What’s a Mother to Say—Or Do?
When Homosexuality Hits a Christian Home
by Elaine Creasman
I glanced over the racks of clothes and spotted my daughter. She was hardly recognizable.
Tears flowed as I listened to the song, “Butterfly Kisses” playing in the background. The singer mentioned curls, perfume, make-up—things my 17-year-old daughter despised. The song described a daughter’s wedding day. I wondered, Will Tami every have one?
My heart ached. Any stranger would have trouble determining her gender. She had cut her hair short, wore men’s clothes, and was once again searching through the men’s racks to buy her latest outfits.
What went wrong?
I remembered when Tami enjoyed wearing dresses and liked it when I curled her hair. Somewhere along the way, she rejected being a female. While she desired to dress in a way that made her “feel comfortable,” what I wanted most at that moment was for my daughter to embrace the wonder and beauty of womanhood.
I still desire that. Although I’ve prayed for years for Tami’s deliverance from gender identity problems, it hasn’t happened—yet. She no longer dresses like a man, and she’s let her hair grow, but she’s exchanged her cross for a necklace that shows two female symbols linked together.
I have conversations I never thought I’d have with a daughter who as a child seemed so in love with the Lord.
“Mom, if I get married—to a woman, of course—will you attend my wedding?” was her conversation-starter not long ago.
What’s a mother to say—or do? As I continue to wait for Tami to be delivered, I’ve learned to…
For a while I blamed myself for Tami’s struggle. Maybe if I’d been better at affirming or modeling femininity more effectively, she would be different. When I’d read about how fathers are the ones who help daughters embrace femininity, I’d move to blaming my husband.
Many at church and in Christian school repeatedly rejected Tami for her expressions of high intelligence and extraordinary creativity. She never fit into their predetermined mold. What if they’d loved her better? Some days I felt better if I blamed them.
These days I’ve stopped blaming. God revealed that Tami had a choice as to how she reacted to rejection. She chose to run away from God, calling herself an atheist as well as a homosexual. But the moment she comes back, He will be delighted to show her mercy (See Micah 7:18).
Getting caught in the blame game makes matters worse. As a friend said once, “Blame and shame are the devil’s game.”
Show unconditional love.
My daughter attended college near home after dropping out of the university, so she lived with us after high school. One day I walked into the TV room, and Tami was cuddling with a female friend. I wanted to kick her out of the house and embrace an, “I don’t want to see or speak to you again until you’ve straightened out your life and your thinking,” stance. Instead, my husband and I held on to loving her/hating her sin and compassion without compromise.
“This kind of behavior is unacceptable in our home,” we insisted.
“Okay,” she agreed.
She rarely “dates” and hasn’t had a steady girlfriend. After graduation from college and getting a job, she has chosen to continue to live with us. I see it as an opportunity to model Christ’s love to her.
I admit at times I’ve resorted to angry lectures, instead of showing love. But then verses like, “Love each other as I have loved you” (John 15:12 NIV), “While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8), and “God’s kindness leads you toward repentance” (Romans 2:4), come to mind.
Many church people embrace an “it’s more evil than other sins,” attitude toward homosexuality, claiming, “The Bible says it’s an abomination” (Leviticus 18:22). No one quotes Proverbs 16:5 where it says a proud heart is an abomination. “Every one that is proud of heart is an abomination to the LORD” (KJV). I know I still slip into having a proud heart.
Learning to love Tami unconditionally reminds me God hates all sin, but He has loved me and my daughter extravagantly despite our sinfulness.
Pray for change from the inside out.
Often I’d think, if I can just get Tami to wear a dress, grow her hair, carry a purse… she’ll be cured. But those changes are on the outside. Instead of focusing on deliverance from signs and symptoms of homosexuality, I’ve learned to pray for a complete healing of her inner self.
Leanne Payne writes in her book The Broken Image, “In the healing of the homosexual…his (her) struggle toward wholeness is always associated…with deep problems of personal identity. A secure sexual identity is merely part of a secure personal identity” (Page 124).
I can’t change my daughter, (I confess I’ve tried—often) but God can. My prayer continues to be that she’ll find her identity in Christ because I believe He “is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine” (Ephesians 3:20 NIV).
Keep my eyes on the Lord.
When I keep my focus on Tami, I get depressed—even despondent. As I keep my eyes on the Lord, He restores my hope.
A temptation I’ve had when I take my eyes off God is to drop out of church and ministry, because it’s painful to have people ask, “How’s Tami?” or tell me how godly their children are.
One evening I attended a prayer meeting, despite feeling down. We were given a verse at the door. Mine said, “‘But I will restore you to health and heal your wounds,’ declares the Lord.” This promise is for Tami, I thought.
Later I looked up the rest of the verse and wept. God knew Tami and hadn’t forgotten her pain. The verse finished with “because you are called an outcast…for whom no one cares” (Jeremiah 30:17). Tami expressed feeling like an outcast—even from a young age. In high school, she formed a group: “The Elite Social Outcasts of America.” And when she talked about rejections in her youth group, she’d say, “No one cares about me.”
When I keep my eyes on the Lord through staying in the Word and listening prayer, I’m reminded how much He loves and cares about my child—and about me. He desires her healing more than I do—not just from homosexuality and gender issues—but from all her hurts and heartaches.
Maintain a grateful heart.
One lie that works to steal my gratitude is, “God doesn’t love me anymore, because He’s allowed this and refuses to set Tami free.” Yet as I remember to express thanks, I see God is setting her free. He has freed her from clinical depression, numerous fears, impulsiveness and much more.
Since Tami’s struggle began, I’ve learned to play the guitar. Now I sing songs of gratitude to the Lord for all He’s doing and will do in Tami’s life—and my own.
The verse that comes to mind as I sing is: “I will sing to the LORD, for he has been good to me.” (Psalm 13:6). One song that really speaks to my soul starts like this, “Be still, my soul. The Lord is on thy side. Bear patiently the load of grief or pain…”
My Bible study teacher once said, “To have faith is to wait in thanksgiving.” I pray the Lord will continue to give me grace to do just that.
And as far as going to Tami’s wedding, I told her I wouldn’t go if she chose to marry a woman, because I couldn’t support such a choice.
“But I’ll always love and support you,” I added.
She smiled. “I know you will, Mom.”
The above article was written eight years ago when my daughter, Tami, was 25 years old. She no longer dresses like a man, she has let her hair grow and dated a man—a friend she had known since high school—for awhile. She has abandoned wearing pro-gay jewelry, but still refers to herself as an atheist and a homosexual. She and I remain close and often go on writing retreats together as she is also a writer. I am believing by faith that she will return to the Lord, allow Him to completely heal her, and will embrace the call God has on her life.
Elaine Creasman is a freelance writer and works part time as a mental health tech. She has two grown daughters and a granddaughter and lives with her husband of 38 years in Largo, Florida.
Visit her website: www.elainecreasman.com
Read her blog: elainecreasman.wordpress.com
Listen at to Elaine’s radio show “Hearts Set Free”: www.wtis1110.com