Abracadabra…

When my husband and I were dating, he shared a childhood story with me that made me heart ache for him.  He was in the 5th grade and his school was having a talent show.  He was really into magic at the time so he decided to do a set of magic tricks.  He had the costume, the gadgets needed, and a handy-dandy assistant to help.  Everything was going well until he got to the grand finale.  The trick was to pour a pitcher of liquid into a hat and then turn the hat over and place it on his head with the liquid magically08694ef872b480b865a5aad55437c710 “disappearing.”.  He chose milk for the liquid in the pitcher so that it could be seen from a distance on stage.  Little did he know that his assistant had previously fooled around with the hat breaking the device that kept the liquid from escaping.  He proudly poured the milk into the hat…and you guessed it…put the hat on his head only to be instantly dripping in milk from head to toe. He was devastated AND totally embarrassed.  I’m pretty sure tears were involved.  I think at that point he wished he could make himself disappear.  I can’t imagine how he must have felt and I just wish I could give that little 10-year-old boy a big hug.

Did you know that gay people are good at disappearing?  Well…not really, but it seems that way.  A phenomenon that happens to many parents of LGBTQ children is that our kids seem to no longer exist.  You run into someone at the grocery store that you haven’t seen in a while and they ask you about all of your children except your gay child.  They know how many children you have…they just don’t ask about the gay child or children. I hear this all the time from the parents that I speak with that have LGBTQ children.  It’s happened to me as well.  In fact, it happened just recently.  A member of our church that heard me speak on a recent Sunday about having a gay son came into my office the other day.  I have a bulletin board above my desk with pictures of my family…my husband, son, daughter, and my dog Lucy.  This person stopped in for something and took notice of the bulletin board.  They commented and asked questions about every picture on that board…except the picture of my son.  They even mentioned my dog.  Poof! Invisible.

I’m not sure what people think we as parents are going to say about our gay children if they were to ask.  Maybe they skirt around the questions because they think we are ashamed?  I’m not sure, but I can assure you that we are not ashamed. We are proud of our kids.  And…we would tell you the same sort of things we say about our straight kids.

People who have known my son over the years have said things like this:

“He is a fine young man.”

“I really enjoyed spending time with him.  He is a delight.”

“We just love him.”

“He is so funny!”

“Man he is smart.”

“He is a loyal friend.”

I could go on and on.  It makes me a proud momma (smile).  At the time these things were said, the people saying them did not know he is gay.  For some people when they found out, it didn’t make a difference.

For others, their response when they found out was, “But he’s so nice.”

This is a common response when people find out you have a gay child.  They can’t compute what they know of the person with this new information about them.  I’ve heard it and I know many other parents who have heard the very same thing. I want to point out that the person hasn’t changed.  They are the same person that you knew just moments ago.

I admit that I struggle with this when it happens.  I have a sarcastic nature and my tongue can be sharp.  I have to really watch my response when people insinuate that somehow my child being gay makes him a bad person.  He is the same awesome person you just thought he was before you knew.

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Please think before you speak or comment on something about a person…or a person’s child.  And don’t make people feel invisible.  They matter to God and they should matter to you.  Love them…because love matters…and how we love matters even more.

 

No need to defend…

When you share from the depths of your heart, and put it out there for the whole world to hear, you are bound to get some feedback.  Between our church website, and the YouTube audio video that was created, the sharing of my story that I did at my church back on July 5th has been listened to 424 times.  Pretty surprising considering it’s about an hour and a half long (smile).

Some of the feedback that I’ve gotten has been really amazing.  It seems that listening to my story has helped some people in profound ways.  God uses our stories.  There are some, however, who have felt the need to tell me how wrong I am in my beliefs.  I find that surprising since none of these people have asked me why or how I’ve come to what I believe…or even what I actually believe.  They feel they are right and I am wrong.

I was having some trouble reconciling this in my spirit.  It’s like my brain knew all the right things to tell myself, but once my heart was bruised by people’s opinions of me, it was hard for my heart to get the message.  Through the amazing support of some moms in a private FB group, and a telephone conversation I had with John Pavlovitz last week, I’ve been able to pull myself out of the funk.  John referred me to a post he did on the topic of defending your faith and it was helpful to me so I thought I’d share it here because it’s something that a lot of us go through on this journey:

John Pavlovitz – Stuff That Needs to Be Said

Again…my head knows what I should do, but my broken heart isn’t always on the same page.  Part of this journey has been feeling the need to defend my beliefs.  Really there is just one authority that I need to be concerned with when it comes to my beliefs…and that is God.  He is the only one that has been intimately involved in this journey with me.  Not even my husband Mike knows the depths of prayer and searching I did with God as I do not know the depths of his journey with God.  When I share with people, I tell them I don’t expect them to believe the same way I do.  I get it.  They haven’t experienced it personally.  I just wish that some would extend me the same grace.

photo-2Love matters…but how we love matters even more.