Joy to the world

Hillsong Worship

Ugh.  I’m sorry.  That’s what I want to tell you.  I have known you were gay for a very long time.  I use Facebook memories sometimes to help me remember how long I have known.  I look at pictures from when you were eight and realize I knew at that point. I think I have always known. Just as I’ve always known you have brown hair, brown eyes, have white skin, and are contrary as hell!  

Maybe it is a mother’s intuition. I can’t be sure, because your Dad knew too.  We talked about it, even back then.  Maybe it’s because you were a tomboy and all the boys wanted to play with you.  I can’t tell you how many marriage proposals you had gotten by the time you were six.  Maybe it was your refusal to wear dresses.  Maybe it was wanting the shorter hair cut when you got older.  Maybe it was your teacher telling me in fifth grade she was worried about you because the boys didn’t want to play with you anymore, but you didn’t even know how to play with girls.

I don’t know how I knew, but I knew.  

This is why I am sorry.  God gave me the knowledge of who He created you to be, and I didn’t protect you enough.  I let you go to a church in which you were told that being gay was a fatal flaw and would land you in hell.  I let you go to a school that had it written in their conduct handbook that being gay would get you expelled.  

I knew. Yet I still drove you to those places, and dropped you off with those people.  What kind of mother does that?  Unfortunately your mother was the kind of mother that did that. I am broken and ashamed.  

If I am being honest, I didn’t want you to be gay.  I wanted you to be “normal” like all the other girls.  I knew that being your authentic self was going to be hard in the communities we were part of.  It was going to be hard because your church wasn’t going to accept you.  My friends and your friends were going to think you had a choice and were choosing to be a “sinner“.  People were going to be hateful to you because you were different, and I did not want you to have to go through that.  

I thought I was protecting you.  

I thought maybe I was wrong, that maybe you weren’t gay and staying in these communities would be good for you, because they were Christians, right?  

So I put my head in the sand and ignored this part of you, and continued to expose you to those toxic belief systems.  What kind of mother does that?  Unfortunately your mother was the kind of mother that did that, but God was working on me.  

Because I was afraid, you were forced to go through a big part of this journey alone.  Since coming out, you’ve told me that you knew you were gay the summer before your freshman year of high school.  I believe it was becoming apparent to everyone at this point.  Even though you had yet to come out to me, God was telling me I had to do something to protect you.  That I could not be quiet anymore.  

I started looking for a school that would embrace who you are.  I told everyone else I was doing it because of your interest in fine arts. Or that I wanted a school that would challenge you more academically.  The truth was, I could not let you sit through another biology class in which teachers taught that being gay was an abomination, and not how God intended sexuality to be manifested.  

God, in His goodness, made changing schools a much easier process than it should have been.  You got accepted into the fine arts and academic program with ease.  

You started the next year, and big surprise, found a community of people who loved and accepted you for who you were, not who they expected you to be.  Sadly, this wasn’t the first time I witnessed non-Christians loving and living better than Christians. 

It was in your sophomore year, the first month at your new school, that God finally gave me the opportunity to love and nurture you in a way I should have been since you were born …

You texted me and asked if you could wear a tux to Homecoming.  I won’t lie, when I got the text, it was like I had been gut punched.  I knew at this point you were ready to be public to the world, and I wasn’t sure I was ready to hand you over to those savages.  

I picked you up from school that day and said “you can wear a tux to Homecoming, but know that by wearing a tux, everyone is going to think you are gay.”  Your exact words to me at that point were “do you have a problem with me being gay?”  I finally got to say “no I don’t have a problem with that, do you have a problem with that?”  And in that moment, you got to acknowledge, this part of you, to your mother, the one who was supposed to be your safe space, but hadn’t been for 15 years!  

What kind of mother lets it go this long?  Your mother did. But God was holding you in his loving arms and had not left you alone, because He had been working on your dad and I.  

God had been working on me for a while.  I had started questioning at least ten years ago how being gay went against the commands on which all other commands are rooted, love God and love your neighbor as yourself.  I could not see how a monogamous loving relationship would hurt God or hurt anyone else, so I kept questioning how what I knew about God fit into the belief system I had been taught that GAY = SIN = HELL. It just did not fit the big story of the Bible.

Yes there was stuff in Leviticus. Yes there was stuff Paul wrote about. But there were also so many other things written in Leviticus and by Paul that no one practiced because they were cultural or significant only for those periods in human history.  Why was this the one issue, of all the issues that Christians have discarded, that did not get left behind as context or culture?  

It was against the character of the God I knew and loved. And honestly, if God was going to create you to be gay, and then call you a sinner and banish you to hell for being gay, then I don’t want anything to do with that God.  But that isn’t the loving God I have experienced and been comforted by on my darkest days.  

This question (and so many others) led your dad and I to start a church.  We knew there had to be people out there that had been hurt and didn’t fit into the evangelical church as we knew it.  I remember clearly your dad and I saying that if ONE PERSON were impacted by the church we helped start, that it would all be worth it.  

You were 10 when we started Refuge.  The church was launched and we drew our first community of misfits. Addicts.  

Then, six years into Refuge, God called us, to what I believe, was his planned calling.  He started bringing the gay Christians through our doors. And wouldn’t you know it, God sent them at the exact same time you admitted the truth about you to yourself.  

I don’t know how it happened. Some members of the LGBTQ community found Refuge, and in us found a safe place to love and serve God.  But because we were welcoming lesbians, gays and queers into our church community, and allowing them to fully serve and lead, we started getting a lot of pressure from people from within our church to “take a stance” on what we thought about GAY = SIN = HELL.  

We knew the right thing to do. But we didn’t realize how ugly it was going to be.  

That summer, your dad preached “the sermon”. You know the one. The one that cost us a large part of our community. The one where we started getting called heretics. That sermon!  Your dad took a stand publicly and said what we knew to be true … GAY = HOW GOD CREATED YOU = LOVED AND FULLY ACCEPTED.  

Three months later you told me your truth.  I never imagined that you were our ONE PERSON. That is how much God loves you.  He knew you needed a safe place to serve Him through your wonderful talents. He knew one didn’t exist in our city. So He created one for you.  You are the ONE.  

There have been many others that have come to know and love Jesus because of Refuge. But none of that would matter as much to me, if you had been the one that did not find your safe place.  Through your dad. Through me. Through all of our bad decisions. God pursued you and held you in his arms.  

I hope you know that now. Though I will let you down again and again, I will never again keep my mouth shut because something does not affect me.  I will fight for what is right, and I won’t wait until something affects me to speak up!  I have learned the importance of doing what is right, even when it hurts, and I will fight for you and the LGBTQ community until my last breath.  

You matter. You were wonderfully made. And I hope you can see through God’s providence, how special you truly are to the Author of your life!  

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