“Faith and Faithfulness – My Journey” by Ashley

PFLAG is an amazing group in so many ways. It’s a place that welcomes all people no matter what. It shows how the world can be when we think to love first. We can show compassion, grace and patience instead of judgement.  As a person of faith, I love that all are welcomed.  My faith saturates my whole story and life. There was time when my religion seemed safe or even right because it was all I knew.  The unknown and what God was really like seemed scary and far way. I often felt judged, mostly because of the leaders of the religion and their followers. I didn’t know what it meant to know God.   I still spent a lifetime trying to please a god I didn’t know. I even came to a place where I wondered if God even existed or if it was just some story that was made up.  Believing in myself, government, religion, and things of this world often times left me feeling like being on a roller coaster of hope and joy. One minute it’s there and the next it’s not.

I felt lost and not sure where to go next.  I thought of the Jesus I fell in love with when I was 5 years old. I thought maybe Jesus could love me, if nothing else, meet me where I am at. I decide to take a leap of faith. My life changed forever that day. I don’t how to explain it, other than I began to feel a love. A love that overflowed and touched every part of my being. A God that once seemed so far away and distant, now seems close and personal.

The next thing was to act on that faith.  To take a giant leap and trust God to transition from male to female physically and socially. The whole world I knew said I was deceived, delusional and crazy. However, God was saying something different. God was saying I belong, that I am loved and will walk with me while bringing healing, peace and joy.

Though there are many things I believe God has done in my life, I will never forget the year I took that giant leap of faith to live as a woman. There were so many things happening, plenty of hard and even painful things.  I was amazed at the peace I felt, and it was as if God was showing up and prayers were being answered. I couldn’t help but think back to all those nights I cried myself to sleep when I was a child, when I prayed and even begged God to please make the pain and torment go away, to make me a real boy. God never answered those prayers, causing me to question Gods very existence.

Now, God was showing up big time with grace, mercy, love, and I believe even miracles but most of all faithfulness.  My faith continued to grow and deepen.  This was such a special personal time with God that I have kept it to myself.  Doesn’t everyone have those moments? It’s a part of my story that I have only shared with a couple of friends. Honestly, I am open to sharing that part of my story  if I thought it might help someone else in their own journey and it would bring Glory to God.

One of those things I would like to share is something I have shared in past with some. It was one of the first things as I began my journey.

It was early Spring and I had wakened to a heavy dew.  I had cattle out on pasture.  I complained about how the grass might be wet. I didn’t want to start my day with wet pants, shoes, and socks.  Wet pants would often leave a rash on my legs. The soggy, squishy shoes and socks were like nails on chalk board for me.

As I reached my grandparents place where my cattle where, they were not in the corral by the barn. The barn sat on hill and behind the barn was the opening to the pasture. I walked behind the barn and looked out to the pasture and could see the cattle on the next hill over. It looked like they might all be there. Maybe that’s good enough and don’t have to walk through the wet grass. I was quickly reminded that God will leave the 99 to find the one that is lost.  As the sun was rising I knew I had to  make sure every one of them was accounted for. Then I felt this warmth on my arm. I assumed it was the sun but there was one spot that was warmer like someone had placed their hand on my arm.

As I looked out, I began to cry. I had never seen anything so beautiful in my life. The beautiful colors and shades all together with the warm moist air. I realized it’s the first time I ever experienced a sun rise on a beautiful day.  I walked down into valley and now the sun was hidden from me. I looked up to get a count on the cattle. what I saw was these water drops hanging on each blade of grass. It was like each blade of grass clung to the droplet as a promise of life. It was so beautiful. As I took a moment to wipe the tears from my eyes, the sun was once again visible.  When I looked up to get a count, I now saw little rainbows in the dew droplets as they hung on the blades of grass.

I remembered how the rainbow came to be from the Bible. It was a promise from God to never flood the earth or cause us to drown. It’s a promise of hope.