A couple of weeks ago, I had the wonderful opportunity to attend a weekend retreat in Columbus with about twenty moms. Some of the moms I knew very well, others I only knew from their online presence. Most of them were from Ohio, but we did have at least a couple who drove in from Michigan and Pennsylvania. On that Friday evening, we began the weekend by converging at one of the coordinators’ homes for fellowship and the sharing of a meal.
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The love and care that was felt in that home that night was like a healing balm for many of the moms who don’t get much outside support from their extended family or friends, or from their church. What had brought us all together that weekend was the love we have for Jesus, and the love we have for our children. Each of us who were there have at least one child who is a member of the LGBTQ community, and we, as allies, are members as well.
We each submitted videos beforehand introducing our kids and ourselves, describing how we felt when our kids first came out, and how we feel now; what our husband’s and other family members’ reaction was to the news; and what has been the most important insight we’ve learned on our journey with our child. It was an emotional experience to watch the compilation of videos, as they were filled with joys and heartaches, successes and disappointments, but most of all, the videos were filled with love. Tears and hugs were exchanged freely.
The next day we had a heartrending experience at a private gathering with Trey Pearson, the founder of the Christian rock band Everyday Sunday. He shared his painful story of publically coming out, and subsequently being rejected by people who had claimed to love him just the day before. Needless to say, he got lots of Mama Bear hugs that morning! He brought along his guitar and graced us with two of his newer songs, “Hey Jesus” and “The Good Grief.” Trey is truly a Jesus-filled young man who is trying to live his best life, the life God blessed him with.
There was such a sense of community that weekend! Old friends got to catch up with each other, and new friends quickly became good friends. We were connected not only by the common denominator of loving and supporting our own children of God, but by being children of God ourselves. We left there on Sunday with a renewed sense of purpose, ready to deal with whatever struggles our kids might currently be facing, be it discrimination, fear of the loss of rights and legal protections, anxiety and depression caused by rejection, or the schoolyard bully. Our spirits were full of hope and faith that it DOES and WILL get better.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11