Hi, my name is Abigail Bowles and I am a bi-romantic Christian. Now I’m sure what your feeling right now after hearing that is confusion. Well that’s exactly how I was feeling the fall of 2015. I had recently just started struggling with severe depression. Through that struggle I had started to realize that I wasn’t straight, but I had no idea what to do.
I had accepted Jesus Christ as my lord and savior when I was 9 years old. He had always given me hope and strength when I had none. I knew God was righteous and merciful, yet the world had been spreading God’s hate and scorn for the LGBTQ+ ever since I could remember. So, what could I do?
I remember sitting in my room one day and praying to God for help. I was begging for the love he had always shown me but this time I didn’t think I was worth his compassion. I was wrong. The next couple of days God decided to inscribe words of encouragement and love onto my heart. He was showing me just how much he cared about me and he continues to do so. That year I not only learned who I was as a person, but I also grew to know God in such a better light. But my journey didn’t stop there.
A couple of months later my Senior year was on the horizon. I was as nervous as a musician without her instrument, (I play the clarinet). I was only just starting to feel comfortable in my own skin and now I had to get through my last year of high school without exploding into a million pieces of shame and humiliation. But the exact opposite seemed to happen. The more honest I was about myself the more people seemed to understand. Not only did I suddenly become extremely popular but now I had my own peers coming out to me. I started to realize that God was using me to show others the same kind of love he had shown me.
Yet it wasn’t long until College seemed to be the topic of every conversation. I knew I wanted to be an animator and my heart was set on the very liberal and LGBTQ+ supportive Ball State University. But on a whim, I decided to visit Huntington University the day before I was supposed to take a tour at Ball State. Once again God decided to turn my world upside down.
Almost as soon as I stepped onto Huntington I felt like I belonged. The community was so loving towards me and the animation program was the perfect fit for me. I just knew that I had to go here. But once again I was terrified.
What would people think of me going here? Would they hate me? Bully me? Call me hypocritical? Huntington University is a private Christian college, so I suddenly felt very out of place. God was sending me on a quest that I thought I just couldn’t take. I prayed and prayed for a sign on what to do and I kept receiving the same answer over and over. Why would I set all of this up for you if I didn’t think you were capable of it? And so, knowing that God would get me through this like everything else I signed up for classes three months later.
My first month at Huntington was a breeze! I was so excited about the opportunities that God was sending my way and was having such a good experience that I knew I had made the right choice. But after four weeks at college I hit a wall. I had people telling me how wrong I was and that I needed to repent. How could God love me if I was so open and active in what was obliviously a sin?
I was devastated. I was once again lost and hurt. I knew that God loved me for who I was but it’s kind of hard to believe that when you have people telling you the exact opposite on a daily basis. Once again, I looked to God for strength, asking him what I should do? His answer? Keep your faith in me and I will follow through.
I’d experienced hate before and brushed it off just like that. So why was this any different? It wasn’t.
When you’re trying to figure out how you identify you try on a bunch of labels so that you can find the one that fits just right. Some feel okay. Others not so much. But when you find the one that just screams you, nothing can make you forget that high. You feel like you’re on top of the world and nothing can knock you down. I think that’s a lot like faith. You try to hold onto it but sometimes you really want to let go because it’s too hard or the opinions of non-believers rock your boat. But eventually you realize that your faith has always been a part of you just like your identity. They both make up so much of you and yet that’s only two pieces of the puzzle. There is so much more to me than my identity and my faith. Am I proud of the fact that I am Bi? Oh heck yeah! Just like I’m proud of my profound love for Jesus. But that’s not the whole story.
Only last week did I finally come out to the rest of my family members and friends. I will be the first to say that it's not a easy thing to come out. I'm very fortune that my family is extremely supportive and love me for me. But not everyone is that lucky.
People will ask you the same questions over and over again. They'll assume stereotypes about you that are no where near true. And you don't even want to know the number of gay jokes and puns you'll have to endure.
However my recommendation is that embrace it. Embrace every part of being who you truly are. The good, the bad, and the downright messy. If you come at it with love then I think other people will too. Now that's not always the case but bottom line not everyone is going to accept you. And guess what? That's okay because the person standing next to them is more than happy to love you for you.
Now I don't know what my future as a bi Christian is going to hold for me. I still have a long way to go before I figure everything out. I mean jeez I’m only a college freshman what do you expect from me? Point is not everything is mapped out and color coded like tomorrow’s History homework. And that’s part of the adventure! There are still pieces of me that I’m missing and that’s okay. Because with each piece that I find I not only grow my love for God, but I also grow to appreciate and love myself. I am a beautiful piece of artwork made by the Lord himself just like everyone is. So, here’s my advice. Stand tall, keep your faith, love everyone you meet and be yourself. Because God loves you for that exact reason. And so do I.