“I was 15 years old and was afraid of going to hell, losing my family, and losing God. I questioned my worth and was scared to death of people finding out.”
Can you imagine hearing these words as a parent, knowing your child was bearing the weight of such overwhelming burdens alone?
Sadly, I don’t have to imagine. My daughter spoke these exact words to me as she explained what it was like for her to suffer in secret and silence about her attraction to the same sex.
“I prayed every night for years that God would change me.”
Listening to my daughter express her pain busted me in two. Walking barefoot on broken glass would have felt better than realizing she was drowning in fear of being rejected and abandoned because of who she is. Words can’t describe the soul ache of knowing my kid felt in desperate need of being fixed to feel worthy in the eyes of God and her family. The loving and accepting environment I thought we created for our kids was now in full question.
We certainly loved our kids like maniacs and always told them they could tell us anything. But, when it came to the prospect of being a queer kid growing up in a Catholic Christian family, the environment wasn’t safe or accepting enough for my daughter. And I’ll take that regret to the grave.
But what I’ll also take to the grave is a heart full of gratitude for the countless gifts that these brutal truths awarded me. Thank you, Jesus.
My daughter, Kahrin, and I recently hosted a live webinar (see video replay below) with a few family and friends to discuss some of these gifts along with the heartache and struggles we’ve had to contend with. We share her coming out story from both of our perspectives, followed by a deep dive into four significant takeaways from our journey as mother and daughter:
1. Let your kid come out when they are ready
2. Create a space where diversity is normalized
3. Your child’s sexuality journey is about them not you
4. Immerse yourself in the LGBTQ+ journey and lifestyle
We learned many lessons from our experiences over the past six years since my daughter came out. However, the overarching message we both hope everyone hears is that LOVE is the answer to everything. LOVE is the ultimate truth, and LOVE always wins. We just need to let LOVE do what LOVE does.
Thank you, daughter, for making me a better human.
Shelby and Kahrin Spear