This author was part the Covenant Church since birth, attended Covenant Bible College, North Park College and Seminary, and has done ministry in Covenant Churches. She no longer attends a Covenant church, but is writing anonymously out of respect for her family who does, and in order to avoid hearing comments that cause emotional pain from people in a church she has loved.
I had a dream a few years before I came out. In it I looked pregnant. In the dream, some people were telling me I was carrying a tumor and it needed to be cut out and destroyed. Others were telling me that I was carrying a baby and something precious to be born that was a part of me.
This dream was the start of my coming out process. For years I had been saying to myself “it’s a tumor, I have to kill it”. However, the more I tried to kill it through therapy and workshops to heal gay people, the more ill I became emotionally and mentally and spiritually. When you are not truly yourself, your relationships with God and others are not real. It felt yucky and fake to even think of dating men who I never felt attracted to. Everything about me felt fake because of the effort I had to expend to look straight. This tension manifested itself in suicidal thoughts and some unhealthy self harm, because despite years and years of trying, I was unable be straight. After my dream I realized that I was slowly psychologically aborting myself to be who the church said I was supposed to be.
After I had this dream, I reached out for help to someone who saw this as a baby and not a tumor. I did this because for me, it was either come out or die. I decided then that I would rather be alive and all of myself than living a life of self hate.
Coming out was not easy. My family still avoids talking about it to their fellow Covenanters even though they need support. I know they are not the only family with a gay child who are struggling.
In spite of the risk and how hard it was to come out, since then I have not had one suicidal thought. I no longer spend all my emotional energy trying to kill a part of myself. I also have found my relationships with God and others are more honest and real. I found Covenanters, some whom I didn’t expect, surprise me with their love for me even after they knew. There are amazing Covenant people at all levels of the church who get it, and who care for me even though I no longer have the option to minister in the Covenant Church.
After coming out I met my wife. A seminary classmate of mine married us. We now attend an Episcopal church which announces our anniversary right along with those of straight couples from the pulpit. We have found a place to minister and a church that accepts us just as we are. I do miss the Covenant Church. I also know God continues to do great ministry through Covenant people. I thank God for the Covenant who was used by God to bring my grandparents, my parents, and me to faith in Jesus. And that faith is what I take with me to the larger body of believers. It is my hope that one day the Covenant will be a church that sees no difference between my marriage and that of others. But for now I go where I am called by God.
And for anyone out there who is in the place that I was, hearing people say you need to get healed or change, etc., I want you to hear that it does get better. There are amazing Christian communities who will someday announce your wedding anniversary from the pulpit or put it in the bulletin with everyone else’s. You are worth keeping and if it takes leaving the Covenant to be healthy, know that God is not bound by one church. There are an ever- increasing number of churches who would love for you to join them and to minister and serve God with them. Although for now I have left the Covenant, the Covenant Church and the ministry of key people in it is something I take with me.