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I have entered the season of Lent. We observe Lent in many different ways within the YOB community, depending on our observances to the liturgical calendar and whether our denominations are liturgically focused. Whether you are or aren't Lent-observant, this season presents an opportunity to deepen our relationships with God and others, especially family and those close to us.
I had sex for the first time on May 3, 1979. Funny how you always remember your first. It was with my sister's best friend. I was 17; she was 16. Everyone in the neighborhood swore we were already having sex, but we weren't. I really wasn't interested in her or any other girl for that matter; even if I was, I wouldn't have known what to do anyway.
It was so fulfilling to feel James' love and trust in a very solid friendship. A friendship that has been forged in the fires of pain and difficulty, but even more so in the joys and triumphs of accomplishing some of God's purposes for our lives. I know I wouldn't be the man I am today without James' influence. He has helped me change the way I live, from being a victim to becoming a victor.
As a Side B Christian, it's obvious that I am attracted to other dudes; trust me, I wish it weren't so. As I consider my attractions to other men, what isn't so obvious is the fact that it's not always sexual. Of course, I do have sexual feelings toward other men, but that's only part of the story.
All I wanted was to live a fantasy every weekend: to believe that some man wanted me. That he loved me just so I could take my mind off all the negative things I felt about myself. After 29 years of living that life and never once finding happiness or love, God in His own way brought me back to Him and the church. However, I also started experiencing added health issues.
After a significantly hurtful breakup, I questioned my own sexuality for the first time, even if for a blip in time before getting back to work. While almost my entire existence as a woman was sexualized, I still had no space to think of myself as a sexual being. I continued to do inner work in other areas and did a spectacular job hiding behind a door I kept closed. I had dinner with a friend one day, and out of nowhere he mentioned something about Your Other Brothers. We had never discussed issues of sexuality together, and regardless of his intention, God was working. He suggested I check out YOB's podcast on the way home, and I did, and I got hooked.
I board my first plane with another YOBBER, North Carolina-bound from Houston. I know exactly where I’m going, yet it is a new adventure all the same. Perhaps I should say, "I know what to expect where I’m going." Memories of the previous year’s YOB camp retreat replay in my head -- more static around the details than there used to be, though the feelings surrounding them remain unchanged. Chaotic. Flabbergasted. Humbled. Healed. I have to pull myself back to the present and prepare my heart for what may be a whole new set of feelings this year. I have to prepare my heart for growth.