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From Where I Stand: Confident


The elderly man towers over the strong young woman. The sound of dripping water from a leaky faucet is the only audible sound as he waits for her to carry out his command. Wordlessly, she turns and begins to prepare dinner. Her eyes, devoid of hope, stare blankly at the torn floral wallpaper above the stove. 

To the casual observer, one would think the girl could easily knock the frail man to the ground and be victorious over his dominion. Yet inexplicably, he holds absolute control over her life. His ice-blue eyes follow her every move, calm but menacing. 

I've seen this scenario play out time after time in literature, the media, and in the lives of friends. Each time my sense of justice wells up within me and I want to shout, "Wake up! You don't have to live this way."

Ironically, people ask me why it took more than 40 years to come to grips with being gay. It seems like a really long time to live in hiding and fear. Tell me about it! I, of all people, know the pain it's caused me and my loved ones

Until recently, I didn't have a good answer to why I couldn’t find the courage to make a stand years ago. I’m only just now beginning to be able to put into words why it took such a long time. 

It’s funny how the brain processes life. I’ve had to witness the control and abuse of others in different situations at just the right time when my heart was receptive to begin to allow pieces to fall into place for things to make sense. 

The young woman in my story was held captive by the threat of extreme physical harm and the death of those she loved. Any rebellion or refusal to comply was calmly met with an ice-cold stare that promised devastating follow-through. After enough of that trauma, the young woman stopped trying for freedom.

In much the same way, as a young child, I was held captive by the threat of the loss of eternal life. Those I looked up to and respected taught me their view of scripture, which traumatized my little soul into believing there was no possible way for me to go to heaven unless I tried to be something I wasn’t. 

When enough of that trauma is repeated, the mind stops looking for freedom and seeks to find a way to just survive. That trauma and inability to question or reason on my own, spiritually, is something I carried into adulthood. 

Isaiah 1:18 says, “Come now, let us reason together, says the Lord: though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool.” God invites us to sit and reason with the divine. What an amazing concept. And yet, the spiritual abuse I suffered through the years made it impossible to imagine sitting and reasoning with anyone, let alone the One who made me. 

For decades, I was afraid to stand before God and really look at who I am. It didn't matter what Jesus said in John 3:16 or Luke 4:18–19. I was blind to that incredible good news because I believed I was broken, damaged goods. I kept my head down and just tried to survive. 

That worked until life events combined to put me in a place where I was forced to make a choice. I personally couldn’t deny the existence of God and I couldn’t deny how I am created any longer. That’s when I decided to take a stand. 

I stood before God and said I believe you’re the God of love, and I'm choosing to believe that you love me just as I am.

What a radically different mindset than what kept me frozen for so many years. For so long, I believed the accepted theology around human sexuality because I had been traumatized into a position of not thinking for myself. When light finally began to flood my suffocating closet, I found it so freeing and affirming to stand and reason with God. 

For the past three years, I've been writing a column titled "From Where I Stand." It's a title with great significance for me. I no longer wonder and worry whether I will have eternal salvation. It's a priceless feeling to be able to stand and feel confident that God loves me unconditionally. No conditions. No qualifying statements. It's an unalterable fact.

So what has you trapped, unable to thrive? I can tell you from personal experience, we were created to thrive and to have an abundant life. Will you take that courageous step and stand in God's light and experience true Love? I pray you find the courage to stand with me. 


Jay Wintermeyer is a communication professional, filmmaker, and photographer. Previously, he served as communication director and Gleaner editor for the North Pacific Union Conference. He lives with his husband, Craig, in southwest Washington.

Photo by Snapwire

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