Tending Fence

I enjoyed a quiet drive through the country today. One of most favorite things to do. I had my youngest daughter with me and I was pointing out different things and sharing some of my experiences growing up in the country. It wasn’t too long and she was engrossed in something on her phone, so I just moved to musing to myself.

I was struck by a particular sight that I’ve been mulling over. It seems like this was on my mind since the instant I saw it. A large acreage heavily fenced in…a well-worn path just inside the fence line obvious from daily trips tending to the fence…pastureland that has long passed from valuable and useful into a state of neglect and harboring weeds, thistles, saplings, and brush. A gently rolling landscape of what must have been, in the past, the pride and joy of someone…but has since devolved into just something ugly.

The thought came to me immediately that this is what has happened to the church in some places. So much attention has been paid to tending fence to keep in the flock and keep out the unwanted, that the vitality and beauty of the thing has turned ugly from neglect and distraction on lesser priorities. To the point that those who pass by have no interest of getting in any longer.

I remarked to my daughter that the owner needed to do some serious “brush hogging” and burning to save the value of his property.

Maybe God does, too.

In some places I’ve been told I’m not wanted, no longer valuable, not even to be a greeter or usher…certainly not to “minister” in any way. There have been times I’ve been tempted to just keep moving on and not give the church a second chance. But, I keep driving by, hoping against hope that one day I will find an open gate and a pastureland that is beautiful from its tending.

But, then again, I’m a country boy.

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The State of The Cocoon

My therapist told me that the more transparency I can have in my life, the happier I will be. I believe it. However, in my world, with my specific circumstances, it’s just not the best choice, either for me or for my family. I would experience more loss of close family than I care to deal with, and my wife and children would have to suffer multiple times more than they already do.

So, I continue to trust God for some kind of flourishing life within this cocoon…the shell that hides my straight acting, confident, hopeful, Christian, insecure, fearful, gay self.

It’s a place of safety. A place where I can hide, where all my stuff can be kept safely out of view of those who would never understand and who would wish me harm.

I work really hard at maintaining the shell’s strength and ensuring its integrity. But the tiniest fault line in this shell risks the oozing out of what I’ve kept so closely hidden for so long. I just can’t let that happen.

Except for the rare peek inside that I’ve allowed a few people to have, the cocoon remains intact.

I’m still here, alive and well…and doing a little better every day.

Thanks to the cocoon.

-Trevor

Clearing the air…kinda.

Today, I sent a FB message to those who I was pastoring when I screwed up. I admitted my sin and my failing. I admitted I failed them and God. I admitted that I really messed up the work God was doing through the efforts of our church plant. I admitted that I nearly lost my family in the process.

I asked for forgiveness.

It was therapeutic to my soul and mind. But more importantly, it was what God called me to do…sitting right there in church this morning.

Within just a few hours, I was overwhelmed by the outpouring of love and forgiveness in expressive and gritty-honest replies. It is an amazing spectical of grace, mercy, and love the likes of which I have rarely witnessed to this point in my life…second only to that of my wife.

I recieved forgiveness….again; because, to a person, they all stated that they had forgiven me at the very beginning.

Simply…amazing!

I have felt God’s presence in my life in special ways the last few weeks. The loving presence of my wife, children, and a community of faith are some powerful avenues through which I am experiencing the love and presence of my Heavenly Father.

Does that mean that “it” has gone away and that I’m now “fixed?” No.

It simply means that I’m finally reaching a place to understand that God loves me just the way I am and that He can give me strength to live my life in such a way that He is glorified and His Church is strengthened. I’m understanding that through the loving actions of my family and friends. Although most don’t know that I had a gay affair or that I secretly identify as a gay Christian man in a mixed-orientation marriage, those of them that do have had loving reactions just as those who don’t.

So, yeah. Today I cleared the air with some dear friends.

Kinda.

-Trevor

iRemain

A husband who gives all he has to show his loving wife just how much he loves, cherishes, and respects her.

A man who works tirelessly to learn more, embrace new challenges, take on the imperfect in order to be given the chance at higher positions for the good of those who depend on him.

A guy who believes in God and believes that He loves him. But, sometimes he feels like he is the black sheep of the family that no one wants to talk about, unless it is to simply point out all negative things.

A man who, in spite of his portrayed confidence, keeps deeply hidden a nearly overwhelming sense of self-doubt.

A guy who breathes and sees behind this mask known as “Trevor.”

A person who in some ways is much more transparent than ever before, and more secluded than ever in other ways.

A guy who is intelligent, funny, personable, caring, selfless, and determined.

And yet…

Sorrow swallows my memories

Loneliness devours my peace

Depression taints my dreams

Hopelessness envelopes my passions

Countless flaws seemingly outnumber attributes

Still, I will…

Love

Live

Give

Dream

In the cocoon, in my own way, in His time…

I remain.

-Trevor

Show Me What I Don’t Know

I get it.

I am a sinner. I have failed. I have miserably failed. I have broken promises. I have demolished covenant. I have undervalued love. I have stretched patience. I have assumed upon grace. I have presumed upon mercy.

You think I’m a mess. You tell me that frequently. So, you try to fix me, to redefine me, to rebirth me, to re-conceive me, to re-imagine me.

You preach about me. You lecture about me. You write about me.

You protest against me. You wish to isolate me. You want to banish me. You dream of imprisoning me.

You compare me to the worst of humanity’s evilness.

I get it. You don’t think much of me.

At least, that’s the message I’m receiving.

I know you say you are doing all that “in love.” I know that you say “loving the sinner, but hating the sin.”

You wanna know something?

I’m not buying it.

Because all your damned bluster sounds more like “hating the sinner” than anything else.

And…I’m not really getting that you “love the sinner” anywhere in all that. You say that you love me, but I’m not getting that at all. I, in fact, do not know that you love me.

I’m wondering, instead of telling me something that I don’t know, would you…could you…show me what I don’t know?

If you believe so strongly that Jesus is with you always and that His love is more powerful than any other force known to man, and you want me to experience His love, then why don’t you just show me?

Why are you so afraid of me and those like me? Why must you insist on speaking only about us, and not engaging us eye-to-eye?

Why must I always be kept at arms length, doubted and feared?

Why must my sexual habits be more important to you for defining my relationship with God than the testosterone-driven – and straight – male?

Why are the rules so exclusively and unequally harsh for me?

I suspect that the reason is that you simply don’t know me. You haven’t spent time with me. You haven’t asked me questions. You haven’t listened to my testimony of faith. You haven’t put your arm around me. You haven’t looked me in the eye.

You haven’t experienced my heart.

But, if you want me to really know that you love me, then that’s what you are going to have to do.

Show me.

-Trevor