It was Saturday morning August 15th, 2005. The sun was warm on my face as I lay there in bed. I didn’t have to get up yet. I could lay in bed as long as I wanted today. This was a rare occasion. I normally worked five days a week at Bestcare, five to seven days a week at Bridge to Hope and during the school year I was going to school full time also. So I had every intention of taking advantage of having a whole Saturday to myself.
I got up, made coffee and sat down at my desk to do my Bible study like I did every morning. Nothing in my daily routine was different. Matt and the boys were gone racing. Mandy was at a friend’s house and Faith was still sleeping on my bed. It seemed all was the same as yesterday. But it wasn’t.
As I opened my Bible I again started to search through the Scriptures to find one thing that Jesus had said Himself that would condemn homosexuality. I knew my Bible inside out and for the life of me the only thing that I could find in the Bible was directly talking about living precariously and/or being faithful to the one that you love. Yes, I knew the argument that the Christians had against homosexuals but I also knew the heart of my God and what He’d allowed me to learn about myself over the past two years, and especially the last few months.
I picked up the phone to call the one person I’d become so accustom to talking with, my friend, my confidant, my boss at Bridge to Hope and my mentor, Linda. All of a sudden I realized I couldn’t talk to her about this. Sitting there I filled with shame and sadness and began to cry.
I realized in that moment, that by being true to me and the person God created me to be I would lose everything. My kids had all been raised in a church and taught that homosexuality was a sin. I had taught them that; how could I possibly tell them that I was a lesbian? How did I get here? What was wrong with me? How would I tell my husband? I would have to resign from Bridge to Hope? Oh my God!!!!!!!!! I would have to tell Linda!!! She’d tell the church. I would have to cancel the upcoming events that I was supposed to be speaking at. How would I tell my parents? Would they accept me? I had already put them through so much in my life, how could I do this to them?
I was lost. I didn’t want to be a lesbian. I begged God to take it away but he didn’t. He had gently and lovingly shown me this part of me that I had been stuffing, running from and denying for so many years now. Now it was my choice to be true to myself and true to who God had made me to be or continue to live what was so clearly now a lie. A lie I’d been telling myself for so many years.
I didn’t know who to call to talk to. I had shut myself up so tight in this Christian world that it was all I knew. I lived it, breathed it, preached it and taught it.
But today was like waking up in a different world. A world that looked like the one I’d lived and loved yesterday but in this world all the rules had changed and no one gave me a rule book. I remember asking myself, ‘I wonder if anyone has ever written a Bible for being gay? And if they had, why? And who?
I needed a friend right now and the only one that I could think of to call just happened to be a lesbian. So I went to see her, she told me to go home to my perfect world and never turn back. I couldn’t and I knew it. This realization was two years of God working on my heart. I hadn’t had an affair. I wasn’t even really attracted to anyone. I just knew that this was the part of me that I had never been able to face.
The rest of the story is like many others that I’ve heard since then. Losing everything for awhile and slowly getting back on my feet. A nasty divorce. Being ‘turned over to Satan’ publicly by the church. Identity crisis that only time would heal. New friends came as God brought them. My first relationship with a woman turned into a living nightmare. It was a time of learning. A new mentor came into my life that helped me to know me and my God even better.
Today, I am a gay rights activist living in the same small town I grew up in; next door to my parents who love me, my partner and our children. I am fortunate to have met the greatest woman I could have possibly asked for. It has been a journey that I am grateful to have traveled and look forward to the days to come with the lessons they will bring.
This woman’s story is unique because it is about her life. But as she says, “the rest of the story is like many others I’ve heard.” There are a lot of these stories, told out of pain, rejection, and sometimes discovery of a life on the other side. We who are straight, who identify ourselves as Christians, who are mothers and fathers, relatives and friends, we need to hear these stories. Thanks, Tammy!