BEAUTIFUL BRAVE BELOVED WARRIOR PRINCESS
One of my favorite parts of The Bible comes from Luke 4. It’s where KING YESHUA—JESUS—quotes from Isaiah 61 describing how He came to heal the brokenhearted—the people whose hearts were shattered. Which means He came to heal ME, and for that, I am so grateful! He has cleansed, healed, strengthened, and matured me—or said another way—He has set me free from many life-dominating thought-patterns and behaviors. I am NOT the same woman I was when I became a Christian in 1985, or when I started real recovery in 1995. But I’m getting ahead of myself, so let me slow down and give you a little background.
I’m the youngest of four children born to a career Navy dad and a self-taught mom. I look a LOT like my beautiful mom, and in certain pictures, much like my good-lookin’ dad.
I have an unusual spelling of the name Melanee—there are two EEs at the end. All my siblings and I have the exact same initials: MLD. (Between Maynard Lee, Michelle Lyn, Mark Leroy, and Melanee Lisa, it drove the babysitters crazy trying to call the right name!)
While growing up, I was sexually, physically, emotionally abused and neglected for over 13 years. My main form of dealing with the trauma was dissociating; which basically means, I disconnected my thoughts and emotions from what was occurring to my body. Because the violations horrifically shattered my heart into many broken pieces, it took a long time until I started to talk with PAPA GOD about all the pain from my childhood. As a matter-of-fact, I was almost 34 when I began risking to trust Him with my deepest hurts, but… He is VERY Patient!
As a military family, my family moved a LOT, but no matter where we lived, I sporadically experienced intense feelings towards girls and/or female teachers. My thoughts and feelings were SO strong, I wanted to marry the girls, or go live with the teachers. Mrs. Starr, my 2nd and 3rd grade teacher in Silver Strand, California, seemed especially safe to me. I even asked her if she had a nice husband and if I could go live at her house.
It was in Silver Strand where a lot of the sexual abuse occurred. There were parts of the sexual abuse specifically aimed at shaming me for being a girl, while promoting the superiority of boys. I have vivid memories of desperately wanting to be a boy when I was younger. Those cravings did not begin to dissipate until after entering real recovery in ‘95. It did take almost ten years of butt-kicking hard work (one of my favorite phrases!) before I was truly satisfied with being who PAPA created me to be: a beautiful and strong girl.
The hard recovery work I did basically consisted of surrendering to and resting in PAPA’S Great Love! That kind of “work” may not sound so difficult, but I was used to controlling, manipulating, and lying as a way of surviving, so being rigorously honest with GOD, myself, and someone else was TERRIFYING! It was also BEAUTIFULLY life-transforming!
As I mentioned, a lot of the abuse happened in Silver Strand, so it was really strange having my favorite teacher, favorite physical location, and other phenomenal memories all wrapped-up in the same place where so much of the bad stuff occurred. I was in my late 30s when I finally started being able to truly grasp, in the inner-core of my being, that “bad stuff does not negate good stuff” and vice-versa.
Growing up, I felt like “one-of-the-boys,” so it seemed totally normal to hangout with boys as close friends. Additionally, PAPA had gifted me with many talents, including excelling in sports and playing the drums—both considered to be “boy” activities. Although I was often accused of attempting to be a boy, I never told anyone what I felt like inside. Instead, I adamantly told them, “I am NOT being a boy! I am just being MelanEE!” When I would say that, people would back off, which would allow me to finally breathe easier. I definitely did NOT want them to know about the horrible stuff happening to me—to my spirit, soul, and body. And I sure wasn’t going to let anyone know that I literally FELT LIKE A BOY on the inside—and often wanted to physically be a boy on the outside.
I decided I was gay when I was a 17-year-old high school senior, and then went to college on a volleyball/softball scholarship. Over the next 17 years, I held hands in public with whomever I was in relationship with, marched in gay pride parades, and worked for two different lesbian-owned companies—landscaping and screen-printing. I also reveled in wearing my “I’m A Dyke” shirt (both before and after I was a Christian), and thought I had found my true love on numerous occasions. I was wildly passionate about playing volleyball, and LOVED dancing in the gay bars; yet, I didn’t drink alcohol, smoke cigarettes, or do drugs of any kind.
My college teammates and friends did NOT understand my lack of drinking or smoking or drugging, but I didn’t like the feeling of being out-of-control. I had “my standards,” you know. In other words, I secretly felt superior to “those people” who kept drinking and drugging and smoking just to get through another day-hour-minute. In those days, I had no idea that sex was my own “drug of choice” to get ME through another day-hour-minute. After I left home at age 17, it would take another 17 years before I would begin to come to my senses—before I would begin to realize that I, too, was “one of those people.” But GOD is very PATIENT!
In 1991, when my oldest brother, Maynard, died at 34 from AIDS, I was devastated. It was the-beginning-of-the end for me. My usual coping skills for dealing with stress and anxiety no longer worked well. I was a miserable, depressed mess.
One year earlier, my lesbian partner (whom I will refer to as PB) and I had a “marriage” ceremony at the Metropolitan Community Church (MCC) in Gainesville, Florida. Both of our gay brothers were there and they signed the paperwork as our witnesses. My fellow employees from the screen-printing shop were there, as well. Many friends from MCC, which is often referred to as the “gay church,” considered PB and me to be strong Christians and the “perfect couple.” It would take a number of years before I began to see just how imperfect I was. My brother’s death was the catalyst GOD used to begin my realization of how sick I was, and how desperately I needed Him to be LORD in every area of my life—no matter what it cost me.
While still in Gainesville, PB and I attended the MCC version of Cursillo, Tres Dias, and Walk to Emmaus (these are weekend retreats held by different Christian denominations). It was at this retreat where I distinctly remember having an important conversation with the senior pastor of the Jacksonville MCC. PB and I were sitting outside with the pastor when I asked her if homosexuality was a sin. She responded, “If homosexuality is a sin, it will not keep us out of heaven. And whether it is or not, Jerry Falwell will be very surprised to see us.” [Note: At the time, Jerry Falwell was a well-known Christian who verbally attacked homosexual people.]
Because I was often silent out of fear, I didn’t say anything, but I was totally dissatisfied with her answer. She hadn’t answered my question any better than all the other gay pastors I’d already asked. It was the same question I had asked GOD when I first became a Christian, and even though He had given me His Answer, I wasn’t satisfied with it, either. With Him, I spoke out of fear, as well as, was silent out of fear. I sometimes still do this to Him and other people.
As I continued to live as a “gay Christian,” I periodically asked people my “hot-topic” question, but I wasn’t satisfied with anybody’s answer. So, I just kept living as a lesbian who was a Christian—or—was I a Christian who was a lesbian? I often asked myself those questions, but my answers kept producing more questions. And those questions had answers I’d already decided were not satisfactory to me. In other words, I had set myself up to be my own authority. But I would never have admitted to doing so, because “I was a good Christian” and good Christians don’t set themselves up as “The Authority.”
PB and I moved to Tallahassee, Florida, in 1992, and we started the Tallahassee MCC in the fall of 1993. It was in January 1994 when I first met PB’s Christian therapist. I began couple counseling because PB thought we had problems. I agreed to meet, but I silently thought, “PB has problems, but I don’t.” I was very arrogant and sick, although I didn’t know it at the time. But PAPA is Patient and Faithful to bring ALL THINGS into the Light of His Truth.
I learned many good things while in couple counseling, but nothing dramatically changed in my life until I finally admitted to this reality: “I have a problem—and—the problem is me.” I had refused to own this for 33+ years, but “real recovery” began the first time I walked into my therapist’s office because “I” had a problem. That infamous date was Friday 1 September 1995. I was finally beginning to give GOD full reign in ALL areas of my life—including all the pain—no matter the costs. HalleluYAH!!!
How do I communicate to anyone else what all has occurred since 1 September ‘95?
This much I can say, it was: horrible and terrible and worse than anything I’ve ever experienced. It was hellish and demonic and dark and hopeless and excruciatingly painful. It was full of fear!
Just thinking about all the horrific pain brings tears to my eyes…, and yet…
Also… tears of joy as PAPA reminds me of what all else the last 20+ years have been: life-transforming, extremely joyful, beyond beautiful, and phenomenally wonderful! It was full of HOPE! The amazingly deep intimacy I now experience with PAPA (and many people) is worth every bit of pain from the millions of spiritual and emotional “heart surgeries” He performed on me!
In other words—ALL of the gut-wrenching pain has been worth it to be FREE!!!
To be free from the traumatic effects of over 13 years of sexual, physical, emotional abuse and neglect, to be free from dissociative identity disorder (DID), to be free from gender-identity disorder (GID), to be free from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), to be free from over 30 years of same-sex sexual/romantic feelings, to be free from almost 16 years of homosexual behavior, to be free from sexual fantasies, pornography, and masturbation, to be free from lying, to be free from fear as a life-dominating way of thinking, to be free… is worth every bit of pain experienced during the cleansing, healing, strengthening, and maturing process that KING YESHUA has walked me through. OORAH!!!
I am free to be the Beautiful Brave Beloved Warrior Princess Daughter MelanEE of The Most High KING!!! HalleluYAH!!!
I know, I know—some of you are wondering, “So… where’s the physical healing story??” Here it is, in a nutshell:
At 0717 on Sunday 16 August 2015, PAPA said, “I. Have. Healed. You.”
I burst into tears… and then praised Him! I asked PAPA later what He meant by His Four Words, and He said, “The Lyme, Babesia, and Bartonella—all the diseases—are gone from your body.”
More tears and more praise erupted from me to my Beautiful Brave Beloved KING YESHUA!!! My KING BRAVEHEART! HalleluYAH!!!