I came out at the ripe age of 13. Growing up a was a strong willed, outspoken, always into something kind of child. I knew what I wanted to and I was always bold enough to go find it. Picture this: a class of 8th graders sitting together getting ready to get confirmed to the catholic church. Sun rays beaming through the stain glass windows. Echoes of the teachers in the sanctuary. Nervous children restlessly learning the bible and what it all means. Then there is me. Sitting in my seat, wondering why I have to do something I don’t want to do. I attended church every Sunday with my mom and I was at the next step. I was about to confirm my faith to a Catholic Church that made it very clear it did not approve of everything I KNEW I was. So, in the middle of our Q&A during confirmation class, I rose my hand and asked a simple (to me) question: “What if we don’t want to get confirmed?” It truly felt like the whole church, city, world gasped after I had asked that question. My mother was very supportive of my choice, but I decided I didn’t want to be around a faith community that didn’t like me. So I stopped going. Throughout high school, I attended some youth group, but still didn’t understand why a humongous group of ‘good people’ didn’t like who I was.
After many years of not having a space in my life made for faith, I felt like something was missing. I felt like life wasn’t as bright as it could be. After I graduated college, I decided to start dabbling back into faith, the church, religion, and people who accepted me as who I know I am. I found a church in St. Louis that truly stands with every one in their congregation, and meets them where they are. The pastor at this church uses words that allow people of the LGBTQ+ community to know they are welcome. He will refer to family structures with words like “husbands, wives, and partners’. We even started a new ministry called Emerge: the LGBTQ+ Connection. This is SO imperative to our community, and has allowed a home for those seeking faith, but not knowing where to go.
I think finding a church that reaffirms that God knows me and He loves me is exactly what I needed. I think writing off religion because you have been hurt by the church is a very real thing a lot of us know. But promise me this, never give up on God, because He has never given up on you.
I know that sounds hard for some people to hear, but faith is a journey, not always a destination.
Check out my church’s website if you want to see what I mean by all of this. Come visit if you are in the St. Louis, MO. Message me if you do! I would love to meet you.
It has been life changing for me.