Until about 6 months ago I didn’t know about Maggie Lee or the work that was being done to honor her memory. People all over the nation work throughout the year doing good in her name, but Oct. 29th is Maggie Lee For Good day. The premise is simple, do good for someone. The impact is incredible.
The reason I found out about MLFG day is because I started attending the church that Maggie Lee’s parents attend. I started going there almost a year ago now. That little church has been a huge part of my life since then, in ways that some of the people there probably don’t even know. But I have to honestly say I have been hesitant to invest emotionally in the actual church. Let me explain.
Until about 7 years ago I was very active in my small, rural, conservative, Southern Baptist church. I did everything from Sunday School to Children’s Choir, VBS to Music Directing. I had people pressuring me to become a deacon. I had others telling me they were sure I would be called to preach. So, no pressure, right? I’m not trying to brag at all here, I just want to illustrate how active I was in this church. It was all real for me. I was doing the Lord’s work and I loved the people I was doing it with.
Little did they know I was struggling the entire time with my sexuality. About 7 years ago I sank to a horrible place. I experienced some of the worst emotional pain in my life. Usually, I was very good at compartmentalizing or bottling up that pain. That wasn’t possible anymore. And I knew that this pain I could not take to my little country church.
So I stopped going to church.
I stopped going to the church I had attended since I was born. The church where most of my family and many lifelong friends attended. And I stopped doing the work that had made up so much of my identity. I cut myself off from these people to protect myself. Then I sank deeper.
It’s extremely hard to care for yourself without a community.
Part of my coming out journey last year included the search for that community again. I longed to be part of the Body of Christ again, but I knew I couldn’t do it in a place that wouldn’t accept all of me. I was gay, but I also loved Jesus. My new family would need to be one that could love all of that.
To make a long story short, I saw proof yesterday that I had found that. At the end of our church service they showed the pictures of our Halloween Carnival we held this last week. I could see myself in the background of many of the pictures.
I was there.
I was working with my church family.
They knew who I was, and they loved me.
We were doing good together.
I called my mother when I got home and wept about the fact that I actually had a church family again. I have felt like I belonged at Church for the Highlands (my new church home) since the first day I attended, and I became a member a few months ago, but yesterday was the first time I really realized I was part of the family.
I have been hesitant to bring all of myself to the church. My attendance is sporadic and I’m not as involved as I would like to be. I’m still working through a lot of pain surrounding “church” that keeps me from diving in with both feet. But I’m continuing to work on it. I have a family around me that I believe will allow me to do just that.
I thought it was so profound that God would send me this revelation just the day before Maggie Lee For Good day. To see evidence of working together with my church family to do good in our community. For it to have such an emotional impact on me now so close to this special day. I want to continue doing good with my family. And that means so much more to me now than it used to.
Please go to the links above. Learn about Maggie Lee For Good day and do good today in Maggie Lee’s memory. Continue to do good throughout the year.