I Picked Me
At 34 years old, I was growing tired of who I had become. I was at church or church events nearly 5 times a week. I worked for people in my church, I lived with someone from my church and my journals were filled with sermon notes from my church. I had pushed my real family almost completely out of my life because they were not the best Christians. That is what my church taught me. All of my close friends were at my church, and those of my friends who didn’t attend, were on my daily prayer list to get saved.
The only place I was completely honest with myself, was in the private chambers of my mind. I had learned to keep my questions to myself, as experience after experience asking questions proved to get me in trouble. I was repeatedly told, after my questions, to repent and ask Jesus to help me trust my church leaders more. I wasn’t supposed to think. I was supposed to follow.
I was single and hadn’t yet started to question my sexuality. Up to this point, I had several people in my church who knew my sinful past and they were my watchkeepers. They all talked about and decided for me if I was getting too close to a girl. It was just friendship, but since I had this stain in my past, I wasn’t to get too close to girlfriends. And they made sure of that.
My health was a real problem. I had migraines often. I didn’t love getting out of bed. I didn’t wake up happy. I was always getting sick. I was always asking others, who were thin, to help me with my diet because I thought I was fat. I was insecure about being Jill in every way.
In the fall of my 34th year, I decided to start coaching a young girls basketball team, with a retired NBA player, Eddie Miles. The team was located on Mercer Island, sometimes an hour from my house. I didn’t care. I would sit in traffic for 2 hours if it meant I could stop going to Thursday night homegroup.
I had decided to destroy the wall that I had built to keep my family out. I asked them if we could meet at my mom’s one evening. As we sat in her living room, I began by saying, “I am leaving Christ Church Kirkland. I am sorry I have pushed you all away. I am sorry for shutting you up all the years you had genuine concerns about my being there. Today, that wall is gone. Please, tell me your concerns. Please, take me back. Please, forgive me for thinking you were the enemy.”
We sat for hours talking about all of their experiences when they had attended and visited CCK. I listened. I held my breath. I asked follow-up questions. We cried together. I remember feeling warm all over my body.
I was home again. I was waking up.