This article was published in 1998 at TRC (The Relevant Christian Magazine). That was before I started writing for TRC, so I read it for the first time yesterday when the publisher shared it on Facebook. Please read this with an open mind and heart, and feel free to reblog and share it. As followers of Jesus Christ we must ask ourselves, Did Jesus come for all humanity or just for those we believe are worth saving? If the church is to be the Church that Christ called it to be, it will need to learn many of the same lessons that God has taught families impacted by homosexuality. In 1998 when I heard the words “Mom, I Am Gay” come out of my son’s mouth they were anything but welcome. I desperately wanted to rewind the tape and put them back. I reasoned that if the words could go back our lives would not have to change forever. I asked God a thousand questions, like: How can this happen? How can you sentence my son to death, if he didn’t choose these attractions? Who in the church can help me sort this all out? Where can I go for help? Who will understand what I am going through? After the barrage of questions without answers flooded my mind, the protective maternal side kicked in accompanied by an assortment of what-ifs. Perhaps someone would try to physically hurt my son (a not so gay friendly society in 1998). Maybe my parents and/or his father would reject him if they found out. Would people begin to see my son through the lens of his attractions instead of who God made him to be? I didn’t want any of the what-ifs to play out, but I feared they would. Deeply embedded in the Christian community, I watched and waited for responses from Christians when the topic of homosexuality came up. The subject took on a different and more personal meaning than it had in the past. What I witnessed were the crude jokes being made about homosexuals and words that dripped with judgement and disdain. I secretly thanked God for helping me stay silent about my son’s homosexuality. I could clearly see that the Church was not a safe community when it came to this issue. The ache of my heart would not be comforted there. After five long years of hiding, God brought my secret out of the dark. I discovered that I could never be free by concealing my pain. God wanted to fully heal me and that can only be done out in the open when exposed to His light. Satan had hoped to keep my pain hidden and unhealed. Read the rest here.
I grew up in a household full of sisters—5 of us altogether—and although we’ve had our share of rough times and in spite of living so far apart, we are probably closer than ever. I can’t begin to tell you how thankful I am for my precious family!
I love this photo of all of us taken way back in 1995 (I think).
Mom has been home with the Lord since 2007 and we all miss her so much. Dad is living in an independent retirement community these days. He participates in many of the activities where he lives, and keeps busy doing a lot of walking with the help of his rolling walker. In fact, I have it on good authority that he is a speed demon with that walker!
The family. We were a strange little band of characters trudging through life sharing diseases and toothpaste, coveting one another’s desserts, hiding shampoo, borrowing money, locking each other out of our rooms, inflicting pain and kissing to heal it in the same instant, loving, laughing, defending, and trying to figure out the common thread that bound us all together. —Erma Bombeck
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On May 8th I posted about the treasures in my life and decided to expand on each of those treasures for the next few Treasure Tuesdays. This week I want to share the fourth of the treasures on my list:
My Mother and Father
Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the LORD your God is giving you. –Exodus 20:12
I remember my mother’s prayers and they have always followed me. They have clung to me all my life. —Abraham Lincoln
A mother is a person who seeing there are only four pieces of pie for five people, promptly announces she never did care for pie. —Tenneva Jordan
When you are a mother, you are never really alone in your thoughts. A mother always has to think twice, once for herself and once for her child. —Sophia Loren
I no longer have my Mom because the Lord took her home five years ago, but I always love sharing this favorite photo of her. This version is “enhanced” with my image so you can see the resemblance:
Don’t you just love Mom’s fabulous smile? Here are some other photos of her:
I miss my Mom but she is in a much better place, probably dancing and laughing joyfully with Jesus.
♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥
Fatherhood is pretending the present you love most is soap-on-a-rope. —Bill Cosby
There are three stages of a man’s life: he believes in Santa Clause, he doesn’t believe in Santa Clause, he is Santa Clause. —Unknown
To a father growing old nothing is dearer than a daughter. —Euripides
Dad worked hard to provide for our family and I’ll always be grateful for that. We didn’t have many luxuries but we had the necessities and a few things more. I don’t ever remember feeling deprived, but that’s probably because there was so much love to go around.
Dad lives in Florida and is flying here to visit Rick and me next month. Because of health problems on my end, I haven’t seen him since Son Alan’s wedding in 2010, so we’re really looking forward to his visit.
Here are more photos of Dad:
As I said before, Dad worked hard to provide for our family but now he gets to relax and spend time with each of us. As you can see from the photos, he loves having fun so I’m wondering what fun things we’ll do on his next visit here.
♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥
Parents have a huge role in shaping our lives. We alternately look to them for guidance while seeking to assert our independence. We want their approval and blessing at the same time we think we know better or more than they ever could. I am ever thankful for the treasures of my Mom and Dad. They taught me the value of a solid work ethic, patterned the “waste not want not” attitude that still guides me today, and showed me what family togetherness is all about.
Hear, my son, your father’s instruction, and forsake not your mother’s teaching, for they are a graceful garland for your head and pendants for your neck. —Proverbs 1:8-9
Listen to your father who gave you life, and do not despise your mother when she is old. —Proverbs 23:22
Let your father and mother be glad; let her who bore you rejoice. —Proverbs 23:25
On May 8th I posted about the treasures in my life and decided to expand on each of those treasures for the next few Treasure Tuesdays. This week I want to share the third of the treasures on my list:
My precious children: Kathy, Alan and Denise (my daughter-in-love)
I don’t normally write very much about my children so as to respect their privacy but I’m making an exception today because each of them is a true treasure to me.
Whoever welcomes one of these little children in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me does not welcome me but the one who sent me. –Mark 9:37
A daughter is a miracle that never ceases to be miraculous…full of beauty and forever beautiful…loving and caring and truly amazing. –Deanna Beisser
Kathy is my first-born and what a treasure she is in my life! I became aware of her existence while I was still engaged to be married to my first husband (Rick is my second husband). Like many women who find out they’re pregnant before marriage, my first thought was to have an abortion. Yes, as difficult as it is for me to share this with you, I gave very serious consideration to having an abortion. I even made the appointment but God had other ideas. After making the actual appointment, which was a couple of weeks away, I became so despondent that I slept almost every minute I was not working, and boy, did I have nightmares about babies dying!
Since I’ve shared a tiny bit about Kathy here before, obviously I did not go through with the abortion. And the blessings I have received since deciding against the abortion have been HUGE! Kathy is precious to me in ways I can’t even express. I am so thankful and blessed that she is not “only” my daughter but one of my closest friends. In fact, she knows me better than anyone else, even my Rick. After all, she and I grew up together and we’re both pink girls!
So, my Kathy, I know I’ve told you before how much you mean to me, and how thankful I am that you came into my life, but I don’t think I tell you often enough how precious our relationship is to me. Because, as you well know, my eyes would leak too much … as they are right now! Thank you for being such a wonderful and caring daughter to me. I am so proud of the woman you have grown to be, one who loves the Lord and seeks to always do His will. I ♥ you soooooooo much!
Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it. –Proverbs 22:6
It is truly a gift to have a son like you who grows more precious with the years! –Author Unknown
Another treasure is Alan, my second-born. As I’ve shared before, I am one of 5 daughters (no sons), and Alan was the first boy born into our family in over 20 years. To say I was a bit unprepared to raise a boy is a huge understatement. Oh, in my babysitting years I had of course watched boys as well as girls. But raising up a boy of my own?
As a child, Alan loved anything to do with trucks and construction equipment. He went through a phase when he was around 3 years old when he wanted to be a fireman. He had a child-size fire helmet (red) and a plastic riding fire truck and loved both of them. Fast forward to about 15 years ago [please forgive me, Alan, if my math is slightly off] when he became a true firefighter. And these days, as a captain, he’s wearing a red fire helmet again!
Alan’s faith walk is a story that bears sharing because it shows how God honors the prayers of a faithful heart.
Alan asked Jesus into his heart as a youngster, but as a teen and some years beyond, he became very disillusioned with organized religion and did not want to hear or talk about spiritual matters. That terribly hurt this mother’s heart but didn’t stop me from praying constantly for him to come back to the Lord. For many years I prayed for the Lord to bring a godly friend into his life, and not only that, but for a godly wife for him too. How was I to know that the Lord would honor each of my prayers by bringing Alan both things in one person?
When Alan told me he was going to propose to Denise, he said, “She’s the one God used to bring me back to the light.” Oh, how happy and thankful I was to hear that!
But wait… there’s more.
Alan thought he knew the Lord intimately then (that was about 3 years ago), but last year while he and his crew were helping to fight one of Arizona’s inevitable summer wild fires, God showed Himself to Alan in such an incredibly personal way that Alan was immeasurably changed. He not only became baptized—and I got to witness that special event!—but he is now involved with a mission team that serves in Albania to teach medical and life-saving procedures and protocol to medical personnel there. In fact, he has been on two missions so far and will be leaving on another one this September.
Can you say gratified … joyful … thankful … and a bunch of other praise adjectives I can’t even think of right now?
Alan, I always have and always will appreciate your love for me and how much you care for and want to protect me. I am so proud of the man you have grown into, and will never cease to thank God for you in my life. And I’m guessing He still has some mighty big plans for you, Son! I love you more than you can imagine!
An excellent wife who can find? She is far more precious than jewels. The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will have no lack of gain.She does him good, and not harm, all the days of her life. –Proverbs 31:10-12
Daughters are angels sent from above to fill our heart with unending love. –J. Lee
Denise is my next treasure. I know it’s a cliche, but I call Denise my daughter-in-love because she is! And besides, daughter-in-law sounds so technical… and legal [which it is, but that’s not the point here].
Denise was first Alan’s friend and that friendship blossomed into something more. I have often said that a solid marriage needs to have the base of friendship and Denise and Alan’s marriage has that.
To say that Denise is a gift from God to Alan is to state the obvious. That she is a gift to our family is undeniable. She and Alan complement each other very well, and support each other spiritually and personally.
When Rick and I were doing our premarital counseling, the example of an orange was used as a way to describe marriage. If you tear (not cut) an orange into two halves, each half has ragged edges and you can only fit the orange back together in one way. In the same manner, husbands and wives have strengths and weaknesses that complement one another so that they “fit well” together. Where one may be lacking something, the other can fill in.
This is how I see Alan and Denise’s marriage. Denise just completes Alan and vice versa.
I love Denise immensely because of who she is, because of her strong faith, because God chose her to bring Alan back to Him, because Alan loves her so. And last but not least: because she loves Alan—my son—so much.
So it’s no wonder I consider Denise as one of my children even though I did not give birth to her. She is the daughter of my heart if not my body. Denise, I thank God for you every day and love you so much!
I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth. –3 John 1:4
So there you have it: the treasure of my children. They are truly astounding and precious gifts from God to me!
On this Treasure Tuesday, I’d like to share the treasures in my life. This is a slightly long post but I felt the need to acknowledge all the treasures in my life, so here they are!
My Lord and Savior: Jesus Christ
I, even I, am the LORD,
and apart from me there is no savior.
My sweet husband: Rick
For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh. This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.
My precious children: Kathy, Alan, and my daughter-in-love Denise
Start children off on the way they should go,
and even when they are old they will not turn from it.
Whoever welcomes one of these little children in my name welcomes me;
and whoever welcomes me does not welcome me but the one who sent me.
I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.
–3 John 1:4
My loving parents: Dad and Mom
Dad and Mom sitting around the dinner table
Honor your father and your mother,
so that you may live long in the land the LORD your God is giving you.
My four wacky and wonderful sisters
In the cookies of life, sisters are the chocolate chips.
To the outside world we all grow old. But not to brothers and sisters. We know each other as we always were. We know each other’s hearts. We share private family jokes. We remember family feuds and secrets, family griefs and joys. We live outside the touch of time.
All my close and special friends
[Too many to display photos or mention by name but you know who you are!]
A true friend is someone who thinks that you are a good egg
even though he knows that you are slightly cracked.
A friend knows the song in my heart and sings it to me when my memory fails.
Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another,
‘What! You too? I thought I was the only one.’
–C. S. Lewis
A caring and supportive biker church family
Then the church throughout Judea, Galilee and Samaria
enjoyed a time of peace and was strengthened.
Living in the fear of the Lord and encouraged by the Holy Spirit,
it increased in numbers.”
A snug and cozy home in a beautiful part of the country
My people will live in peaceful dwelling places, in secure homes,
in undisturbed places of rest.
For you will go out with joy, and be led forth with peace;
the mountains and the hills will break forth into shouts of joy before you,
and all the trees of the field will clap their hands.
Enough food, clothing and everything else I need to be comfortable
He enjoys much who is thankful for little;
a grateful mind is both a great and happy mind.
My precious Bible
[with tons of hand-written margin notes, highlighted passages and sticky notes marking certain pages]
Blessed are those who keep his testimonies,
who seek him with their whole heart.
But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
To him be glory both now and forever! Amen.
–2 Peter 3:18
I hope you enjoyed this special glimpse into the treasures of my life. I certainly had fun putting it together to share with you!