John Burke offers an incredible story of grace and a bold reminder that Jesus is never shocked by our sin.
Excerpted from Mud and the Masterpiece: Seeing Yourself and Others Through the Eyes of Jesus by John Burke
“Let’s just go for fun! We’ll see how much we can push their buttons,” Amy teased her girlfriend, who didn’t like the idea of hanging around a bunch of Christians.
“Come on,” Amy insisted. “I hear their motto is ‘Come as you are.’ I just want to prove that they’re ‘come as you are’ … unless you’re gay.”
Amy had been in a nine-year lesbian relationship that had broken up, leaving her wondering why her deepest longings could never be satisfied. She and Rachel had just started hanging out when they decided to attend one Sunday morning.
“I came on a mission to shock people,” Amy admits. “Rachel and I would hold hands in front of people, but instead of the disgusted looks of contempt we expected, people met eyes with us and treated us like real people. So we started coming to church weekly. We kept moving closer to the front each week, trying to get a reaction so that we’d be rejected sooner rather than later. When we couldn’t shock people, we stopped trying and started learning.
“Not long after that, Rachel and I stopped seeing each other, but I kept coming to church because I was searching for something,” Amy admits. “I definitely wasn’t looking to change. It wasn’t my lesbian lifestyle that I was bringing to God, but I wondered if God had answers to my deeper longings. Problem was, I didn’t trust God at all!
“The more I listened and learned about the teachings of Jesus, the more I started to actually believe that God really did love me. I heard more and more about being his Masterpiece, and in time, I actually started to believe it. The more I believed God actually could see something of value in me, the more I trusted him.”
Over time, Amy slowly opened her heart and struggles to Christ. “It took several years, but as I moved closer and closer to Christ, he gently took me on a very surprising journey. First, I found out my father had nine affairs while I was growing up—a secret that rocked my world. Jesus began to show me how the roots of my sexual issues tie together with my dad’s—I was just like him, using people to find comfort, life and love outside of God.”
Amy continued to grow in her knowledge of the Scriptures, falling more and more in love with the Lord. The following year, God had another surprise for her: “I went to the seminar called ‘To Be Told,’ hosted at Gateway. I wanted to see how God could put closure to my brokenness, but what he showed me shocked me,” Amy recalls.