The Mama Bear Story Project is a collection of portraits and autobiographical essays from members of Serendipitydodah for Moms – a private Facebook group for open minded Christian moms of LGBTQ kids.
Kisses for Brianna by Chris Clements
I was the last to check in and the first to give birth that early April morning twenty-three years ago. We lived in a rural community, and every birthing room was full, so my husband and I were ushered into a storage room at the end of the hall. (No lie.) Thankfully, it had an old surgical bed.
I didn’t mind the solitude as I prepared to deliver, and the lack of modern amenities didn’t concern me, either. I knew my baby would come out no matter the room’s aesthetics.
Little did I know it wasn’t the only time she’d come out.
Eighteen years later, she sat at our kitchen counter, looked at us with her big, brown eyes, and declared, “I’m gay.” I say declare because she shared with us her same-sex attraction several times before, but it was always in the realm of “I think I am, or I might be.” It was never definitive, so we passed it off as normal adolescent development, or the desire to have close girlfriends after being bullied for a lot of her school years. (She has Dyslexia, so school was hard.) She longed to be part of the “in” crowd that made good grades.
This time felt different though, and it came at a time when we saw defiant behavior in her we’d never seen before. It was troubling on many levels.
Not only did we have to work through the conservative Christian theology we’d been taught for years (which took months to unravel), but we also found ourselves worried about where this new declaration would lead because of her actions. Our hearts were torn. We loved her but knew the future could be rough if she kept heading in the current direction.
Little did we know an encounter with a church leader set off that behavior.
Months prior, our daughter shared with one of her youth group friends that she thought she was gay, and the leaders found out. They pulled her aside and informed her that unless she changed, God would never love her and she couldn’t attend the group. We weren’t members of that church anymore, so we had no clue this happened until months after she came out to us. We just knew her usually sunny disposition had changed.
When she finally had the guts to tell us what the church leaders said, I immediately responded, “You need to know it’s a lie! God DOES love you, honey, very, very much!” I may not have worked through my theology yet, but I knew that one truth for sure.
But the damage had been done.
She wasn’t open to God anymore.
That set off the desire for me to do due diligence when it came to studying the verses on homosexuality. I could no longer ignore the tension in my heart that couldn’t reconcile the Evangelical view of those scriptures with God’s love. I enrolled in ministry school and learned how to study root words, historical context, the author’s original intent, and how the people who lived at the time would view those verses. I asked God questions with open curiosity rather than trying to get answers to prove my already ingrained theology.
Where He led me was surprising. He’d been (and is) grossly misrepresented. And I was just as guilty.
My plea became, “Father, what can I do to help heal my daughter’s heart?”
“Every time you see her, hug her neck, kiss her cheek, and tell her you love her.” That was God’s response and became my practice. It still is.
Slowly, I watched her heart unfold to the possibility that she wasn’t an abomination.
Every time I kiss her cheek, hug her tight and declare my love for her, she smiles and her eyes crinkle. Almost three years have passed since I started that delightful practice, and she’s gained confidence, strength, and is beginning to thrive in her unique identity.
She even calls herself God’s secret weapon. J
When I look back over these past few years, I realize I’ve witnessed the birthing of a heart – not just hers – but our whole family’s as well.
Love is a mighty, mighty thing.
Be sure and check out Chris’s site Better thought lgbtq where she hopes to help Christian families hope, heal and love through better thoughts and a spiritual focus.
Serendipitydodah for Moms is a private Facebook group for moms of LGBTQ kids. Our official motto is “We Are Better Together” and our nickname is “Mama Bears” The group is set up so that only members can see who is in the group and what is posted there. It was started in June 2014 and presently has more than 2,000 members. For more info email firstname.lastname@example.org