It’s been a few weeks since I’ve posted anything. (We got a new puppy so I’ve been a little busy and preoccupied!) I love the messages, texts, and conversations that some of you have had with me after my first post. My hope is that you realize you are not alone, because parents of LGBT kids do feel quite alone at times, a lot of the time actually. There is a private mom’s group on facebook (mother’s of LGBT kids) and our pastor, John Pavlovitz, has called it a “solitary journey.” I can share my story here, but there are thousands of us who sound very similar. I’ve read some of their stories and thought how familiar it sounds, yet how different they can be, too. I thought maybe it is time to start sharing some of my journey.
I felt shock at first. I cried all night long that first night. I searched over and over in my head what I did that may have caused this. I now know that it is not my fault, it is not a choice, it is something they are born with. But let me tell you – the devil can really taunt you during this time. He pointed to a lot of different things to show me it was my fault. I questioned my marriage, my parenting. “Was I an overbearing wife?” “Have I not had a good relationship with her?” (Both of these “theories” have been thrown out there by a couple of famous evangelical pastors.) I’ll share more about that elsewhere. But it’s not my fault. It’s not your fault. The evidence is out there, and overwhelmingly agrees that they were born that way. But still we grieve. This is not what I dreamed of for her future, or mine. And I grieved for her and the awful, horrible journey she has been on for years….alone…..
And then I got mad. Like, really mad. I’m talking raging “mama bear” claws out, fangs out fighting, protecting rage. I was not mad at her. And at first I wasn’t sure where I could place my anger. Then I turned and unleashed it on “the church.” I remember pulling into the parking lot of our church one Sunday morning and anger just welling up in me. We went in and the worship songs began. You know, the songs about grace and mercy…..and it continued to well up. I couldn’t sing. I was on the verge of bawling like a baby because I sure didn’t feel like the church was pouring out love, grace, and mercy on gay people, on my beloved child. And I, who knew her so well, knew that she was not an “abomination,” not choosing this “life of rebellion” or whatever else it gets called.
This next part is hard to share because I am exposing my most vulnerable parts in confessing this. My “religion” began to unravel. Honestly, I was ready to walk away from “church.” If not for my husband and trying to keep that relationship as good and respectful as possible, I think I might have left altogether. I have no idea if it would have been a permanent thing or not. I did, and still do sometimes, just opt out of going some Sundays. (Let me clarify something. My particular church has been nothing but supportive of us. I have never heard things stated from up front that I have seen on videos of other churches since starting this journey. Those hate filled, disgusting words said about LGBT people. But my church does embrace the traditional view of marriage and sexuality only, which at that point was all the reason I needed to justify my anger.) I have been part of the conservative church all of my Christian life, about 30 years. My friends and people closest to me are mostly conservative Christians as well. So imagine what happened to my relationships. This is where I went into the closet. I no longer felt safe with those I had been doing life with for years. I know that I have withdrawn by my own choice. But I have done so to keep safe, to keep peace. I am also learning to not make assumptions. I don’t want people assuming things about me, my journey, my beliefs. I should extend the same. It is very hard though, when I have reached out and intentionally shared my first blog, or sent a heart felt email, and it was met with silence. That is hard. It hurts deeply and it gives the devil a playground in my mind to make up stories and make assumptions. But I honestly am trying to choose every day to not make assumptions.
If you are going through something similar, remember to keep searching and keep reaching. There have been some, who I was not necessarily that close to before, who now have come along side me and held me up, cheered me on when I need it. And there are some who have surprised me and though they still have their traditional beliefs, have not condemned me or my child. They have extended unconditional love and unconditional fellowship/community. I have also made new friends in the circle of other mothers and allies of the LGBT community. Reach out to me, I am here and I’ve been there/ am there, too!
My prayer for you today is that your heart is encased in God’s protective love; that it is filled with the Spirit; that you be given courage and strength for this life you’ve been given. I ask that you join me in continuing to pray that God takes me into water so deep that my feet do not touch, that I learn to trust only Him, and that He equips me to be so far from the safety of the shore. I pray that He helps me and equips me to help others who are out here with me, too. Amen