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Home > 2014 > May Online Only > When My Daughter Said, 'I'm Gay'

It was Saturday night on Valentine's Day weekend, and my wife and I were watching the late news. Our daughter Tess walked into the room, handed us a note, and walked away.

The note said, "I am gay. I am happy this way. And if you really love me, you won't try to change me, and you will not try to talk with me about this."

Tess was 16, a junior in high school. The dreams we had for her life changed dramatically that night. Our lives did too.

She never chose to be a pastor's kid, but she was one. And she had experienced some significant struggles. Now, with one bold stroke, she let us know that whatever choices we had made in life so far, she was making her own choices from here on out.

That night was harder for me than the nights when either of my parents died. Something truly died within me that night. And yet something new was born.

After reading the note, tears flowed. Cheryl and I looked at each other and knew we had to respond. No matter what the note said, we had to reach out to our daughter. We had to communicate what was most important. Each of us went separately to Tess's room to say what needed to be said.

"Tess, we're not going to try to talk you out of this, but we'd like to talk." She let each of us us in the room. We both hugged her and said, "We are so proud of you for telling us. We know this was a hard thing for you to do. You are our daughter and we have always loved you and we always will."

We told her that we would respect her wishes and not try to talk her out of this. Those were the right words to say. Did we really understand what was happening to our family right at that moment? I don't fully know.

I cried more that night than at any other time of my life. I feared for Tess's future. She'd had serious struggles over the last few years and had talked about suicide. Would this path only be more dangerous for her? She'd told us many times she wasn't sure she wanted God in her life, and I suspected that her announcement was her way of telling us that she was walking away from God, though I hoped it wasn't.

That night I shook with a trembling that I could not control. It felt like someone had kicked me in the gut. My wife and I prayed because it was all we could do. We prayed because there was no where else to go. We didn't know how this was going to turn out, but we both knew that our world had suddenly changed.

Day one of our new reality

When morning came, I got up and headed to the church. Work had always been my solace, but not this day. Despite the complete absence of sleep, it was Sunday and I still had to stand in front of our church, open God's word, and speak to 500 people who wanted to hear what God had to say through me.

Somehow I got through two services. But instead of being energized by worship, I was emotionally and physically exhausted.

After the service, I responded to some paperwork on my desk, and I was the last one out of the building. A good escape, I thought.

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Related Topics:ChildrenCultureHomosexualityParentingYouth
Posted: May 5, 2014

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Displaying 1–5 of 18 comments

Daniel Bryan

June 07, 2014  12:57pm

Thank you for sharing what has been a painful time of learning in your life. I really appreciate what you said about not bringing in speakers on the subject of homosexuality. I, as a pastor, have wrestled with how to make my church a place where love is known as well as truth. I really need to temper how and in what way I speak on this topic so that our church is a place where people are loved.

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Andrew O'Sheaa

May 22, 2014  3:28am

This is a great article. I would urge all parents to read Ezekiel 18 in reference to the sinful nature, behold, grace and mercy abounds. In Jesus day, He often sat with sinners, the behaviors are rarely mentioned, yet, salvation was offered to all. These are beautiful words, "those of you who are well have no need of a physician, those who are sick do" (depending on your translation). There is a wonderful book by Ed Murphy on spiritual warfare where he makes clear the difference between oppression and possession. I learnt a lot through reading his book. This is not about 'judging'. As a man who has suffered many things, often misunderstood by 'churchies', I struggled daily. I thank God that He opened my eyes, healed my heart, set me free and raised me up to what I am today. I love ministry, counselling and helping people to become the best they can be. In discussions with homosexuals, my advice has been, if you abstain from the sexual act, the fight will be worth it. Freedom will come

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Van PastorMan

May 13, 2014  3:30pm

This article reminds me that we can love anybody. Our kids let us down. We let them down. But we are just trying to get through this thing called life. For those of us who believe in the Lord Jesus it becomes stickier. We might wonder where is God in all this? The truth is sin is gut wrenching,blinding, and we have to remember Jesus destroyed sin's power on the Cross. Things will not always be this way. When we get to the Eternal State all will be well and we will be loved because of the grace of God. If a child sins in a grievous way it is our opportunity to allow the Love of Heaven to come down to this Earth. We don't shilly shally with truth. Homosexuality is a sin. Lying is a sin. Rejecting God is a sin. But we can still love those little ones and continue to offer them hope through the Gospel.

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Jeff Fairchild

May 13, 2014  2:03pm

I find this story to be very compelling but would like to add that this Pastor and his wife's reaction should also be the same for other sinful paths our adult children may take. Our work as Christian parents is alwasy to love and always to pray. Preaching and nagging will drive our children away when they need us the most. Homosexuality is not the worse sin. It is just one of many that any of us can be deceived into. Love will cover a multitude of sins if we will let it.

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Susanna Franco

May 10, 2014  10:54pm

Such a heartbreaking ordeal! May the Lord use it for His Glory, to help the body of Christ in the US learn to deal with this sin... I hope you consider KERRY SLATTERY's suggestions. Both are biblical and powerful. The American Christian church seems so weak in front of Satan's attacks. You are pastors, study the Word and use your God-given power to cast out demons! Fight for your beloved daughter! Praying should not be the only thing we can do, but the very foundation of everything we do. You may be blessed by reading -and if possible, contacting- Rosaria Champagne Butterfield's MY TRAIN WRECK CONVERSION. Check her blog at http://rosariabutterfield.com/ Praying for you and your daughter!

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