i have adventures (sometimes)

Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Guest Post: Emmie's Story

It's my second ever guest post! After I posted my untestimony, one of the things that struck me was how willing people were to share their own stories. It prompted me to invite a few people to tell them publicly.If you would like to tell your story of transition out of or into faith, nonymously or anonymously, I'd love to post it. Let me know.

Emmie sent me this one a shamefully long time ago. Sometimes I get overwhelmed and then panic and ignore all my emails and messages until it would be more awkward for me to reply than not. And that was what I did here. But this is a story that deserves to be told, and not just because the writer is so talented (her debut novel is being published later this year!), but because this is a beautiful, thoughtful and very personal story. So I owe her a big apology for waiting this long.

I became a Christian when I was fifteen years old.

My sister had converted when she married a Christian, and that summer she invited me to a Bible study with her where the pastor stuck me on the hot seat and started reciting my life verbatim.

You see, I didn't realize at the time, but my sister had told Pastor Matt everything about our family, from my drug-addicted father to our gay moms to my self-esteem issues -- and he hit on every single point. It wasn't hard to convince me after that skillful playing of my unwitting heartstrings that Jesus would help me deal with my pubescent angst.

What I wanted most was a father and acceptance, and he offered both of those things. At least that's what I thought.

For years later, people would come up and congratulate me on finding Christ in spite of such a background.

My parents divorced when I was two. I grew up in abject poverty with a bisexual mother who was mostly involved with women for about 12 years of my early life, including the woman who brought my sister and brothers to our little family.

Growing up we had next to nothing, and I estimate that I have spent at least seven years of my life without having access to a real toilet or shower at home. We were also forced to move many times -- in my twenty-seven years, I have lived in over thirty-five homes, fifteen cities, eight states, and three countries.

In spite of the financial hardship, I had a loving and joyful childhood surrounded by the GLBTQ community. I had heaps of aunties running around rural Alaska who adored me, and later in Portland my favorite neighbors were a gay couple I loved. They had a Mexican hairless dog and a pot-bellied pig called Veronica, and they always welcomed me when I’d ride by on my bike.

When we left Alaska for Oregon, my mom sang in the Portland Lesbian Choir and took me to Pride each year. And Nee-Nee (as I called her) was another mother to me, often more emotionally stable than my own mom. On my wedding day this year I made sure to call Neeshonee. She was instrumental in my upbringing and taught me to respect the earth, to honor myself, and to create things with my hands. She is a beautiful woman, and I am a better person for her having been a part of my life.

But of course, my new church considered most of my upbringing sinful.