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Do Not Be Frightened!

“Who is going to harm you if you are eager to do good? But even if you suffer for what is right, you are blessed. ‘Do not fear what they fear; do not be frightened.’ But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander.” 1 Peter 3:13-16

I’m scared. Terrified, really. My book is on the path to publication and it won’t be long until my private life and thoughts will be splashed before everyone I know and many I don’t. Searching for Love: One Woman’s Spiritual Journey through Same-Sex Attraction. Why have I agreed to publish it if I’m so afraid? I want others to know what God can do, that he is just as real and powerful today as he was two thousand years ago and that he is still in the people-changing business. What he has done for me, he can do for you. There is nothing in our lives that grips us so powerfully that God cannot loosen the grip and set us free—free to say no to those things which have held us in bondage for far too long.

So why am I afraid? There are many who have nothing but aversion to anyone and everyone connected to homosexuality. When those in this group who know me learn about my past, will they turn away from me with distaste and abhorrence? Rejection hurts and I don’t particularly like pain. There are others who see any suggestion that homosexuality is other than the best for those with such inclinations as homophobic and hateful. And so I am scared.

“Who is going to harm you if you are eager to do good? But even if you suffer for what is right, you are blessed. ‘Do not fear what they fear; do not be frightened.’” It is right for me to share what God has done for me. In truth, I cannot be silent. I must share his goodness with others. What if I’m faced with rejection and hatred? Peter says that if I suffer for what is right, I am blessed. Do not fear. Do not be frightened. That’s a hard command to obey. Fear rises, unbidden.

"In your hearts set apart Christ as Lord." Is that the answer to my fear? Can I be like Shadrach, Meshach and Abednigo who said, "Our God can and will save us from the fiery furnace but even if he doesn't, we willingly go to our death, rather than disobey him"? (Daniel 3) Can I have that kind of confidence in my Lord or does fear have a greater hold on my heart than Jesus?

Keep "a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behaviour in Christ may be ashamed of their slander." My fear, in essence, is of malicious slander, of those who will turn or speak against me. Do I allow that to stop me or am I so convinced that God's story in my life needs to be told that I will tell it despite fearful possibilities?

Father, fear overwhelms me at times but you tell me not to fear. Please enable me to obey you despite how I feel. Give me the courage to do what is right, even when it will result in pain.


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In My Prayer Room

Oh God
You surround me with your love,
with memories
of who you are
of what you've done
of promises you've made
of who I want to be
of who I am because of you.

You give me hope and joy,
peace and gratitude.
You convict me
and teach me
encourage me
and remind me
of what it means to follow you.

You listen to my prayers
and grant my requests
in your time.
You give me insight
and knowledge
and words to write
to share your presence
your goodness
your love
your admonition
with others.

You expand my love
to pray for friend and foe
near and far
family and stranger
people as pins on maps
clustered and scattered
who know you and reject you
for those in need
and those too full to need.

You draw me close
and then release me
to bring you close to others
to serve
and love
and give
all I have received.

You fill my heart with joy
that warms
and glows
and bursts
into laughter,
and even dance.

You wrap me in your arms
and tell me
"You are mine"
with intensity that burns
and smoul…