My parents were Lutheran. In my childhood, we attended Church, and they taught my brother and me, the importance of believing in something divine and attending Church. I was also baptized. We attended church, but not every Sunday. As a child, I truly believed that there was a divine Creator that could answer our prayers, perform miracles, and watched over us.
Every night I knelt beside my bed and said my prayers. I prayed that I would be fixed and become a girl. Many, many nights, I cried myself to sleep. Year after year my prayers fell on deaf ears. Growing up I still had religious feelings, but these feelings were subdued by an extreme hatred of GOD for making me the way that I am.
Of course, over my adult years I prayed for things, however, I was always overwhelmed with feeling of hatred for a creator who could have done this to me.
My Cousin became one of the first female Ministers with the Lutheran Church,
Who, officiated at my parents and relatives funerals, and married my daughter.
On 9/11/11, My Grandchildren were baptized at her Church, Zion Lutheran Church. My wife and I were standing outside after the service, and struck up a conversation with her. I told her about me being transsexual and showed her a few photos of me, as Jamie. She asked if I wanted to meet her for lunch the week after. And we could reminisce about our family, growing up. and just talk.
We met for lunch at a very nice restaurant. It was one of the most profound moments. We sat and talked and talked about her life and mine. Then I read a few of my stories and showed her more of my photos of me as Jamie. She unconditionally accepted me in two ways, one as my relative and most importantly as a Minister. It was amazing.
Then she said that she questioned the femininity in herself, and asked me to define what it is. So now, let me paint this picture! Here I am, a transsexual, in male cloths, sitting in a restaurant, talking to a relative I haven’t seen in years, A woman across the table, who is one of the first female Pastors, trying to show her that Jamie is real and needing validation, who wants to make piece with God and hopefully be welcomed, to come to her church, a representative of something divine, asking me! To define femininity, for her!
Before parting, I basically left her with a feeling that I wished to join her congregation as Jamie Lee, however, I asked her to take a few days to think about things before she answered.
That night when I was at home, the phone rang. It was her! The first thing out of her mouth was this: I want you to come to church; we are not going to turn our backs on you. Our Church needs diversity awareness. Jamie you are welcome there.
All I can say is OMG, WOW!
So my wife and I along, with a friend of the family, Bill, planed to go to church, Sunday the week after, at approximately 10:30 am in the morning.
So that Sunday morning, as we were driving to the Church, a million thoughts were going through my mind. I was scared, I felt nervous and I finally said this to them: If you want, I don’t mind and will understand if you both want to sit some where else in the Church, other than beside me! I didn’t want that, but I felt at least I should give them the option. It was a delightful surprise when they responded No Jamie; we are sitting next to you. It takes a lot of courage to do what you are doing. We will be there for you.
There aren’t enough words to explain how that felt.
We arrived at the Church before the Sermon, I asked them if they minded me going into to Church by my self prior to the sermon starting, and they responded that they didn’t.
MY CONVERSATION WITH GOD
Before the service began, I walked into the Church, and purposely sat in the pew, in the middle back of the Church. The Church quire was in the front of the church practicing. Their singing, to me at that moment, seemed extremely beautiful.
I sat for a moment, sort of in disbelief that I was actually there. This was something that I prayed for so many years. And I truly, deep inside me, felt that it would never become a reality.
But here I was, sitting in the house of the Lord. All my emotions, prayers and feelings were spontaneous. I was a little scared, nervous and anxious, but had a feeling that it was going to be ok!
I began to cry! It was one of the most intense moments of my entire life. I knelt, and asked for forgiveness! I actually felt that I was alone with my Creator. I felt that I was actually being heard. I felt a presence, a profound presence, of something divine.
At that moment, I asked to be forgiven, for the anger and hatred that I carried inside me for so many years, because, I considered myself a damnation, and not a gift, from a Creator.
I asked forgiveness for my own self hate! I asked for forgiveness, for hurting the one that I love more than anything in my life, my wife!
I can’t explain the intense feeling of, some sort of divine intervention occurring at that moment.
I prayed for my children’s happiness and I prayed for help, with my own peace and happiness in overcoming my obstacles, to become who I am.
I prayed that all people in my life would understand and accept me for who I am, especially my wife, children and people that I love!
Lastly, just to cover all angles, I prayed for forgiveness of my sins! And I snuck something else in there while I was at it, my book! I prayed that it becomes a reality.
When I stood up, to walk back out and wait until the service started, I had a feeling of pride, success, courage and a peace within my heart that I have never felt before!
I knew at that moment that it was ok and pretty wonderful to be me!
The Service was beginning. The Congregation was entering the Church, Marlis and
Bill came in and sat next to me. It was now, my heart started pounding, as I searched for stares, whispers, dirty looks or comments. To my surprise there were none. The sermon started. Of course, as the Congregation sang certain hymns, my mouth stayed shut! The rest of the sermon went well.
Now came the moment of reckoning, as you know when you sit in the back of the church, the whole congregation leaves before you do. They walk past you. I must have looked like one of those “bobble heads” I was searching for any kind of negativity or comments as they passed me. In fact to my astonishment, approximately five individuals came to me and said that they wanted to meet me, and that they appreciated my courage. One woman, who stands out in my mind, approached me. She bent down by my feet and found a “Penny” She handed it to me, and said, she and her deceased husband, found a special meaning for a penny lying next to someone. She then said thank you for coming.
As tears were swellings in my eyes.
We left and, as I got into the car I sighed, a big breath of relief! I said thank you to Marlis and Bill.
And most of all I closed my eyes, and said thank you, to the most important entity!
I think I experienced a miracle.