Just As I Am: Finding Acceptance Wherever You Can

Lori D Ariz's picture

(Posted at a T Revival)

Ever since I woke this morning, I sensed an imminent wave coming to sink me under the water. I know how to tread this water, I know how to float on top of it, and I know how to swim in its currents. But this time I could see the wave's crest, and it was a LOT higher than the top of my head.

Throughout the day I tried to alter my course to avoid it, I stayed focused at work, read a few touching personal stories, and I even had a few more opportunities to educate a few more people about me. It all seemed to be working for a while, but then I quickly realized that the wave wasn't apart from me, in fact it was and is a part OF me. The struggles that my wife and I continue to face as these final days before the name change become official are weighing down on me hard. I refuse to pretend all is perfectly well.

People ask me if I'm certain about going full time, about living the rest of my life as Lori. There's not doubt about if I WANT to. Are you doubtful that you have brown eyes or ten toes? Are you certain about your favorite color? I'm certain about who I know I am. Other's may not see it, but it's not about having to prove that to others. My "bee sting" is much more complicated than that. My "bee sting" is irrelevant. It's cliche to say it but it's about my choice to live authentically with myself and with the world around me.

My friend Sharon always inspires me. She's chosen to be my friend not because of what I do, how much money I make, or whether or not I'm even transgender. She could care less about any of that. She chooses to be friend because I'm just a "cool person," and after all, mean people suck. We've all wasted our efforts in friendships that existed solely for the self aggrandizement of the other person. Friendships that start off and end with "it's all about me" are friendships that she and I both would rather not keep. Sharon is someone who truly cares for me, and she loves me like God loves me... just the way I am.

I only wish that I was loved that way by others even closer to me.

Makes me remember the song I sang in church a couple of weeks ago. Just As I Am is an old hymn that touches me to the core. It symbolizes the love that God has for me in my ability to know that I can freely come to him - I don't need no pastor, no priest, no confession booth, no saints, no virgins... i can freely come to HIM.

Just as I am, tho' tossed about
With many a conflict, many a doubt,
Fightings and fears within, without,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come.

Just as I am, poor, wretched, blind-
Sight, riches, healing of the mind,
Yea, all I need in Thee to find-
O Lamb of God, I come, I come.

Just as I am, Thou wilt receive,
Wilt welcome, pardon, cleanse, relieve,
Because Thy promise I believe,
O Lamb of God, I come! I come!


If you happen to be in Tucson this weekend, I've been asked to lead worship at

Cornerstone Fellowship

. That's right, they accept me just as I am too, and apparently they want me to use the gift God gave me to sing and play guitar (and maybe even a little piano) to Him in praise. I hope my voice is ready.


After all this pain, sorrow, heartache, and imperfection, I'm ready to lift up my voice and sing again.


So I'll sing. Dear Lord, I'll sing a love song to you for I know you sing over me.

(Photo courtesy of Sean-Michael Gettys. Yup, that's me in the pic, taken at IFGE 2008 in Tucson.)

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