Only God can do this. (This is my “I had a dream” experience)
Back around 1999-2000, I had a dream. For the prior past half-decade since God handed me my “get out jail free” card in late 1995 that took me away from any urges to buy female clothes and removed the intense, life-crushing shame that I experienced too often. As a result of possessing this card of new found freedom, I didn’t think of crossdressing, female clothes, the intense shame of it all, gender…nothin’ for many years. I was living my life as a newly married guy with a wife and our first child on the way. I served countless hours at our church, worked hard, provided for my family. I had found my purpose and was living it. I put that card in my “mental” wallet. Like anything in a packed wallet, you run into it from time to time. And I said “thank you God” when I did remember because it wasn’t on mind at all. It was done. Finished.
Or so I thought.
Then one night around the turn of the century I had a dream. It was a dream that shook me to my core. It was a single-frame vision of myself: I was standing on a stage platform behind a thin wooden-frame podium with a microphone as the lights were shining on me, I was not afraid to climb up on stage and speak in a dress, had glasses on, with curly shoulder length sandy light brown hair, smiling, was thinner…about size 12, had a curvy female figure, the dress was a white A-frame style with small green and yellow flowers sparsely dotting the fabric.
I woke up in sheer terror.
I thought “this isn’t of you God, how can this be? You saved me from this years ago. Surely this isn’t from you Lord!”
So I cast it out in the name of Jesus as a demonic attack. Remember, I (falsely) believed in the mindset that if you let a demon back in, seven other demons will follow. That 1 & 7 demon belief was shared in my church at the time. So I did ANYTHING in my power to constantly cast it out. Some weeks later it subsided. Either way, I dare not speak a word about this to anyone.
Around the same time I suffered two major panic attacks. Our church met on Wednesday evenings, not Sundays like most other churches. As we prepared to clean up after dinner and get ready to head off to weekly service, my heart started racing. So much so I was panicking. I thought I was having a heart attack. I wasn’t. At the time, there was no way to see the bigger picture: the dream that I considered a nightmare was having it’s way with my physical body, the stress of not telling anyone was bubbling over. But I didn’t understand any of these dynamics back then. I only thought it was marital stress and possibly doing too much at church…a busy schedule that was perhaps too busy? I was so naïve.
As the weeks and months went by, I had one more occurrence of a panic attack. Never had them again like that. That nightmarish dream would pop into my head every so often, I would pray it away with “Satan you have no power over what God has done in my life, be gone”. And I thought I won.
I guess for a while I did “win”, temporarily so. In all that “winning” I buried myself in my work. Escapism was in full-tilt but I didn’t know it at the time. I thought I was just “giving my all” to work, which was in the PC & Server support side of IT for my employer. On the train ride to & from my job I read the 950 page book “Using NetWare 5.0 ” cover to cover a few times. And other tech books. I was burying myself in my job and my duties, there was no time for me…I didn’t see how off-kilter life was for me until years later. But back then, I was in full-on follow-the-script mode.
Fast-forward to 2013-2014. During this time I was sinking into deep depression and alcoholism and relentless shame. Shame that almost once devoured me in my 20’s that I was saved from had come back with a vengeance. That same nightmarish dream came back around in my mind for the zillionth time. (I had another dream but it’s for another discussion). As I held secret of my newly found truth in late 2013, that I was transgender, I became torn. Was that dream some 14 years ago all about me turning out to be transgender? Or was that dream really about me being trans yet having a compassion and unquenchable fire to minister/walk-with/stand-with those who are also LGBT?
Or was it all a lie from the pit of hell? And did I allow seven demons back in to torment me so I couldn’t hold steadfast to the original miracle God gave me nearly 2 decades ago…that all of this hub-bub was in my mind and the fact remains: I’m not transgender, the miracle he performed for me in 1995 was sufficient?
So many questions. God didn’t say a peep to me. I was pissed off at God. “God if you could miracle MY butt from darkness in to light in 1995 why can’t you do it now?”
“Do you not care, God? Can’t you see my internal hell that I’m enduring? Why can’t you answer me? Why can’t you save me from this slide into hell….again?”
Then I thought “I must have let in those seven demons, God’s making me work this out for myself”. (Look at all the false religion I bought into! It brought such heavy, false burden to my soul.)
Then it happened. The night of reckoning in August 2014. I knew I survived hell. The next morning wen I uttered the words “I am transgender” I knew which direction was right. I knew that the vision 14-15 years prior wasn’t a nightmare after all, but a prophecy, or at least a sign of things to come. But the questions I still had were “God, if you miracled my sorry posterior in ’95, why did you not do it now in 2014?” And “Why even offer that miracle two decades ago only to go through it all again here in this century?”
As I came out at the beginning of transition, I started to think about this dream. When I came out to my sister I mentioned this dream to her. While we were talking over the phone, it occurred to me “in my dream I’m smiling”. I had never noticed that detail before. 15 years later, after starting cross sex hormones, I indeed was smiling. Finally. Smiling.
Wednesday June 15, 2017. I have a small speech at Vanderbilt Benton Chapel for Pride Faith Night. It was an honor to be asked to share.
Two nights later a discussion broke out at a cookout with friends. Towards the end of the discussion, one gentleman was mentioning his understanding of scripture and God. It occurred to me while he was speaking of how parallel his words were with my own understandings. And that about the last ¼ of my speech I gave two nights earlier was the same of what he mentioned and we were discussing…of how mad we got at God for not answering seemingly legitimate prayers.
Then it hit me like a lightning bolt: “that horrific dream was fulfilled two nights ago”: I was standing behind a wooden podium with a microphone in church, the lights were shining on me, I was smiling, I was speaking to people, no longer afraid to speak, I had curly hair, oh and did I mention I was smiling?
While I didn’t wear a dress, a friend made a special trip to a Ross store so I could pick up a top that I couldn’t get out of my mind. I wore it for that speech. I felt it augmented my curves. And this: only the last few weeks have I really started to like the curves I’m seeing on the person in the mirror. Sometimes I can’t stop smiling at the curves I see. I’m finally seeing the real me in the mirror. I’m finally happy to see a “her” in the mirror. All these years later life is making more sense. Her is me. She is most often found smiling.
As I laid in bed last night contemplating this revelation that the dream from some 18 years ago and how all of these pieces are fitting together, I have to wonder if it’s purpose isn’t fully fulfilled just yet. After all, it took me 15 years to realize I was smiling in that dream. I still ask God why couldn’t we just do all this back then and skip everything in the middle? I believe the answer is directly found in three people; my ex wife, my son, my daughter. The last two decades was about them, giving them life and support while sorting through my own issues. I supported them and continue to do so. And indirectly is found in the others I have now wonderful friendships with these days.
This truly is God’s better plan for my life.
And if I ever find that exact dress at a store, I will scream and cause a scene at the store! You can count on it!