I don’t know all there is to know about the LGBTQ community and I don’t know all there is to know about God. What I try hard to do is lead with my heart and keep an open mind and learn as I go. No amount of research can ever compare to communication between people that have something to say. We can bicker back and forth about what our version of right and wrong is but at the end of the day that gets us nowhere. We have to learn to listen to understand and not listen to respond. When Cody came out to me I didn’t listen and why would I? He had been my son for 22 years and even though I thought I listened to him, I never really did. He tried when he was 14 to tell me how he felt different. He tried to tell me he was gay but I wasn’t ready to hear that from him. I dismissed that my son needed me to hear him and instead I pulled out my best of Dr. Phil and told him he had no idea at his age who he was. His hormones were all over the place and he was confused. Even though deep down I knew what he was saying was true. I wanted him to not be gay. I wanted him to forget who he really was and be what was comfortable for me to deal with, not what was best for him. I was wrong. I know that now but back then, I was scared and uneducated on what gay meant and was doing what I thought was best for him. I wish I would have known better. I wish I knew what I didn’t know.
Since Cody came out I have taken the time and effort to learn. I did the research and I listened to my son. I asked him the hard questions and I got to know the Cody that I never really knew. I found my son. Not the person that for all the years he was pretending to be but the person he was meant to be. The way God made him. It took time, conversions, and most of all love to get there. I had to question everything I had been taught my whole life. I had to do the work and not shy away when it got hard. I had to decide that my love for my son was the most important thing to me and that I would find a way to educate myself on who he is and what that means. It has been a journey of acceptance, knowledge and growth. A journey I am very proud to say I am still traveling.
In the weeks that followed the day Cody told me he was gay was brutal. I had to tell the ones close to me. The conservative, religious family that I knew would not understand. I had to talk to all of them about something that I didn’t understand myself. I needed reassurance that they would understand and support us and still love Cody and help me protect him from people that would attack him with hurtful words and maybe even violence. I needed support and when the support didn’t come, my mama claws came out. I went after anyone that said or did anything that was hurting him. The post, the talk, and anything that made him feel less than or unloved. Yes that meant even God. I studied the Bible like I had never studied before. I read all the verses that said homosexuality was a sin. I pulled everything I could from scholars and preachers and I talked to anyone that would listen. I needed proof that his soul was going to be ok. I needed to know that being gay wasn’t a mortal sin and that my son had hope. I needed to find a way to fight for him. I was alone in all of this. I couldn’t sleep or function. I had family and friends dropping off left and right. I was in a place I didn’t recognize any longer and I felt alone for the first time in my life and that is right where I needed to be.
It was nearing the end of the year. The holiday was not going good and I was realizing that all my hurt was taking its toll on me. I was in my house by myself cleaning up after Christmas and I broke. I hit my knees in my living room and begged God to help me. I needed peace. I needed the hurt of loss to go away. I needed answers. With my prayers and in my tears I found the answers that I had been so desperately seeking. On my knees, feeling broken, I heard a voice in my head say… Just love him. What? Say that again. It can’t be that simple. All I have done and researched and all the pain of not knowing what to do, the answer was there all the time? Just love him. Do your job. You have done the work. You have made your mistakes. You are struggling for nothing. The answer, as his mother, is to love him. Something I had never stopped doing. When I picked myself up off that floor, I was a different person. I stopped fighting myself and I realized that God gave the answers I needed long before Cody told his truth. Long before I ever heard those words… “Mom, I’m gay” … I had known what to do. Just love him.
The years have passed since that night on my knees. I still made and still make my share of mistakes and I am still learning. I went to my first pride in 2019. I wore a shirt that said “Free Mom hugs” and held a sign that let the community know I am here for you and I love you. I gave those hugs freely without judgment or question. I was a part of something bigger than my little world and I was humbled by every hug and every smile. I saw how important it is to show love and kindness everywhere I go and in everything I say or do. I realized that people need to be heard and loved. It doesn’t matter how you believe or what your version of right looks like. It doesn’t matter who you love, it matters how you love. God commands us to love each other. He doesn’t care that we are flawed in the eyes of others. We are human and he knew we would make mistakes. He knew that we would struggle. He knew we would need each other to get through those hard times. God knew us before we were born. We are wonderfully made and meant to be loved. He loved me enough to give me my beautiful boys and he trusted me to take care of them. I made God a promise that night on my knees that I would do exactly what he said, I would love Cody. I would do my job as his mother and I would spread that love to anyone that needed it. I will continue to educate, be kind, pray, love and fight for my son’s rights to be heard. To live his truth and to be who he was always meant to be.
Someone needs to hear your story. Someone needs something you have been through. Someone needs to know they are not alone.
Serendipitydodah – Home of the Mama Bears is a private Facebook group for moms of LGBTQ kids. The official motto is “Better Together” and the members call themselves “Mama Bears”
The group is private so only members can see who is in the group and what is posted in the group. It was started in June 2014 and presently has more than 8,000 members. For more info about the Mama Bears visit our website at realmamabears.org