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)

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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 17.02.53.228So 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 20.03.17.746Kids 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.  The school is across the street from our development, so 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 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.

tears

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:  http://wespeaklove.org/exodus/   – I haven’t looked into their new ministry yet, but I’m curious to see what they do.

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…

Garments of praise…

girl on swingI absolutely love music.  It feeds my soul.  Even as a small child, music was a part of my life.  I remember singing my little heart out on my swing in my backyard.  I’m sure it drove the neighbors nuts because I really belted out the lyrics.  Songs like “Joy to the World” by Three Dog Night, “American Pie” by Don McLean, “Delta Dawn” by Tanya Tucker, and on and on.  I recently looked up the lyrics to the Three Dog Night song and was glad I didn’t understand them back then (smile). Luckily my favorite part was the refrain:

Singin’
Joy to the world
All the boys and girls, now
Joy to the fishes in the deep blue sea
Joy to you and me

My love of music never left me and when I was in middle school I would camp out by my tape recorder every New Year’s Eve.  Casey Kasem from America’s Top 40 countdown on the radio would play the top 100 songs from the year that night.  I would record the whole thing…minus the commercials…just to be sure I captured all of my favorite songs from the year.  It amazes me how much I still remember lyrics to songs from way back then.  I’ve always said that if my studies were put to music in school I’d be a genius today.  It also surprises me how much the emotions that I was feeling when a song was popular come back to me when I hear it today.  Like I said…it’s a part of my soul.

I am thankful for music because it got me through one of the most difficult times of my life.  If you read my post Buttons and Shoestrings, you know that six years ago my son came out to my husband and I.  He was so distraught by his feelings that four months after he came out to us he was hospitalized because he was suicidal.

How did this happen?  We did all the things we thought we were supposed to do as “good” Christian parents. Our kids were introduced to church as babies and went to Sunday school when they were old enough.  They were taught to serve others starting at the ages of 4 and 3 by serving along side of us.  They both went to a private Christian school – nursery through 8th grade.  They went on mission trips and 6 youth retreats.  We had nightly prayers and devotionals on a regular basis.  Video games, music, and movies were monitored for content and the comment “that’s not appropriate” was met many times with groans.  I felt like we did everything possible to “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it – Proverbs 22:6”.  We weren’t perfect…but surely we did something right.

When I try to find a word to express the emotions of the beginning of this journey, the first one that comes to mind is torture.  I was dealing with three issues simultaneously…my son was gay, he was so distraught about it he was slowly going into a pit of despair, and I was a Christian and knew what the Bible had to say about this issue.  I watched my silly, upbeat little boy change into an anxious, unhappy young man.  It was heart breaking.  His demeanor changed. His clothing changed (to dark and depressing choices).  His taste in music changed.  Everything about him was different.  I felt like I lost my little boy and it was scary.  I prayed everyday that things would change.  They didn’t.  By the time we got to the hospital stay four months later, I can say that this was the first time in my life that I was faced with a crisis of faith.  Where was God in all of this?  Why wasn’t He answering our prayers?

During this time, I was often at a loss of words for prayer.  I knew that the Holy Spirit had the words that I didn’t, but I needed something to feel connected to God.  I needed to feel Him.  I found that in music.  One song in particular at that time was a life-saver for me.  It’s by Robin Mark, a Northern Irish Christian singer/song writer, and the song is “Garments of Praise”.

You can take a listen to it here:

Isaiah 61:3 – (NIV)

    and provide for those who grieve in Zion—
to bestow on them a crown of beauty
    instead of ashes,
the oil of joy
    instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise
    instead of a spirit of despair.
They will be called oaks of righteousness,
    a planting of the Lord
    for the display of his splendor.

I have to tell you…I would sing this at the top of my lungs in my family room, tears streaming down my face…and yes, at the part when the songs lyrics are:

Hallelujah, sing hallelujah
We give all honor and praise to your name
Hallelujah, sing hallelujah
We trade our sorrows for garments of praise

I did my own little version of Riverdance.

Psalm 9:2 – (NIV)
I will be glad and rejoice in you; I will sing the praises of your name, O Most High

To be continued….love each other….because love matters.

Buttons and shoestrings…

dress upWhen I was a little girl, if you asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I would say I wanted to be a mom.  I couldn’t really think of anything else that I wanted to be…it just seemed like that is what I was meant to do. My friend and I would play for hours pretending to be mommies.  Her aunt had the most amazing collection of clothing, hats, and accessories.  I think she liked to go to yard sales and flea markets and we were allowed to play with the items before they were put up for sale.  This isn’t us, but it’s a pretty good depiction of what we looked like.  So you can imagine how happy I was when these two came along (smile).

K&M Christmas

I have to tell you…being a mom has been the most rewarding job by far. It has also been the most difficult. Being responsible for little beings is a big responsibility, and most of the time you just hope you are doing a good enough job.  As my kids grew, it was so rewarding to watch their little personalities take shape.  My son was very strong willed…oh was he challenging at times.  And my daughter was always willing to express her little temper.  Her nickname was “little miss attitude”, but overall they were really good kids.

There are times in your child’s life when you get to experience overwhelming joys with them, and at times immense pain.  When your child hurts, there aren’t words to express the hurt that you feel with them.  This became real to me on April 20, 2008.  My husband and kids had just gotten home from an Acquire the Fire event.  God had been whispering to me that something was wrong for some time, and I asked my husband to check our son’s computer.  We found that he had been to a website on homosexuality. We called him into the family room to ask him about it.  He told us that he was working on a paper for school that needed to be about a controversial topic.  He chose the topic of homosexuals and the military.  I then asked the question that changed our lives forever.  “Do you have any questions about homosexuality?”  That is when the tears came flowing down his cheeks.  He told us that he was confused about feelings that he had for his friend…a friend who was also a boy.  It’s hard to describe all the emotions that I was feeling when I heard those words.  It was like getting the wind knocked out of me…a jumble of emotions and if you could see inside my brain it would look something like this:

wordle

We immediately told him that we loved him no matter what.  His response was that we had to…we were his parents (he later learned from other gay teens that isn’t always the case).  Through uncontrollable tears, he told us that he was a terrible person…and that he had been praying for a while for God to take away these feelings.  He told us if God was real He didn’t love him because He never answered those prayers.  It was a long night and I have to tell you that I really had no idea what to say to him.  I was completely taken off guard…and I had so many questions myself.

It was clear that he felt really badly about himself so he started counseling.  There were times when he wanted to hurt himself so there were many sleepless nights sitting up with him to make sure he didn’t. And when we were not sitting up talking with him, we certainly weren’t sleeping soundly.  We were on constant pins and needles; terrified that if we let our guard down something awful would happen. Every little sound was amplified to deafening decibels. This went on for four months.  In August, we found a note that he had written.  Let me just say that it was a note that no parent would want to read.  We called his counselor and we were able to meet that same day.  We concluded at the end of that meeting that we needed to take him to the emergency room.

The hospital psychiatrist met with him and then told us that he would need to be admitted to a psychiatric hospital. The doctor was so concerned for his safety that we were told if we didn’t agree to hospitalize him, our parental rights would be taken away.  There weren’t any beds available at the time so he had to spend the night in the ER.  You have no idea what it is like being told that your child’s care is basically out of your hands.  There is no researching doctors…finding the best care.  Your child will go wherever a bed becomes available.  My husband stayed with him overnight and I went home to get his things.  I was given a list of acceptable things to bring.  For clothing they had listed shirts without buttons, shoes without shoe strings…the last time I packed my son’s bag for an overnight stay there were legos and stuffed animals in it.  Now I was worried about buttons and shoe strings being used to hurt himself.  I had to cut the drawstring out of his pajama pants. No one ever should have to cut the drawstring out of their child’s pajama pants so they can’t strangle themselves with it.  No one.  After I packed his bag, I laid on his bed and cried…and prayed.

The next morning a bed became available.  He was taken by ambulance to the next hospital, and we followed in our car.  We got him checked in and they put us in a room to wait for a doctor.  First they took him and did a strip search to make sure he wasn’t hiding anything on his person that he could use to hurt himself.  How humiliating for him. The doctor came in and chatted with him briefly and then we were told we would need to leave.  When the doctor left the room…he freaked out.  He started screaming that he couldn’t believe we were doing this to him.  He said it was going to make him worse.  He said he would run away.  And when he had nothing left to hurt himself with…he used his own body.  He took both of his fists and started punching himself in the stomach….like a samurai warrior would do with a knife…dying the “honorable” way.  I’ve been thinking about how to put this into words for days.  There are no words.  There is nothing in me that can describe what this was like for us.  There are still nights when I close my eyes and I see my baby hurting himself.

It was time for us to leave.  We were given the times for visiting hours, and we left listening to our baby boy’s screams….and from all the Christian literature we had read so far…this was ALL OUR FAULT…(to be continued).

(So as you can see…this is a very personal post.  Why did I feel the need to share it?  Well first because it is part of our journey.  Second, I think it’s important for people to get a glimpse of what it might be like to be gay, or to have a gay child.  I know not everyone’s journey is the same, but I think some people in the Christian culture have this idea that gay people are defying God deliberately…that it’s a choice that they make.  I’m here to say respectfully that they are wrong… and I will believe that until God tells me otherwise.  I no longer believe that this is my fault and my hope is to tell you how I came to that conclusion in other posts).