I remember sitting at Fazoli’s alone one evening when I was 17, eating breadsticks and writing in my journal about the ocean. A baby Christian and a typical teenager, I was convinced that being near the ocean would cure the place in my heart that craved something much deeper than Indiana had to offer me.
When my parents dropped me off at Palm Beach Atlantic College, a small Christian College in West Palm Beach, Fla., I had never visited the school, let alone been to southern Florida. I was up to my eyeballs in the ocean and palm trees; I was also up to my eyeballs in tan Malibu Barbie look-alikes (of whom I am not) and big buff guys (of whom I have never been a fan). I was lonely, scared and suddenly in desperate need of anyone who would give me attention. I may have even gone for a big buff Florida guy, if that was who came along. Instead, my ache was temporarily relieved buy a girl whom everyone called Molly.
Molly was unlike anyone I had ever met. She wasn’t punk or hippie or part of any one “category.” In what seemed to me as extreme eccentricity, she chose a little of everything. She was always telling jokes, always talking about Jesus and almost always making anyone and everyone feel “special.” While none of these was my forte, as I got to know Molly, I realized we had several things in common. What I didn’t realize was that we were both very needy and that we both had a strong co-dependent nature, the kind that plays on one another’s weaknesses. What we thought was a great friendship, aside from some weird jealousies and strange tensions, eventually spiraled into a lesbian relationship.
So there we were, a year after our friendship had begun, me back in Indiana and her still in West Palm Beach. A lot had happened in that year. Our friendship had gone from praying and reading the Bible together to a physical relationship and all night conversations on the phone, conversations that were of no spiritual value. While separated by miles, we were still intertwined in each other, lost somewhere between our flesh and reality, somewhere between freedom and slavery. We craved one another like a pregnant woman craves ice cream. Yet I had a deeper craving for a right relationship with God. I craved a life free from the bondage I felt after every fall with Molly.
Four years, a husband and a baby later, there is a mystery to my former relationship with Molly that still remains. I have read insightful books and attended a Christian support group for those who are dealing with sexual struggles. While these were all helpful in my healing process, I know only two things to be true. The first is that no one can replace the desperate need we all have for God. In my loneliest state, I had two options, God and man. I chose the comfort of a human. I chose to put Molly above everything else in my life.
I have this memory that has since become a word picture of all the confusion of my freshman year of college. I was sitting on the floor in my dorm room, crying. Molly was knocking at the door, hoping to comfort me. God was knocking at my heart, wanting to do the same. I opened the door of my dorm room. I let her in. I shut God out. I continued to be disappointed, jealous and angry, all because this mere human, whom I had begun to idolize, was not meeting all of my needs. She never did, and no one ever will. If it were the case, Jesus would not have said that He would send the Comforter, the Holy Spirit. Instead, He would have said, “I will send the Comforter, Molly … or whoever.”
The second thing I know to be true is that God loved me in the midst of my sin with Molly. This is the one and only reason that I was and still am, by His grace, able to truly say goodbye to Molly forever, or until God would have us meet again. If God had gotten angry and impatient with me, as did several of my close Christian sisters, I would have lost the battle and would most likely be living a lesbian lifestyle to this day. But He is patient and kind.
100 Portraits sings this song (it played in my wedding celebration two years ago) that says, When you found me hiding out, I thought you would take a hammer to my brow. But you pushed away the crowd and cried and pressed your lips against my head. The song goes on to say, When you found me I could not lift my head to pray. So ashamed, I could not look you in the eyes. That’s when you reached down and held my heart, my hand, and drew me close, kissed me on my face and called me your own.
Indeed, He calls us His own. Despite my blatant sin against Him, Jesus never stopped loving me. He never stopped showing me grace, though He knew I would fall the next moment. Oh, the goodness of following Him. I will never offer someone who is battling homosexual thoughts, feelings and/or actions anything but His love and everlasting mercy. Nothing this side of heaven stands up to it. Books are great. Classes and support groups are helpful. But it is His kindness, love and mercy that lead us into true repentance and healing.