Thank God When Things Don’t Fit

Recently, I’ve had this song stuck in my head. I love and relate so deeply to the lyrics. A significant part of my coming out journey has been more than just acknowledging who and how I love, but also how I understand my identity as a queer lady with more “masculine” gender expression. I’m a whole different girl than when my prom dress fit. I have zero desire to look or be like I was in high school. My body plays my guitar and that’s perfect for me. The bridge in particular is so powerful:

Oh, and nobody turns 95 and wishes that they’d bodychecked
Nobody looks back on life and wishes that they’d been more stressed
And nobody eats birthday cake and wishes they’d enjoyed it less
And nobody gives a shit if you rip up an old prom dress

But more importantly, this song has been a source of comfort and hope as I enter month 13 of searching for a pastoral call. For the sake of my sanity, I have not kept track of churches I’ve reach out to, interviews I’ve had, or sermons I’ve shared. Nevertheless, the number of times I’ve heard you were a strong second choice and we’ll be in touch (but actually we’re ghosting you) adds up as a slowly crushing weight, causing so much self doubt and systemic distrust that I rarely know which way is up anymore.

And then I heard this song. I have so desperately needed this song. I don’t get to control much. But, the agency I have is to thank God when things don’t fit. My trust in God tells me to thank God when things don’t fit. My experience of God tells me to thank God when things don’t fit. My need from God is to be able thank God when things don’t fit. Regardless of if I know why or how much I would’ve liked to have known it wasn’t going to be a fit months before I discovered it wasn’t going to work out, I haven’t found my fit yet. I’ve found many not fits. But no right fit yet.

Of course, I’m hesitant to say the suffering was necessary – for those who are totally different people than they were when they were younger, for those who struggle to find ways to live out their calling, for those who are stuck in the almost but not yet. My personal theology fights against necessary violence and pain. But at least today, I am grateful to be familiar with how it feels when something doesn’t fit. All of the dresses I tried so hard to love for so many years. All of the makeup I could not get myself to use. All of the shame for not knowing the options I have to feel and be my best self. All of the church buildings, committee meetings, conference assemblies, presbytery gatherings where I was not validated or recognized as a human being. All of the times my gifts in life and in ministry were ignored. I know what it’s like for things not to fit.

So while I still wait for answers, wait for direction, wait for fair compensation and recognition of my gifts, I’m doing my best to thank God for what’s not fitting. I’m jamming to this song. I’m loving my wife and walking my dog. I’m applying again and again. And in my waiting, I pray others who are also waiting, struggling, questioning know they’re not alone. I pray we can all worry less and love more. I pray we can hold on until that right fit comes along. Because I do believe it’s coming. And until that day, I’ll thank God when things don’t fit.

2 thoughts on “Thank God When Things Don’t Fit

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  1. POWERFUL and EMOTIONALLY MOVING!!!! Oh, how ashamed we all should be when the “tiny” things in our lives don’t seem to turn out, and we lash out at God! You are walking the “path less traveled” and remain strong in your faith and continue to love/serve God with all of your MANY talents. Kelly, have you ever thought about reaching out to others who have FINALLY found themselves, getting a group together, and forming your OWN church, have your own ministry? Has God been speaking to your heart in that direction at all? There are so many people who are lonely, who feel alienated from God because of the way they are treated by others just because they are trying to be who they really are? We ALL need a place of comfort to worship the ONE, TRUE GOD WHO accepts us as we are! God has called ALL of us to be HIS children…wants to have a personal relationship with each one of us…gave HIS ONLY BEGOTTEN SON so that each person, regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, and on and on and on could be safe in HIS mighty arms forever…here on earth AND in eternity. YOUR MINISTRY SPEAKS TO EVERYONE. We saw that at our own church when you were the intern. You relate to people. It is quite obvious that you love God, have prepared yourself really well to serve Him here on earth. It is also MORE than obvious that HE equipped you with many gifts and talents. You are musical, can speak to others through songs and tunes. You have an extraordinary gift of writing. Your sermons are well thought-out, expertly written, and beautifully delivered. YOU REALLY ARE SPECIAL. As you move forward, always remember that you have touched many lives with your own, and, in the process, have probably changed completely or altered minds as to sexual orientation. Though my life is polar opposite of yours, you accepted me as I was and am. I do the same for you, marveling still at all the many gifts you have and your total commitment to the God we both love and serve. May God continue to uphold you in every aspect of your life. You are dear to him. Your are dear to me. Fletch Leslie


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