In new book, York County woman reconciles faith and same-sex marriage
At a time in Monica Williams' life when she was struggling to reconcile her Christian faith with her love for another woman, her supervisor at work called her into the office to give her a message.
"I'm not sure how you're going to take this, and I don't know if you're a believer or not, but the Lord woke me up at 3:33 in the morning," the supervisor told her. "The Lord specifically instructed me, 'Tell Monica I love her.'"
Williams, 47, of West Manchester Township, said that was the turning point in her life that allowed her to accept God's love without giving up the love of her now-spouse, Juanika Ballard.
"I still had to struggle through accepting and believing it," she said. "But the mere fact that he (God) took the time to speak it to someone, to speak it to me, that was an 'aha' moment for me."
In her book, "How I loved GOD and Her: The Battle of the Heart," published in January, Williams wrote about finding the courage to live authentically with the confidence that God did not reject her because of her same-sex relationship.
"God can only use who we really are, not who we pretend to be," she said.
Williams and Ballard met through their church in Baltimore about 15 years ago, and for the first few years they were together, their relationship remained a secret to all but a few people.
Now, Williams runs a bimonthly meetup for women through her ministry, Women of Truth, to offer a safe space where women can reveal their true struggles without fear of judgment or rejection and experience fellowship with others.
From a young age, Williams said, many women, including herself, begin hiding what's really happening in their lives out of fear they'll be ostracized if they are honest or authentic.
"We put on our church mask and we try to fit into the group of what church is supposed to look like, and when we do that, to me, we continue to be superficial," she said. "Let’s be real."
Williams and Ballard have five children — two conceived with a donor and three from Williams' previous relationships — and two grandchildren.
The couple attend Crosspointe Church in Spring Grove.
Williams will be speaking at DC Black Pride in Washington on May 25, and her book can be found online and at all major bookstores.
For more information about the book or about Women of Truth, visit womenoftruthco.com.