I’ve always been a grey sheep…
I was born and raised in south Georgia and spent my childhood chasing wild chickens in the tiny town of Fitzgerald. The smell of honeysuckle, sound of a train whistle, and feel of gnats swimming in the pools of sweat on your temples takes me right back to those carefree summers. We were the last generation of “wanderers” - able to ride our bikes miles and miles, from house to house, clear across the county without fear of abduction. In school, I was always the black sheep. My interests were too wide for me to settle into a clique. I loved softball, swimming, tennis, track, theater, church, school, woodworking, landscaping (yard work), singing, dancing, painting, and hanging out with my parents. I didn’t like to party like all the other “rebellious teenagers”- it felt like conformity. I hate conformity and it was conformity to be the “typical rebellious teen” stereotype, which I found to be overrated.
After graduating as Salutatorian of my high school class, I began Tour De Colleges of GA, as I like to call it. My college career began on a softball scholarship. After experiencing an assault after practice by a coach, I decided my self worth was more valuable than any scholarship. My dreams as a little girl of playing collegiate sports crumbled in front of me. Several transfers later, I graduated early with honors from Georgia Southern University with my Bachelor of Science in Justice Studies. After a brief stay on the island of Bimini, Bahamas for a summer job, I moved to Atlanta, accepting a full scholarship to attend Mercer University’s, McAfee School of Theology. I graduated with my Master of Divinity with a focus in Urban Ministry in 2008.
I met two incredible people while in seminary- Brian Greer, who became my husband in 2008, and my authentic self, the one I began hiding in order to fit more perfectly inside every church’s and congregant’s assumed “ministerial box.” I’ve worked in college, youth, and children’s ministries in more than 8 churches across the state since 2002. (Almost two decades! OMG.) I’ve had the honor to perform and be a part of baptisms, communions, baby dedications, weddings, pet blessings, foot washings (with sock lint involved between the toes…eek), hospital visits, funerals, pastoral counseling sessions, baccalaureate services, interfaith services, immersion trips, retreats, and lots and lots of Sunday morning “big church.” In these experiences and others, I’ve witnessed first hand the “thin space” where the Divine is so close and so tangible it would be a lie to deny feeling a presence much larger than myself- something with meaning and mystery. While church has been a place of refuge, it has been a source of deep pain for as long as I can remember, made worse after gaining a full access pass behind the scenes as an ordained minister on staff.
My family is my greatest joy and the epicenter of my anxiety (meant for a laugh but also true). I have four children, including a set of twins, and three rescue schnauzers. By the grace of sweet 8 oz. baby Jesus, I am still best friends with my spouse (good thing huh- first one to leave has to take all the kids… it’s a joke). We have been married over a decade, and he still makes my breakfast every morning. My mom is my B.F.F. and my dad is my life-mentor for all the things. I also have two brothers and a sister… all of which provide hours and hours of material, I’m sure you’ll read among these pages.
Within the last ten years, a transformation began to happen in me: physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. It cannot be described in one paragraph, but will be written across pages and pages of this blog and hopefully fill the pages of books one day (I know, at the very least, my mom will read every word). My hope is for those who have been wounded by life, church, religion, rules, institutions, people, all the things… that those same people will relate to something here, something I say, a story I tell, a wound I expose, and understand the immeasurable value of their life and find the strength to tell their own stories.