“The Lord will make a way.”
For as long as I can remember I have been telling family and friends this “Truth” when troubles seemed insurmountable.
For me this phrase means that by taking another look and asking for “God vision,” the answers come.
I’ve always had a solid connection to God; an inner knowing that God was walking with me, guiding my steps, loving me and smiling on me.
As a result, I’ve always had this sense of inner joy and of being blessed. It is a feeling which has buoyed me in some of the most dire circumstances.
Growing up in Detroit, we were raised Catholic in a tiny black Catholic Church school that merged with the local Polish Catholic school.
I learned early the lessons of racism, and the toll of being different. I also discovered the power of music and always, my connection to God.
Once I left Detroit for college at Michigan State University where I pursued a journalism degree, I joined a black gospel college choir which opened up my world even more. I discovered other churches and denominations with a rich social justice history. And yet, I always found something lacking.
By the time I graduated and joined the Grand Rapids Press in 1980 to become it’s religion editor, I was still searching for something.
And as an adult, once I realized I was gay, my personal God- connection did not falter, even though not everyone embraced my view of a God who loves me unconditionally.
I joined churches, enamored with their soul-stirring music or their powerful preaching, only to hear condemning words of people like me.
And once I was in love and looking to share the joys and woes of a new relationship with my spiritual leader, I was personally shot down by the words “That is not of God.”
I was wounded. I questioned. I believed differently. And I prayed.
I believed that God made me whole. That God does not make mistakes and God made me a
left-handed, African-American, lesbian, child of God and follower of Christ.
I also believed my past relationship with God was not changed because of love. I believe in the power of God to soften hearts, open minds, move mountains. So I stayed in those difficult conversations with my old pastor and before he left his old post, he held the Bible up before the congregation and stated, “this is a book of love,” not a weapon.
Since then I have participated in and led retreats for Christian lesbians finding their journey to God, in the Sisters in a Strange Land retreats at the Leaven Center in neighboring Ionia county.
So many of us have been wounded, or worse, when falsely told that God turns away from us because of who we love.
I pray daily, commune with God daily and continue to be awe-struck by the power of believing.
Today I am the Faith Advocacy Coordinator with Gays In Faith Together (GIFT), a turn of events that started with a leap of faith in pursuing another career after 28 years with the Grand Rapids Press.
I am excited to be working with you laying the groundwork for the “Gay? Christian? Yes!“ Campaign.
Our hope is to make West Michigan a place that affirms gays of faith..
My dream is to start the conversations, prayerfully and willfully, raising the veil from the pew whisperings and prepare to embrace all of God’s children and all that God has made us and meant us to be.
Growing up Catholic there was an old song I loved,
“They will know we are Christians by our love.”