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Is the love of God and the pursuit of God only available to certain people?


When I was 5, I wanted to be a Country-Gospel singer. (no judgment, please)

When I was 7, I wanted to be a Veterinarian. (only the furry cute ones, no snakes or reptiles)

When I was 9, I wanted to be a Painter. (I spent hours dreaming of what my studio would look like)

When I was 12, I wanted to be an Architect. (However, math is not my strong suit) 

When I was 15, I wanted to be an Interior Designer. (Even though I'm colorblind)

When I was 17, I wanted to be a Pastor.


When we grow up, we have an idea of what our future will look like. We have an idea of life and how we will develop into our future selves. We have passions, desires, beliefs, and social constructs that shape us and shape our outlook on life. We also have doubts, reservations, hurdles to jump, and training to complete.


What I never took into consideration when growing up and dreaming was my sexual orientation. I never defined myself by it. I never thought that what I was naturally attracted to would hinder the dreams my heart dreamt. I never thought that the person I would one day love would determine the places I felt welcomed, the places I had to seek out to worship, the places I had to look for work and a career.


All I knew was I had dreams and passions that burned inside me. I wanted to make a difference in the world and follow the purposes of my heart. 


I grew up in the church, a mix between the front pew of a Pentecostal Holiness Church where my grandfather pastored and a Southern Baptist Church where my mother sang in the choir every Sunday. The differences in worship style were confusing, for sure. What wasn't confusing was my desire to worship, to seek God, and to tell everyone I knew about it.


I did become a Pastor. I studied at an outstanding Bible College and fell in love with my creator deeper than ever before. My heart for people grew-- the hurting, the abandoned, the outcast... as I focused on social justice and the pursuit of happiness for all.


After 6 years of ministry leading, pastoring, and preaching... my purpose in life came to a complete halt. I fell in love with someone. Someone who made me happy. Someone who felt right. Someone whose gender didn't align with the predetermined expectations put on me by my religious institution. When I was asked to step down from my position in the church and give up my passion in life because of it... I was sure I would never enter, much less serve, in a church again. 


I heard the voices. The hatred. The conversations amongst religious people. I felt worthless. I felt unwanted. I felt ashamed.


However, nothing could compete with the love I had for my Savior. I knew, in my heart, that the God I served was not the same God that these religious people spoke for. I knew that God had created me, that He knew me, and that the dreams inside of me had been a gift from Him. 


During this time, I began to dig even deeper into the heart of my God. To seek out truth, to seek out my beliefs and my convictions. God never left me, but I felt as though the church had. I felt alone, judged, and afraid- many times. But there was one thing I knew and that I held on to... I was accepted, loved, and created uniquely by a God who was for me.


Spirituality is a journey. It's a personal relationship between you and God. It isn't your neighbor's religion, it isn't your mother's religion, it isn't the church's religion. Your spiritual journey is about YOUR relationship. We all have a unique story, and God will take us on our own journey if we allow Him. My heart has grown exponentially during this process that seemed so complex and challenging. I have never felt more aligned with my purpose, and my desire to see love win continues to burn inside of me. I'm a fighter, a fighter for equality. For justice. For freedom.


If you, or someone you know, is dealing with similar issues-- this is what I have to say. Seek God and God's heart. Everyone has an opinion, but that doesn't mean it's necessarily for you. Be careful about whom you let speak over your life. Seek God yourself and hold tight to God's promises. And, above all else, run after your dreams! Don't let anyone take away what God has given. Be bold, be a fighter, make a change, and show love to everyone.


Don't give up. And don't allow those who claim to "speak" for God to tarnish the gifts given to each and every one of us.


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