This post is a continuation of the Stories of Reconciliation submitted by readers of how they’ve come to terms with their sexual orientation and faith — or their experience as a straight ally. No matter how much I write, I’m still writing from only my perspective.
I’ve learned over the years that the best way to show the real story — is to let people tell their own stories. Some of the stories I’ve received so far have been inspiring. Others are heartbreaking. Some are both.
If you’d like to submit an essay that tells of your own “eureka” moment of when you came to accept yourself or your LGBT loved ones, please submit it through the Contact page on this site. We will accept both written and YouTube submissions. Please consider telling your story.
Because when stories are told, hearts can open.
By Radonna Lynn Hill
As a child, my parents raised me according to Matthew 18:6 — I was the little one it speaks of that should not be offended. I was one of a group of children in my church that was anointed, dedicated at birth by our parents. We had games for church like “shouting tag” and “aisle running races.”
We honed our tongue talking and tried to talk louder, and more fluent, even tried the interpretations a few times. There was no fear of God. No thought of blasphemy, we were doing what we were raised to do — to praise God with our whole spirit, mind and body. We were fully vested at birth having the knowledge of the truth.
We mimicked our spirit filled parents. We sang in the choir, we sat on the platform pretending to play instruments our fingers had not yet mastered. We were the future of pentecostal. No one sat us down, or ever told us to “stop playing.” We were never called out on our endless attempts to extend shouting and singing time so long there was no time to preach. We were joint heirs with Jesus. Holiness was commonplace. Everything was so clear, so simple. So innocent.
As an adult, I think back on that blissful innocence with sadness wondering if I will ever again know what it feels like to not have to fight to prove I am worthy to call myself a Christian. I wonder if I will ever be able to kneel before the altar, and not think of the people standing behind me trying to pray away my gay.
Romans 8:38 is the scripture I bring to mind whenever I need that extra reminder that I am not limited to mans definition of God’s Love:
For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
There are moments in life that color the filter through which you see the world. I was 8 years old when I faced a contradiction, I could not reconcile. Someone I loved very much, Someone that had always shown me unconditional was a gay man. Being the vigilant protectors of my righteousness my Grandparents tried to counteract the effect the exposure to homosexuality had done to my brothers and I. It was then that I first heard the words abomination, reprobate, and homosexual.
I found myself questioning the bible, the existence of God, and even silently challenging him. I had never MET God, God had done absolutely nothing for me that I found tangible. The homosexual in my life had held me after I woke up screaming from nightmares. He had made me feel loved, valued, and important. The homosexual in my life bought me birthday and Christmas presents and my Dolly Parton barbie doll. When it was just he and I in the car he let me listen to Dolly Parton on the radio.
Love won. Plain and simple.
I was 16 when I knew I was different. I would not have labeled myself as a lesbian at that time, because I had nothing to compare anything to. I thought the extreme pull I felt towards women, was me wanting to possess the different qualities I found attractive in them for myself.
I was drawn to confident, tough, dominate, outspoken, active, athletic women. It was hard to distinguish wanting “to be” and “to be with.” I pushed that part of me down as far as I could push it. I did things trying to be straight that make me cringe to think about. The best thing to come out of it was my three beautiful children.
My son Evan is a miracle — a real bona fide miracle with papers to prove it. He was born after two miscarriages and the stillbirth of his brother William. Evan was born whole, despite fears that he would have cleft lip and a heart defect.
He was born with a true knot in his cord that at any time could have tightened, and would have killed him. When he was born two things happened. I held my baby boy listening to Norman Hutchinson singing “Jesus I love you” and I was completely and absolutely humbled and grateful by the love of Jesus.
While surrounded fully in the precious love of God, His presence blended so perfectly and completely with the love of my newborn son. It was then that the bible became more than words to me. The revelation of Gods love did not drive me running to the nearest pentecostal church.
That revelation opened up the door to the secret parts of me I knew that God saw. He saw them because he made them. He designed me. Luke 7:12 told me the very hairs on my head were numbered.
For years, I was angry at man’s interpretation of the divine. My anger towards God disappeared that day. God I found was very different when removed from that filter. I have not stepped foot into a church in more than three years.
I went to a few services because my children had asked me to attend or my Mother had conned me into going. They all pretty much went the same way. The music plays, the singers sing, Alabaster Box or something similar. My tears started to roll like a river — not because of conviction or the desire to pray through, but because I ache to freely worship God in the manner I first learned.
I long to lift my hands and to speak in tongues without the church taking that to mean I will go home and dump my girlfriend. I could attend a gay friendly church, but me being anything but pentecostal is like asking someone Jewish to be Catholic. So for now I embrace my spirituality quietly.
I try to respect my mother’s right to believe the things that she believes, realizing that to many their faith is like a deck of cards you challenge one part of their belief system and it will all come crumbling down. I don’t wish to take away anything from anyone.
I just hold on to the hope that one day I will be able to go back to that place when my right to approach the throne of grace was not conditional. That I can dance like David danced without offending anyone. A Place that Gay Christians will not be considered an oxymoron.
I don’t know about you, dear reader, but I’d like to help find places like that everywhere. As it is, though, I don’t think we need any more gay churches. We need churches that love people more than they love their doctrines and prejudices.
Let’s identify with Jesus and let Him sort us out.
Radical idea, I know.