This week on aNoteToMyKid.com, a devout Christian mother named Shelley from Iowa City, Iowa expressed her personal journey toward accepting her gay son, Michael, while maintaining the religious faith she holds so dear to her heart.
There are many who believe that Christianity and homosexuality are inherently destined to clash, but Shelley's strength and unconditional love for her son is an indelible testament that the two can go hand-in-hand.
Without further ado, Shelley's note to her son Michael:
In December 2011 you rocked our world. When your dad and I read your letter telling us you are gay we were in a state of shock and disbelief. My mind and heart were spiraling out of control. My Christian upbringing caused me to be instantly concerned for your soul. My experiences in life made me fearful for your future. The dreams we had for you were gone (now replaced with your dreams). My heart kept telling me how much I love you!
For three days I took to my knees praying for strength and wisdom. I kept hearing... just love him. In our conversations you pointed out you never would have chosen this for yourself; why would you want to make your life more difficult or complicated. You then said, "God has a purpose for me and I feel calm and at peace with it." I absorbed all of what you said while continuing to search for my own calm and peace. A friend I reached out to told me our life's journey on earth is about our personal relationship with God, not whether we are male or female, gay or straight, white or black. We are all God's children. Within the week, I figured out our new journey is about love -- unconditional love. I couldn't have reached this point without our honest discussions and with prayer. As usual, you were well prepared to teach us what we had trouble understanding.
Once the love and acceptance settled, I then experienced a sadness that went to my core. The fact that you lived hiding your true self from us broke my heart. When you were born I bought a card which stated the religious definition of your name and a verse. Michael: "Who is like the Lord" and your verse was Joshua 1:9, "Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go." You have truly lived a strong and courageous life so far. I know you will continue to do so with God's guidance and with our support and unconditional love.
Michael, we are so proud of the young man you have become. You have an amazing future in front of you. Never lose your passion, your drive, your motivation and most of all your compassion and good heart. Love the Lord and others with all of your heart, soul and mind. You will be happy! You are so loved!
P.S.: A wonderful resource for friends and families is Andrew Marin's: Love Is an Orientation.