So it’s gotten very real. As I knew it eventually would. Going public meant setting ourselves up for a lot of junk — cutting comments, being unfollowed and unfriended on Facebook, name calling (to me, not my son), cut off from long-term friends and even family. I’m a heretic. A liberal (gasp). I ignore my bible, twist my bible to justify what I want it to say, don’t love my God, am a bad parent, am a soft parent. Sigh.
I love my God more than ever, and have dug into my bible and the environment in which it was originally written to a deeper level than I ever have before. Yes, I’ve questioned everything I’ve ever known from a religious standpoint. Everything. Is there really a God?? Yes, no brainer there. Why DO I believe in my bible? Is my bible inerrant? Who wrote my bible, in what language, when, to whom? How was my bible assembled? Who assembled it? How were those decisions made? Why are there so many translations and who translated them and when and how? Are the translations inspired by God, as was the original texts? To what extent?
Asking those questions and studying the answers doesn’t make me a heretic, it makes me a Christian. If you haven’t asked yourself those same questions, and actually researched the answers, maybe you should. Going through that was scary — as it is any time you question deep truths in your life — but it didn’t make me a weaker faith follower, but a stronger one. I have experienced for the first time in my life the freedom of Christ. I thought I had felt that before, but let me tell you, I hadn’t. THIS is freedom. Freedom from slavery to law (NO, I don’t mean I’m ignoring obedience), freedom found in the blessed, all-covering love of God.
The road I’ve traveled has been fraught with pot holes and rocks, but has lead through some beautiful scenery. It’s been a hard journey, but God has blessed the path and has taken me to places I’d have never seen before. Beautiful amazing places. And He has been the driver, while I’ve just ridden shotgun.
I want to share it. I NEED to share it. I get, again for the first time in my Christian life, the yearning to share this message. His message. This journey. How He changed my life through through my struggle with the topic of homosexuality. I used to force myself to mumble about God to friends, afraid of reactions and labels. I justified my silence by claiming I was sharing God and Jesus by my actions (although really those actions weren’t all that special). Now, it’s different. I’m bubbling over with this amazing understanding of the magnanimous love and grace, and I can’t NOT share it. I don’t mean that as I’m something special, but God has used me in ways to truly affect people. That’s such an honor.
As a family, we decided to go public because my son wanted to stop hiding who he is. I started blogging because I was still raw from the smothering loneliness we felt when we first learned of our son’s homosexuality, and I wanted others that I knew were out there to know they weren’t alone, and that there is hope. I’m continuing to blog and share our story and journey because I have to. It makes a difference. I have scared moms and siblings and gay Christians reach out to me regularly, so grateful to have a rope to grasp, and I will not stop being that rope until God tells me it’s time to stop. So far, I’ve got a glaring green light.
It’s frustrating sometimes (most of the time) that I have this knowledge now that is on such a different level than it was before, and I know if I could just help others to go on this same journey with me, they would see it too. And everything would be different. But I’m inadequate. I don’t know how to give others that “bright light” moment on their own road, and open their eyes. Because I can’t. And I know that’s not up to me. I have to be content to share my story and my heart, plant the seeds, maybe water some, and let God provide the growth.
So meanwhile I pray for patience. When people share their support for my family, but do it in a whisper because their kid is in the car … patience. When people ask me if I have read my bible … patience. When my son is no longer allowed to be around certain kids unsupervised … patience. The Christian world is starting to see things differently. Slowly, very very slowly, but they are. I am honored God is letting me be a part of helping that change in my own corner of the Christian world.
I’ve been very transparent with my trip. I’ve hopefully never given the impression I am all that and a bag of chips. I have made a lot of mistakes and blunders. I’ve used some poor word choices, and reacted with looks and expressions that I know were likely offensive to my son. I was thrown into a foreign land with no manual and no mentor. Logging into an LGTB website for the first time is comparable to walking into a Starbucks for the first time — pansexual, asexual, gender fluid, what??? We had to wing it. We learned early on to rely on those gut feelings and let the Spirit lead us where we needed to go. Those early days were the Between-The-Bright-Light-And-Damascus days in which Paul was walking blind and being led to his temporary destination.
I was clueless, but I took that first step, one arm out streched and groping, and the other clasped hand-in-hand with my Savior, blind as a bat, but willing to go.
I confess — there are days I still lay in bed crying, praying earnestly for this to all be a dream. That this isn’t what I want my life to be, my son’s life to be. I sometimes wish I was still in the dark ages and ignorant and peaceful in my rose-colored former world. I think that’s normal. A 180-degree change in a long-held belief takes some time to fully adjust. I’m not proud of it, but it is what it is. It isn’t easy for most of the people you know and love to think you are crazy and getting crazier. To worry physically for your son and his boyfriend when they catch a late movie in an iffy part of town. It’s a hard road. But those days of regret are becoming less and less frequent as I embrace the life path God has chosen for me.
I remember in the early days of this journey hearing moms who have walked this path for years say how they were thankful God made their children gay. I didn’t think that was a possibility for me. Ever. Yet hear I am, and I’m almost there. Not quite, but close. I can honestly say I’m thankful for my son as he is — which is really the same thing — but I’m not quite able to say the words: I. Am. Thankful. My. Son. Is. Gay. Give me time.
I’m on a mission, but it’s not my own. The journey has taken me far from where I started, and the scenery just keeps getting better. I guess now, I feel like I’m in a forest and have to walk through some pretty dark shadows, but every time I do, I can see the bright beams of light just another few steps away, leading me on.
And I keep walking.