Our Voices Will Not Be Silenced

voice

In 1988, I met Jesus on a muddy hillside in Pennsylvania.

I had caught glimpses before, but there, with the smell of pine needles and the body odor of a few hundred unwashed humans, I saw him clearly and I fell in love. I had been raised in the Church, but it took a long haired man in jeans and a t-shirt to tell the story in a way that broke through my teen mind and show me just how much God loved me.

I stood on that hillside, tears running down my cheeks, my normally loud voice quietly whispering the prayer that I finally understood. I experienced something revolutionary in those woods, and was unable to turn away. I had felt the love of a Parent who would never turn their face from me, and I was changed. A voice that wanted to speak that love to others was awakened in me.

+++

Ten years later, I lay in a hospital room, begging for the birth to be over. I had pushed for hours, and the child in me seemed content to stay there forever. Finally, with the aid of forceps, tears, and a mighty yell, the baby was born. The doctors had said that they didn’t want the baby to cry because there was meconium present in the fluid, but not to be outdone by mom, our newborn let out a cry that sounded far more like that of a 2 month old than a 2 minute old.

After far too long, I was allowed to hold this child to my breast and we nursed for the first time. This time I was the parent, and I could never turn my face away from this child. I was changed. A voice of love and protection awakened in me, unlike anything I had ever known.

+++

When my child was born, the doctors announced, “It’s a girl!” And based on the information they had at the time, that was accurate.

But in classic “don’t judge a book by its cover” fashion, that assessment was incomplete and 16 years later, the child who had been raised as a girl told us that she was he. During this rebirth there was no yelling even though there were some tears, but the mother who nurses her child cannot forget them, and turning away from him was not an option. The love that I had experienced on that muddy hillside nearly three decades earlier demanded that I show love to others, and the love that I had experienced 16 years previously when we had nursed together in a hospital room had never wavered.

Some, however, were not convinced that love and acceptance were the right decisions. They believed that the Parent who said, “I will never leave you or forsake you,” didn’t mean that for the gay or transgender children and that support from parents here was best not offered publicly. They believed that the voice that I was sharing could mislead others, shifting them away from the truth as they saw it. We were told that continuing to speak would mean that we could no longer be a part of their part of the Church.

My husband, who loves my voice and who loves our son, held my hand as I said that silence was not an option. Too many LGBTQ people have experienced not only hatred from the Church, but silence in the face of their suffering, and I cannot be silent.

In the days since, there have been tears and yelling and grief. A day of rejoicing was rendered somber, as we were unable to worship with a church family that we had grown to love.

Being asked to leave a church is an incredibly painful thing. But we are still a part of a larger family, with an infinitely loving Parent. And I will not be silent about the vastness of that love.

Advertisements

About Alise

I’m a lot of things, but more than anything else, I’m a woman in progress. I’m finding that out more and more all the time. Knitting is just a series of knots. I hope as my tangled thoughts are put out there, they will weave together into something that adds a little bit of beauty to the world.
This entry was posted in Church, LGBTQ and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

17 Responses to Our Voices Will Not Be Silenced

  1. Bekka says:

    While we weren’t explicitly asked to leave a church, the few times we have felt it time to leave because of unwelcome attitudes were painful enough.

    Thank you for being brave, for refusing to be silent, and choosing love over fear. Much love to you and yours.

  2. georgiakevin says:

    Wow! What a well written sweet post! Your son is soo lucky to have you as his Mom and your husband must a wonderful man too. Talk about special people being special parents.

  3. melissamclaren64 says:

    As the fellow loud mom of a transgender child, your story made me cry. I am happy that there are a lot of loud parents speaking up for the rights of our children.

  4. Katrina says:

    I’m not a regular church goer but i was raised to believe that god is all around us not just in a church house & god makes people the way they are as beautiful people all abit different, not as cookie cutter people with different minds, bodies, opinions, voices, skin tone etc, its so sad that the church & bible hasnt updated its self ! I love & support GLBT people & it amazes me how the church is so nieve to loving & supporting people for being people not if they have a vagina or penis & what style of clothing you choose to wear. Hugs for strength to you & your family & keep you voice loud as you have NOTHING to be ashamed off! Xxxxx

  5. Donna says:

    I have a transgender daughter and your article made me cry as well. Beautiful and well written. And as mothers, we know our children. I know that my daughter is happier now than she has ever been. She has found her voice and I will not silence my voice either. The only anger I have faced has come from Christian fundamentalists. So sad! Christians should be the first to support, not condemn.

  6. David says:

    You have not left the church. This church has left you.

  7. Crimperman says:

    I don’t usually like to comment on situations where I have only heard one side but suffice to say your story makes me sad and I wish more Christians would rediscover the inclusivity our family started with those hundreds of years ago.

    My main reason for posting though is to say how loving your response here is and how commendable that is. I pray you find a welcoming part of God’s family with which to commune. I pray that would ultimately be the place you have been at for so long but I appreciate that may be harder to realise.

    Much love.

  8. mimilemay says:

    Your love and your faith are so strong and beautiful.

  9. Vernice thorn says:

    I am a straight black woman pastor who every Sunday claim and celebrate Gods love for everyone. I applaud your voice and vow to continue to add my voice as an ally for change. Gods love continues…bigotry will never stop that love. Thank you

  10. Pingback: Let’s Be The Church Together | Knitting Soul

  11. Pingback: 4 Reasons Why I Stayed in Non-Affirming Churches | Knitting Soul

  12. Pingback: Being a good mom means loving your kid more than your idea of him – Quartz

  13. Reblogged this on Journey In Reflection and commented:
    Heavenly father, we lift up a mother’s testimony to you. We share her concerns with our community. Lord let your Holy Spirit cleanse out our worldly prejudice so every teen who come out can be recognized as a beloved child of God. May truth guide our honest dialogues. In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.

  14. unbrokenhope says:

    My closest friends has walked this same path. Her son loved Jesus with a passion as a child. As a pre-teen he was introduced to Porn at school. Life for him has been a downhill spiral since. I have been an aunt to him since he was a child and after watching all the sneaking around, lies and growing disdain for his parents and generally out of control behavior we went for a walk and I called him out – not in that moment about his life style but rather in what he was doing to his parents.

    Essentially I told him it didn’t matter what was behind the lies his parents had loved him and raised him to respect family. At 19 he needed to either leave or man up by acknowledging his disrespect and disdain for his mom and dad, and the family in general AND then do a 180 and be honest and respectful. If he could not do that he needed to understand his parents, including his unsaved dad, were ready to give him a week to be out.

    I Knew what was behind the lies, yet as he broke down at the realization of how he had treated the people who love him most, he finally was honest about his sexuality. The first words I spoke to him where Jason I love you, because of who you are not what you do. If love were based on what we do there is not a person alive worthy of being loved.

    I will never tell you Jesus agrees with your choices, just as he allows the choices of those who murder, lie and gossip, because he honors the free will HE GAVE US and love never forces its will or desires on another.

    So yes you have chosen to live in sin, but your sin is not somehow bigger than any other sin and God spends way more time talking about the sins or lying and gossiping than homosexuality.

    Yes homosexuality is a sin, and the God we talk about has not stopped loving you, because of your sin. Jason hears I love you and we remind him, when the opportunity arises, that the same Jesus who captured his little boy heart loves him soooo much more than we do! His dad is still unsaved and yet much less uncomfortable and hurt than his mom.

    His mom, like you, has had far too many Christians “advise” that to protect her own faith, reputation and household she needed to break all contact.

    Really????

    As i read my bible Jesus established his reputation by breaking bread with those who, in his day were considered the worst of the worst and he did so in a love that asked for nothing back. It was this love that captured your heart on the hillside that day, this love that captured your heart when he was born and it has been this same love that has captured the heart of every person who comes to a saving faith relationship with Jesus.

    Thanks for writing on this it’s an issue that the church frankly needs a heart correction on. Yes we are to be honest about the impact of sin but in a way that says you know what I was just as bad a sinner, and i still struggle – I lied just yesterday – but Jesus loves with an enduring love and is able to help us step out of whatever mess we find ourselves in. I am living proof of this truth!

    Honest enough to say that today there are many churches that if Jesus came back he would condemn as fake and hypocritical, because what he cares about is not the surface programs, numbers or business – to Jesus it is all about love and your heart and there is no length he will not go to and no topic he is afraid of.

    I can’t honestly say I am sorry for what you endured by those churches because God has used it to mold a beautiful heart. I am however deeply grieved both for the abuse of your son and my friends son at the hands of some churches and Christians.

    Peace in Christ,
    Hope

  15. Pingback: Your Fear Puts My Child At Risk | Knitting Soul

  16. Pingback: Why The Church Needs to Look Deeper at Transgender Suicide | knitting soul

  17. Pingback: Fear is a losing position in the LGBTQ wars | knitting soul

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s