Blue has never been bluer

I think she's singing as if she were dead, safe at last in Jesus' arms. But to me the lyrics sing my life story. The life I've lived - the secret parts, the public parts, the painful and the joyful.

All you saw was pain
All you saw was rain
But you should see me now
Moments filled with tears
Lasted all those years
Disappeared somehow
You never said goodbye
On your knees you cry
You're still asking why, but

Blue has never been bluer
True has never been truer
Honey never tasted so sweet
There's a song in the breeze
A million voices in praise
A rose has never smelled redder
The sun has never been brighter
If I could find the right words to say
If you could look at my face
If you could just see this place
You wouldn't cry for me today

What you think you see
Isn't really me
I'm already home
You've got to lay it down
'Cause Jesus holds me now
And I am not alone
Your faith is wearing thin
But I am watching Him
And He's holding you too
~You Wouldn't Cry, Mandisa~

We humans are really good at hiding things. I lived a double life for many years. My family/church/social life, and the hidden underbelly of lesbianism deep under the covers of fear, shame, and anguish. I had one long heart-breaking relationship, one shorter one. Lots of fall-out damage to other friends as I retreated to the peace of a fantasy world where everything was under my control. I was safe. Sometimes I told it like it was my real life. The twisted world where I had to juggle the fantasy life I told one friend with how I was actually living and then how I wanted to be was murky dark and I was the sleepless sentinel praying I wouldn't be found out.

Because I was abused by a woman (just for the record, NOT a family member), something went haywire. I admit my own culpability in my sexual forays as a college student, but it started there, a baby seed that I later tended and watered as a teenager deep in fantasy life.

I didn't get found out by anyone.

My secret would be completely safe and go with me to the grave if I weren't talking about it now. 

I believe there are other people like me, hiding on the outskirts of church life, wondering where they fit, especially sexually. What is a homosexual person to do? I had never met a Christian homosexual until I was on a mission trip in 2000. A man with his toenails painted. I asked him about it and he told me about his struggle to stay celibate as a man with same-sex orientation. (Which was a bummer, because I was actually looking at him as possible boyfriend material, as I desperately wanted to be straight.)

The most amazing part of this life story God is weaving is that He never left me. Not when I was drunk. Not when I was chain smoking. Not when I slashed my wrists as a junior in college. Not when I abandoned family so I could live my lie. Not when I hurt the very people I loved the most. Not when I thought there was not one good thing left in my soul, when I looked at myself as the branch that doesn't produce and is cut off (John 15). But somehow from the root of that tree of faith I had slashed at with my machete of anger and sawed away with my river of pain, took the hatchet of sin, and destroyed the trunk - somehow there was green still growing up from that battered trunk. I wonder how many of us live like this - a bush that might have been a mighty tree. Or does He restore us completely, and we become the oaks of righteousness in all their majesty even after the unspeakable vile of our sin (Isaiah 61:3)?

How many times I flayed open my heart and begged the Lord to take me home. How many more times did my pillow hold so many tears it was still wet in the morning, begging Him to help me out of this lifestyle. I longed to be something other than what I felt. For me, He sent rescue - a husband who satisfies me more deeply than I will ever be able to put into words. When I lived the lesbian lifestyle, I was like a bucket dried out in the salty California sun. When He sent me Aaron, it was like the miracle of water rushing from rock - beyond belief, sudden relief, I was lifted out of that life and into another. Even my husband didn't learn the truth about my past for a long, long time.

When you are afraid of your secrets, they're all that matter.

When you confess your sin to the community of faith, you walk free of the shackles you fastened on your own two feet.

If you were one of the women I hurt with my twisted sexuality, this is my abject apology.

If you were one of the friends who went through emotional rollercoasters that didn't even exist in real life, the friends I told my fantasies too, this is both my explanation and my confession.

I don't know if you heard the news, but since December I'm slowly walking into freedom. And it is an amazing place. 
This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin. If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word is not in us. (I John 1:5-10)
Compared to the explosive beauty of justification (getting save), the slow tide, receding and surging, sanctification is like the ugly aunt no one admits being related to. It is the everyday truth of inevitable failure and unreasonable obedience dead-locked in a battle for your soul, for the rest of your life. Looking back, I see the little streaks of spiritual growth, the constant longing to be closer to God, and the abhorrence I had for myself. I was walking in darkness and not living out the truth. But I did continually, hourly confess. And in that hour, He heard me, washed me clean, and made me blossom in the desert. For I am His, claimed for eternity, dearly, passionately loved and cared for.

Praise to the Lord, our chains are gone
Can’t help but sing our freedom song
Praise to the Lord, our chains are gone
Can’t help but sing our freedom …

Can anybody hear me?
Does anybody know what I’m talking about?
When you’ve been delivered like that

You’ve got to shout it out
Lift your hands up in the air
Shout Hallelujah
Lift your hands up in the air
I have been set free
~Mandisa, Freedom Song~