When Your Daughter Tells You She’s Gay

A few months ago I asked readers of this blog to share their greatest struggle. One thing popped up again and again: moms and dads grieving over a child’s choice to live an “alternative” lifestyle. More and more Christian parents are asking, “How do I love my child well while also holding to the truth presented in God’s word?”

It’s a tough… but not impossible… question, a  question my friend Emily knows well. Her daughter is walking a path Emily wouldn’t have chosen.  I invited Emily to share her story, perspective, and hope as a mom. My prayer is that it encourages someone today to keep believing. Keep praying. And keep loving. Here’s Emily…

We’re all on a highway, really.

And when you’re there with other families, there are soccer balls bouncing, thin mints, and Vacation Bible School. We deal with ear infections, 6th grade camp and Jr. High dances. We make friends and do life on this highway.

No matter how challenging the highway seems, we take solace in that in the distance we see weddings. We imagine our husband in a tux escorting our daughters down an isle. We see our son’s lovingly look at his bride walking towards him. We see grandchildren coming over for special treats.

But sometimes (and with no warning), obtrusive orange detour signs give us no choice but to leave the highway via an off ramp.

That’s what happened to me. The off ramp led us to a place we’d never seen before. The people were odd looking. Churches and Christian book stores were replaced by businesses with perverse signs. It is dry and desolate on this off ramp. We’re learning new vocabulary words that aren’t in the dictionary, let alone words we can say at church.

It’s a whole new world.

And try as we might…we have no idea how to get back on that highway.

On that highway we looked like a typical family. A father (Bill). A mother (me… Emily). A girl (Leanne) and a boy (Tim). Bill was a well loved teacher and coach, and ultimately an administrator. I was a decorator. We went to church where both children chose to be baptized, confirming they had given their lives to Jesus. They both went to good universities.

Until the fall of 2005, when I got an email.

The email came from my child, saying they had lots of girlfriends. I read it a few times wondering why Tim was writing me via his sister’s email address. I kept blinking at the screen until I realized what it meant.

Leanne was “coming out.”

We’d had our suspicions. I think I purposefully stayed in denial. I figured if we knew, it would be an elephant in the room we couldn’t ignore. Holidays would be ever so challenging. We would possibly have to deal with “weddings.” Them sleeping over. Explaining it to family.

But today, that elephant was roaring up his trunk and spewing water all over the off ramp. Making  it impossible to crawl our way back up to the highway.

After I erased the chalk lines around my body I went upstairs to talk with Tim. After all, he always knew what to say…until that day.  I blurted out, “Do you know?”

He said, “For three years.”

That day we made an appointment with our counselor and he helped us start to deal with this life- altering news.

I found a ministry nearby helping homosexuals and their families.  I signed up for the ministry’s newsletter and went to a support group meeting.

We woke up hoping it was a nightmare. And yet it wasn’t. We said things that made it worse. (Was I the only one that searched for just the right scripture to throw at them so they’d be convicted?)

One Mom

It’s a feeling of loss that you can’t tell others about.  Because  the world is quick to share with you how modern and wonderfully accepting they are, and you should just accept it and get over it.

Not soon after, Tim announced he was moving up to San Francisco where Leanne lived. { That was good, our son Tim would fix everything}. So, I trusted God and assumed I just had to wait.

We spent six years traveling to SF.  Though there were some tough times, things were getting better.

Mother’s Day 2010 was spent with the kids and we had a grand time. Monday morning we all met for breakfast before we started home. After goodbye hugs, Tim walked towards his car and I felt the Lord impress on me that I should take a really long look at my son.

It would be the last time I saw him.

That  September 7, 2010 our son died of an enlarged heart. Which broke all of ours. Leanne lost her best friend and we lost our precious son.

Hiccups. Pain. Detours. When you’re on a detour you don’t have a choice but to ride a few bumps through the scary part of town.

And therein lies the point.

These side streets are not easy. So let me say the best thing one can do when they have news like this is take some time to heal. No journey is ever taken without a working vehicle. Gas in the tank. And obviously the ability to follow the signs.

We sooooo need God in this. You cannot do it alone.

Recently I spoke with my mentor, Carol, where she said the best thing anyone can do while ministering to others is to point them towards God. Every case has a different story and only God knows what you will need for healing.

Because maybe… just maybe God has us there so we can show the way to Jesus while we’re in this foreign land… to those that are hurting and need Him. But first we need to grieve.

So find a support group. Many churches have groups for parents like us. You will have to navigate your way through to see where you can find help.

You can also visit my little blog. I’m putting together some resources for you to look at for road assistance. I’d be happy to talk with anyone facing this. I have been at many stop signs and many green lights.

You can see there is so much more to my story!  I’d be honored to walk with you to see what God is doing with all of this. I think it’ll be awesome! Because I know God is in this…and I hear He’s pretty trustworthy.

Blessings,
Emily L. Pittsford

Visit Emily’s blog for further resources here.

Author of “A Most Incredible Witness”

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8 Comments

  1. I have had similar struggles with members of my family and friends . My daughter and sister have both chosen to have same sex partners and another daughter has chosen not to marry her partner. I have tried. To live and teach them Gods word , all of them made professions of faith and attended church with us , their father and I taught Sunday school all of their lives until their dad died 3 years ago after over 40 yrs of marriage. They all know what the Bible says about it but tell me it doesn’t mean what it says because God made them this way. My struggles finally told me loud and clear we are all sinners so I can’t judge. But I can love them and hate their sin I can live an example and I can pray for them God will do the rest if they will listen.it is still heart breaking: Thank you so much for your ministryJ. Joyce

  2. Thank you for sharing your story and being open about the struggle. I love how you can admit it’s hard and you had to grieve, yet you’re committed to walking this journey with your daughter and loving her no matter what. So sorry for your loss. Praying for you and all those who your story will help. So hard when life doesn’t go as we planned and our kids don’t become who we dreamed they’d be – yet love wins over all.

    1. Thank you Kathryn,
      I was an honor to be asked to share. And yes, loosing our son has been challenging. So thank you.
      But I know God interrupted our highway to get us to a place to love on our daughter and her thousands of friends as she does seminars for lesbians.
      And so I trust God will bring her back to help them as well. It’s what keeps me getting from staying in bed with heavy covers over my head.. As God promises to repay us for the years of locusts.
      Thank you for the prayers! These woman and men are worth it!
      Much love!
      Emily

  3. It appears you believe your daughter has made a decision to be gay. So my question to you is when did you choose to be straight? The answer of course is you never did choose to be straight. We never weigh the options…it just happens. So don’t you tealize it is the same for gay people? God made her in His image and He loves her exactly how she is. She needs your love and acceptance.

    1. Thank you very much for taking the time to read our story.

      If I may suggest taking the time to read more so you can have an informed opinion of my walk with this.

      As I’ve learned love does not mean agreement .

      Much love,
      Emily

  4. I need advice on how to deal with my daughter who has chosen a lesbian partner after being married for five years and having two little boys. My concern is the affects this will have on my grandsons. I’m so mad at my daughter and she’s mad at me. I’m not sure we will ever have a good relationship again. She is so easily influenced.by this world and claims that the way I interpret scripture is wrong. She is a Christian and was raised in church. I can’t help feeling that I did something wrong. I know society had a greater influence on her than I did. I’m so worried about my grandchildren. Thank you for your ministry

    Connie

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