Tuesday, June 9, 2015

LEAGUES ABOVE

I am navigating through rough waters, Lord. But I know You are here in the midst of the rise and fall of each wave. And a fear response is really just a call to plant my eyes more steadfastly on You, my Lighthouse, my beacon.

Waves of doubt. What if my vulnerability backfires? What if I misheard this call to share? What if family and friends walk away instead of pausing to listen, really listen? I give you my doubts, Lord. Though they are many, like grains of sand on the shore.

Waves of emotion. Talking about this ~ sharing such deeply personal experiences ~ it churns up feelings I'd rather not revisit. But feelings aren't bad. They don't have to play out in a destructive manner. I'm riding the waves of these emotions, Lord. Knowing you are here and have felt them, too.

Waves of humility. I know, we are called to be humble, but being humbled hurts! Oh, how it smarts! Yet I know if I want to be used by You, it's a major stepping stone to getting there. I cling to You Lord, as I bare my soul and embrace the humility.

Waves of loss. Lord, I know what this means. There are people who will vanish from my radar. Some will simply pull away, avoid, and write me off ~ because of THIS. It's funny. Yes, it hurts. But in a good way! In a freeing way. I no longer need to try to please or impress ANYONE. Except You.

Waves of criticism. Those who don't walk away, but still feel the need to counter my experience with their own thoughts on the matter, it's hard! Who likes to be criticized? Lord, will you please keep my heart soft and tender to those You choose to speak through. And the rest, will You please silence their lips or put a covering over my ears and my heart? How I plead this for my son, too, and for my entire family!

Waves of unknowns. Where is this riptide taking us? What does the future hold? How will You use this? All of these I release into Your powerful hands. Today, and all the tomorrows, they are in Your hands, for You to write.

Waves of surrender. Ah, yes, blissful surrender. Letting the currents move me as they will. I don't have to fight it, don't want to anymore. Even when the waves come crashing down, I'm drowning in You and Your presence. This is sweet surrender, life-changing trust.

I see, Lord. It's not really me navigating these rough waters. I'm just along for the ride. And the calm I feel inside, it's leagues above anything I have ever experienced.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

GAY OR STRAIGHT, PART 3

Can we please be brutally honest? None of us has it all together. We are all flawed. No one completely knows EVERYTHING about ANYTHING. Not a one. Except God.

This is how we are wired. If we could attain perfection and complete knowledge while on this earth, there would be no need for God.

Maybe this is why God says he hates pride. HATES it. Not the prideful. Just pride in and of itself. Because pride puts an emphasis on us ~ who we are, and what we have accomplished.

Jesus wasn't calling out the sinner when He walked this earth. He used His harshest tones on the know-it-all, self-righteous Pharisees.

The sinners ~ the ones struggling and knee-deep in messiness ~ He came alongside of, lovingly ministering to them.

I am writing from my own personal experience at the risk of ruffling a few feathers. Many feathers, actually. That's okay. In fact, I think it's a good thing. And long overdue.

What I have personally witnessed inside some church walls has made me angry. And very sad. I believe it angers and saddens Jesus, too.

While men who struggle with pornography serve on church boards...innocent male/female friendships evolve into affairs...adults co-habitate before saying their vows...juicy gossip is served up on pretty plates...the god of self is commonplace, and countless other sins run rampant against our own bodies as well as the body of Christ, ONE issue gets labeled. UNACCEPTABLE.

What's more, it has been deemed acceptable to treat people as such. UNACCEPTABLE. Somehow, it's okay to excuse the pornography, look past the adultery, turn a blind eye to the rampant gluttony, make excuses for the dribbling gossip. But this ONE thing? Oh no! THAT is UNACCEPTABLE.

In our attempts to keep the church "clean" and presentable, I think we have managed to scuff up the very image of Christ and all He stands for ~ those He came for!

This I know. Jesus wasn't afraid to get dirty. He didn't turn a blind eye to those society cast off. Some of the people He chose to spend time with caused jaws to drop. "HOW COULD HE?! Doesn't He know who they are?"

An experience we had at a church we used to attend still causes my stomach to churn. A visitor in our adult Sunday School class, clearly gay, came asking questions. He didn't know the class protocol. He didn't know the Lord. He just knew he was hurting. He showed up searching, in desperate need for answers and for healing.

When he opened his mouth to speak, the tone in the room went sour. How could this visitor have made his way into OUR room? Who was going to control him? After all, this hour on Sunday morning wasn't about him and his problems. We were there to learn!

My husband and I left after class with a weight on our hearts too heavy for words. When we encountered the man in the foyer, we knew it was a divine appointment. For an hour and a half, we listened, encouraged, and prayed we'd be lights in a church that had dimmed theirs to this hurting man. Oh, how I pray we were lights!

To make matters worse, the expressions we witnessed on familiar faces as they saw us fellowshipping with him gave me a very small glimpse into what this man had endured for probably all of his adult life. Tsk, tsk...shock...everything but the love of Christ. Oh, how I pray he saw Christ's love in us that morning!

That day I knew. Though our history with that particular church was long and we had good friends there, it wasn't our home anymore. Sometimes you just know when it's time to move on.

My heart still aches for the man. But it also aches for my fellow believers. Those whose hearts are hardened, who find it easier to judge than to love ~ their condition cannot possibly be pleasing to God.

Again, no one has it all together. All of us are flawed. I place myself at the top of that list. We all need God's grace. And thank GOD He has an abundant supply of it!

I am pretty sure if Jesus had walked into our church that morning, He would have given some of His followers a stern talking to. But first, He would have sat with that man ~ talked, listened, and showed him the agape love he was craving.

Lord, please! Help us to stop pointing fingers! Help us be lights to a hurting world. Help us to be channels of Your agape love to all. Gay or straight.

Saturday, June 6, 2015

GAY OR STRAIGHT, PART 2

Welcome back, friend. After the unexpected responses and the incredible number of reads on my last blog, I know what I am being called to do ~ continue on this road of transparency and personal experience. I have so much to share! One blog at a time...

Much of this is tough to put into words. What happens in the heart often is. And I have hesitated. Because I don't want it to burden my son as I share my own path on this rugged, unfamiliar terrain.

But there's this ~ he has already been carrying a weight NO teen or adult should have to bear. What he has experienced over the years could have made him very bitter. Honestly, it could have destroyed him.

It didn't. Today, I see a man of strength...honor...faith, who has risen from the ashes of pain and confusion. He has emerged a loving, compassionate man with so much to offer.

I think he wants me to share. I think he welcomes my transparency, because he knows it will foster growth and will touch lives. It may even save a few.

This road I walk as the mom of a man who is gay ~ it's hard. Lonely! I feel as though I am trying to navigate a long, winding road less traveled at a very high altitude. I have a small group of dear ones who cheer me on, but this road is also flanked with stone-throwers.

Truth be told? This journey has triggered so much WORRY. FEAR. GUILT.

Oh, how I have worried about my son!! Have people mistreated him? Judged him? Excluded him? What injuries has he sustained simply because he feels no physical attraction to females?

Fear has been a very close companion. Will this cause him to lose faith? Because some believers have been the most injurious? What does his future hold? Will he be discriminated against? Yes, fear has clung to me like a relentless shadow.

Let's not forget guilt. What have I done or said to contribute to his pain and the hardship accompanying his sexual wiring? And what about the times I wasn't there to protect him, especially from the moral bullies of this world. Guilt eats away like a cancer. Oh, how I have failed him at times!

The flip side to all of this? God has brought me friends ~ glorious friends who want to walk this path with me, with us. People who want to understand, who want to take this life trek alongside of us. Friends who love my son extravagantly for who he is, not in spite of it! These friends, they are GOLD to me. They let me vent, share, cry. Always offering me their love and support.

Listen up. My journey? It PALES in comparison to my son's. I hope one day he will share with you personally what his own path has been like ~ and what his life is like today as a gay Christian. (No, people, that is NOT a contradiction.)

And to anyone reading these messages I am sharing from my heart ~ who use them to gossip, to judge, or to look down on us ~ I feel very sorry for you. I'll even go a step further and say, SHAME ON YOU.

Transparency and vulnerability are NOT invitations to hurt, belittle, or pass judgment.

They are offered in love to open eyes, to minister to others, to help people who finds themselves dealing with a similar life script.

My son is gay. As I bear this mama's soul, my prayer is that we can ALL get off whatever high horses we're drawn to occupy. And remember ~ we are ALL God's children, ALL dealing with struggles. ALL finding our way. May it lead us to a place of compassion ~ grace ~ love.

Like I said, I have much to share. Oh, how I hope this blesses you, friend!

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

GAY OR STRAIGHT

I have a son. He is smart, funny, talented. He has one of the biggest hearts I've ever known. His handsome face so often mirrors his dad's. Sometimes I see my own dad in him. And my mother's dad. Facial expressions, gestures, personality traits that span generations ~ all evidence of gene pools we don't choose.

My son loves nature. With a degree in Environmental Sciences, he will pursue a career preserving what he is so passionate about, God's creation. He has taught me by example what it means to step up and do what you can to make a difference.

My son is a huge Dodger fan. If he's not at the game, he's likely watching it or listening to the play by plays. Without a doubt, he bleeds blue! If you know my son, you already know all of this.

Oh, there's one more thing. My son is gay.

I won't say I have a gay son. Because his sexuality isn't what defines him as a man. It's just part of the whole package.

There's more. My son loves the Lord. And despite the overall judgmental tone he has encountered in the church, he remains strong in his desire and determination to know God and to walk with him. What's more, he wants to be a voice for others like him, who love God but have experienced mixed and hurtful messages from the church.

I don't know why my son is gay. But as his mom, I'm convinced he arrived this way. Years of research on my part has me thinking there is probably a very good biochemical reason why he isn't wired to be attracted to the opposite sex.

I don't have all the answers. And honestly ~ many days I'm not all that sure what the questions should be!

This I do know. Only ONE knows and completely understands. And that's God. After all, God created him. I only had the privilege of carrying him in my womb and watching him grow into the man he is today.

Why am I sharing this? Because maybe ~ just maybe ~ talking about it will help someone else who is struggling with the reality that they ~ or someone they love ~ is gay.

And maybe ~ just maybe ~ CHURCH, we can stop labeling...judging...and pharisee-ing long enough to take a good hard look at a growing number of people who are finding themselves on this journey. People who are hurting, who need LOVE more than they need a pat answer. Who need to hear that God LOVES them...just AS THEY ARE, unconditionally.

Because there are too many teens and young adults who are confused. Many are filling the pews of our churches. Looking for answers, affirmation, connection. Who DID NOT CHOOSE this. Who are trying to figure out who they are, as they listen to voices telling them that who they are is wrong ~ resulting in a suicide rate that is among the highest in this mislabeled and misunderstood population.

And because there are parents...grandparents...families who are struggling. Because someone they love more than life itself is wrestling with an identity crisis and a level of pain they can't begin to understand.

Like I said, I don't have all the answers. But I can speak from experience. I can be honest and tell you I have cried out to God too many times to count. And always, it's the same. JUST LOVE HIM. LOVE HIM LIKE I DO.

Do not try to "fix" him. Or "correct" him. Or "preach" to him. Just love him! Just as he is. For the exceptional man he is, inside and out.

That I can do! And I can shout it from the rooftops. I LOVE MY SON! I am so stinking proud to be his mom. So proud of the man he is!!

CHURCH ~ I think you have been blowing it. Big time. You are missing out on getting to know some of the sweetest people. What's more, you are inflicting wounds by your attitudes and behavior. Oh, if only you could see the injuries you are causing!

Because, honestly ~ when was the last time you invested yourself in someone who happens to be gay? When did you take time to listen..really listen...and try to understand their journey, and what they must face? Especially inside the walls of a church! When did you make the choice to love a gay person unconditionally and extravagantly ~ no agenda, just love?

As a mom, I have to say it. I am really tired of platitudes and attitudes that alienate my son and the entire gay community. I have had it with people tossing verses like weapons, people whose own struggles are somehow deemed more "acceptable". I am done listening to those who think they've got this one all figured out, and are all too eager to voice their "wisdom".

YOU HAVEN'T A CLUE.

I have a son. Who happens to be gay. Who loves the Lord. Despite the hurtful behavior of much of the church. And this mom? I love my son. Completely. Unconditionally. Extravagantly. Gay or straight. I love the man he's become.


~Friend, if you feel the need to leave a comment that could be perceived as hurtful, please consider doing so via private message. Thank you.