Rein it in and offer it up!

In my prior post, I offered six things to do when your child reveals to you she is “gay.”

The very first one was “Rein in your own feelings, and sublimate them to the needs of your child.”

As parents, you will most likely be experiencing many difficult emotions as you hear the news, and try to take it in. You may be flooded with a lot of negative feelings. Surprise, shock, dismay, sadness, grief, fear, hurt, confusion, panic, upset, bitterness, shame, and anger are common reactions. You might also experience self-recrimination, a sense of “where did I go wrong?” If you have had your suspicions, you might also feel relief that at least the topic is out in the open. Mom or dad, you may even be in fear for your child’s physical health and safety, and for his eternal soul.

But, right now, this is not about you. As Christians, we are expected to “die to self.” This is one of those times when you will have to opportunity to really exercise your Catholic chops.

In yet one more sacrifice you have to make for your child, you must set your feelings aside for the time being, and be present and loving for your child. You are entitled to your emotions and reactions, but there is a time and place for venting and dealing with those, and the moment of your child’s big “reveal” is not it.

Your need for support is very important. I am not minimizing that. You will need time and space to grieve all of the missed expectations, the dashed hopes and the worries and cares that this news brings. (Later, when there is a little time and breathing room, you should contact the closest EnCourage chapter. If you don’t have one in driving distance, then there is an online EnCourage support group, and there are other non-Catholic Christian support groups all around the country. If you can’t find something, leave me a message, I can help.)

If your child had just been hit by a car, you would not indulge your fears and bemoan your crushed hopes, you would get in gear and do the needful. That is what is called for here. As my mother would say, “Offer it up!”

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