I have always been a spiritual being. From an early age, I have memories of being fascinated with the church and encouraged by the structure that the foundation of God and the bible gave. I was baptized Lutheran and went to Sunday school every week until the 5th grade. However, “Catholic Guilt” finally kicked in for my father and he forced us to convert to Catholicism. Not the worst choice for me, just a very forced beginning. Initially like every other change in my life I was resistant and unsure but as I grew into the faith I found a home for myself in Saturday classes for my communion and Friday evenings for my confirmation. Which led to me eventually becoming an adult in the eyes of our church.

Religion has always given me peace. It’s a comfort to know that there is something bigger than myself overseeing the world providing a moral code. To me having a God keeps me honest in life and faithful that I would always persevere. However, at the age of 17 years old, I finally worked up the courage to tell friends and family of the new part of my identity that I had discovered, I came out as a bi-sexual. What was once a solid foundation in my religious upbringing became unchartered waters. I have struggled for so many years trying to find my place in a faith that frowns upon this piece of my identity. I have struggled to understand why so many people would denounce someone like me just because of who I choose to love. I have stayed away from the church, felt lazy in the participation of the seasons, and remained scared in the face of the judgment of my peers. For years I have kept to myself about this struggle afraid to shed light on the vulnerability of not knowing whether or not I could remain in my faith despite falling in love with a woman. But, after years of searching and reflection, I came to a conclusion that works for me.

“God is love.”

In the last two years, I have found so much love in my life. The transition of my parents moving away has given me so much perspective and a newly shaped love. The time together is no longer an obligation but a cherished moment. In December, I got engaged to the most wonderful woman in the entire world. After six years of courtship, we are finally taking the journey towards marriage. These two experiences have solidified the fact that there is no way my God can denounce me because of a piece of my identity. I am made in His image, made from His plan and the love I have found in my family and future wife is through Him.  No earthly beings can tell me to run from my foundation and solid ground that I have found in religion. The “rules” may differ from what I am but the morality is still at the very core of the message. God is good, God is love.

This season of Lent, I have made the choice to come home to the church and partake in repenting for my sins and starting anew. I am no longer afraid of judgment from anyone and will choose to live in the light of my God, thanks to the reflection of love in which he has given to me. I am grateful, I am thankful, and I am loved.

1 John 4:7
Beloved, let us love one another because love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God.