I am 60 years old. Most of my life I have been searching for; me. I started out so unsure of my own worth, my place on the earth, my dharma (mission, purpose, point of my existence) that I was always searching. I wanted to be a writer, a teacher, a nun, a missionary, a preacher, a youth minster, a talk show host; you get my drift.
What was I searching for and why couldn’t I find it? I remember that many of my ideas about how I could serve were quickly shot down with the opinions of those who love me.
- Your stories are so gory I don’t think you can make money doing that
- You can’t be a nun, you aren’t Catholic and Catholics are going to hell
- Youth ministers aren’t paid so you’ll have to get married and then volunteer with the youth in your husband’s church
- We don’t have female ministers
- You aren’t famous so you can’t have a talk show
To the fairness of those who offered their opinions, some of those things were true. Women of my church growing up were not preachers and our churches did not pay youth ministers, my stories were gory, and I was not Catholic. (BTW, I never understood why nuns or Catholics in general were going to hell, AND I still don’t believe that is true.)
I know down in my core I want people to be happy. I want to make things okay. I want to make a difference. I want to inspire others. I want to serve in a meaningful way. I also know that I have a very innate need to have a deep faith and even when I was told being Gay would send me to hell, I still searched for my Source, Creator of All that Is inside of me. I still felt a disconnect and that there was still a piece missing.
My search took me to India, at the age of 18, to build a church in the town where our missionaries were stationed. Home sickness and dysentery and other health issues ended in me asking God to redial because I felt I had picked up the wrong calling!
I did go to our church school, Berkshire Christian College, and received a BA in Theology and a Teaching Certificate. The teaching certificate would pay me as I volunteered in a church with the youth. I did plan to be married by the time I graduated from college!
I used my certificate as a substitute teacher after over half the teachers in the state of Massachusetts were laid off when I graduated and NC was not hiring either when I returned home. I then went on to graduate school to serve as a School Counselor, a counselor for terminally ill children at Hospice, a mental health Therapist and a Therapist at a Private Practice.
Through all of that searching, I realized I was still searching for that deep inner knowing that God is real, that God loves me as I am, and that I am worthy to serve others in whatever capacity I am led to serve. I don’t have to be straight, I don’t have to be perfect, I don’t have to have all the answers.
What I do need is people who will love and support me in my search for the answers to my deep questions. To that end, after all these years, after being told I am an abomination for being Gay, and after having really bad experiences in churches, I have found my people.
On Sunday, February 9th, 2020 I will be confirmed into the Episcopal Church at the Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd in Asheboro, NC. I have stopped fighting, hiding, and ignoring that I have lived in hatred and fear of what has been done to me in the name of God. I AM reclaiming my faith, the God of my understanding, my questions, my doubts, and my RIGHT to be in communion with God, I have chosen a parish where the people of God also know I have the right to be there and understand that I was created to be Gay just like others are created to be Heterosexual, Transgender, Bisexual, etc.
I am scared and that is how I know that this is an ordained shift in my life. God never said the journey would be easy or without fear. Fear is usually a great indicator that the next step is going to be epic! It hasn’t been an easy journey and may never be but I will seek refuge in the knowing that I am chosen and I am worthy and I am Coming Home.
If you have struggled in your spiritual journey and/or have been told you are not going to heaven because you are LGBTQ; feel free to search for the FB group; Gay with God. Answer the questions to be seen on the inside. I’ll see you there!