I knew I was a lesbian at an early age (around 7 y.o.) I knew at that age because my mother was a pentecostal preacher, so the churches we attended not only explained what being a lesbian was, all homosexuals were condemned to eternal hell-fire. Needless to say I spent years (about 9) begging God to change me, and that prayer was never answered. I spent many a tortured night, as a child, tossing and turning over the fear of burning in hell for eternity. At the age of 16 I gave up on God because I thought He had given up on me by not changing me. I was a lost and lonely soul. At 17 or 18 I came out to my mother, but she already knew and had been asking me for a while if I was gay, which I heartily denied. As I was trying to choke out the words she said it before I did. So, basically I confirmed her suspicions. Which began years of condemnation, concluding 11 1/2 years ago, when her final words to me before lapsing into a coma that night and dying the following evening, were “If you don’t change your lifestyle you will burn in hell.” However by that time I was 27 and alot had changed.
At the age of 19 I found Open Door MCC in Boyd’s Maryland. A LGBT church That showed me God’s love, mercy and grace. They saved my life. So, while those last words from my mother still ring in my ears occasionally, they do not invoke feelings of fear for my soul, but feelings of sadness for her misinformed beliefs and in spite of everything a little hurt that those were my mother’s final words to me. But I know God made me as I am and no one can separate me from the love of God!