Two years ago I sat in the back pew of my non-affirming church begging the question, “God what are you asking of me?”
It was the first time in over 7 years that I was active in church. It was the first time I was unapologetically showing up as the most whole version of me I could bring to the table. And it was the first time I felt myself walking closer to the familiar feeling of the Holy Spirit’s always present invitation to dance in delight, joy, grief, despair and questions of what is there to be done here?
I knew a few things in this moment: I loved Jesus with all my heart. I felt more renewed spiritually than my entire present journey and that people were dying over theology used against them.
For the next two years I began blogging, using social media to share honestly my questions, my joy and the pain in unraveling compacted trauma from religious institutions, to faulty foundations and harmful family dynamics.
What I wasn’t realizing is that the answer to my question was that God was pruning me. My creator was asking me to come closer, to go deeper and to tear down the sheets that covered the dusty rooms of my true self. God wanted me to experience an awakening like no other so that I could complete the question – “where shall I go?”
It was and still is the most insightful and painful journey of reclaiming. What I know to be true is God calls us to heal and then act. The suggestion isn’t ‘I’m going to bring you into this impossible thing without preparation.‘ It’s more along the lines of ‘come, see, taste…’ and the rest I will take care of for you.
What resonates with me, imagery wise, is the pre-flight oxygen mask message – “help yourself before you help others.” The mask drops and I have a choice to save my own breath, so that I may save others or ignore my suffering in order to follow a different order. What God calls out of us doesn’t belong in the category of instant gratification – it takes a slow trickling of a well and isn’t measurable.
As my understanding in my own life became clear, so did the sight to see the pain around me, the injustice around me and the need for several sustaining oxygen masks. And that yearning to serve grew as I grew in awareness. It didn’t mean that I was healed because, I think, healing is life-long. It meant that as I reached a rhythm of life-giving sustenance, I could start offering love to others.
For me, that looks like going into ministry. It looks like reclaiming my place at the table – already set for me and at the same time raising the awareness of the people of God; the kin-gdom as a whole.
So after asking this question of “what is God asking of me,” I took a direct approach in prayer asking to wake up the next day incapable of doubt. I asked the Holy Spirit to light me on fire – direct words. The next day interactions with people were so intense I would cry afterwards, color was so vivid it was beyond words beautiful and the immense feeling of calling was overwhelming. There was no room for doubt.
Thus began discernment for seminary. This looked like a new church home, work for LGBTQ wrestling faith & the marginalized at large, therapy for my own healing from trauma and a lot of fighting to stay present in that work.
Yesterday morning at 10:30 AM I opened my email to read that I had been accepted to Columbia Theological Seminary.
The answer to my longing question is to go, seek and do.
I have no idea where this next season will take me, but I know that God has fought for my existence, fought for my vision and continues to renew my brokenness for what is ahead.
Y’all I’m going to seminary – blessed be.