Fractured relationship with the church. Everything was going well up until 2014, until I lost interest and felt it was a “have- to” on a Sunday morning. Sinking into depression didn’t help.
In 2014, I was diagnosed with severe depression, and it sank deep into my brain. But the church told me my illness was “god’s will” and I should just suck it up and deal with it.
So I was done.
Fast forward to 2017. I just came out, and was hoping for support. My aunt, a woman who fancies herself a “super Christian,” told me I was sinning, that I needed to find God, that I shouldn’t dare have sex with a man, and on and on, until she wrapped up with “the only family I have are my kids and my grandkids.” I was hurt. I was devastated. I wanted to cry, but had nowhere to go because I was at work and had to finish my shift.
A few days prior, a woman who I thought was my best friend told me I was confused, that I was every bit a man, that I should be happy with the way God made me, etc. When she told me this, I was at dinner and wanted to leave, saddling her with the check. Once again, fancies herself a super Christian, posts Bible verses to Facebook almost daily.
So if I wasn’t done with the church in 2014, I was done in 2017. If that’s the way they wanted to play, fine.
But when I walked into Out on the Lakeshore in November 2017, I met a couple Episcopalians. They tell me all about the denomination, about Rev. Jen, etc. No decision was made that night, but I was all like “cool.”
Two weeks later, I meet Rev. Jen. We start talking, and she somehow penetrates my defenses. She understands that I’ve been hurt by the church. She assures me it’s not like that everywhere. She tells me about Grace Episcopal, where she leads, and it sounds like a place I should check out.
In December, I walk through the doors at Grace. Immediately, I introduce myself as Amber Marie, and they care. On subsequent Sundays, I walk in, they say “Hi, Amber!”
A member came up to me and said “all are welcome at the table.” They come up and wonder how the transition is going, how work is, and are genuinely concerned with my health and welfare.
For someone who doesn’t believe in much of anything right now, it’s great to have a place to go on Sunday morning that is actually patient about that.
At least with Jen and company, I have allies and Moms I can count on.