When I was 10 years old, my friends and I loved to skate board. Now we are talking 1977 so it wasn’t the cool skate boards of today. The boards were much different back then. They were very thin, barely fitting your foot – not like the wider versions of today. And although the wheels weren’t metal like the roller skates back in the day, they weren’t the greatest. My board was bright yellow and as I think back to what it looked like…it was like riding a banana (smile). One fateful day as I was riding my skate board home, I had a little accident. One of my wheels hit a small rock. The skate board stopped…I didn’t. I went flying through the air and landed…on my face…specifically…my mouth. As I was picking myself up off the sidewalk, a little piece of my tooth fell out of my mouth. It was pretty small so I didn’t think anything of it. I picked up my board and walked the rest of the way home.
I walked in the front door and told my mom what happened. She looked at my tooth and admitted that it wasn’t that bad (in fact…she had chipped the same tooth – in the same pattern). But then she said eight words that rocked my world, “If your tooth dies, it will turn black.” What?! Your tooth can die? She explained that when you injure your tooth sometimes the root dies and it can turn black. I started crying. I didn’t want a black tooth. It was my front tooth! Everyone would see it! Moments ago I landed on my face and didn’t shed a tear, but my mom tells me that my tooth may change color and I completely fall apart.
When I first learned that my son was gay, it was upsetting. Not so much because he was gay, but at the time I believed that something somewhere along his life went wrong. It was my fault…or his dad’s. I never believed it was a choice, but rather something that could be “fixed.” So although it was upsetting, I had hope that he could change. I read everything I could get my hands on regarding the subject. What I found was very conflicting information. Upsetting information. From the Christian standpoint, orientation could be changed. I read articles from organizations from ex-gay ministries that were very hopeful. Stories about how people were able to become attracted to the opposite sex. From the LGBT standpoint, orientation could not be changed. I read articles from people about how the ex-gay ministry techniques had hurt them. Stories from parents that had lost their children to suicide because the shame and pain were too much for them to handle when the change they prayed for didn’t happen.
I read my Bible and articles from people who study the Bible. Scholars of the different languages and cultures of the time. I found the same thing here. Compelling arguments from both sides of the debate (Christian and Gay). What was I supposed to do? What should I believe? I found myself distancing myself from God. I started to read my Bible less, and my prayer life was dwindling. I felt like I had to make a choice. Love God, or love my son. It seemed the two could not co-exist. I realize now that I didn’t come to this conclusion from reading the Bible, or from reading the articles I had found. It came from the body of Christ. The conversations I was hearing among believers on this subject. People didn’t know that I had a gay son so they spoke freely in front of me about how they felt about gay people. And what I was hearing was ugly and hateful. I felt so torn…I didn’t believe what my fellow believers were saying, but I also didn’t want to be blinded by my hopes and dreams for my son.
So I went straight to God. I told Him that I needed His help. I didn’t know how to do this. I was confused. I so desperately wanted to do the right thing. I told Him I was at a crossroad…I couldn’t take all the back and forth information. I didn’t know if I was strong enough to do whatever it was I needed to do. It was scary because I wasn’t sure I was ready to hear what He would tell me (just like I didn’t like hearing my tooth might turn black). This is the gist what I heard:
“In case you haven’t noticed, I am God…you are not. Stop trying to figure this out. I got this. It’s between myself and your son, the child that I created. I love him and it is ok for you to love him too.” My response was something like, “But God he has stepped away from you right now. How is he going to hear you? How will he know what you want him to do?” And again I heard that it wasn’t for me to figure out…just to love him. “But what if he dates someone. What am I supposed to do then??” And I heard, “Love him too.” WOW…really? Well, I can do that (smile).
I found this on the internet this week. It reminded me of my brief crisis of faith through this experience. There were lots of tears, many prayers, and unbearable pain at times. God saw me, He heard me, and He gave me peace. I am so thankful for that.
This is an issue that deserves our attention. Those of us that have gay children feel like we have been plopped down into the middle of a war. A war we didn’t ask for, a war that our children didn’t ask for. I have read story after story from parents about how they and their children have been treated by the church…by other believers, in very unkind, unloving ways. Kids are dying. I love my church…I love the Church. I just think we need to have some conversations. I would like to tell people things like think before you speak. You have no idea what it is like to go through this unless you experience it first hand. Have your opinions, but speak them with love. It is possible you know. And maybe before you give your opinion…ask questions. Make sure you truly understand the impact of what you are going to say.
We all have trials in this life that we go through. Whether it’s having a gay child, going through a divorce, dealing with illness, having an addiction, chipping your tooth (smile). God always sees, always hears, and He will deliver. Most of the time in very surprising, unexpected ways. By the way…my tooth didn’t turn black. And after many years of harassment from my dentist…I finally got it fixed 12 years after my accident (smile).
Love each other…God commands it…because love matters.