Thursday, June 1, 2017

Blooming Where I Didn’t Want To Be Planted

The Christian mountaintop experience. That's where I lived out the first few years of my faith journey.

As a new Christian, I was on fire for the Lord. I volunteered on two mission trips. I was involved in Church ministry. I worked hard to flourish and strive in the church that I regularly attended.

But I became an “attention junky" and wanted my works to be noticed by others. After all, I was a people pleaser by nature, and people pleasers don't know how to say no. They just know how to please, right?

Then, bang!  Life as I knew it came crashing down. My Christian daughter had come out gay. I now no longer wanted to be noticed by others; I wanted to, instead, run and hide from them.

So, I fell off the mountaintop and spiraled down into a dark, lonely valley, where I wandered aimlessly for a couple of years, engulfed in shame and guilt. I became envious of what other families had. I threw pity parties to God, about the soil He had now planted me on. I’d show up to church, and when others asked how I was doing, I’d put on my fake smile and say, "Oh, I am doing great!" All the while I felt spiritually barren inside.

But then, one day, something happened to change the course of my life. Maybe God had gotten tired of my whining. Because as I laid there on my bedroom floor, crying out to Him to change my daughter, a calm, still voice whispered into my spirit: "Maybe it's you who needs to change." I was startled by this revelation. I hadn't taken the time to look deep within, to reconnect with God, because I was too busy complaining about my circumstances. But this rekindling of spirit gave me the insight to not only reassess my path but to look at life from a new perspective, in which, I found myself at a spiritual crossroad.

"Don't take the road to the left. It's the wide path of destruction," some warned. "Take the road to the right. It's the narrow path to righteousness." What they were saying was that if I embraced the true identity of my daughter, I would lose the sanctity of God.

But God, surprisingly, led me straight through the crossroad, on a lesser-known path. A route that taught me about the humbleness of treating others as I would want to be treated. And in doing so, I began to bloom where I didn't want to be planted.

In this season of blooming, I experienced, what I call, a “spiritual growth spurt." You see, God couldn't teach me what I needed to know on the mountaintop. For two reasons: (1) I had become too proud of what I knew. (2) I cared more about what others thought of me than what God thought of me.

God's grace brought me through the valley, intact. He taught me that, in life, even if the road is lonely, we are never truly alone with Him.

Today I am less judgmental and more inclusive. I no longer moan and groan about my daughter's sexual orientation. In fact, I see my gay child as a gift, a gift that has taught me so much about life, about myself, and about others.

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