“I swore I’d never tell a soul. This was a secret I’d take to my grave, so I believed. Because I also believed that every aspect of my life would change if anyone knew. I kept it to myself, and I prayed.”
Sally Gary begins her chapter in Surrendering to Hope: Guidance for the Broken with the confession that she kept a secret for a long time. There were many reasons why she kept her secret. At first there was some confusion about why she felt the way she did. Also, she knew from conversations at home and at church that people who confessed to her secret were “worthy of total rejection from friends, abandonment by family, and eternal damnation” – which is a pretty good motive for keeping a secret.
Over the years Sally continued her service to the church in attending worship services every time the doors were open. She taught classes and was involved in all of the activities of the church. She studied and memorized Scripture and prayed often. All the while keeping her secret. She even prayed about her secret, hoping God would change her feelings.
“‘This was our little secret, God’.’ I will carry this one to my grave, because no one must ever learn that Sally Gary, the good little church of Christ girl, is attracted to girls.”
Sally’s struggle is not a new one, nor is it uncommon. I appreciate that Sally turned to God during all the years she kept her secret and sought out His guidance and help. But he didn’t take away her feelings.
“And I never believed God didn’t love me because I was attracted to girls. I always believed God is a loving God. I had no idea how to resolve this crisis of my sexuality with my faith that said it was wrong for me to e attracted to my own gender, but I believed in a God who wouldn’t leave me alone to figure that out on my own. I had no idea how god would resolve this conflict of faith and sexuality in me.”
There is much more in Sally’s chapter in this book of ‘guidance for the broken’, so I encourage you to get a copy and check it out. Sally did go on to create Centerpeace, a nonprofit organization to help parents and church leaders be more open to conversations about sexuality and faith.
“Twenty years ago, I never would’ve dreamed that I would soon found a ministry that would require me to share the deepest, darkest secret of my life on a daily basis around the globe.”
I wish Sally well, as she is a recent victor in a cancer battle! You can find out more about Centerpeace by visiting their website. You can follow her on Twitter. Bookmark and subscribe to her BLOG. You can find her on Facebook and Instagram. Of course you should buy her 2013 memoir, Loves God Likes Girls. At the end of this post is a video interview with Sally and Oklahoma Christian President John deSteigue.
As I continue giving you a peek into the amazing stories of brokenness and recovery found in the pages of Surrendering to Hope. In the next post Leisa and Chris open up their heartbreak of miscarriage and infertility and the path of faith they chose to walk. Thank you for reading. If you have missed any in this series, here are some links:
Those are sobering topics, but the tone of the book is positive because each struggler found faith to be the answer.