A Brave Story About Gender Identity: Being Who God Created Us to Be

By Sara Oyela

God's Brave Women - Sara's Story


I laid there in the dark, on the top bunk, under my puffy comforter, cuddling with my stuffed toy dog. I whispered a prayer.


“God, change me into a boy. Please? I want to be a boy so much.”


In that moment, I felt I would wake up the next morning and see boy parts growing, replacing my God-given feminine future. Disappointment washed over me when I woke and was still a girl. But I held out hope that something was happening and it was just a slow process. Grabbing the edge of the top rung of the bunk ladder, I climbed down and continued on with life.


 

"God, change me into a boy. Please? I want to be a boy so much.” In that moment, I felt I would wake up the next morning and see boy parts growing, replacing my God-given feminine future. Disappointment washed over me when I woke and was still a girl."

 

Growing up, my immediate family and I used to travel from idyllic south-central Indiana to the flat, urbanized Region to visit my dad’s side of the family. During those visits, I typically hung out with my cousin, Brayan (who was my age), his younger brother Juan, and my older brother. In our tween years when we converged at grandma’s house for the holidays, the four of us explored the nearby park and businesses together.


At Huntsville Park, down the street from grandma’s house, we practiced baseball. I never really did like baseball much. I had played on an almost all-boy team in the 3rd grade and hated every moment of it. But, Brayan loved it.


We were best friends and favored each other, and I wanted to do things he did. Brayan pitched the ball to me, and although I was athletic, I never had proper coaching, even on the softball team that I was on at the time. I missed nearly every ball he pitched to me.


When I did hit it, the ball fouled, and in my emotional excitement, I erroneously ran to first base. Every time I showed incompetence, even though Brayan favored me more and wanted us to dominate our small cousin circle, he defaulted to his little brother. When I couldn’t catch the football, he traded me from his team for Juan. When he thought I wouldn’t understand his jokes, he turned and whispered the joke to Juan.


“Go back! Go back! What are you doing?! It’s foul!” Brayan threw his arms open, motioned me back to home plate, and shouted in frustration. “Just, never mind! Juan, get on the plate, it’s your turn!”


“Hold on! I gotta pee!” Juan yelled. He ran from outfield and dashed behind a nearby tree.


It wasn’t fair. Not just that Brayan had ousted me, but that Juan and all of them could easily run behind a tree for relief. Life was so much better for boys. I wished I were a boy. I was practically one anyway, having always hung out with them and being inclined to boyish activities like sports and mechanics.


I hated wearing skirts and dresses, those hideous inventions that didn’t allow one to sit freely or tumble or roll down hills without a hiney being exposed. At that point, being a girl, and girls themselves, had become foreign to me, and I had even begun to have sexual attractions toward them – which felt uncomfortable and off.


 

"At that point, being a girl, and girls themselves, had become foreign to me, and I had even begun to have sexual attractions toward them – which felt uncomfortable and off."

 

After baseball practice, we walked down a different street to a small hole-in-the-wall shop where Brayan wanted to buy baseball cards and where I bought some too, just so I could look in-the-know with him. Sitting behind the check-out counter was a soft, plump woman with a… beard. My heart beat fast in that moment when I realized what I was seeing. I averted my eyes. It was strange to me. It was off. I knew I did not want to be like that.


During a different visit to the Region, somehow we older grandchildren were persuaded into going with grandma to a special gospel concert at her church. After the concert, the performers shared about how Christ died a gruesome death on a cross for us because he loves us. I became engrossed in the story and prayer, completely forgot myself, and began to cry. As huge teardrops fell from my face, I looked next to me at Brayan and felt embarrassed at the sight of his dry eyes. Though he wasn’t into it like me, he also didn’t have a look of scorn. When we got back to grandma’s house, I told my mom all about my experience. It had deeply touched me.


 

"After the concert, the performers shared about how Christ died a gruesome death on a cross for us because he loves us. I became engrossed in the story and prayer, completely forgot myself, and began to cry... It had deeply touched me."

 

Toward the end of my high school years, as Brayan and I began to grow up, he started getting serious with his girlfriend and I started getting serious with God. We grew apart. At that time, I also became a reader, thanks to my language arts teacher who assigned independent reading.


After I read an Austen novel, I read all of the Green Gable books and Jannette Oke’s Love Comes Softly series. When my brother moved out, he left his copy of Tozer’s The Pursuit of God. I found it and eagerly read it too. When I read these books, something in me began to shift. I began to see through the female protagonists that being a woman, and being what and who God created me to be, could be good.


 

"I began to see through the female protagonists that being a woman, and being what and who God created me to be, could be good."

 

The night I finished reading The Pursuit of God, I laid on the bottom bunk with my head propped on my pillow. I whispered a brave prayer, sending me in a direction that was scary and unfamiliar to me – a direction that allowed my natural self and the dogma of my curves, my softness and feminine sensibilities, to bring the world into proper balance and contrast.


“God, help me to become the woman you created me to be.”


 

"I whispered a brave prayer, sending me in a direction that was scary and unfamiliar to me – a direction that allowed my natural self and the dogma of my curves, my softness and feminine sensibilities, to bring the world into proper balance and contrast. “God, help me to become the woman you created me to be.”

 

 

Brave Woman Manifesto


Make sure to check back next week as another courageous Sister shares her story.

And by the way...


You are Brave!


No matter what you are facing, God has made you in His image, which means He equips you with His courage, strength, and power. I would love to connect more and give you a FREE gift - the BRAVE WOMAN MANIFESTO: Five Things to Tell Yourself When Life Gets Hard. Click HERE to sign up for my monthly newsletter and you’ll receive the FREE Manifesto, as well as recent blog posts, updated resources and personal details delivered only to my empowered email tribe.


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About Sara


Sara Oyela writes poetry and other things too, including lesson plans for her high school language arts students, notes and emails to her four childrens’ teachers, and grocery lists for her husband. When not hanging out with her people or writing, she enjoys reading, hiking forested and snaking trails, basking in the sun, running or walking on her neighborhood streets, building, and playing board and card games.


You can connect with Sara on her blog at sarosaoyela.com, Instagram or by email at mailto:author@sarosaoyela.com.