Is every single human being who has ever existed created in the image of God?
Assuming they are, then is every single human being who has ever existed precious in the esteem of our Creator?
Again assuming they are, is every person who has ever existed equally as precious and loved in the esteem of our Creator?
Yes again? Ah, then that must include people who define gender differently than humanity has commonly defined it – as in girls who think they are boys and boys who think they are girls even though their biological identity indicates otherwise.
And there we have a whole new level of complication. Because if such people are just as precious in the esteem of the Creator as the “nice” people whom society finds easy to accept, then we have to find some way to understand and deal with them. That, after all, is what our Creator would likely have us do.
Does that mean we must endorse without question gender definitions and sexual preferences other than what we find articulated in the Bible? Not necessarily, but it does mean that LGBTQ people are first and foremost people, and as people they are entitled to the same respect as all human beings made in the image of the Creator.
That is one important message from the memoir of MelanEE Lisa Davidson. She tells her story in a fast-moving volume she calls Loved. I. Am! One Woman’s Journey of Shattering Shame Through Experiencing PAPA’S Great Love!
Of course, MelanEE doesn’t leave us there; if she did, there would be no reason for her to tell her remarkable story. It’s only the starting point of a journey that so far has spanned almost six decades. It has been a very hard journey. As she explains up front, her childhood in California and Florida was anything but ideal. Tragedies and injustices all too common in dysfunctional families afflicted her at an age far too young and tender to deal with any tragedy. No child should ever have to suffer sexual assault, abuse, and neglect. Children are supposed to grow up in stable homes, with loving, affirmative parents who help them mature into responsible adults. When that does not happen, as MelanEE’s story demonstrates, the wounded children become wounded adults, manifesting their inner dysfunctions in a number of ways in their search for security, acceptance, identity, and above all, peace.
That is what made MelanEE a “Proud Dyke Athelete” in her college years, and a militant lesbian thereafter. One might think that such a bold, unapologetic attitude would render such a person beyond redemption. After all, MelanEE practiced what she preached, moving through several intimate relationships with like-minded women over the years. And yet, her testimony proves that she was not beyond redemption – that her Papa, as she fondly calls our Heavenly Father, loved her and still considered her a precious jewel, even with all her damage and dirt and baggage.
Which is why her life is not only a miracle, but a testimony that such transformation is possible for anyone.
Not without struggle, of course. Growth and change is hard, which is why we too often opt to hold on to unpleasant situations and relationships, deeming them to be less threatening and difficult than change. MelanEE’s memoir makes that abundantly clear. First of all, it took decades before she came to the realization that her lifestyle was not only contrary to the Creator’s design for humanity, but destructive to her personally. The irony in which this happened is one of the remarkable points of her book. But even then, it was another quarter century before she could consider herself truly delivered. She tells us some of the many victories, both small and large, along the way, and she tells us as well of the considerable setbacks – some of which came close to ending her life. The gift of hindsight has allowed her to put each experience in context, weaving them into a seamless whole that presents the tapestry of a victorious life well lived (so far!).
The journey has been extraordinarily difficult, and it has required help. This, too, is one of the high points of MelanEE’s story. Help came in unexpected places and at unexpected times. Sometimes the help appeared in the form of trusted friends and counselors who stayed with her for years, enduring all the unpleasantness she could throw at them simply because they believed in her as a valuable person, and believed as well in what she would become. At other times, help did not seem like help at first, especially when it brought immediate conflict and negative situations which, as MelanEE explains, infringed on her desires to remain in a familiar place she could control (or at least have the illusion of control). Yet even in those situations, miracles occurred. (I choose to see them as miracles; when a lesbian friend walks into a gay bar and explains how she has found Jesus, then a miracle has occurred!) That string of miracles is what gives MelanEE’s story the surprising element of hope even in the midst of hopeless dysfunction.
One other aspect of Loved. I. Am! that I personally appreciate is the window MelanEE opens for us into the LGBTQ world. It is a world that Christians all too often shun, and with reason. Yet in doing so, we miss so much of the real story: the genuine humanity of the people. These are people who endure larger-than-life struggles – struggles not so different from those common to all people, but magnified and multiplied through the prism of questions about self-identity at the most fundamental level.
How is a follower of Yeshua (Jesus) to deal with such people? MelanEE addresses that question through her story. Genuine Christians made the greatest difference in her life because they first accepted her as a person with intrinsic value simply because God made her. They did not agree with her lifestyle, but they accepted her where she was and lovingly, patiently, helped her realize that her Papa had something much better for her. Then they stayed with her through the years of turning her life around, proving that people are the indispensable element in making miracles happen.
This is a book about hope turned into reality by action – both MelanEE’s and those in her circle of friends, counselors, prayer warriors, and guardians of her peace. It is not just a “how to” book on how to have a better life; it’s an essential manual for every person who suffers from trauma, addiction, dysfunction, broken relationships, dashed hopes, and quiet tears in the dark when nobody is looking. Which pretty much describes all of us at some point. If you need help, and if you want to give help even in your own hurting place, Loved. I. Am! is the book for you. Let MelanEE Lisa Davidson – Beautiful Brave Beloved Warrior Princess Kingdom Daughter CowGirl – give you encouragement in her unique, genuine way. Then go make a difference in someone’s life – especially your own.
Loved. I. Am!: One Woman’s Journey of Shattering Shame Through Experiencing PAPA’S Great Love! is available on Amazon in paperback. Additional resources are available at MelanEE’s website, https://hisgreatlove1.org/.