“Mom, I’m Gay!” You want to shove those words back in and put the lid on. But you can’t. Having a gay or trans child may may go against everything you’ve been taught. It was not what you had in mind, and you instantly wonder where you went wrong.
When you become a parent, you know to expect the unexpected. But for many Christian parents, nothing can prepare them to hear that their beloved child is gay.
How could this be? What will the church say? What will your friends say? What does the future hold? You can’t even get your head around this.
You are not alone.
My husband and I were in the conservative, evangelical church for 25 years. We led small groups, Bible studies, retreats, and Rob was a worship leader. You get the idea.
Then our daughter Annie came out! She was 20 years old, she called me from college, and she said, “I’m struggling with same-sex attraction”—because that’s the language we had then. She said, “I’m attracted to girls, and I think I’m bisexual. I have tried to deny it but it just won’t go away.”
In that moment. I wondered: “What will become of her? Will she live a normal life? Will she have a career or even a job? Will she be bullied? What does this mean about her faith—and our faith?” And then this other thought: “We’ll never be the same in the church again.”
Now just think about that. In this tender moment, when my daughter is sharing the most intimate part of her life, I feel the ground crack because my church, my worship community, will not be there for me. It’s a strange thought, isn’t it?
Church is the place we all believe or pretend is safe for our deepest hearts—and heartaches—we think of it as our community, our family. Suddenly it was exposed as not being safe at all.
What do I do at this point? Do I continue to go to this church that, if they knew about my daughter would not accept her? If they knew I accepted her as is, they would not accept me?
Do I live in silence about my daughter among these people whose marquis says, “All Are Welcome!”—and whose Savior says, “All Are Welcome!”??
That’s the position the nonaffirming church put me in, to be brutally frank. It essentially asked me to deny my daughter: either outright by rejecting her or implicitly by not talking about her.
This was the very beginning of the journey, when the world was spinning and we had no idea what’s next.
My husband and I had a choice to make.
Let me tell you about this choice. Some will say: you must choose between your child and God. That’s not the choice.
You may have to choose between your child and the church, or your child and your own beliefs around this—but it’s never between your child and God.
To choose your child is to choose God, because this is the child God gave you!
God does not call us to abandon our children. God did not give us a little warranty with our child that says, “If they don’t turn out the way you hope, you can just get rid of them.”
We get to choose whether to surrender to this path God had placed in front of us or resist.
We chose the path God gave us; we chose our child.
After awhile, Annie moved to New York. She was dating women. She called me some months after she moved. She said, “I love being in NY, I’ve stopped fighting who I am—and I’m more at peace with God than I’ve ever been.
I said, “Annie, that’s all I need to know!” I knew enough by then about an authentic relationship with Jesus to know that peace is the marker. It’s what confirms to you that you’re in the right place.
Colossians 3:15: “Let the peace of God rule in your hearts.”
Philippians 4:7: “And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
1 John 3:21: “Dear friends, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence in the presence of God.”
Next thing I know, God’s leading me to work with parents and LGBTQI. I had no idea what that meant, no idea where I would start, but I knew it would cost me in the Christian community. And it did.
About a year later, our youngest daughter came out as well! Our first thought was, “Okay it is us!” But it’s not. 🙂 And to see her blossom into the beautiful young woman she is today brings joy to my heart.
Here’s the amazing thing: I wouldn’t make either of them straight if I could!
I’m just a mom who’s going on the journey in front of her. If you’re a parent on this road, let me speak to you parent to parent—or maybe you’re an LGBTQ person reading this, let me speak to you as a mom, whatever your age.
God has got this! God has got you!
You can rest, be at peace, and find joy in this journey. You’re not alone. You’re on the right side of history.
And you’re on the right side of God’s heart. Trust God—and trust your heart.
If you have to choose between loving and doing what you’ve been told is right, choose love because to love is always right.
My love for my child and for my family, my faith, and my relationship with God are deeper and richer than ever before.
That is what’s available to you!
Wherever you are on this journey, FreedHearts Online has a full, conference-length, comprehensive video course helping parents love, accept & affirm their LGBTQI children, and strengthen their faith in the process! It addresses the core issues and answers the tough questions. We also have a course for LGBTQI to help heal from family, religious and community wounds. Please just click here. 🙂
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