For someone who grew up in the Roman Catholic Church and left religion entirely for nearly 20 years, Pastor Nicole Garcia, 60, is now making history for being the first transgender Latina pastor within the 4-million-strong Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, according to an article by NBC News.

After being ordained in late November, Garcia delivered her first service on December 1, 2019 at Westview Church, the first one among her weekly sermons to a congregation of more than 100 faithful.

Growing up, Garcia said she duly performed her role as "oldest son" of a devoutly Roman Catholic Latino household. She attended church two to three times each weekend and was the choir's guitar player.

However, as she got older, she felt something was off with her although she struggled to identify what it was. She recalled, she loved to dress up in women's clothing on her teenage years, hiding her outfits to make sure that side of her remained unknown.

"I had never felt comfortable in my own skin. I had always been chastised for doing the wrong thing," Garcia said. "Everything just felt wrong. I did everything my male cousins would do, but it was just awkward and it didn't come naturally."

The pastor also said she prayed every day that God could take those uncomfortable feelings away, but her prayers were in vain. In 1982, Garcia left the church.

For the next few years, Garcia resorted to alcohol abuse and partying, started to dress up and date men. But after years of heavy drinking and switching from one low-paying retail job to another, she decided it was time to change her life.

A year later, Garcia got married, bought a house in downtown Denver, and found a new career as a corrections officer. It might seem like she was turning her life around but the feeling of wanting to dress as a woman resurfaced.

After eight years, Garcia and her wife divorced. Not long after that, she had experienced a "come-to-Jesus moment."

Two days after the incident, she was told there were free therapy sessions for corrections officers and after only a few appointments, Garcia was able to confront her inner struggle.

"I realized in that moment that I've always been Nicole; I've always been a woman," she said.

Not long after that, she found herself attending the service at the Saint Paul Lutheran Church in Denver which was recommended by a fellow corrections officer she had met during one of her therapy sessions.

With the acceptance shown by the church members, Garcia had deepened her faith in God. In 2003, Garcia was baptized in the Lutheran church, and soon after began advocating for the acceptance and advancement of LGBTQ members into pastoral positions.

Being a devout Catholic, it took nearly a year for Garcia's mother to accept her as Nicole, but she was happy to see her child returning to the church. In 2013, she resigned from her job and started attending seminary school where she later became the director of congregational care at Mount Calvary Lutheran Church in Boulder. Along her journey, more and more people came to admire her determination to push for her advocacies.

Garcia expressed her hopes that through her example, other LGBTQ people and people of color would step forward through faith.

Garcia isn't the first transgender pastor in history. Also in the Lutheran congregation, Rev. Peter R. Beeson, a transgender man,now serves as lead pastor at Hoboken's St. Matthew Trinity Lutheran Church. Meanwhile, Erica Saunders, a transgender woman, is now the lead pastor at Peace Community Church in Oberlin, Ohio.