This letter was written by Julie Evans. It is the first letter of the Spill It Mom Letter Collection. Are you interested in writing a letter for this collection? See here for all the details.
Dear Mum Who Has Just Heard the Words "I'm Gay"
I wrote this letter from my present day self to myself four years earlier on the day that my daughter (then 21) told me she was gay.
Dear Mum who has just heard the words: “Mum, I’m gay”,
I see you are in shock, numbly going about your business like a machine whilst the implications of these words sink in. Your deepest fears have been spoken and you can no longer convince yourself it isn’t true.
You feel overwhelmed and sick with shame. What will people think of you? How can you ever look someone in the eye again? What does it even mean - is being gay a real thing, or just a choice? What does God think about it? What about bible verses that condemn it?
I know it feels paralyzing but you will get through this.
However for today, it is all consuming. Amid the feelings of shame other emotions start to surface:
You feel sad, partly for your child, but mainly for yourself - the dreams you had of your kids marrying Christian spouses and bringing your grandkids up in the same church, now lay shattered on the floor around you.
You feel guilt - for opinions you have shared from your sheltered, conservative experiences; for not being there earlier whilst your child suffered and for burying your head in the sand. This revelation has cut you to the core and left you with many questions. You feel desperately alone, but the thought of sharing your news with someone is even more terrifying.
I have a message for you, because I lived through it and made it to the other side. You will not only get through this, you will blossom as a result of it. Today your heart has been broken. Up to now you have done a pretty good job of keeping your emotions to yourself, but this wound is too big to conceal. Your ‘look good’ masks can’t hide it.
The walls you built around your heart to protect it will need to be broken down. Your heart will have to be exposed before it can be mended. This will be painful initially but what you didn’t realize when you built the walls to avoid failing, or being rejected or ridiculed, is that they also stifled your dreams and starved you of joy and intimacy.
Once your heart is mended you will be free to be your true self and you will never want to go back. You will have a much greater capacity for courage, hope, compassion, love, acceptance, empathy, gratitude and joy. You can’t see the bigger picture because you are in the middle of it. But you made it through that day, and many more, so that now, four years on it is a completely different picture.
Let me tell you what I see:
I see a mum who loves her child unconditionally and will walk this journey along side her, maintaining a close relationship.
I see a person who will do research and talk to her child about the aspects of her life to which she was blind. Someone who is open minded and willing to change her views.
I see a woman who trusts God and will draw closer to Him; who will know His strength, peace, comfort and love in greater measure.
I see the daughter whom you have raised, full of grace and love as you process this.
I see you gradually opening up to people, letting them see your pain and shame and that liberating you from the fears you’ve held up to now of letting people get close.
I see family and friends coming along side you, supporting you and casting no judgement, leading to deeper relationships.
I see a passion rising up in you to advocate for gay kids growing up in the church. To break the silence and try and change the environment so they know love, acceptance and support.
I see you connecting with other Christian mums of gay kids and supporting each other as you walk similar journeys.
And most importantly I see you free from shame and embarrassment, completely accepting your amazing child as she is, acknowledging that being gay is part of her, just like having red hair. The practices that will help you most during this transition are journaling your raw, unabated thoughts and feelings; walking and talking honestly with God in the forrest, and sharing your struggles with close friends.
I will leave you with this, broken Mum, Within a few years you will be celebrating with absolute joy, the marriage of your daughter to her lovely fiancee. You will have a closer relationship with God as you know His journeying with you and you will be a freer, stronger, more confident, less judgemental person; feeling much more fully alive than you ever thought possible.
I know this is hard to believe right now but hold on, take each day as it comes and trust in the Lord whom you love.