under Secret Stories, Written on July 14, 2012

From Hope (found here)

Names are in can be a powerful force in our lives. So are the labels that others assign to us or we embrace ourselves.

For instance my name is Hope Harris; however Hope is not my given name.  Several years ago I chose to rename myself.  I no longer wanted to be associated with the name given to me by my parents.  Attached to it were only memories of pain and torment.  It was my way of disassociating from the pain and disowning my parents.

One of the other points of impact for me at the Exodus Freedom conference was hearing Pastor, author, and motivational speaker Kary Oberbrunner (to find out more about him click here). When I read the write up on Kary’s keynote address I was skeptical about discovering your secret name, based on a Bible verse in Revelations 2:17 “To him who overcomes, I will give some of the hidden manna. I will also give him a white stone with a new name written on it, known only to him who receives it.”  However, my reservations were put to rest quickly as Kary began his address and had a huge impact on my life.

Kary has overcome a lot of pain in his own life and is a recovering from self-injury. Some of his opening statements were, “every name has a story and every story has a wound”   and “healing comes when we let go of what has defined us in the past and God redefines us into who he created us to be.”  As you might recall just a day earlier I had completely surrendered my sexuality to Jesus. So the later statement hit me deep within and grabbed my attention for the remainder of the address.

Towards the end of the message he had us all draw a picture of our pain that we wear like a label or in a way we identify ourselves.  I outlined my hand because our finger prints and are unique unto us.  On each finger I wrote the following words.  Pointer finger nobody’s daughter, middle finger gay, and ring finger not a woman.  On the palm I wrote abandoned and rejected.  Kary then gave us each a florescent dot to place in the most painful part of the pain.  I placed mine in the middle of the palm.  We were then asked to wait in silence to see if God revealed a new name to us.

He then instructed us to invite Jesus into the pain and then take some time to listen and see what God might say about our new names. Here is what leapt from somewhere deep within me.  First, god confirmed to me that He had placed the name Hope many years ago even though I was separated from Him.  Secondly, I felt lead to write I’m not gay on the back of the paper.  Oh yeah you know that went over like a ton of bricks and there were several minutes of internal struggle.   Was this the point of ultimate betrayal or complete obedience to the one I have been surrendering my life to piece by piece over the last three and half years.

As my friend Executive director of Living Hope Ministries (click here to find out more) Ricky Chelette says “Life is not about what you feel, what you decide.”  This was a point of blind trust and choice and with that I wrote the words “I am not gay” on the back of the paper.  We were asked to bring our art forward and tape them to the walls of the auditorium.  The wall for the remainder of the week was referred to as the Wall of Pain or the Wailing Wall.  Both equally applied.

From that point forward I have walked in obedience to not take back the label gay or lesbian as part of my identity.  In terms of sexuality no I still am not attracted to the opposite sex and I still struggle with many things surrounding my sexuality.  What has changed is attitudinal; I am at peace with completely surrendering my sexuality to Jesus.  I am living this out one day at a time and am not going to project what the future holds in terms of my sexuality or sexual attractions.

With this post, I know my friends who are pro-gay will feel as though I betrayed not only my own identity and them as well.  I can’t say I completely understand all that has transpired in the last three and half years.  One thing I am absolutely convinced of Jesus Christ and my heavenly Father are absolutely trustworthy and I can entrust every aspect of my life into their capable hands.  My friends I still care deeply for you and hold no ill will or hatred towards you.  Again this has been my personal journey to resolve my faith and sexuality.

If you would like more information on how to surrender your life to Jesus,(click here Surrender).

Your comments and questions are a welcomed addition to my blog.

The Journey continues,