Finding God in the Messiness of Our Struggles

Raquel Falk’s reflection entitled “Fit for Glory” describes when she first became aware she was a person with SSA and how she then struggled to make sense of it before God. More telling is how she allowed herself to find God in the messiness of her struggles — to find God who in fact reached out to her, reminding her that He did not abandon her.

Raquel’s story offers us a graced moment to pause and remember that similar time in our lives. More importantly, it invites us to see how God met us at that time, and how since then God has been walking with us faithfully onward because we are indeed worthy and fit for God’s glory.

Here are four selected paragraphs in Raquel’s reflection that raises key points that can help people with SSA reflect on their ongoing journey to live chaste lives in God’s good company:

Given that I could no longer pretend I was totally straight, I set up two options for God. Either God loved me, same-sex desires and all, and I no longer fit in the Church. Or, God loved me in spite of my attractions. I could fit in the Church as long as I sufficiently detested that part of myself. God opted for “none of the above.”

One morning after Mass, I sat alone in the chapel. The Gospel had been the Transfiguration. Jesus was in front of me in the tabernacle and within me in the Eucharist. And from the depths of my heart, Someone spoke—not with words, but with clear meaning: “Glorify me in your body.” Almost immediately, I protested. In this body? But what about Church teaching? What about natural law? What about—? “Shhh.” I was silenced. “Not now. I am the law. Come with me.”

In that moment and since that moment, I’ve been slowly learning that the only place I will ever truly “fit” is in the presence of the One who made me. In daily prayer, in Mass, in Confession, on retreat: He looks me in the eyes and tells me He loves me, all of me, and that I belong with Him. Glorifying God in my body means admitting my longing for intimacy with anyone, woman or man, to Christ. He has never asked me to shelf it. Rather, the Light who casts out shame says: let’s look at this together

Looking closely at my own nature has helped me look closely at all of creation. And I’ve found sexual complementarity to be a beautiful and miraculous thing. In this light, same-sex desires are a real mystery. But so is God. When I feel that my own longings don’t fit, as long as I am in the cloud of unknowing, I am not far from Him. And out of uncertainty, a Way unfolds. Jesus consistently receives my mysterious desires and prepares places carefully designed for me. Authentic friendships, joyful community, work that draws on my unique gifts. Glorifying God in my body means saying “yes” to my life. It means throwing myself into the tasks and relationships I have been given instead of lamenting the ones I haven’t.

You can read her reflection here

Having read  Raquel‘s  reflection, take some time this week and consider these questions. You may want to use them and your responses as part of prayer: 

  1. Recall that first time when you realised that you are a person with SSA. How did you feel then, and what were you thinking about most? Can you remember how you related to God or what you said to God when you realised that you are a Christian with SSA ? Did your participation in Church change, and how so?
  2. In that challenging time of growing awareness of your SSA and your struggle with God and/or the Church, can you recall how God reached out to you? What did God do? Who did God send to support, accompany and care for you? Take some time to list the different ways God reached out to you and reminded you that you are His own. Then, spend some time with God and share your feelings and thoughts about His goodness and faithfulness during that time of your life.
  3. Now take a look at your life today. How is God continuing to help you live your Christian life as a person with SSA? Who is God sending into your life to accompany and guide you? What is God doing daily that gives you hope that He is indeed working for your well-being and happiness? Write a thank you note to God to express your gratitude to the Lord. You may want to use it for prayer one weeknight. Do keep this note in your Bible and return to it now and again to let it encourage you that God is with you always.

Words of Encouragement for this week

“You cannot imagine at all how much you interest God; He is interested in you as if there were no one else on earth.” – Julien Green