Where Do We Go From Here?

wheredowegofromhere

Breathe. A whole year has passed since I came out as the parent of an LGBTQ child and an ally. So much happened, and I still have so much still to say!

First off, I love you. You have meant so much to me – reading, responding, trusting. You’ve told me you’ve felt heard and valued; well, I’ve felt the same way! There’s not much better than that.

Whether you have struggled through the discovery process of your own sexuality, or whether someone you love, like your child, has had to struggle through that process – I have experienced something of what you’re going through. Having walked in your shoes, or walked right next to you as you wear them, I take your hand in mine and say, “Things are getting better!”

Some friends and I have developed a community of Christian women who have learned how to love their LGBTQ children well – non-optional as Christians and mothers – even as they’ve navigated family, friends and church. They have learned that this kind of love, affirmation and acceptance is actually consistent with the truth of their faith. This demographic grows, despite the protest of much of the church, because God is in charge here and not us. God is moving the culture this direction despite the church’s every effort to stop it.

Jesus has righteous anger at self-righteous people who determine who is okay and who is not.

He showed us that anger when he was on earth with us. Still, I have sometimes lacked compassion for unloving and rules-based Christians, and God has had to increase my compassion. (God used you and the beautiful women in my group to do that.)

My beautiful daughter come out as bi to her own and the larger community. People have come out of the woodwork with love and support – which has been incredibly refreshing. On the other hand, I’ve watched people end our friendship, to become “Somebody That I Used to Know” – with rancor on the way out, or else just quietly disappeared. I’ve even received rejection from close family members. The fact that we can’t be friends or even family who agree to disagree is evidence that Christian’s issues here are way out of proportion. Multiply that by a thousand to see what many of you have dealt with most of your lives.

Through it all, I’ve come to believe that the LGBTQ community is one giant opportunity for Christians to learn to love, the one thing God asks us to do.

Where do we go from here?

I believe it’s time to peel back the layers of religion – God loves relationship – but he hates religion. To pull back the layers of our own perspective – fraught with self-interest. To ask God: “How do you want me to love?” We let everything else line up under that, just the way Jesus said — and here. We trust our God instead of ourselves, knowing he’s still got it all going on. If we struggle to trust God, then that’s an issue we need to look at full in the face.

I was incredibly heartened by Ken Wilson in this interview about how he led his congregation on his “path to embracing people who are gay, lesbian and transgendered into the company of Jesus.” Ken had to recognize what his heart was telling him about a group of people who, like all of us, need Jesus. He had to admit that the non-affirming church’s approach wasn’t working. He set aside the mainline answers, and he dug into the Bible for himself. His book, A Letter to My Congregation, was the happy result.

A year ago I had doubts about jumping into this arena; now I am on fire to continue. A year ago I knew few of you; now I am honored to have many LGBTQ friends and allies. A year ago I wondered when I’d run out of things to say; now I feel that I’ve just gotten started!

My voice is stronger and more confident and passionate than ever. Thanks for listening. : )

 

17 thoughts on “Where Do We Go From Here?

  1. I am so glad I approached you that Sunday at GCN…even if I had no clue who you really were! 😉 It’s a great feeling knowing that I’ll be able to say, “I knew her when…” Ready to see what year two brings!

  2. Thank you, Susan, for your bravery and compassion this past year. Many of your comments have moved me. However these lines brought tears to my eyes: “The fact that we can’t be friends or even family who agree to disagree is evidence that Christian’s issues here are way out of proportion. Multiply that by a thousand to see what many of you have dealt with most of your lives.”

    To be acknowledged in this loving way is so very healing. You cannot imagine the renewed hope those words bring!

  3. Susan, congrats on your 1st anniversary! Though my children don’t fit in the LGBTQ category, I know many young people who do. Everyone has their own challenges and ours was having a pregnant daughter at the age of 16. Did God design us to have intimate relationships before marriage? No! But my husband and I made the only choice I could ever imagine, very early on, to love our sweet daughter in spite of what other christians and some family members might think. God used this experience to turn her life around. She lost her baby at 6 months gestation. Our pastor, who visited her at the hospital, could have spoken words of condemnation, but instead he chose words that helped to heal her heart. Now she is in her last year of nursing school and wants to minister to the hurting hearts of other parents as a nurse in a NICU. I loved her…period! This experience and your blog has me reminded me over and over that this is the message to anyone who might tend to judge others. LOVE….period!

  4. Susan, you have done above and beyond in your first year… as a father of a gay son you have helped me immensely with how to be a better Christian and understand what the Holy Bible is speaking on the issue of same-sex attraction at a different angle that makes sense and was so very very helpful. I am sure this past year for you has been bathed in prayer and the Holy Spirit has guided you… you remind me of Joan of Arc because of your courage and willingness to listen and obey God.

    • Wow — thank you. I’m honored to have been helpful. Yes, it has been bathed in constant prayer! I’ve always loved Joan of Arc for her enormous courage, her sense of who she was, and that she KNEW she was hearing God. I’ll take that, Richard! Thank you. Likewise, you have blessed me in sharing about your journey with your son.

  5. Thankful for you, your tender heart, and strong, unwavering voice! I, myself, began this journey three years ago and am blessed that God used my son sharing his sexual orientation to also soften my heart and take me on the same journey of unconditional love. God is forever in control and faithful! I pray He continues to use you to encourage and support so many others! I will always be following you and sharing on Facebook! So many times your words are my exact thoughts! Share on!

  6. “Ken had to recognize what his heart was telling him about a group of people who, like all of us, need Jesus. He had to admit that the non-affirming church’s approach wasn’t working.”

    The approach isn’t working, for anyone, and it’s not only hurting tons of people, but it’s actually driving people away from the Gospel.

    I’m glad you’re on fire, because we need you!!!

  7. Words are so inadequate to express what your faithfulness has meant to thousands of people, who are directly and indirectly affected by the GLBT “issue”. You are an answer to thousands of prayers. You are not only saving lives and helping mend broken hearts and families … You are a true reflection of Christ to so many. I weep in gratitude to my Heavenly Father that your heart is so strong and so tender all at the same time, and that He loves me enough to have allowed our paths to cross. God. Bless. You.

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