|Yahweh In the Midst of It All|
By Ladonna G.
Oh boy! we were all going to see the new dam the beavers built! That's when they, all my boy cousins, turned around and looked at me, "You can't come, you're a girl." I went crying to mom who affirmed their declaration. "They are doing boy things, you can't do them, you're not a boy". My five year mind could not grasp that difference; I cried and felt very left out...
I don't remember exactly the reason why I got into trouble that seventh grade day; I only remember feeling completely embarrassed. I knew if I prayed hard enough that God would make me invisible and I would not have to feel so exposed. Of course that didn't happen, I was still there in that classroom. It wasn't God's fault I was still visible; it was mine for not having enough faith... "For your penance you shall say four Hail Mary's and one Our Father", the priest told me as I got up from my weekly confession. I walked over to the statue of the Blessed Virgin and dutifully said my penance. "You know, Mary, I can't be like you. I'm not perfect, even if I've been named after you. I'm going to disappoint your son and my parents."
There were nights my freshman and sophomore years in high school where I would be suddenly awakened to horrible black all consuming terrors. No amount of talking myself out of them would help. "This is what hell must be like," I thought, "all black and empty and forever". I didn't want to go there, but I didn't know what to do about it... I stood on the balcony of the second floor of the catholic school I looked out over the girls walking with their boy friends and wishing I was that boy friend. Why was I made a girl? In my fantasies I was that boy; his name was Don. That was ok, I think...
I was babysitting one night. The kids were put to bed and I stewed over my spiritual fate. I had been arguing with my best friend about what it meant to be a believer in Christ. The obvious answer was the Catholic way. But this night I was not so sure. I needed to know what this born again thing was. Cheryl walked me through the evangelical routine, and with great struggle I "accepted the Lord" that February in 1972. I had promised God that I would always follow him. I didn't feel much different, just peaceful. The black night terrors went away.
We were marching in smart naval column formation in that Orlando humidity when I noticed her. She was in a different company marching in the opposite direction. Too bad I'll never get to meet her, I thought...
I met Ben at photographic school in Pensacola Florida. He renewed his commitment to the Lord through me and we got engaged. God told us to... My parents were furious. He went one way and I went to Hawaii. We promised to get married when parents calmed down and we could get stationed together. I was on the third floor of the Pearl Harbor naval barracks when I saw her! The girl I saw in boot camp. My first infatuation and the beginning of my confusion. I shared the gospel with her that year. She said she couldn't accept the Lord because God would not accept her. She never told me why. I loved her and wanted her to find peace.
The long distance phone call came from him, "We can get married now. I worked it out so we can be stationed together." My heart sank. I didn't want to anymore, but I knew it was "God's will". I loved her not him. My dread began and I stuffed my real love. I'll learn to love him... "What's the matter with you? Are you gay?", he said as we lay in bed. Maybe he's right, maybe I am, so I ran away to some friends; a gay couple. I told them my woes and they gave me the "test". "No question about it, Ladonna, you're gay." I made my decision, leave Ben, declare to God that God was going to have to love me in spite of me.
I worked it out so that the Navy restationed me. I threw out everything I knew about God... renigged on my promise to God, and partied. I was gay. God did not throw me out even though I thought He had. He reminded me of His presence when my first love was introduced to me. I found myself, much to my consternation, witnessing the love of God to her even when I did not want to believe it myself. She became my first lover and again I was confused. "Why do I feel so clean and right in her arms? Why couldn't I have this with Ben?" I woke up in a sweat. Not a night terror, but a night mare. The door to God was shutting. I was in the dark and the door was shutting to the brilliant light on the other side. Half way the first time. I analyzed it. I'm ok. I didn't change. The second, third, fourth time the door closed a little more. The last time there was no light left, but the door didn't click shut. I thought to myself, the gay life hasn't hurt me why should I change, I can live without God... ...But I couldn't... I confessed my homosexual sin and came back to God. The door flew wide open!
Standing before the 1977 Presbyterian task force on ordination of homosexuals, I spoke out against ordination. Homosexuality was sin and folks were capable of being healed from it. I spent the next five years with Love in Action proclaiming that message. Six years after separating I reconciled with my husband, and during ten years of marriage I suppressed my gay thoughts. Dessiree was born and I was a mom, I was healed and proud of it! As I studied for my master's in missiology, I met a classmate and we became very good friends and started ministering together. God was with our ministry and we both were growing in God and in love. "Lord, I must obey you in all facets of my life. Teach me obedience. Teach me complete trust. Teach me surrender."
That's when life fell apart. I fell in love with my friend.
Our church separated us and she never spoke to me again. I hit the bottom of despair and abandonment. There Jesus catapulted with me through the blackness screaming at the top of his lungs, "My God, My god why have you forsaken me." It was there with Christ I found a very personal peace and courage. In the dark, on the swing I prayed, "Lord I am too tired and too old to fight being lesbian. I am not healed; I will always be gay."
I struggled as I swung back and forth with my marriage of 18 years, the raising of my 8 year old daughter and my gayness. What was the best thing to do? Shall I leave Ben and take Dessiree or shall I stay in agony and raise her in my despair? I chose to leave. "Lord I promise that I will not forsake you this time and I will make sure that Dessiree knows who you are at all times. I'm gay and I know you love me." Joy and anticipation welled up inside! "Oh Lord", I cried, "I cannot serve you alone. I need a mate. Even if this request is amiss I still petition you from the bottom of my heart. Send me my life mate, a women to share in Your joy with, one who will love my daughter as much as I." I spent the evening pleading and presenting my check list for a mate before him.
A flyer was handed to me. It said, "Evangelizing the Lesbian Community, What is our role?" Evangelicals Concerned Women's Rap, April 9, 1994. I was suspicious; could this be true? My friend encouraged me to go. I went with my list of spiritual clo's that would tell me if this place was filled with God. I was met with acceptance, I was met with concern, and most of all I was met with liberation and integration. Yes, in an instant as we closed in prayer I was born again, alive in Jesus the risen lord! What I had struggled with for all of my adult life became sure in a blink of an eye. I was at peace with my lesbianism. Out of that knowing came my life mate for which I had pleaded. Truly amazing! Truly joyful! Truly complete! "So God, how is it I now still struggle? I still don't feel sure of me." I have often pleaded to Him, but this I do know: that it in the struggle, I am loved no matter what. Ladonna Green lives in San Diego with her spouse Pat and fifteen year old daughter. They host our EC San Diego bible study in their home.