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I'm Coming Out ,too
by Maurice Armstrong
9/20/2012 / Christian Living
I've been in this closet far too long. Whatever happens from here on, it's all up to the one who created me in his image and likeness. I am who I am all because of Him. I have nothing to be ashamed of. I have accepted my life's calling: my gender, my sexual orientation, my upbringing and all that life has allotted me over these many years.
All that know me are familiar with my lifestyle, and have accepted me for who I am. However, from time to time, I am called a fanatic, some say I'm misguided and yet there are others who say, I'm just delusional. The Bible, however, describes me as peculiar.
There is nothing I want more than to be with him.
He's Everything to me.
He's my best friend.
I yearn for his presence. Yet he is always with me.
I think of him all day long, but he, is always thinking of me.
I need Him, I love Him, and yes, he absolutely loves me.
I'm no celebrity, therefore my coming out may not impact the world. But, since so many others are coming out, and this seems to be the right season. I decided to embrace the opportunity. I hope many others will join me; and Let's all come out.
It all began when I was just ten years old. We met at Mom's church, during a Gospel crusade. It was Mom's church, because no one else in the family ever wanted to attend that church. An American evangelist was the guest preacher, and on this particular night, he was giving away American pennies. Living in a third world country, anything from America was worth having, especially as a child. So, here was my golden incentive--a far cry from the usual, "have to go" because Mom said so.
I cannot recall what the well-spoken, tall, blond-haired, preacher said, but after the sermon he began singing, "Just As I Am." Since that day, I have grown to love that hymn more and more. As the singing was hushed to a low hum, he asked, "All those desiring a touch from the Lord, please come down the center aisle; and join me at the altar." I knew I wanted that because that was what I always did. Mom would always say, "curiosity killed the cat"--as I habitually touched everything that caught my attention. Everything did.
At the altar, we repeated a short prayer, as the preacher led us. "Dear Jesus, forgive me for my sins..." I did not feel anything supernatural. I did not shout or shake or feel any differet.
On returning to our seats, we paused at the front pew to give our names to the tiny old lady, wearing a half-stitched apron. The blue and white embroidery in the shape of a cross spelled Mt.something-something ch---. I knew what it should be saying, but the threads were loose and faded.
As he was praying what I hoped was the closing prayer, I was also praying that he would stop praying and give us those pennies he promised. Pew by pew he reached into a brown pouch giving away pennies.To my great surprise he also gave me, what he called a nickel and a dime. He explained," a nickel is five cents and a dime is ten cents." That night, I am sure--I was the happiest ten year-old child in the whole wide world.
The next day, I couldn't wait to go back to the church. I was dressed at 5PM The crusade started at 7:30 PM. As I sat in church that night, (front row) my heart was overwhelmed with excitement. I wanted to sing that hymn "Just As I Am" over and over again. I knew then, I wanted to become a preacher; to invite people to come, to receive a touch from the Lord. I wanted my own Bible with my name on it. I wanted to tell everyone; I've been touched by the hand of God. His touch--so gentle, yet so transforming. I was changed and I want the world to know I am a born again. Christian.He brought me out of sin, now I am his, and he is mine.
It's now more than 40 years later and I have grown from Sunday School Teacher to Youth Minister, Evangelist, and 15 years as Assistant Pastor. I now pastor a small church in my home City. I now live and work in the state of New Jersey in the USA. I've also been blessed to have a lot more than pennies, nickels and dimes.
A Born Again Christian, Pastor/Teacher, Writer, Builder. I'm Learning Obedience.
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