I am 24 years old now. I was born with congenital heart disease, which led to my three open heart surgeries – at 13 days old, 2 years old, and 13 years old. The trauma resulted in childhood seizures and an ‘executive dysfunction’ neuro-diverse label. My family church prayed for me because doctors said I would not live, and God simultaneously sent my anxious mother and her pastor a beautiful vision to inform them I would live.

As a child, I was close with my dad, and I kept my hair short to be like my mother, and to differentiate myself from my identical twin sister; I was a ‘tom boy.’ In early grades I enjoyed telling my friends things I heard in Sunday school, yet I was teased in 7th grade for saying “If I was a boy I’d marry [insert name of my best friend].” Due to much rejection of myself, I came to believe the only way somebody may stay within your life is by marriage. My parents have a good long marriage and I wanted someone to pray with me and to hug me. In leaving high-school I went into a discipleship college as I had no clue what I would do – only that I would like to serve God, for He is the reason I am here. Perhaps I could be a pastor like my grandparents.

In seeing the many hurtful messages a friend faced by those claiming to follow Jesus, I wanted to help. I used my gift of writing to abuse the Scriptures, submitting an affirming sermon of homo-erotic relationships. Based on television choices in my life, my own desire for affection with friends, masturbation, and zero awareness of sexual attention to men, I began feeding the notion that I would become a man. I always wanted a brother, yet my dad never had a son, etc.; then I could have a wife, and maybe the church wouldn’t oppose it very much. I was tired of others falsely thinking I was male, accusing me of homosexual intentions when I had a close friend, and I was truly sick from lifelong wounds and convictions of sin that I kept unto myself, for I was told “It is only between you and God.” My life held more darkness upon leaving discipleship college because, out of many teachings, I chose one which felt easier. But I could no longer claim ignorance of the Truth; rather, I was unwilling to search for answers; to examine my own heart, and I continued to lead church events superficially. Hiding myself with lies and pretending to have the fruit of His Spirit which only He can gift took me further from my relationship with God.

I remembered one teaching about holiness from discipleship college and I reached out to that leader. I heard testimonies of God from those who said now they were truly disciples of Christ; however; they were all raised in ‘Christian’ contexts. I was so curious! They listened to me, they spoke truth to many lies I accepted: “that sin is disgusting” became “that is heartbreaking”, and I read Pope Saint John Paul II’s summary of Theology of the Body by Christopher West titled Our Bodies Tell God’s Story. Each time I was encouraged to ask Him. Once, I felt so down for entertaining a sinful thought after so much progress, I cut out distractions to spend more time in prayer. God said He wants to be my Father, my Brother and my Friend forever, showing me moments of my life where I first trusted the view of my dad, my sister, or my so-called friends more than Him. He stood there loving me, arms outstretched, but I did not care. It broke my heart and because each Person of God distinctively shared with me – I grew up with an emphasis on Christ alone – it encouraged me to look into Catholicism after my eldest sister joined the Church. Nervously, before I fully read those deuterocanonical books, I asked Him if I could trust them given how much heresy I had been told. Additionally, I grew my hair out and became vegetarian to help me remember I was seeking a new way of life.

Now, I am a candidate – I hastily got baptized independently upon seeing the changes God brought into my life as I chose to obey Him – with hopes to receive my Confirmation next year. Now, I am open to the gift of a husband, being a wife, and a mother – or not – for whichever plans God has for me have proven far better than the direction which I steered myself towards. Some Protestant leaders told me I must become a nun, yet God, who led me out of all my sins and restores my desires, also shows me I may have a husband, yet I can live a life without one and not be lonely. I had cut myself off from female friends – afraid I may be tempted – yet He encourages me to share Him unbiasedly with all His beloved sons and daughters whether they know and accept this identity yet or not.


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The opinions and experiences expressed in each blog entry in “The Upper Room” belong solely to the original authors and do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of Courage International, Inc. Some entries have been edited for length and clarity.