My husband and I sat in our car that Sunday afternoon as I read aloud the letter our daughter had presented to us two days earlier, with the instructions that we read it together while she was at home—in case we had any questions. Sensing the weightiness of the letter’s contents, we had put off reading it—till now.
As I finally got to the main message, tears streamed down my husband’s face. My voice cracked, but I kept reading—needing to finish but not wanting to. Our sweet seventeen-year-old revealed how she’d realized she was a lesbian and was planning to pursue a same-sex dating relationship with a girl at school.
Many of you have been there. That moment when you are hit with the impact of a truck you may never have seen coming. Many parents, at least initially, take this declaration as a personal affront—asking themselves (as we did), “Where did I go wrong?” The answer is…too many places to count.
None of us are perfect parents. We make mistakes. Our human wisdom fails us. We don’t always follow precisely in God’s footsteps in all of our parenting ventures. But the truth is—in this most important of callings, if God’s grace isn’t big enough to cover us…well, then we might as well throw in the towel now. If He isn’t able to redeem our failings, redirect our course, and bless our most sincere efforts as moms and dads—then what hope is there? Take responsibility for those things over which you have control. Your child’s freedom of choice is not one of them. Neither is his or her perception of truth. It is not your fault. If you’re still beating yourself up in hindsight, stop! You can only move forward from today. And God is bigger than any of our blunders, and His mercies are new every morning—not recycled, re-purposed, or re-used—NEW!
It is not your job to try and convince your child that this lifestyle is wrong. He/she already knows where you stand. There is no need to re-assert the compelling validity of your position. In fact, there is no need to take a position at all. The only position that matters is your loving presence—with open arms extended to your son or daughter. Don’t turn it into a battle or throw out “I didn’t raise you this way.” It isn’t your job to save him/her from an unbiblical lifestyle, nor compel him/her to return to Christian values. Parents, we have one main job in all of this. To love them. Unapologetically, unconditionally. The rest is up to God. We get the privilege of loving them—right where they’re at. As our Father does with all of us.
“Love always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails”
(I Cor. 13:7-8). Sounds a lot like the prayers and affections of a parent, doesn’t it?
There will be tough times; there will be hopeful times. There will be tears; there will be joy. There will be strained moments; there will be glorious moments. Through it all, love like crazy. Love without stopping (I Cor. 16:14). Love is the greatest choice of all.