My birth was a miracle.
Not in the way that all births are a miracle (because they are), but rather in that supernatural-might-have-actually-been-mentioned-in-the-bible-if-it-had-happened-a-million-years-ago kind of way.
But let me explain before you think I’m self-righteous and conceited. My parents had to climb two impossibly steep mountains to get to myself, my three sisters, and my brother.
Given the circumstances, my parents’ relationship could have been quite normal:
There was just one thing standing in the way of that last part holding true, the mountain I affectionately call Everest:
My dad was attracted to other men.
And then there was the smaller mountain, maybe the Matterhorn, but no less daunting, and no less consequential to my own future existence.
My mom was told that she would never have children due to health complications.
With these two issues together, the climb seemed impossibly steep, but by the grace of God my parents married. Five years and one miscarriage later, I came into world, the oldest of four sisters and one brother. It’s for this reason I say that God moved mountains for me to be born. My family history makes me certain God has a purpose for me.
Growing Up with a Gay Dad
I don’t remember there ever being a big homosexuality reveal in my house (although some of my younger siblings do), but I can’t remember a time when I didn’t know about my dad’s struggle. By the time I was born, my parents were already somewhat involved with Exodus. By the time my youngest sister was born, they had started their own ministry under the Exodus umbrella.
People lived with us a good portion of the time—anyone from single adults to whole families. Some parents in my childhood church wouldn’t let their children come to my house because people with AIDS had visited there or lived there. My siblings and I saw a dear family friend die of AIDS. If people from my parent’s ministry accompanied us to church functions, there were those who would avoid talking to us or expressed concern that my parents allowed us to be around gay people.
Questions and Difficulties
By the time I was a teenager, there were a whole new set of challenges to face, complicating the already complex terrain I was navigating as a teenage girl:
Even more questions and frustrations arose after suffering through shocking events. Sunday school teachers asked me if my dad had AIDS after they’d found out he’d been sick. Friends told me that my dad was just living a lie and someday he’d get tired of it and abandon my family. My parents received multiple death threats. I have witnessed perfect strangers approach friends of my family in public that tried to cast “the demon of homosexuality” out of them.
Homosexuality and the Church
Homosexuality is a contentious issue within the church. You know this already, but I’ve lived my entire life in the clearing between the warring factions, the space where the rhetoric flies like bullets and the casualties are many. The Church’s response often occurs in one of two ways: Preach vitriol and hell-fire, or turn a blind eye and a deaf ear to the real problems that real people face every day.
At best, the Church is quite often awkward about the gay community and anything related to it. In many instances, I’ve seen the church take an arm’s length approach to issues that are very personal to me. This needs to end, and the blog that my sister and I run as a resource to support children and families whose struggles mirror my own is our small step toward decreasing the distance between these groups, all of whom need as much grace as the other.
Why I Exist
The importance of allowing space for a gay man to become a father isn’t just a matter of something I believe in—it’s a part of who I am, a part of who I always will be.
I’m proud of my parents. Their lives have been and are examples to me of God’s love, of passion, of strength and the willingness to stand for what you believe in even when it’s hard, even in the face of rejection. I’m proud of all of the men and women within Exodus and the affiliated ministries for setting that same example.
It’s my hope to follow their lead, a miracle climbing a mountain.
Originally posted on September 7, 2011