not out still confused 47

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Joined in 2011
September 29, 2011, 23:07

I am a 47 year old woman – have never had a partner or intimate relationship of any description.

I guess this has occurred due to a number of contributory factors – some of which are circumstantial – I am actually just working through what has led me to this situation where I now look back upon my life and think – how did this happen? That I have always been on my own… (???!!)

I have never had a homophobic bone in my body – i have grown up with a gay sister, gay best friend… just have never understood “the big deal”. I became a Christian in my 20s.

I am now at a stage of sticking my head up after many years of not having engaged in any sort of sexual or intimate relationship and am questioning my own sexuality.

This is pretty big for me – I have become a master at just “getting on with things” and seeing myself as somehow destined to be a “witness but not a participant” in the business of love, intimacy, connection, partnership…

I have been seeing a counsellor over the last few months and we have been working through things such as my beginning to “see myself as a sexual being”, what has been “keeping me safe”, among other things…

I am an intensely private person – amazing that i find myself here on this website and amazing that i decided in the last week to talk with someone at my church… I felt that i needed to be accountable, that I wanted someone to pray for me…

well perhaps I don’t need to tell you that she said that she felt that God’s perfect plan did not involve same sex partnerships… that hsi perfect will was for women to be with man…

surprisingly i just took this as expected…What I wanted some feedback on from those who read this is this feeling of tremendous conflict – as to how do I continue my journey – continue to remain open to the idea that yes – I could feel more comfortable in a same sex rtnshp – without simultaneously shutting down my relationship with God? The two are feeling mutually exclusive… I know God knows my every thought before I have it – yet it’s like I want to put Him to one side “while I figure this out” – I don’t think that ultimately this will be good for me… any thoughts? sarab

Chapter Leader
Joined in 2008
September 30, 2011, 00:54

Sarab – G’day! Welcome to our Forum. It is good that you are taking action to resolve the inner conflict you have shared. Many of us have been through similar conflicts.

Q1. Seems that you have reached a point in your life where you are questioning your sexuality. I’ll come back to that in a moment.

Q2. If the answer to that is that you are homosexual, then the second question arises of reconciling that decision with your Christian faith. The clear answer to that is “Yes, you can be LGBTI and be a Christian” .. .. .. despite what some Christians will proclaim. (They take that position out of ignorance, and based on misinterpretations and misconceptions and stereotypes which have been handed down unquestioned until recent years.)

Back to Q1. This might sound a bit strange for me to say on this forum, but – based on what you have written – I think you need to link up with a suitably experienced and objective counsellor/pyschologist to guide you through the questioning. In your case, you may actually correctly come to the conclusion that you are lesbian (and always have been). Reaching such a conclusion AND accepting it is a process. And there are plenty on this forum who have walked that process and can help you with it. BUT (based on what you have disclosed), there may be other issues at play which could be causing your questioning and would, if clarified, lead to a different answer. (There may be people on the forum who can recommend suitable practicioners to guide you.)

But, hang in there. It’s a momentous process and it needn’t be rushed. A few months here & there are minor in the big scheme of things.

Ann Maree
Joined in 2008
September 30, 2011, 09:15

Hi sarab

Welcome to f2b! 🙂

It’s great that you have had the courage to share some of your story with us, especially when you are such a private person. Thank you for allowing us to be part of that. And congratulations too for seeking help via counselling. That also takes tremendous courage and shows that you have inner strengths which will serve you well in any relationships. We all need a bit of help from time to time and it’s a bonus when that comes in the form of a professional who listens objectively and helps you reach your own conclusions and feel better about yourself.

How do you feel about your church? Are you happy there? It’s unfortunate that the lady you talked to from there made the comment she did. I’m interested to know if that’s the official line of your church and if that bothers you or not.. Sadly, there are Christians with that view but there are also Christians who are affirming of the LGBTI community. There are also people who identify as gay Christians and all manner of good people in our community who don’t attend churches or identify as Christian. Whatever your church’s stance, it’s important that you assess the pros and cons of going there and decide whether the pros outweigh the less affirming views of some of it’s members.

Your sense that the two areas of faith and sexuality are mutually exclusive is something that most of us have experienced and worked through. And yes, that inner conflict is uncomfortable but part of the process. You will be OK. The good news is that they are definitely NOT mutually exclusive although it can feel like that for a long time while you are working through the process of accepting and integrating them. You need to give yourself time, and lots of it, especially because you are yet to have a relationship. Be kind to yourself and be with those who are also kind and gentle.

Finally in answer to your last query about whether to put God to the side while you work on the area of sexuality, I see it a little differently. It’s perhaps not so much a matter of ignoring God but just focusing on one area for a while so you can then devote your full attention to God when you’re ready to do so. From experience, it’s difficult to work through two complex areas at once so, in my opinion, I think it’s essential to focus just on one area then on the other. But you do whatever seems right for you. There’s no judgment here or expectation of which way you should go.. At f2b, we respect each others’ individual paths and are here to support each other without agenda, irresepective of the direction you take.


Ann Maree

Joined in 2011
September 30, 2011, 11:56

well firstly thank you so much to forestgrey and Ann Maree for your kind, wise and accepting replies. I can tell you I shed not a few (but many!) tears when reading what you had written.

Forestgrey – yes I agree I do need to work through issues around sexuality – and yes there are many complexities in my own journey. For the time being – the counsellor I have been seeing is very good. She’s not to my knowledge a Christian – so the tensions between faith and my current struggles are perhaps not something she could help with – perhaps that’s where this forum might come in!

Ann Maree – thanks so much for your warmth and sensitivity in your reply.

Yes I do like my church – this is a real struggle for me. Many of the things in my life that nurture me, sustain me (such as my church, work, things I enjoy in my spare time) I have (with the help of the counsellor) come to recognise as being the very same things that in some ways “starve me” – ie they keep me in a fairly conservative solitary bubble. My church is not straight down the line conservative – in that it is pretty proactive around issues of social justice etc – but as the woman from the church I spoke to said – it’s view on same sex relationships would be that this is not God’s perfect plan. I struggle with the thought of actively seeking a gay friendly church – in that there is a belief system in me I wrestle with – that Christian life involves sacrifice – maybe remaining partnerless for ever is what God wants me to do. I also know that as a Christian I can very easily look for “loopholes” – and avoid some of God’s tough teachings – “you don’t really mean me Lord when you talk about how we deal with issues of finance, giving, service etc etc” and so It is important for me to sit in a church that is very biblically based – and yet…. and yet…. maybe there are such churches where the Bible is central and yet there is an accepting space for Gay, lesbian people. (??)

As for how I deal with exploring my own issues around intimacy while remaining faithful to God – I am just trying to take small steps – I work through small Bible studies, give myself permission to cry a little, and yes… i am trying to give myself time. I can’t tell you how reassuring it is to know that others before me have also had struggles with the the holding of one’s faith together with one’s sexuality- & what’s more you have worked through them!

Thanks again sarab

Ann Maree
Joined in 2008
September 30, 2011, 14:04

Hi sarab

Yes it’s a great relief to know you’re not alone and that there really is hope of coming through this. 🙂

It sounds like you benefit a lot by attending your church which is wonderful. It also seems that the teaching function of the church is important to you. That’s sounds good yet I would still encourage you to carry out your own independent bible studies. No matter how good the teaching from external sources, it’s wise not to simply take at face value what others tell you. There’s plenty that’s ‘biblical’ but not necessarily accurate if it’s been interpreted superficially without studying the original languages and cultural contexts. The whole intended meaning can be missed unless individuals take it upon themselves to do their own thorough investigations.

Feel free to check out the biblical articles in our resource section for another way of looking more deeply at scripture.

It’s encouraging to hear your counsellor is very good too. The fact that she’s not a Christian might work in your favour in the sense that she isn’t biased to that way of thinking. Sometimes seeing someone outside the church means they can hear you without having to filter past church/Christian belief systems. It can also put your mind at rest, knowing that they’re not likely to be measuring you against your church’s stance. Mind you, I believe a good counsellor should be able to be accepting regardless of their beliefs.

Anyway it’s good you’re here and keep us posted as to how things unfold.


Ann Maree

Joined in 2008
October 1, 2011, 01:05

Hi Sarab,

I want to extend a warm welcome to you and thankyou for sharing some of your story. As forestgrey and Annmaree have already expressed some great insights and suggestions I will simply say you are very welcome here on the forum! Please look around and take time to read others stories and suss out the resource section. We will do all we can to support you on your journey and hope you find some comfort and possibly answers from others here that understand some of what you are going through. 😉

I’m curious as to how you found out about us? It’s great to have feedback regarding this!

Again welcome and we look forward to seeing you on the forum.

Warm regards


President f2b

Joined in 2011
October 1, 2011, 20:23

Many thanks Michelle,

as to how I found your site – I can’t exactly recall – but i think it was via a few avenues. I read a few Christian blogs – one of them mentioned your site, I also have read Anthony VB’s book when it was first published and have read a bit of his online stuff, I probably also googled “christian perspective on being gay” or some such and came across you that way! I have read some of your info on the site for a while and have only just become brave enough to share my own story. I have today downloaded some of the articles in your resources section – so I have some reading ahead of me.


Anthony Venn-Brown
Joined in 2005
October 2, 2011, 13:54

HI Sarab……I add my welcome along with the others.

There are a large number of people in Christian circles and beyond they think of sexual orientation in terms of sexual activity. This of course is a very limited view. Sexual orientation is much more profound and is about.

  • Love

  • Intimacy

  • Affection

  • Partnering

  • Companionship

Sexual expression comes out of that.

From my experience working with people in the areas of faith and sexuality I have found it is not uncommon for people to come to realisations about their sexual orientation latter in life. Most of course come to it much earlier when the hormones kick in…..but not all.

So genuinely bisexual people will experience all the above with either sex.

So I guess I would ask the question. Can you see yourself falling in love, partnering and spending the rest of your life with a female.

Mother Hen
Joined in 2011
October 3, 2011, 14:56

Hi Sarab,

🙂 A big welcome to F2B, I think you very courageous and brave to share your story. If you have looked through the forum posts you would have found so many like yourself have struggled with issues of faith and sexuality. You will also have found that many have reached a place of peace and acceptance about these issues. My son also struggled with these issues and did his own personal study of the scriptures and wrote an essay of his outcomes. He has posted that on his own blog if you are interested in reading it.

I totally agree with Ann Maree that it would be a good idea for you to carry out your own personal bible study. As Ann Maree said the bible has not always been translated accurately, put into the context for the times it was written. The bible is a guide, a guide only on how we should live our lives. There are many things that are not covered for today’s society. Like the internet, Facebook, etc the bible is silent on these issues. I do wonder how relevant some of the bible teachings are for today’s society.

So many people with good intentions can say things that aren’t the best for you, are not necessarily scriptural based, and are said out of a lack of knowledge and understanding. Sometimes that can led to a lot of harm and hurt, these antigay sites are an example of that.

It’s great you are seeing a counsellor to help you work through these and other issues, it’s great to have someone who is more removed from the situation and can give you an unbiased view. They will be there for you, to help you work out what it is you want for yourself. And that is the key here, what is it you want? What is the best for you, no one else just you.

F2B is a great place for support, comfort and friendship, lean on this great group.

God Bless

Joined in 2011
October 3, 2011, 18:39

Thank you to both Anthony and Mother Hen for your replies and welcome.

I must say my head has been absolutely spinning over recent weeks – and i am a bit sick of being in my own head space – so it is indeed a blessing that there is such a website as this.

To Anthony – I agree that sexual orientation is far more than sexual activitiy. In looking at your list – love, intimacy, affection, partnering – I recognise that I clearly have a way to go before I can somehow deconstruct the thinking that has thus far prevented me from experiencing any of these things with another person (don’t get me wrong – I have some deep and abiding friendships). Can I see myself wanting to experience these things with a man? I think the answer to that is No.

Can I see myself experiencing those things with a woman… the answer is probably more towards the affirmative. This feels like a huge shift in my thinking – and it amazes me that although I have been having counselling for a few months – that I have seemingly come to this realisation relatively quickly. Kind of like an onion whose layers have slowly slowly been peeled away and then suddenly – there it is the onion! – peeled! revealed! – (at least revealed in my own head – not to anyone else). I have last night finished reading Rev Matt Glover’s thoughtful and insightful “pastoral response to homosexuality in the church” – wow! What a reassurance that was – Oh yes – I know that responses from churches like Matt’s are few and far between – but this has actually galvanised me into action – I am determined to find a GLBT affirming church. I think I need a “soft place to land” – even if this journey of self awareness does not lead me to a same sex relationship – I need to at least figure this stuff out in a church where I can feel safe to figure it out. This also is an amazing and in some ways difficult decision – when only last week I was so determined to stick with my church. I am trying not to act too fast – to give myself time – and then I have a little laugh at myself – hmmm it’s taken me 47 years already! I am also amazed at the way my mind has had to do some real shifing in terms of the way I have thought that mainstream church teaching about homosexuality was “right” and that I was always marching in the “wrong” direction as far as my pro gay stance has always been. It is quite a revelation for me to consider that there is another potential paradigm out there within the Christian community that sees the reading of scripture quite differently. This website, the resources etc – is helping in that regard. Anthony’s book title “a life of unlearning” – seems to fit with me at the moment. On so many levels – I have a lot of “unlearning” to do. Although – the counsellor I am seeing would probably prefer me to use the word “integrate” as opposed to “unlearn”. I thought I would also say how helpful I found Matt Glover’s reference to the 5 stages of coming out (on page 27 of his article) I think I am at stage 1 “pre coming out”. I find my mind racing ahead to issues like dealing with responses from family, work, church…. but that is a LONG way off . Anyway – thanks again.

hope my ramble makes sense


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