Hi, Fellow Mama!
If you are reading this in our mutual online group, then you are the mom of a child who newly identifies as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (or a host of other labels as well). I see by your first post that you are scared and my heart goes out to you. I’m only about a year and 5 months into this same journey on which you have embarked. Those initial days of coming to terms are still fresh in my mind. So, here are a few little tidbits that might help.
First of all, if you’re like I was, I imagine you are terrified – terrified of what people will say and do when they find out about your child’s orientation; terrified of how he or she will be treated; terrified for their safety; and if you have a religious faith, terrified that God and your faith community will no longer accept your child. You lie awake at night or you get to sleep just fine but wake up halfway through the night to a clenched stomach and shaking legs, unable to fall back to sleep.
May I tell you something? All of this gets better over time, but, honestly, it will probably be a while. Be gentle with yourself. You have just been given info that’s new to you, even though it’s not new to your child. In some cases, your child will be way ahead of you in dealing with this. In other situations, your child may still be coming to terms with their orientation at the same time they allow you to join them on the journey. Either way, it is a great honor that they trust you and your love enough to let you in.
And remember, none of this is a surprise to God. He knew it was coming. He knew ahead of time what your fears would be and how you would react. He knew when your child was created that that child was lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgendered. Whether or not you can see it right now, He has prepared you and your child for this time in life. In my case, He had begun releasing my husband and me from a 30-year pastorate shortly before our daughter came out. Today I thank Him because I could not have dealt with the stress of my husband leading a church while also coming to terms with the changes in our family. God has your back!
Your fears about family and friends’ acceptance will come true with some people. I’m sorry to tell you that because I know it hurts. But you’ll also find acceptance from others that will surprise you. You will be amazed by how many, after they find out about your child’s orientation, will come to you to share about someone they love who is lgbt. You will become a safe resting place for them, and they for you. The lack of acceptance from others that you love will gradually change your relationship with them, and that’s okay. Some relationships are only with us for a season. What you are about to learn and how you are going to grow will never be understood by those who only think of this as an issue and not as a person they love.
The greatest thing about this trip is that, if you allow yourself, you will learn more about God’s grace than you’ve ever known in your life! You’ll find that His love is wider, longer, higher and deeper than you ever imagined. You will learn to trust that for yourself and for your child. God will literally carry you and your family through this. Don’t back away from Him because you fear His lack of acceptance. You’re about to find out just how much grace covers in this world and in the life of your child and you. When you discover that, it will be a holy moment.
And most of all, don’t let yourself (or your child) believe that they can’t have a relationship with God if they’re gay. Instead, urge them to stay as close as possible to God in their daily life. He’s on this trip with them and wants to guide them. It’s unfair to tell your child God is not available to them because they have an orientation they did not choose. They, and you, need God more than ever to navigate through life. You can trust that God will still talk to your child and can guide them into the life HE wants them to have. Why would we ever tell them God is now off-limits?! They have to know that God still wants relationship with them, and you’re going to be the one who will convince them of that.
Again, mama, I’m sorry for the stress and anxiety you feel right now. Like I said, it gets better but it will take time. Please give yourself that time without judgment. It’s okay to be scared. It’s okay to feel physically sick over it. It is okay that you can’t imagine right now that you will ever adjust to this news. It’s all okay. God knows you; He knows your kid; He knows the people, both accepting and non-accepting, that you will deal with.
God’s got this!
In the meantime, until you can hear His voice clearly, you’ve got a whole group of fellow mamas who know what you’re going through. Lean on us!
You can find me here at carolstout.com and you’ll find the moms’ group online at Serendipitydodah for Moms – A place of unexpected discoveries.