loving nature. This is a brief snap-shot of my everyday life into a journey of grace.
I had good parents. My dad was a military guy and my mom a WWII bride from England. My parents divorced when I was 11, as for me, I stayed with my Mom for the school year, and then in the summer with my Dad, wherever he was stationed.
My earliest recollection of my Spiritual journey begins when I was about 12, we were visiting my Aunt. She asked if I would attend Church with her. My response was “No thanks, I really don’t have a need for God.” She was shocked yet gracious, I have no doubt that she was in prayer for me from that moment. I remember this comment in very vivid detail, where we were standing, what the day was like, what we were doing…as this comment was to set in motion a very long and painful life transformation.
During grammar school I knew that something was really different with my sexuality. I wasn’t sure what it was but I know that I didn’t think the same as other girls. I tried so hard to ignore these feelings, so I just chose not to do the social things expected of me at the time.
High school became a nightmare as my sexuality became even more defined and even harder to ignore my struggle to fit in to what was expected as the ‘norm’. A friend asked me to go to Church with her, I accepted rather reluctantly and not for the reason I should have. I liked being around her happiness and zest for life but not so much the Church thing. Even though I went to Church I still could not confide in anyone about my sexual confusion. I was a piece of work in high school, graduating with a fantastic GPA of 1.67. A teacher was quick to point out that I would amount to nothing, going nowhere in life. Planting these harmful seeds of damaging thought, I almost lived up to these words that had been spoken over me but God had bigger plans.
I was still denying who I was sexually as these were the 60’s, there was no way I could talk to anyone about what I was feeling…again, I pushed down these crazy desires that I would rather have a relationship with a woman than a man. I was a baptized Christian, how could I even think of being a “sinful” gay woman?
At 18, I married as this was expected for me at the time, a woman married a man, that’s the way it was. This began the darkest time of my life.I felt trapped, trapped in world that was not of my choosing. Trapped in a body of sexual orientation that was creating a great deal of disorder. I felt trapped in a relationship that was damaging to two young people. Trapped in Spiritual void that I didn’t even know existed. I turned to drugs. My sense of relief was overwhelming. At the time drugs made it easy for me to remain in a surreal state of mind. I really don’t remember a lot of this time but I do remember that my life was spiraling out of control. My life, filled with hate, anger, distrust, self-loathing, violence, and drugs.
The drugs were killing me and I knew at that point, I would soon be dead. I cried out to God, “If You are real, if You really do exist, help me.” I remember laying there, literally in a gutter, in such despair and yet feeling a peace that I had never felt before, wash over me. Not that there was a burst of light and I saw Jesus face to face, just a calming peace. I was set free that day, even though dirty and lying in a gutter, I came to my life’s beginning. From that point, I never took another drug and I completely separated myself from the gang. I just walked away. How could I have done this without Christ’s strength?
How cool it would be if I said that Jesus cleansed me from myself that day and that I have never had another struggle. How unrealistic is that? I was still married, I was still in a sexual dilemma, I was still carrying around my suitcases of self loathing, conflict and despair. And yet I was free. That part I knew, not really sure what that meant, but I was free.
After years of turmoil and struggle, my husband and I divorced. Such pain we inflicted on each other. The knowledge that we were destroying each other with cruel words and disdain led us finally to release and divorce.
I came to Colorado to live with family and was asked once again to attend church. This time I accepted for the right reason, I wanted to get to know this God who has been just a figurehead to me until this point. I learned to play the guitar and found worship music was to become my new and lasting love. And still I was unable to speak of my sexuality.
With my past schooling deep embedded in my memory, I reluctantly went to Colorado Christian University and enrolled in one music class. I found that I was actually good in school when I applied myself and had a passion for what I was learning. I had found my niche; I loved school, got a job teaching biology labs and found that I had a passion for teaching as well. God had restored to me a self-worth that I didn’t’ know I had.
My life seemed very full at the time but God was about ready to do another shake up. All these years of denying my sexuality was about ready to spring forth. One day in a lonely state of mind, I met someone on the internet. In a lesbian chat room! Right away, she stated she was gay and that she had pretty much always known that. I was shocked and waited for the lightening to come down a strike me. I was in denial that this could be me; the Scripture said homosexuality is a sin, right? How could I have feelings for another woman and be a Christian? I asked God to take these feelings away from me, cleanse me, and keep me from this possible relationship. Was I gay? I had a fire in me to discover for myself what the Bible really says about homosexuality. I studied for hours what the Scriptures said in context with the entire chapter(s), not just one verse; I studied the history, the culture, the words themselves. I found that for me, the Bible does not say that being gay is a sin, the Bible says that God loves me just as He created me. I finally accepted that I am gay. With that revelation, I am truly and deeply free to be me, as God created. My relationship grew with my future wife to be, and we were married in 2007 in a church that was accepting and loving as our God. We began our music ministry, as God led us to many different churches and places to share in His worship and love of all people. My love for God’s music has been such a deep part of my life for over 35 years. We share that love in teaching seminars with worship leaders throughout the church world.
Yet God is never really finished with us. My wife encouraged me to seek ordination as a Pastor in a non-denomination Church. I did so and continued with even more education completing my Dmin in 2016.
My spiritual journey has been one of overcoming with God’s help. How I would love to share with my Aunt how her question began my life journey. I will one day.
I have learned that we have to keep on asking, keep on inviting, keep on praying for those that God places on our heart. I remain in study in the Word to gain insight for His wisdom. I seek solid, Christian resources for our questioning world and anyone seeking their own path in this life. My desire is for others to have a dynamic relationship with the Lord of Life, Jesus.
I am embarking on the next part of my journey now. I have faced the challenges of my past and accepted who I am in Christ. I have found that I love sharing the Word in study, I have a deep passion for sharing the love of Jesus and life lessons in testimony and messages of hope. My desire is to tell others that Jesus loves them just as they are. I have had the opportunity share our life and story with other Churches, to the hope of building bridges that all are accepted into God’s house. There is no need to feel lost or alone or there is no hope. Before a decision is made out of hurt or despair, I want to introduce others to a Jesus who is love, who is patient, who is accepting. A God who saved this person from a life of giants shouting taunts of hopelessness; removed me from the deep sinking sands of geoducks where I had chosen to hide and introduced them to a life filled with love, acceptance and of amazing grace.
“And after you suffer for a short time, God, who gives all grace, will make everything right. He will make you strong and support you and keep you from falling. He called you to share in His glory in Christ, a glory that will continue forever.” 1 Peter 5:10 (NCV).
I encourage you to share your story, where ever you might be in your journey. I am here to listen.
Why giants, grace and geoducks? Weird, right? Giants were an obvious for me. There are so many giants in just everyday living. Relationships that turn on us, finances that consumes us, lost dreams that elude us, trust broken and words that taunt us. Geoducks (pronounced gooey ducks), yes they are real, check them out. Geoducks are large clams native to the Pacific Northwest. They grow to an impressive size and have some characteristics that are quite like some human behavior. I will share my thoughts on that one a bit later.
I put grace in the middle of the title of this blog because it is really God's grace that embraces us and leads us to the place of peace, hope and love. This is what gets us victory over giants.
My purpose of this blog is to write and share some of my own thoughts, struggles and victories as I navigate through this amazing journey called life. I am hoping that you will feel free to share some of your own thoughts and adventures. After all it is in the sharing that we connect with each other and learn from sharing hope and grace. This sharing is not meant to judge or preach, just a place where we can share thoughts in a safe and conversational venue. This is my introduction. I have to think about how I am going to begin this conversation with you as putting myself out here for all the world to see is a bit scary. But this fear is my giant, I am being challenged to come out of my safe geoduck shell and step into grace as I am encouraging you to do as well. Tomorrow I will begin. I'm off to pray about this.