I met James during February of 2013. When I met him, I was just starting to come out to close friends and people at school. Previously, I had come to accept that I would stay in the closet forever and just work to remain celibate in all ways including any romantic relationships. It wasn't until receiving very specific promptings that I decided to start coming out. I wrote a little bit about this first coming out and my experiences in the LGBT community here. I came out to some very specific close friends. This initial coming out eventually led me to coming out publicly January of this year, which you can read here.
During the first stages of my coming out, I met a lot of different people. Including someone very special to me. We met when I first walked into the office of the LGBTQ organization on my campus. He was tall, good looking, and couldn't get enough of me. When we met I was not looking for any relationships. In fact, I made it a point to tell everyone who asked that I was not interested.
One Friday night we had a movie night at the school. The whole time James was flirting with me and I am not going lie I really enjoyed it. It wasn't like when I attempted to flirt with girls. This one felt natural, fun, and a little thrilling as well. He told me that night that he wanted to date me. He at the time was leaving a very bad relationship and was looking to fill the void left in him.
What he wanted was for me to say yes. The answer he got was something he didn't expect and one that would have one of the greatest impacts on both of our lives. I bore my testimony and told him no.
That same morning I was driving back home from the school. While I was driving, I had an incredibly powerful experience, one that I can only describe as indescribable and sacred. I knew that God was pleased with me and that I had done what God had been preparing me to do.
One week later, while James was out with a friend he felt prompted to go to church. James had been baptized a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints almost a decade before. He ended up falling away due to misunderstandings and painful experiences caused by members. He had almost no support and no other members of his family were in the church. He struggled and eventually became distant from God. Although there were specific moments that he remembers where God continued to guide him.
When I first met him, he was at the lowest point in his life. He was leaving an eight year relationship and he felt that God couldn't hear him or wouldn't hear him. In his loneliness and despair he cried out to God for help. A week later I came into his life.
We became close friends, we even fell in love but we wouldn't admit it. James was working through a lot of problems and I was trying to figure out who I was at the time. This growing we both were going through in hindsight needed to happen with us just being friends.
At this time we both felt stuck spiritually, I felt that God knew how I could progress. I knew there was something important ahead of me, but I couldn't figure out what it was. This was the same for James.
Right before Thanksgiving, I was praying to God, I was seeking fervently to find the way he wanted me to go. Once again, I had to give up all my preconceptions and notions about God's will. I had to put my will on the alter before him and accept whatever it was he wanted me to do. Only then did I feel a new prompting, one that brought me peace but also apprehension. I felt the spirit move me to begin a deeper relationship with James. I didn't know where it would take me, but once again I knew I needed to trust in my Heavenly Father and in the promptings from the Holy Ghost.
We started dating and a few days later I knew I was progressing again. The spirit began to return and peace entered into my heart where it had been missing.
A few weeks after that, we both felt prompted that God would give his permission for both of us to marry. James was the one who proposed. He couldn't afford a ring but that didn't matter to me. I accepted his proposal with a heart full of joy and a spirit full of peace.
After a 7 month engagement we got married at the courthouse in Somerset, Maryland. The courthouse was beautiful and I remember looking into James' eyes as the magistrate read out the words. I felt a mix of excitement and nervousness at what we were about to commit too, but it was all washed away by a wonderful feeling of happiness that the day had finally come.
The next day was the wedding celebration on Yorktown Beach. It was a busy day but in the end when I got to stand up in front of my family and friends and make a commitment to the love of my life, everything became worth it. All the struggles, the heartaches, the wrestles with the spirit. The pain of growing up gay in the LDS church and in the United States. The loneliness and terror of the possibility of being found out. It all became worth it as I said I do. Happiness and peace poured through me and settled deep into my heart. I still do not understand many things and I do not know God's purposes, but what I do know is that if we trust in Him we need not fear. We don't need to know everything. I know that He will yet reveal many great and important things pertaining to the kingdom of God. For now I walk with faith in Jesus Christ and the atonement. I have faith that the Holy Ghost will continue to guide my husband and I as we trust in his will. Life is a journey and I am grateful to God for helping me find my best friend to take the journey with me.
Both of our families on the York River.