What If My Child Comes Out And I Don’t Know What To Do?
Sometimes we want our children to listen to us when they know in their soul that what we are saying they can’t allow themselves to listen to. Years back I talked to a young adult who had tried to drown themselves, overdose, and slit their wrists. They have been to mental institutions repeatedly for severe depression and have been released with additional medications but no answers. They have thought about harming themselves from the age of 9 which coincides very well with when many children start to realize that they are “different”. Their preferred toys were not what were expected for their gender. Their preferred friends were the opposite sex which was just not typical for their age at the time. They wanted to dress like their friends, not like the other people their sex and their age. They knew they were different and often had no idea what that meant, who to tell, and what to do about it. For some at one point usually a decade after they realized something was “different” they get brave enough and tell their parents who say I already knew and help them to know that they are loved. That it is okay. That they will figure it out.
For others they get brave enough to tell their parents and wind up sitting across the room from me listening to their parents ask if I could convert them back to the sweet little girl or athletic little boy that they once had. They often quote the bible, talk about how it’s not natural, and tell me that they love their child just not their behavior. I usually don’t say much but excuse the parents from the room. I bring the young person back to my room and listen to their sadness, their anger and their self-hatred. I tell them about my Jesus because they have often been told about another one that has condemned them. I know I won’t get to see them again because I can’t accomplish the mission their parents have set out to accomplish. So I give them my cell phone, share some resources, and remind them of the 2 things that Jesus asks of us and one of them is not to live their life with the gender they have been given. Just love God and love other people, even those that condemn them for who they are. We live in a world where there are so many choices for sexuality and gender choices, and I agree it can be very confusing. I don’t know what I think about everything, but I do know it is not mine to judge.
I don’t know who I’m speaking to today but if your child comes to you and shares who they are or who they think they are, listen to them. It may not be forever, and for many children these days it is not, but it is for today. I pray that you choose to use that moment to share God with them and I pray that you will share his love not his word through your judgment. And then I pray you come talk to us so we can help you to deal and if needed heal. This may not be what you signed up for and I don’t know how your story will end, but it is yours to tell, and I hope you will make it a story about love.