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A little more than a week ago I spoke for the very first time about my newly released book, “Life AFTER the Down Low.” The crowd was predominantly gay and it felt like some of the men came prepared to dig their claws into this woman who would brazenly write a book about such a topic.  Funny, when I first accepted the assignment, I wasn’t quite sure what it was that I would say to such a group.  “What am I going to say to THEM Lord,” is the question that I kept asking myself.  How is MY book going to help them?  Not that I discriminated again their sexual preference, I just wasn’t clear how the message of redemption would ultimately impact a group of men who have overtly embraced the lifestyle that was for years hidden from me during my marriage.

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I walked into the small studio-type room and canvassed the surroundings.  I made it a point to introduce myself to everyone who preceded me in the area as well as those who came in subsequently.  Before long, it was time for me to take my seat.  The butterflies became immediately apparent.  ‘Oh gosh…all eyes are going to be on me,’ I thought.  My bio was read by an eloquently older woman and the facilitator nervously gave me the floor.  “I just want to thank you for inviting me here tonight to share a little about my story, my life.” I said.  “My name is Ingrid Michelle and I have written a book entitled “Life AFTER the Down Low,” which chronicles my tumultuous experience of being married to a man who lived a double-life as a homosexual.”   I read a few excerpts from the book and closed it, dramatically making eye contact with the audience.  They were ready!  You could see some of their arms folded.  The questions ensued, “Where is the humanity?” one asked.    “What is YOUR point?” another threw out.  “You haven’t shared anything about the love you had for your ex-husband,” came yet another comment.  I answered each question and addressed each comment with grace and dignity, reminding them that this is MY story.  I wasn’t there to make commentary on someone else’s life; this was one that I lived out – still am.   And the funny thing is, people are wondering how it is that I can go on in the manner in which I am – with victory.  Someone actually asked that.  My answer to them is/was; I know that the power of God is real.  When He is ready for your life to be moved to another level, He will do it and He doesn’t have to get permission from you or anyone else.  Here’s the deal though; if He opens the door, you better crawl through it however you can (bloody, sweaty or weary) because what He has on the other side is something so amazing that you can’t even think or even imagine.  The idea is that you get there…to the other side.

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Anyway, when I went home that night, I mulled over a lot of the questions that were asked of me and comments that were made and I just immediately began to thank the Father that I am alive and ABLE to share my story with people.  I am free from disease and sickness and eternally grateful that I get to live and love.  I am in awe that in spite of what happened, I am not embittered toward men but that my heart is tender and ready to love and be loved.  All of this became evident to me.  I get to live.  I get to live life like I have never lived it before.  YES!  There really is Life After the Dow Low.  The events of my life, as traumatic as they are/were didn’t stop me from pursuing and panting after God.  It could have been, but it didn’t.  Someone asked me if I was angry at God and I said, “Just for a second…but then I realized that God had done His part,” (this part will be continued).  In my darkest times, it was clear that it was Him and only Him that was able to carry me through.

My life now doesn’t resemble anything that I am familiar.  My voice is stronger.  My decisions are firmer.  I understand what I want and what I need.  I am in touch with Ingrid.  God used an excruciatingly painful event in my life to shape me into a woman that I’m not sure I would have become without it.  I rejoice with this woman.   She is the perfect fit for me.