Talking About Some Hard Stuff
This sweet note was sent to me by a mama I deeply admire and truly love.
She Wants Me to Tell You, “My Daughter is Gay.” - Lisa Joy Samson
It’s 5:00 a.m. My nineteen year old just went to bed about thirty minutes ago, unable to fall asleep on the night after the Orlando massacre. She’s scared now. As if school shootings, fast-food shootings, and random shootings weren’t a heavy enough burden, my daughter, McLeod, is gay. It’s her story, but it’s important to her that you know it’s part of my story, too. It’s nothing I’ve been ashamed of, I want you to know upfront. I have simply respected her timing. But now, well, it’s all become just too damn much, hasn’t it?
McLeod is not some exception in the gay community. She is the rule. And the rule is, each gay person is as uniquely formed and wonderfully developed as any other person. The scars she bears are her own to hide or display. The gifts she owns, creativity, beauty, intelligence, are just the same. But it is the combination of all these things that makes up a unique person who, whether born that way or wounded into it, defies stereotype. Because gay looks a million different ways. And she wants you to know that sometimes gay looks like the daughter of a writer who happens to love Jesus madly and hasn’t been afraid to say so for many years.
Here’s a little secret, well-kept until today. I love my lesbian daughter, too. No apologies. No excuses. McLeod is not only who she is, but I think she’s wonderful. I support her. I adore her. And however she chooses to navigate these waters of fear and love, I will climb into the boat whenever she needs me. No questions asked. No need for her to justify who she is. Not for one single, solitary second.
So, I want to say this. If you are a parent who loves both Jesus and your gay child, and it’s easy to do so, join the club. You don’t have to choose. You can do both. Fully, freely, and with joy. You don’t have to turn your back, cast her out of your home, or parade him before the church. You can make your home, not a nightclub, your child’s safe space. You can love your gay child with all your heart and if others cannot accept it, that’s their cross to bear, not yours. Love them, too.
To McLeod, I wish to say publicly what you have heard many times in private:
I’m proud of you, and I love you for EXACTLY who you are, formed in the imagination of God, formed in God’s image--just like your mother, your father, your sister, your brother, and all the people of the world. I love you today, tomorrow, and every day, and I’m so excited to see what the Good Creator, who loves you every bit as much as the rest of His Children, has in store for you. Because God is like that, offering peace in the storm, love amidst the fear, acceptance inside the pain and the loneliness. And not just to straight people. Peace be with you, my little girl, today and all the days of your life. I will always be on your side.
PS: To all who have read this note and have been encouraged and encouraging, we thank you!
I need to share this note and something else with all of you. I recently did a devotional and talked to the Wranglers about "being laid bare." I'm taking a moment to lay myself, my heart and my soul bare before you. Autumn's ReRide Youth Ranch was named after my daughter Autumn. Most of you know she took her life by suicide at the age of 15. She was a gentle, artistic, imaginative, intuitive gay young lady. Why did I put gay at the end of her description? Because I want you all to savor that for just a moment. Why is this important? Because Autumn was important and all of these things I state about her are what made her who she was in its entirety. Again, why is this important? Because I'm a very strong woman of faith, a woman of deep conviction, a woman who loves Jesus with MY whole heart and soul. Just like the mama in this little note I've posted. The difference is, I never got to walk with Autumn thru her struggles as this mom is. I never was able to tell her I loved her deeply no matter what. NO MATTER WHAT. I never got to hear her tell me,"Mama, I'm a gay woman". I wished I had. I wasn't acting in a way that Christ would have. I didn't know how. I was SOOOOOOO new to the ways of Christ. I could go into detail about an incident that happened between us that was her attempt to try and tell me, but I won't. I will say was in the midst of an argument, she blurted out something and I was stupid. I went to her later and begged forgiveness. Nothing more was ever said. I had NO idea that she really didn't know HOW to tell me. How do you tell that to your Christian parent? She had to be in such turmoil. I never knew. I should have, but I didn't. Parents, the MOST important commandment of Christ was to LOVE. Purely, simply, completely and with ALL you have. To LOVE ALL. Not pick here and there. But ALL. Just because you love Jesus doesn't ever mean you can't love your gay friends and family! I've learned an awful lot about being a Christian in these years since Autumn left us. I've learned soooo very much about what that ACTUALLY looks like, what it REALLY means. I've learned soooo much more about agape love. My prayer is to keep pressing deeper, deeper deeper and deeper still into the Lord so that I may give love as He did. I love Autumn wholly, completely, totally. I just wish she was here that I could hold her and show her that nothing will keep me from loving her. I'm pretty sure Jesus tells her for me tho. PLEASE love your children, NEVER turn you're back to them because their unique life is not the same as your unique life. Embrace them, defend them, protect them. Love, the greatest of these is love. -Rebecca