Now that my GP has referred me for assessment I'm in the process of stepping back from some of the things I'm involved with leading.
Part of the reason I'd decided to do this is because I'm a Christian and although I have a strong faith at the moment I feel like I'm in not in the place I should be with regards to my relationship with God.
The other Sunday I visited some friends to tell them that I had visited my GP and asked her to refer me to a gender clinic. Although they could have tried to pursuade me not to do this I told them at the outset that I wasn't there to discuss that but what I was going to do with some of the things that I'm involved in leading.
I'd already come to the conclusion that I needed to step down from some things as it would be difficult to carry on with them in a leadership capacity.
As a result last week I had two meetings, one with the coordinator of the group I'm a volunteer with helping deal with people who are out clubbing on a Saturday night and who get into difficulties through drink or such like.
The other meeting was with one of the vicars at my church and his wife who is one of the other leaders in our Junior Church. I explained that I was stepping down from helping but didn't tell them why. They didn't really need to know and there are already four people at church who know, my two friends I chatted with and the other vicar and his wife.
Yesterday I was my last session with Junior Church and I had 5 minutes at the end to tell the children and the other leaders what I was doing.
Stopping doing Junior Church was really hard. I'd have loved to have carried on doing it but most of the children are less than 8 years old. Even the oldest child there is only ten. Its going to be interesting enough for their parents explaining what is going on when I go full time without me teaching them as well. I suspect that there would be uproar about it and a number of the children would have been pulled out of Junior Church. The children are too important to me for me to allow that to happen.
Telling the children that I wasn't going to be teaching them anymore was difficult enough. If I'd been on hormones already I would have been in floods of tears.
The really hard part though was when one of the girls, the 10 year old, looked at me as I was telling them and there was a look of complete shock on her face. That was really hard because she likes me and we always have a chat when she sees me. She lost her father about 18 months to 2 years ago and I think in a way sees me as a father figure. To be honest if things had been different then her mother would have been someone I would have liked to get to know better because she is intelligent, funny and I enjoy talking to her. I'm hoping that we can be girlfriends at some point because I'm sure that I'll be able to learn a lot from her.
After telling the group yesterday, including the other leaders, one of them came up to me afterwards and asked if I was ok. Much as I would have loved to go into details I just gave that old standy - "Yes, I'm fine" - which is guaranteed to kill off any conversation i have unless the other person is a lot more savvy and keeps questioning. I expect that the other leaders will catch me at some point to ask about things.
After the service my friend and our vicars wife caught me and dragged me into a room for a chat. They were a bit annoyed with me as they've offered me prayer ministry to help me out with all this. I sent back an email last week saying that I would have prayer ministry but only under certain conditions, one of which was that any prayer is to support me and not try to change what I'm doing. That's what got them annoyed because they know that I know they wouldn't do that. They both reinterated the point that they will support me because they love me for who I am.
A couple of things that did surprise me though that came out of the conversation was that when I'd been around to see my friends the older day they had said that they realised that something wasn't right with me a few weeks ago.
When I asked about this I was told that I had seemed withdrawn and not my usual spiritual self. Hmm, it really would take someone who knows me to spot that one.
The other thing that surprised me was that the vicars wife told me that they needed people to help out with our prayer ministry at some of the services and was wondering if I would volunteer.
Ok, I've just told them that I'm looking to become a woman, I'm in a dark place with my relationship with God and I'll asked to help out with praying for other people. Sometimes my relationship with God really doesn't make sense.
Anyway, I'm going to take them up on the offer of prayer ministry once I've had the assessment at the local hospital and seen what they say.
I am so glad that both of these wonderful ladies are also going to be there to provide support to the rest of my family.
I am so lucky that I have friends like these who really do love me.