As I look out at all the faces of the parents here today, I don’t have to ask you how you are. I remember all too well the place that you find yourselves in today for I was there a few years ago myself. I remember all the fears, the questions, the uncertainty and the sleepless nights. I remember the pacing back and forth analyzing myself and every second of my daughter’s life and asking the Lord to make this new knowledge of my child make some sense to me. I know the tears that seem to never have an ending to them. I know that our circumstances may all be different and we may even come from different backgrounds of life. But there is a common pain that we share and that is finding out someone we love has told us they are now struggling with same sex attraction and our need for Jesus is no less. His longing to come into this pain is still the same today for all of you, that it was for me when I first found out about my daughter. His ability to do for you is the same as He did for me for his word teaches us that he is no respecter of persons. He is waiting for the invitation.
I found out about my daughter’s lesbianism while she was in the hospital from an attempted suicide as a result of this struggle. My daughter begged God to take it from her, but like so many in this struggle she perceived that God did not want to fix her because he did not do it the very same instant that she asked. She wanted it to be gone instantly, as I did and so many parents do too when first finding out. When that doesn’t happen, we sometimes think God has abandoned us no matter how great or strong our faith is. These are lies the devil tries to create in us to doubt our loving Abba. He has not abandoned us or our child. I learned that He’s working behind the scenes to get us to a place where he can begin to help us grieve this huge loss. He’s working behind the scenes to get us to a place where we will surrender our illusion of control to the one who has been in control the whole time, our loving heavenly Father.
When my daughter announced she was a lesbian, I was plunged into a new life of fear. One of the fears I found myself constantly thinking of is, What if this is not a phase? She was 15 when I found out that she struggled with SSA and she will be celebrating her 21 birthday this Tuesday. My daughter started out as a vibrant, out going, multi talented, multi gifted, child that was very into Jesus and her youth group. But then she prayed for weeks for God to take this struggle away from her, and when He didn’t answer right away she got to a place where she was wanting to end her life. See God does bend down and hear his children’s cries, but the Lord is not into quick fixes. There are no quick fixes to SSA. SSA is an outward manifestation of an inward struggle.
My daughter didn’t know how or where these same-sex desires came from. She knew it was wrong to act on them, but the needs inside her continued to grow and cause much pain. This is a place where the Lord showed me that she had more wounds than I could fix. For a time, I bought into the lies that maybe God did abandon me and really didn’t even care one way or another. These are MY wounds that he was going to lay to rest when I invited him into my pain. I didn’t realize then that he was not only concerned with my child, but he was also concerned with me. I had some “junk in my trunk” that needed to be identified and gotten rid of concerning my ideas I had of my loving father. That’s one of the biggest things God has done in me through this trial: He has been working on correcting my wrong beliefs about Him, and teaching me who He really is, and that He can be trusted.
My daughter went into this adolescent psych unit that was supposedly equipped to help with teenage suicide, to help her to want to live. She went in with the knowledge that Homosexuality was in itself a sin, but she came out with new “knowledge” that it was okay to embrace this, that she was born this way and the only way she would know true happiness was to try not to suppress her sexual tendencies and just go with them. This place undid everything that her family and I had instilled in her of what the word tells us about Homosexuality. This began the stage where we are now, with my child living an open lesbian lifestyle. She came out with this new “freedom,” and that’s when she told me she was a lesbian. This confession plunged me into the darkest pit I had ever been in. I never would have believed, as I lived in that deep pit of despair, that I could possibly stand here before you today and declare there is a place of healing in Christ that could take me from a pit of despair to a posture of thanksgiving and praise. We serve an awesome wonderful Lord!
So many times in finding out about our children’s struggle with SSA, we naturally start to analyze ourselves to death, and this is a good place to begin, in case there is any evidence of this, such as it was in my life. I came from a very broken past and there were many factors that did indeed contribute directly to influence my daughter. I did create a weakness in my daughter that Satan exploited. God’s perfect plan for any type of weakness is to invite him into it, so that we depend on him to be strong where we are weak. But I also see so many times the unnecessary pain parents go thru in our on line forums as to they fill their pails with false guilt that parents sometimes take on when first finding out. See what happens when we fill our pails up with false guilt is that there is no room for genuine guilt that may be there, such as my case. I had so much false guilt, I actually thought I had caused my daughter to choose homosexuality. I now see I had no more control over her choices than the man in the moon does.
I later learned thru many trials and adversity just how little control I did have, and thru that adversity, with each trial it only reinforced my own weakness and need for Jesus. I couldn’t go back and change what had happened. I think my regret contributed to my greatest weaknesses and deepest hurts, for she learned that she could install new false guilt buttons to push whenever she wanted to help her justify her lifestyle choices and a way to hurt me like I had hurt her, trying to relieve the pain that is inside of her in an unhealthy way. For a long time, every time she pushed B-17 on my jukebox of false guilt the same song would play, and she got the reaction she was expecting
When she hurt me and made me angry thru her accusations and name calling, I would react. She could keep doing what she wanted to and indulge in her lifestyle choice, with very little guilt, because she could say that all Christians and God were like me. For so many years I gave away all my power to her in an effort to try to make up for a past life that I could not rewrite the script for. There is forgiveness, and tons of grace, but there is also the law of sowing and reaping. Jesus forgives but the consequences remain. If nothing else I say today, I hope this message is the one you will remember of all I have said. When we analyze our lives and we learn to separate the real guilt from the false guilt this is the place where we can we own our true guilt and know that when we have taken it to the Lord and repented, that he has forgiven us. All that remains at this point is the false guilt. The hardest thing for us to do is sometimes forgive ourselves. The grace the Lord supplies me with during this time is phenomenal.
He has given me wisdom thru tools in how to deal with this, and the way he has helped me to gain victory is thru learning how to have good boundaries and not being an enabler. See, I was very unhappy being an enabler, it was a way to win her approval and try to make up for my mistakes. Having boundaries allows us to see where we end and our child begins. It teaches our child how to begin to have good boundaries for themselves that will later equip them to be able to make moves to come out of this lifestyle as the Lord leads them. Even though our children are grown, we can still influence them by the example we live before them.
I think the hardest thing for me as a parent was to grieve the loss of the shattered dreams and expectations I had for my daughter. In her book Where Does a Mother Go to Resign?, Barbara Johnson tells us that there are 5 stages to grief. She says:
1. you churn with this horrible new knowledge about your child, you feel as though your heart, your life and child will never be the same again, it is excruciating pain.
2. you burn. You are SO ANGRY! You feel like there is no relief to be found, no matter where you turn. This is where displaced anger can come in and the temptation to blame others for your pain and your child’s choices
3. you yearn Oh how you want things to change, you just ache inside for things to be as they were before you knew about this, you yearn for the happy days and before you ever knew. This stage often lasts the longest of all
4. you learn you seek out others and you begin to learn of the root causes of SSA and find a real good support group of people that understand your pain and your child’s condition.
5. you turn The final step is you learn to turn your problem over to the Lord completely by saying: “Whatever Lord, whatever you bring into my life, you are big enough to take me thru it. I turn my will and my child over to you, for I am placing my trust in you.”
I learned that next comes the difficult part. Just because you have gone thru these stages does not mean you will not go back to any of them at any given time or day. But each time you there it will be shorter and shorter duration of how long you stay there. If you find yourself back at square one, that is normal and very typical stage of grief. In the learning stage is where I found Living Hope Ministries online forum. I have found a wealth of knowledge, support and a community of love.
One day as I was praying for my daughter, the Lord asked me some very thought provoking questions. The Holy Spirit every so gently asked me, “What if she never marries? What if this is a lifetime issue that she has to learn to lean on me for the rest of her life?”
See I naturally thought healing meant going from homosexuality to instant heterosexuality. I can now thank God for my daughter’s struggle, and I can testify to you that out of the worst pain of finding out about my daughter it has been the fodder that the Lord has used to heal some of the most hurtful things of my past and brought the most wonderful healings in myself and my knowledge of him, who He is and Who I am in Him. See joy is not ours from absence of trials, our trials only bring out what is already inside of us. We can have joy in the midst of sorrow, I know cause I am into this 6 years with having found out my daughters struggle of SSA. Sometimes I see her make three steps forward and sometimes two back, but I praise the Lord for the one step that remains, that leads her toward the inward healing that is needed for her to lay this lifestyle choice at the feet of Jesus.
What does that one step forward look like? The step forward we are seeing now is of Lacey beginning to embrace her lost femininity. Lacey went from taping her breast down with duct tape as away to deny their existence. She now wears ladies’ undergarments, and is taking better care of herself. She is into smelling good, but she still refuses to wear feminine scents, she buys men cologne and deodorant. There was a time she would not shave her legs and underarms, but now she does. She used to wear baggy pants and loose clothing to cover up her curves, now she is dressing with better style and clothes that compliment her very petite, dainty figure. She is into painting her fingernails, even if she paints them black and silver. She is wearing a little bit of makeup and has almost stopped wearing a base ball cap everywhere she goes……….and has let her hair grow into a short hair cut that is very feminine and girl-like for this day and time Vs a faux hawk that she once wore. She is dating some young men now, but still trying to establish a long distance relationship with a lesbian girl in Canada. One she says she wants to marry one day!
As I close, let me tell you quickly the big things I’ve learned.
• I have no control over my daughter. I only have control over ME.
• God is using this major trial to do some amazing, marvelous healing in me as He shows me my own junk. That’s where I need to concentrate my energies, on my own stuff. This work of God in MY life is a source of unimaginable blessing to me.
• I’ve learned a lot about the nature of same sex attraction, but Lacey is only open to hearing what I’ve learned when she’s between relationships. When she’s in a relationship she’s closed to my input.
Today Lord Jesus before this group of people I praise you and I thank you for the little kisses that you give me of the evidence that you are creating beauty and healing in my daughter’s life—the image that you had of her when you created her, before a sin-infested, broken world placed its fingerprints on her life. I love you so much.