“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.

RELATED: UNL Athlete Shares Story of How Football Players Responded to Him Being Gay

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.

RELATED: Motherhood is Learning To Trust God With Our Kids

My daughter, Kahrin, and I recently hosted a live webinar (see 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, Her View From Home, for sharing our story. Thank you, daughter, for making me a better human.

xo
Shelby and Kahrin Spear

Resources

Email Shelby: shelby@shelbyspear.com

Email Kahrin: [email protected]

Organizations

The Naming Project | A faith-based youth group and summer camp

Mama Bears | Supporting, Educating, Empowering Moms of LGBTQ Kids & the LGBTQ Community

Serendipitydodah | a blog sponsored by the MAMA BEARS ORGANIZATION

Harbor | An Online Support Program for Christian Parents of LGBT Kids

Beloved Arise | a movement to celebrate and empower queer youth of faith

Blue Babies Pink Plus | digital resources for the faith & sexuality conversation

Evolving Faith, Sarah Bessey and Jeff Chu

The Trevor Project | Saving young LGBTQ lives

It Gets Better Project

Freed Hearts | Freeing hearts to love and be loved

Free Mom Hugs

PFLAG | provides support, information, and resources for lgbtq+ people, their parents and families, and allies

GLSEN | Championing LGBTQ issues in K-12 education

GLAAD | Accelerating acceptance

OWL (Our Whole Lives)

Transmission Ministry Collective

Non-fiction books with Christian perspective

God and the Gay Christian: The Biblical Case in Support of Same-Sex Relationships

Love Is An Orientation, by Andrew Marin

Us vs. Us, by Andrew Marin

Torn, by Justin Lee

Does Jesus Really Love Me? A Gay Christian’s Pilgrimage for God in America, by Jeff Chu

Facing The Music, by Jennifer Knapp

How We Sleep at Night, by Sara Cunningham

Changing Our Minds, by David Gushee

Bible Gender Sexuality, by James Brownson

Transforming: The Bible and the Lives of Transgender Christians, by Austen Hartke

The Queer & Transgender Resilience Workbook: skills for navigating sexual orientation and gender expression, by Annelise A. Singh

Resources on lists for LGBTQ teens:

GLBTQ: The Survival Guide for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, and Questioning Teens, by Kelley Heugel

Queer: The Ultimate LGBT Guide for Teens, by Kathy Belge

Trevor Project 2020 LGBTQ harrowing statistics

https://www.thetrevorproject.org/survey-2020/

Articles:

‘IT BREAKS THE HEART OF GOD’ SAY FAITH LEADERS ON LGBTQ YOUTH SUICIDE RATES

Has “Homosexual” always been in the Bible?

Seven Gay Texts: Biblical Passages Used to Condemn Homosexuality

Penny in the Air: My story of becoming affirming by Sarah Bessey

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Shelby Spear

A self-described sappy soul whisperer, sarcasm aficionado, and love enthusiast, Shelby is a mom of 3 Millennials writing about motherhood and life from her empty nest. She is the co-author of the book, How Are You Feeling, Momma? (You don't need to say, "I'm fine.") , and you can find her stories in print at Guideposts, around the web at sites like Scary Mommy, Her View From Home, For Every Mom and on her blog shelbyspear.com.