And they called it puppy love…

When I was a little girl, my parents were in a lot of bowling leagues.  It was a hobby that they really enjoyed.  I especially remember Saturday nights at the bowling alley because I was allowed to have a small soda.  I couldn’t have soda during the week so this was a really special treat.  A little cup of heaven each week (smile).  So, every Saturday I skipped to the snack bar and got myself a small soda.  I was about 8 years old.  There was a young guy (I’m guessing he was a teenager, but to me he seemed like a man) that worked the snack bar on those Saturday nights.  He was always young_lovereally nice to me and would chat with me while I drank my soda. There was nothing weird about it…he was just an outgoing friendly guy and my parents were always near by.  At the time, I didn’t realize what it was, but in looking back I realize I had developed a bit of a crush on him.  I not only looked forward to my soda on Saturdays, but I also looked forward to chatting with my friend.  Back in the day they called this puppy love.  I really had no idea about sex, or even kissing for that matter, but I knew that I liked this person.

I received an email from someone last week, and in the email they explained their beliefs about homosexuality.  Overall it was a very encouraging email as this person explained that they felt gay people should be loved and treated with respect.  Yay!  However, twice in the email they mentioned about the person’s choice of “lifestyle” and choice of sexuality.  I go back to my story of being a little girl.  If you had asked me what sexuality meant, I would have no clue.  I just knew that I liked something about the young man who worked at the snack bar.  The same as a little boy might have a crush on his teacher. It’s all very innocent.

As I got older, I continued to notice boys.  I can say that I was never attracted to girls.  I feel that if you are going to say that someone is making a choice about their attraction, then you are saying they must be attracted to both sexes in order to have to make that choice.  Did you make a choice to be a heterosexual?  I didn’t either.  It just happened…it’s who I am.  If you are married to someone of the opposite sex, has anyone ever said to you, “I’m so happy you chose to live a heterosexual lifestyle.” My guess would be that you haven’t.  Yet, I get comments all the time about gay people choosing a homosexual “lifestyle”.   I may have said this before, but I think where communication breaks down on this topic is there are some people who think of gay people as being straight with a “sex problem”.  That is not the case at all.

I wish people would stop for a moment and think of what it might be like to realize you are gay.  I said realize because that is how it happens.  If you knew the difficulties that gay people face, you would understand that no one would choose it.  And if you happen to be someone in a Christian home who reaches puberty and realizes that you have an attraction for the same-sex, you believe all the things you’ve been taught about homosexuality…about yourself.  This is why so many suffer from depression and shame.  When they finally get the courage to speak up, some are exposed to some horrific practices to try to “cure” them.  It’s called conversion or reparative therapy.  To get a glimpse of what this might be like, I invite you to read Sam’s story:

Born Perfect – Sam Brinton’s Story

I can’t even begin to imagine how someone overcomes that treatment.  I know just seeing how distressed my son was in the beginning of his journey caused emotional scars for me.  I had to change my ringtone on my phone because it was triggering memories of him being in the hospital (we would get calls from his counselor).  And songs that brought me comfort during that time, I can’t listen to anymore.  When I hear them, I see my son hurting himself in front of me in the hospital and I hear him screaming at us when we had to leave him there.

We need to be more interested in listening to people and their stories, rather than judging them and making assumptions that we can’t possibly understand.  And above all else, we need to love…because love matters.

(NCLR has launched #BornPerfect: The Campaign to End Conversion Therapy in the next five years by passing laws across the country to protect LGBT kids, fighting in courtrooms to ensure their safety, and raising awareness about the serious harms caused by these dangerous practices. You can learn more about them (here).  I will also be adding them to my Resource page)

You’re not alone…

I was talking with one of my friends who was gushing about being a grandmother.  Her excitement was contagious.   She was telling me about the recent weekend that her granddaughter got to spend with her.  She was explaining that when it was time to go to bed her granddaughter told her she was scared.  Thinking that this would be a good teaching moment she said to her granddaughter, “honey you won’t be by yourself…Jesus is always with you in your heart.”  Her granddaughter looked up at her with big crocodile tears, “but Grandma…I want someone with skin.”  I thought this was the cutest way to describe that she just wanted someone to be physically there with her.  Do you know that feeling?

Coffee-for-Your-Heart-150Today I join my fellow blogger Holley Gerth and her “Coffee for Your Heart” challenge.  Today’s topic is…You’re Not Alone.  I have to tell you when I first read this I cried.  It reminded me of the many years I spent keeping the secret that my son was gay and how lonely that made me feel.  I didn’t keep it a secret because I wanted to…I felt like I had to.

We ALL have “stuff” in life that we go through.  It’s so easy for us to share the happy and joyous moments of our lives, but it is so much harder to share our struggles.  This can leave us feeling like we are all alone.  We know that the Holy Spirit is always with us to strengthen us, to give us life-giving energy, and to help us accomplish things that we could never do on our own. Nothing can compare to the gift of the Holy Spirit.  He is our helper.  I would always tell you to completely rely on his wisdom and guidance. But God also calls us to love each other, to be there for each other…because sometimes we just need someone with skin (smile).

It can be a scary thing to share your insecurities, your struggles, your grief, etc.  But I am here to tell you that if you can find someone to share those things with, it can completely help to change your life.  If we could all open up our lives to each other, we would all realize that there is no reason to feel alone.  Let’s look at my life for a moment.  I can share with you about the trials and tribulations of having a sibling that is an alcoholic…and about practicing the most difficult form of love…tough love (I’m happy to say that my sister is now 10 years sober…woo hoo…and I couldn’t be prouder of her).  I can share with you about the grief of losing a parent…especially in a sudden and unexpected way (see my post I will see you again).  I can share with you about the stress of dealing with family members that deal with OCD, anxiety, and depression.  I can share with you about having an illness for a long period of time without having answers about what is wrong with you (I’ve had fevers, headaches, pain and chronic fatigue for 20 years).  And my latest is… I can share with you (and have with this blog – smile) what it’s like to be a Christian and have your child come out to you.  As I said earlier…we all have difficulties that we deal with along this journey we call life.  One of the things that gives me great joy is to be able to share these life experiences to help others.  It makes the pain somehow worth it.  You are not alone my friend.  There are others out there who struggle with difficulties…just like you.

I mentioned that I felt like I had to keep the fact that my son is gay a secret.  It was to protect him and my family. We weren’t ready for people to know.  We had experiences with fellow Christians that made it clear where they stood on the subject and it wasn’t one of love.  We couldn’t help but be fearful about how people might respond to the news. It took time and prayer to get to the place where we were strong enough to deal with what might come our way once the news was out there.  I’m happy to say that the response has been mostly good.  It was worth the risk. And I don’t feel alone anymore.

If you or someone you know is gay or has a family member who is gay, and they don’t feel like they have anyone to turn to, please have them email me.  I would be happy to talk to them.  If you go to my contact page, it will send me a private email.  No one else can see it but me.  It’s a start.  You don’t have to go through it alone.

Take some time this week to prove to someone that they aren’t alone.  It will change not only their life…but yours.

And remember to love each other…because love matters.

More than just a peanut…

When I was younger, I was a peanut.  Unfortunately, because of my size, I was a target for bullying.  There was one girl in particular in my neighborhood that was relentless.  When I was 8 or 9 I was so fed up with her picking on me, that I went to my dad and asked him to teach me how to punch.  (I am not an advocate of violence in any form.  I simply wanted to be able to protect myself if it came to that).  I don’t remember if I told my dad the reason, but he not only taught me how to throw a punch, but he also taught me how to block one.

My best friend at the time was also named Lisa.  Because we were always together, most people called us by our first and middle name.  So, I was known as Lesa Page (yes my parents spelled both of my names wrong).  We were out in the neighborhood playing one day and “bully” girl started harassing me.  She was always telling me she was going to “kick my butt” so I basically told her to do it and get it over with…I was tired of her threatening me.  So she did…or at least she tried. She pulled back and threw a punch.  I blocked it with my left arm and bawled up my right hand into a fist and hit her right in the stomach.  (again not supporting violence, I was 8 or 9 and at my breaking point). She was shocked and ran home crying.

5.0.2I few minutes later the “bully” girl and her mom were knocking on my friend Lisa’s front door (they lived across the street from her).  Her mom answered the door and “bully” girl’s mom proceeded to yell at her and tell her that she needed to control her daughter.  Apparently, “bully” girl ran home telling her mom that Lesa hit her (not using a middle name to distinguish which one).  Her mom assumed it was my friend, who was much bigger than me and her daughter.  My friend’s mom looked at the other mom and said “it wasn’t my Lisa who hit her, it was this one,” and pointed at me. When “bully” girl’s mom learned that it was me that hit her daughter, she just took her by the arm, walked off the porch, and went home.

So what’s that familiar saying…don’t judge a book by its cover?  Well obviously we should do this more often with people…and not just because they might haul off and punch you in the stomach (wink).  Unfortunately, the truth is that we do judge others.  Even in a place that should be a judge free zone…like the Church.  When I was younger, I was judged because of my size.  Today I am judged because my son is gay.  The judgement I receive, however, is nothing like what he receives.  I don’t mean to be crude, but in the eyes of many Christians, gay people are seen as a sexual act…not as human beings.  The thought process tends to be about what gay people do…not who they are as people.  This is why many of them stay away from church.  They feel either invisible or like a “problem” or “situation” that needs to be handled.  This is so devastating to them…and their families.  When I go to church on Sundays, and the ushers open the doors for me, metaphorically I am hearing church doors slam in the face of my son.  How will he ever find his way back to the One who created him if God’s people judge him harshly and unfairly?  I think Jesus would want us to be better representatives.  Don’t you?

By the way, I grew up to be a whopping 5 foot, half an inch (smile).

Love each other…because love matters.

Idols aren’t just golden calves…

When I was eleven, I started attending a new school.  Doing that during those middle school years was tough, but I did my best to jump right in and make new friends. Eventually I invited one of the girls to my house for a sleepover to get to know each other better.  We settled in with some snacks and decided to watch some television in my basement.  I can’t remember what we were watching, but I can tell you that I remember what happened when Shaun Cassidy came on the television screen.  My new friend let out the loudest, shriek/scream I have ever heard in my life.  I asked her what was wrong and she exclaimed, “I looovvveee Shaun Cassidy!”  I thought that was all fine and good, but why on earth was she screaming about it.  I got a quick lesson that this was the way she expressed her admiration.  My poor mother came running down the basement steps wondering what in the world was murdering us.  We had a good chuckle about it the next day when my friend went home.  When I eventually went to her house, I discovered that her room was plastered with just about every picture ever taken of Shaun Cassidy.  I didn’t quite get it…my heart throb back then was Scott Baio from Happy Days (smile).

Just about everywhere you look in our society these days, you can see people going overboard with celebrities, sports figures, etc.  All it takes is a night of watching television advertisements for things like reality tv shows to see that we are way out there when it comes to what we look for in entertainment (don’t even get me started on Here Comes Honey Boo Boo). People become famous over the craziest things!  To me, these things are easy to see as distractions and things that maybe I don’t want to spend my time on.  But the idea of idols is nothing new.  I’m in the middle of reading Exodus right now and I’m at the part where Moses comes down off the mountain and sees the Israelites worshiping a golden calf that they had made from their gold rings.  It’s easy to read that and think, ‘What was wrong with those people??  How could they forget what God had done for them.” But I have learned, it’s easier than you may think.  Did you know that your problems can become an idol?

When I found out my son was gay, my world was turned a bit upside down. His being gay was not an easy thing to face, but the real difficulty came more from knowing how he felt about himself.  He didn’t like who he was and because of that he suffered from anxiety and depression.  I can’t tell you how stressful it is to know that your child hates themselves and at times wants to end their life.  You are on constant alert. In my post, The Land of What If’s, I wrote about my prayer journals.  Seems like a good thing to do.  But even though I talked to God about the situation, doesn’t mean I was handling it the right way.  My thought patterns in the first few years went something like this:

What did I do wrong and how can I make things right? to…
How can we help him change? to…
Understanding this isn’t something that can change – does this mean he won’t be able to get into heaven? to…
What does God really feel about this? to…
Am I doing the right thing by supporting him? to…
On and on and on…

I felt like this was all I was thinking about….praying about. It was not only exhausting…it was wrong.  I was living in fear…focusing all my energy on the “problem”, not focusing it on the One who could carry it all for me.  This had become my idol.

2014.01.13 what did I do?  It’s been a process.  I would like to say it was a one and done type of thing, but in reality it took some time to sort things out.  One of the things that was troubling to me was that my son had stepped away from God.  He wasn’t going to Him for strength and guidance.  I decided to take some index cards and write Bible verses on them that I thought would help him and I taped them to the rails of his bed under his mattress.  He would basically be resting his head each night on the Word.  I would read these verses each week when I made his bed.  Another thing I did was prayed over each room in my house.  I also prayer walked around the outside of the house.  I gave the situation over to God.  It didn’t mean that I didn’t ever think about it, or worry about it again, but it gave me some peace.

I had a heart to heart with God one day out on my deck.  I told him how hard this was and I 100_0360wondered out loud if it would be easier if I just walked away from my faith.  What was I supposed to do?  How did He want me to handle this?  I very clearly heard Him tell me that it wasn’t up to me to figure it all out.  This is between Him and my son.  I just need to love him and support him no matter what happens. That I can do…to me that is easy.  God has not let me down…He has been with me every step of the way.  I just needed to get out of His way (smile).

So I love the best I can and I ask you to do the same…because love matters.

Can I get a do over…pleeeease!!

2013.11.29 seem to have a universal language.  I’ve yet to meet a little one that didn’t know this special way to speak.  It’s the whining, drawn out kind of language that drives parents crazy.  If you tell them no, you get the “Whyyeeeee??” If you ask them to do something and they don’t want to, you get the “Nooowah” (they have this way of adding syllables to words that don’t really belong there.)  Then there’s the, “Can I have more candy…pleeease?”  What is it about drawling out the word please that makes kids think they will get their way?  I used to use this word when it came to bedtime. “Can I stay up later…pleeeease?”  My dad would take me over to the clock in our kitchen to show me what time it was and explain to me that it was time for all little girls to go to bed.  I didn’t know it at the time, but I found out when I was much older that there were some nights that he and my mom would move the arms of the clock to 8pm when it was really earlier than that.  Can you believe that?  I’m sure I was a delightful child at all times and there was no need for those shenanigans. (smile) My dad bought me the exact kind of clock we had back then for Christmas a few years ago.  It hangs in my kitchen today and brings back fond memories.

When I found out my son was gay, the first place I went to were Christian websites to find out what to do.  I told him that I loved him no matter what and that was really how I felt, but I had no idea how to handle the situation.  I never believed that someone chose to be gay, but I did have the belief that something happened to them when growing up that somehow caused them to be gay.  The Christian literature that I was reading and listening to confirmed this belief.  Unfortunately, the reasons were all pointing to his dad and I.  I knew that he wasn’t sexually abused (one of the reasons that they give), so the only other thing it could be is that we had done something wrong. According to the Christian ministries I looked into, some of the reasons children turn out to be gay are their mother is overbearing, or their father is distant, or one or the other parent is aloof, they are too controlling, unloving, not spending enough time…the list goes on and on. As a parent, this is devastating to read.  Then imagine that you discover in your adolescence that you are gay.  You are distraught by this and don’t like yourself.  Then you learn that it’s your parents fault.  You blame them. You are angry with them.  Imagine thinking that your child is gay because your spouse didn’t give your child what they needed.  Do you know that some marriages are destroyed and some gay children stop speaking to their parents over these beliefs? It’s a no win situation.

When my son got out of the hospital (you can read about that in my post Buttons and shoestrings), he started his junior year in high school.  It was a new school and I was hoping it would be a new beginning.  I drove him to school everyday. And everyday I said the same prayer, “God please put kids in his path who love You.  May they point him to You…show him Your love.  Lord please let there be a teacher who notices his pain and takes him under their wing. Protect him.  And Lord please send a girl his way that is like no other girl he has ever met.  Let him discover feelings that he didn’t know were possible.”  I prayed it everyday without fail for two years.  Nothing changed.  Then as a child I went to my heavenly Father and I would also pray, “God, can I have a do over…pleeease??  Show me what I’ve done wrong so I can make it right.”  He can do anything.  He can turn back time and let me have my do over…right?  It was such a painful time.  I would read posts on Facebook about other teens dating and it would make me cry. I would see dads in the grocery store with their sons and I would cry.  I would see toddlers and I would cry.  I did a lot of crying.


I was referred to an “ex-gay” group for help for my son.  I looked into it, but it just didn’t feel right.  I think God was protecting us.  The things that they teach are the very things that I mention above.  They cause damage and because of that one of the oldest Christian ministries dealing with homosexuality issued this statement:

Exodus Int’l President to the Gay Community: “We’re Sorry”

Leader of 37-year old ministry admits grave errors

Irvine, Calif. (June 19, 2013) — Exodus International, the oldest and largest Christian ministry dealing with faith and homosexuality, issued an apology to the gay community for years of undue suffering and judgment at the hands of the organization and the Church as a whole.

The apology dovetails with the ministry’s 38th annual conference in Irvine, Calif. – and the Thursday, June 20, airing of the television broadcast “God & Gays” on Our America with Lisa Ling. On Ling’s program,Exodus President, Alan Chambers, sits down with gay and lesbian people hurt by the Church with the goal of reconciliation.

“It is strange to be someone who has both been hurt by the Church’s treatment of the LGBTQ community, and also to be someone who must apologize for being part of the very system of ignorance that perpetuated that hurt,” said Chambers. “Today it is as if I’ve just woken up to a greater sense of how painful it is to be a sinner in the hands of an angry church.”

You can read the whole article here:

I am thankful that my God has not forsaken me.  He has guided me through this journey and taught me that it’s not my fault.  I’m thankful that my faith has remained intact.  To be honest, there were times when I questioned if that would be the case.  I pray that one day my son will once again be able to feel God’s love for him.

Because love matters…