Brought up in a home with a Christian mum and a non Christian dad and an older brother and sister who fitted into their gender norms, I was a wee tom boy and knew I was different from a very young age. I didn’t know then it would take over 30 years to come to terms with just how different I was.
In my youth I knew I was attracted to the same sex, but my upbringing in church and the society I lived in told me everything about it was wrong, unnatural and forbidden by God. So in my fear, I ignored it and ran into the arms of boys, after all that is what was expected of me. I continued to get involved knee deep in my small evangelical church and eventually my passion for God and young people overflowed and I became the youth leader.
However, when I was 20 I met a girl who changed the course of my life and out of a friendship we developed a loving, affectionate and passionate relationship. However, it was all a secret and eventually the secrecy and the guilt overwhelmed me and I ended the relationship, unable to reconcile my faith with my sexuality.
Not long after this I was introduced to a man I eventually married after dating for 4 years. The marriage lasted for 6 years before I walked away from it, heart broken and completely disillusioned with myself and with God. It was the first time in my life I ever doubted that God could love me…because I walked away from my marriage vows at the age of 32.
After counselling, where I was still unable to talk about my sexuality, a form of healing commenced and good biblical teaching helped me to come to terms with divorce. Still, I couldn’t talk about my same sex attraction, telling myself it was a one off, an experiment, I was a victim of somebody else’s attraction; all excuses because I was too afraid of facing the truth that I was gay.
One more broken hearted relationship with another man later and I was still unable to face my sexuality. After all, I’d been in relationships with men so I must’ve been straight – right?
A few years ago I was re-reading through the book ‘purpose driven life’ when God clearly told me to stop running away and face my past. He told me not to be afraid for where He is, there is freedom. Once more I went into counselling, this time to reveal my secret past and find answers. It was incredibly painful to talk about and it didn’t help and I sank into a depression.
I finally met someone I could speak with about it who encouraged me to be true to myself and in hearing her story I related strongly to her. She thought she was unwelcome in the Church because of her sexuality and it broke my heart to hear her say it, although deep down I knew her perception of the Church was realistic.
This friendship forced me to be honest about my life and I finally realised that God made me the person I was and that I was truly loved by Him regardless of my sexuality.
Through another friend I heard of the work of Anthony Venn-Brown and undertook his coaching course which gave me the knowledge, strength and courage I needed to come out to my family and friends. Against my expectations, they were incredibly supportive and also saddened that it had taken me over 30 lonely years to come to terms with it and tell them.
With a clearer biblical understanding and the fear of God’s judgement out of the way and a very deep sense of who I am in Him, I finally faced up to who he created me to be and put aside my fear. I am a gay Christian woman who wants to live with integrity and who has no illusions about how difficult that will be.
Although in some ways I am at the beginning of my journey in understanding, at age 44 I feel like I’ve been on it for a very long time and I’m waiting for the next chapter.