I was raised a Baptist and consider myself very spiritual and close to God. I always knew I was “different” but didn’t fully understand that difference until I got older. I am now 26 and came out to my mother about 10 days ago.
She cried, but overall her reaction was perfect. She said things like, “You and the person you love will never be excluded from our family,” “The road chose you,” “Your father and I love you no matter what” and so on. I felt good about things — until about a week later, when my mom told me that she had been praying about my “lifestyle” and that she just couldn’t come to terms with it, because it’s against her convictions.
She said that I would be welcome at family events, but that my girlfriend (soon to be wife) would not be. She said that allowing us to come to family affairs together would show that she is OK with our homosexual relationship. (She’s also very concerned what my grandparents “and others” will think.)
I was in shock. I still kind of am.
I don’t understand how God is so strongly “convicting” her that she doesn’t want to be a part of my life anymore. Can you help me to grasp what has happened? How did she go from one extreme to the other in one week? Thanks in advance for your opinion.
P.S. She told my dad the same day I told her, and since then he hasn’t spoken to me at all. I’ve always been a daddy’s girl and never gone this long without talking to him. Help please!!
Your mom’s initial response to your coming out was her heart’s true response. Of that you can be sure. Then she began second-guessing herself, because she’s afraid. She’s afraid of (literally) losing her religion, and she’s afraid for you. So what she desperately wants is for all of this to be a mistake, and for you to simply not be gay anymore.
Your mom is now going through the process of realizing that she has a very real choice to make: It’s either you, or her theology. She can’t keep both. Since you cannot change, and her theology can, the chances are outstanding that she will adjust her understanding of God.
She will come to know that accepting you doesn’t mean rejecting God or the Bible. And she will delight in that knowledge, because it will have opened her up to an even deeper appreciation of the magnitude of God’s love.
And then she will talk to your childish-acting father, and hopefully he too will see the light. I’ve seen this play out a million times, and this is almost always how it goes.
So hang in there. Let your parents trip. Don’t allow them to treat you shabbily or with any disrespect — and certainly do refuse to attend any family event at which your partner isn’t lovingly welcomed. And always let your parents know that you’d welcome the opportunity to sit down with them and discuss all of this.
Let them know that you’re there, that you love them, that everything’s cool—and then see what happens. If three or so months go by and they’re still freezing you out, or letting you know they think you’re wrong for being gay, then it’ll be time for you to start constructing for yourself an interior life in which your parents don’t figure as heavily as they always have.
That’s a terrible adjustment to have to make. But sometimes you just have to move on, even if your parents are too stuck in their ways to come with you. Because ultimately you have to live your life, not theirs.
Send your question to John@JohnShore.com—or use our Contact form. (Letters may be edited for brevity or clarity, and will be published anonymously.)