by Tyler Krumland
Hi, my name is Tyler Krumland. I am the oldest of three boys, born and raised in Washington. I love being in the woods, photography, coffee, deep conversation, and my relationship with Jesus Christ is the most important thing to me. Growing up I was typically seen smiling, having fun, enjoying every experience in life but deep down I was carrying a pain deeper than anyone really knew. My smile masked years of self-hatred, pain, sadness, and hopelessness. For years I kept the source of the pain secret but I’m done hiding, it’s time to be brave and that’s what this blog is an attempt at. You see the thing is I am a paradox. I am a Christian but I also happen to be gay.
For some this may be shocking whereas others may have had their assumptions. Some may have tons of questions while others are in the process of getting down on their knees praying for me in fear that I am on a fast train to hell. Whatever it is you as a reader are experiencing, before you jump to any conclusions let me attempt to put into words how I have to come to where I am today. It’s a place that only the Lord could have brought me to.
Each day for the last twenty plus years I have woken up with what felt like the weight of the world on my shoulders knowing there is something about me that is different; something that automatically made me wrong and bad and if shared publicly would cause me to be seen as sinful, disgusting, and in some people’s eyes an abomination. Words can’t explain how painful it is to sit with people you care about and respect and hear them say things like this not knowing they are in fact talking about you. Each one of their words ripping and tearing your humanity away from you until you have become nothing more than an issue to be figured out and overcome; many claiming to be acting in love. But it didn’t feel loving. Although it hurts to hear them say these things, the thought of losing them is equally painful and scary.
For a long time I tried to change; I tried everything; therapy, fasting, praying, dating girls, being prayed over, and even anointing with oil. Nothing worked. I refused to give up the idea that one day I would be “healed”; I would become straight. Then this last summer I came to a breaking point. The years of lying, failed attempts at change, and self-contempt had all caught up with me. It breaks my heart but I had come to the point where it seemed the only hope I had at finding peace was death. Was I going to have to take my own life in order to find freedom? I didn’t want that but I also couldn’t bear hurting any longer.
So I cried out to God and begged and pleaded for answers, asking why He wouldn’t change me, fearing I might do something that could not be reversed. What I heard was the opposite of what I expected though:
I don’t fix things that aren’t broken. The only healing that needs to happen in your life is how you see yourself. I have already called you good so quit allowing those around you to tell you what good looks like. I make no mistakes; now go be who I created you as and be the change this world needs.
As I began to accept that this was who I was and how God created me I saw something start to happen. The depression that had been with me for most of my life that robbed me of my joy daily began to diminish. Anxiety and worry that were part of my daily routine became almost non-existent. I began to have an excitement and a hope for my life that was not there before. Most importantly, I found my relationship with the Lord growing. Who God was and how vast His love for His people began to manifest itself in my life and I felt I could not hold back from sharing it with others. I began to see each person I came in contact with as someone with a story deserving to be heard and I wanted more than anything to offer them the love of God. For years I heard about freedom in Christ and thought that I knew what it was, but I was quickly realizing that my understanding of that freedom had been limited.
Freedom in Christ does not call someone to lie each day about who they are and play some role that will cover up a part of themselves. I was not living in freedom but in bondage. Freedom is what came when I finally began to accept myself as a good creation and stopped telling God He had made a mistake when I was created. I am His beloved, loved just the way I am. There are tons of stories of how God spoke to me and brought me to where I am today, but I’ll save that for later posts.
So what does this mean for me? I act and do things the way I do because I am Tyler. Yes, being gay is a significant part of my story, but it is not the only noteworthy part of who I am. There are tons of other things about me that are far more interesting:
The fact that I love dinosaurs today maybe more than I did as kid. Or that one of my favorite ways to relax is over a cup of coffee with my bible and journal by myself. Discussing theology with people brings out the nerd in me I never knew existed. I love photography and feel at peace when in nature capturing its beauty with my camera lens and my favorite is when I get to share it with people I love. Spontaneity and adventure are things I wish I had more of in my life. I love music of all styles, believing that for every season and setting there is music that fits it beautifully—even pop music has its place in the soundtrack of life. Fitness is really important to me and I would love to get involved with working with people who want to be healthier. Falling asleep to the pouring rain is one of the most soothing sounds and I also still long to have a family of my own most importantly though, I am a follower of Jesus Christ. All these other things that I find joy in are out of a response to the relationship that I have with my Maker. All those things are trumped by this truth. It may be hard for some to see how I can in the same paragraph acknowledge I am gay and a Christian but it is possible. I am that paradox.
In sharing this with you, I ask just a few things. First, no one wants to be forced under a label and I am no different. Just as straight people come in all shapes and sizes, with a plethora of interests, the same is true of people of the lgbtq (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning/queer) community. So before you force a label on me or anyone else and expect to see me become some caricature you have seen on TV, take the time to have a conversation with me. Hear my story; get to know me—the me that has been in hiding—but also the me that is ready to be brave. In the coming weeks I will be sharing a much more in depth version of my story and hope you will take the time to get to know me further by reading it.
Last fall I asked the Lord how He wanted me to share my story and I had this idea of a book come to mind almost immediately; so I sat down and began to write and in just over a month I had written a book all about my story. I will soon be self-publishing it as an e-book in hopes of offering a greater perspective of what it has been like to be a Christian who has struggled with his sexuality. I have no doubt that you will find the same God you know in your own life at work in mine.
Another request, please don’t call me sinner. My name is Tyler. I understand that everyone has their own perspective and understanding. But if you feel it is your calling to make me aware of my sin, I am uninterested in having that conversation or argument with you. I have been fighting for years on both sides and I am tired and done. All that brought me was to one of the most hopeless places I have ever been and I have no interest in venturing there again. There was recently a great article about this on Huffington post you might check out.
If you want to talk with me in order to understand my story better and have a conversation then by all means get in contact with me. That’s the reason I created this blog. In the coming days and weeks I’ll be sharing more of what this has been like for me. I am more than my sexuality. It’s my hope it will be a place for connections and that I can be a safe place for people who are struggling. I am not searching to be fixed but simply heard. That’s what anybody wants and deserves. Hear people’s stories, truly hear them and never presume to understand where they have been, what they have been through, or where they are going. In assuming we belittle both the joys and great pains that they have experienced.
Thank you for taking the time to hear my story. I couldn’t ask for anything more. I don’t fear what might be said to me because I have an arsenal of people who love me and love the Lord that will not sit silently while hurtful things are said to me. They will jump to my defense. They were already there defending and celebrating my personhood before I was and I thank God for that.
I know that my journey is not going to be easy, but I have hope that life no longer living in the closet will bring a new hope, excitement, and wonder about truly living. Things won’t change over night, people will continue to say hurtful things, I will still struggle each day to believe that I am actually worthy of God’s love, and times will get weary. In those moments I will just look to the Lord, where my hope comes from, get excited about the work God has started and will no doubt faithfully complete, and choose to be brave!
Originally posted here