(hat tip to Peterson)
When I was young, in college, I was totally involved in the Jesus Movement. I was so happy to find other friends who believed TOTALLY in Jesus like I did. I got involved through those friends with a group known either as the Glory Barn or Faith Assembly (of near North Webster, Indiana). (Both titles are sometimes interchanged, but are actually separate groups with the same people in each one. I know that is confusing, but it verifies that I know what I'm talking about.)
What did I believe? Specifically, I want to share what I understood about communication between myself and God.
To start, I believed that God would speak to me, personally. Sometimes it occurred through the Bible. While reading ancient texts, I received personal messages that I accepted for my daily "walk." I also believed that God could speak to me through other people, as they "heard in their spirit" what God was leading - through personal "prophecy," or intuitive leanings. And most personally, I believed that if I prayed, God would lead me. I always knew that God would speak, if I listened, and answer my prayers. And once, I even knew that God told me, "You belong together," and I heard this in a real, audible voice.
Who was God speaking about? Well, I was praying about the love that had grown between me and a very special young man. I didn't want to keep building up my hopes for a future with him, if, in fact, it wasn't God's will that we should marry. And in my simple faith, I heard that voice. I always told others, because it was a great story, that I looked up through the leaves of a tree outside my window, and as the moonlight streamed in, all around me, I heard it. And I knew it was not the voice of either a man or a woman, but a strong, yet gentle, clear, voice from heaven. I knew I had a message of direction.
That was in July of 1974, and Ray and I were married in March of 1975.
For nearly 30 years I never doubted either the love or the direction that our lives had taken. And then Ray told me that he was gay. I've shared so much of that story, but I have not been able to share how much that affected my faith.
How do you deal with it when you realize that a cornerstone of your faith is shattered? I've said before that no word can describe how that felt. Not only was I doubting the love I'd always felt, but my very faith didn't even make sense. I'd heard God speak! I'd been taught that God never changes! I've been faithful to God, and I'd been taught that if you live for God, God honors that!
I went in mental circles trying to reason it out. For months I couldn't concentrate, and I even had trouble praying. Nothing added up any more to make a whole anything. And now, we were no longer going to be together! Didn't I always know that God had led me, led us? Not only was I having to face that it was better for Ray to leave, but the center of how I'd known God to lead me, was now broken. How could I possibly, ever, pray or believe? How could I possibly, ever, love?
Was it possible?
It was in my mind that I should run away. I tried to keep steady in day-to-day life. I had a lot of responsibilities, and I kept putting one thing ahead of me at a time. I was constantly re-organizing my self-concept, my beliefs, my view of how the world worked, and how God was or was not there for me in this troubled time. It took time - and I had help by things other people had written, said, and a very few, a small handful of friends.
And gradually I learned that I still had Ray. He had not changed, but he was finally open and honest with who he was and how God made him to be. In all, our love has not changed, and I thank Ray for that. Even though we divorced, I'd never have made it this far if it was not for him.
And I also couldn't get away from my faith in God. Despite a broken heart, a lost marriage, and the changes in EVERYTHING about my life, I still knew that for some reason, God really had spoken to me all those years ago, when I heard: You belong together. No, it's not the same, and it surely isn't what I expected when I first heard those words, but there's a purpose in what I do now. My faith is changed, and how I understand God's direction. I've been through the worst, and, thankfully, I still believe. There's been no damage just because I have questioned God. God is still leading and I'm re-building my faith.
When I watched this video that I found on Peterson Toscano's blog, I knew I wanted to share it. I've been where this composer wrote from, and from where the character sings...