When God called me into ministry in 2006, that which was once a way of life became a message of hope to people who struggled as I had.
I didn't always understand where God was leading me, but through many life experiences, the Lord showed me how he would take my trials and use them to reach both families of those who struggle with homosexuality and the strugglers themselves. The impact of the work of the Spirit was so profound on my life that I began equipping ministry leaders, helping them pastor those struggling people more effectively.
I lived as a lesbian for 14 years, trying to pass as a man. During that season I was hoping that I could show men how to treat and respect women. After consulting with a Catholic priest who assured me that my lifestyle as a homosexual did not interrupt or negate my fellowship with God, I continued my lesbian journey and believed I was experiencing the best of both worlds.
However, as time went on, the passage of Scripture in Romans 1:18-30 convicted me and I knew I had to make a choice. The emptiness I felt within was overwhelming. In 1998, I rededicated my heart to the Lord. The Lord changed my life 21 years ago and I have been walking in freedom ever since that time.
My message of freedom in Christ was more than just something I'd studied or heard. I knew what I was before Christ and the woman I am now.
Unfortunately, it didn't take long for me to learn that no matter what I had been through and where God was taking me, the fact that I was a black woman in ministry made it clear where I was and was not allowed to share the message.
My skin color subtly and sometimes quite blatantly continues to play a significant part in who wants to hear what I have to say. In April of 2018, I received my credentials under the Assemblies of God. I wanted to better myself and continue to be educated but I felt that if I had my credentials not only would I be taken more seriously but that I would be respected as a pastor. Alas, that has not been the case.
I am not a mad Black woman.
I always feel it necessary to say that because each time I broach this topic, my frustration, exhaustion, and confusion seeps into my words, and it comes across as anger.
When I went into ministry, I always felt if I learned to articulate, dress, and carry myself like my white counterparts, my blackness wouldn't be much of a hurdle.
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Photo credit Janet Boyne
Posted by Azania Phillips Wednesday, January 15, 2020 8:12:00 AM