by Jace Yiu posted November 2016
Good morning everyone,
This morning I would like to start off with my favourite morning prayer – “Thank you, Jesus!” Every morning when I wake up, this is the first thing I say – “Thank you, Jesus!”
I am thankful for the wonderful and amazing experiences I’ve had in the past few months, cultivating an even more powerful transformation in the last few weeks.
A few weeks ago I was asked if I would like to share my story with the church. I had a moment of hesitation as I thought, “I don’t know if I have anything noteworthy to share with everyone.” My invitation was from a text message and I remember texting back, “Me? Really?” The response I received was “Yes!” …with a smiley face.
From that moment on I have been going over personal thoughts and processing what stories I would like to share. As it turns out, being asked to share my story would end up being the story itself as I begin the next chapter in my personal transformation and renewal of my personal relationship with Jesus.
Five months ago, I walked into St. Andrew’s-Wesley and decided to give church and religion another chance. I had tried in the past visiting a church here and there but it didn’t feel right, that I belonged, or maybe I wasn’t ready. I had been searching for a church that I felt would accept me for who I am and my sexuality was always pulling the strings in my heart.
Years ago I left church because I thought God didn’t want a gay man. I knew God wanted me to be a part of a street church and take care of those who needed a friendly face, a warm smile, meeting them where they are, and not what they could and should be. I left church and I left Jesus because secretly I knew I was struggling with acceptance of myself. I didn’t think God wanted me. So I told myself and I told God, I am not the right person to do the work. I am not worthy. I don’t want to embarrass you.
That was almost twenty years ago. Since then I have had my share of dark days: depression, mental illness, nervous breakdowns — the greatest battle for me was recovering from attempted suicide. Rebuilding my life led me to some of the greatest lessons, hardest lessons, and simplest lessons.
Serenity: accept the things I can’t change and the wisdom to know the difference. Every day I am learning to accept and surrender.
As I mentioned, a few weeks ago I was asked to share my story. I said yes, and in doing so I learned a new powerful lesson. In retrospect, it was an open invitation. How many times has God waited for me to say yes to an open invitation? With one yes, I was moved to dig deep, soul search, and I ended up doing the kind of personal and spiritual work great spiritual leaders and apostles in scriptures talked about or wrote about. With one willing yes, I found more open invitations and I kept saying yes to all of them. It turns out I kept saying yes to God – “Not my will but thy will.”
As for my story, every time I thought I had found the story, something would happen, or someone would make an innocent comment, and I was inspired to write another chapter of my story. And I did.
I want to share with you a few of my favourite quotations that have become my mantras, words that have helped me be transformed and to see the world with humility, gratitude.
The first is my favourite… from Maya Angelou, a lesson that came from her grandmother:
“Just do right. The truth is… [that] right might not be expedient, it might not be profitable, but it will satisfy your soul. It brings you the kind of protection that body guards can’t give you. Try to be all you can be, to be the best human being you can be. …Pick up the battle and make it a better world.
Next, Zig Ziglar:
What you get by achieving your goal is not as important as what you become by achieving your goals.
From the poet Mark Nepo:
Rather than finding heaven on earth, we are asked to release heaven by living on earth.
And by Eckhart Tolle:
Until you practice surrender, the spiritual dimension is something you read about, talk about, get excited about, write books about, think about, believe in — or don’t, as the case may be. It makes no difference. Not until you surrender does it become a living reality in your life.
From Wayne Dyer:
You have this choice: you can either be a host to God or you can be a hostage to your Ego.
And Jeremiah 29:11:
For I know the thoughts that I think towards you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.
And, Philippians 4:6-7:
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will
guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
And my last mantra for today… 1 Cor 13:13”
So now faith, hope, love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.
How many times has God waited for me or you to accept his open invitation? With one yes, I have begun my journey to understand the true essence of the gift of Grace. I leave you as I begin, by offering you my favourite prayer – “Thank you, Jesus.”