Thursday, January 28, 2016

A Lifetime

It was just over a year ago that our daughter, Jillian came out to our family as gay. I sent my husband a message on the year anniversary that said "It's been one year since Jillian came out." His response?
"Yes, it has been a lifetime since then."
Truer words were never spoken. We have dealt with so very many things in this past year. 
So many things.
In all honesty, I didn't have too much of a struggle with everything until November when the LDS church changed it's policy about people who are in same sex relationships. I'm sure many of you are aware of this policy change. If you are not Google can help.
That evening as I learned of the change I crawled into bed and sobbed. My sweet McKenna came and just sat with me as I cried, not knowing what I was crying for, because I was crying so much that I couldn't speak.
Mostly I hurt because it felt like the church that I love, that proclaims love; seemed like it was rejecting my child. My beautiful, funny, amazing child. Who is just as much a child of Heavenly Parents as you or I.
That hurt spilled out onto social media. And tried my best to explain my feelings in earlier blog posts that you can read HERE and HERE
I had many private and public messages of love and support. There were also private messages asking me, with love and respect, the question, "How does this affect your family?" I tried to answer the best I could but my answers were short and probably not well thought out, and some I don't think I answered at all because I was too raw to go over it all again.
I will tell you this, I have cried more since November of 2015 than I have in my entire life. Tears will just start leaking out, as I go over and over and over this in my mind. To say it's a hamster wheel would be a kind way of putting it. I have wanted to share what I feel but I just don't know how to put it into words.
Sometimes I wish there was a way to communicate spirit to spirit, to truly have a "Heart to Heart" conversation. This life would be so much easier if that were possible. Don't you think? But that is not to be. All I can do is share and hope that a sliver of what I feel comes through. And in sharing I also put myself out there for ridicule and judgement. That's scary.
And because it's scary (and because of some judgement that has already occurred) I am still reluctant to share exactly what it is I am feeling.
Let me be perfectly clear. We have been surrounded by such love and support from family, friends, and our new ward. It's truly amazing. Our family has been lifted by your love and we have felt your prayers.
And I still hurt. My heart physically hurts.
I wish I could explain it but I can't. I want to explain it, but when I try to put it down there really are no words that can describe the pain.
Since November of last year, in just three months, there have been 32 suicides in the LDS LGBTQ Community.

32

That is why I hurt. People are dying. The average age of those 32? Seventeen years old.
Children are dying.
Because they feel unwanted and unloved.
Today this article was published in the Deseret News. It's a good article. I HIGHLY recommend taking some extra time and reading it thoroughly.

LDS Church leaders mourn reported deaths in Mormon LGBT community


The church leaders mourn but what about the general population of the church? Do you mourn?Sometimes, and I don't know why or where it comes from, but the feeling that comes through when someone who is gay commits suicide, is a Scrooge like one of...

"If they'd rather die, then they had better do it and decrease the surplus population."
So, yes, I hurt.
We have so far to go. I have so far to go when it comes to showing Christlike love.
Please, please, please...

I AM BEGGING YOU!

Be kind to those around you.
Speak words of love and acceptance because you never know who is listening.  
You could have a child who is gay and is too scared to say anything because of the words they hear you speaking or the jokes that you tell. There may be someone in your ward who has a child who is gay but is too afraid to say anything because they know they will find no support or love. There may be a member of your Young Women's or Young Men's group who feels lost and alone and worthless because of lessons that are being taught. You may have a brother or sister that is afraid to come forward and feels unloved.
Reach out to people. Love them. Treat them with respect. Be Kind.
Please.
And if you are someone, gay or not, who is struggling with feelings of in inadequacy, loneliness, heartache and despair. Please know you are loved and important and wanted
Don't hurt yourself. This world needs you. I need you.  
Even if I don't know you, know this...

****And if you really would like to have a conversation with me we can go to lunch or for a walk or a drive or even talk on the phone (although I hate talking on the phone) and I will do my best to explain.  If you will do your best to just listen and understand.

Monday, January 11, 2016

You Are Loved

This is for my husband and my children and their friends

This is for my brothers and sisters and their spouses, my nieces an nephews, my great-nieces and nephews.

This is for my friends, near and far.

No matter your religion or belief system. No matter your sexual orientation.  No matter your marital status, or if you can conceive a child or not.  No matter your skin color.  No matter what...

This is for those of you who dealing with struggles and doubt and fear.

This is for all of you.


Take a minute today or in the next little while and sit and really listen to this song.  

You are loved.

I love you. 

Heaven loves you.

You are wanted.

You are NEEDED.

I love you. 



Friday, November 13, 2015

You Are Called My Brother



As I have struggled with the events of the past week or so I have had friends and family reach out to me in love and kindness.  Thank you all. 

I want you to know that I am still here.  I still have a testimony of my Savior Jesus Christ.  I know that my Heavenly Father loves me.  That this church is true.

I have read many Facebook status', news articles, blogs and comments, I have shared some of those on social media.  In searching for understanding and healing I have turned to the words of our Latter-Day prophets and have found peace and comfort in all most anything that I have opened up.  I have read about faith, hope and charity.  Learned more about the word hope. 

I am eternally grateful for hope.

As I was searching to find truth and understanding I came upon the quote above and it led me to the talk that this comes from "Ye Are No More Strangers" which was given by Bishop Gerald Causse in the October 2013 General Conference.

Following are some of the truths that spoke to me.  May they speak to you as well.  

"Though the membership of the Church is increasing in its diversity, our sacred heritage transcends our differences. As members of the Church, we are admitted into the house of Israel. We become brothers and sisters, equal heirs to the same spiritual lineage. "

Equal heirs.

"During His earthly ministry, Jesus was an example of one who went far beyond the simple obligation of hospitality and tolerance. Those who were excluded from society, those who were rejected and considered to be impure by the self-righteous, were given His compassion and respect. They received an equal part of His teachings and ministry."

They received an equal part

"In this Church our wards and our quorums do not belong to us. They belong to Jesus Christ. Whoever enters our meetinghouses should feel at home. The responsibility to welcome everyone has growing importance. "

Whoever...

 "We all need to work together to build spiritual unity within our wards and branches...
Unity is not achieved by ignoring and isolating members who seem to be different or weaker and only associating with people who are like us. On the contrary, unity is gained by welcoming and serving those who are new and who have particular needs. These members are a blessing for the Church and provide us with opportunities to serve our neighbors and thus purify our own hearts."
Unity.

"In this Church there are no strangers and no outcasts. There are only brothers and sisters. The knowledge that we have of an Eternal Father helps us be more sensitive to the brotherhood and sisterhood that should exist among all men and women upon the earth."

He then tells of this passage from the novel Les Miserables...

“‘This is not my house; it is the house of Jesus Christ. This door does not demand of him who enters whether he has a name, but whether he has a grief. You suffer, you are hungry and thirsty; you are welcome. … What need have I to know your name? Besides, before you told me [your name], you had one which I knew.’
“[Valjean] opened his eyes in astonishment.
“‘Really? You knew what I was called?’
“‘Yes,’ replied the Bishop, ‘you are called my brother.’”7

We are all brothers and sisters.

 "So, my brothers, it is your duty to reach out to anyone who appears at the doors of your Church buildings. Welcome them with gratitude and without prejudice. If people you do not know walk into one of your meetings, greet them warmly and invite them to sit with you. Please make the first move to help them feel welcome and loved, rather than waiting for them to come to you."
Welcome everyone.

 "I bear witness that no one is a stranger to our Heavenly Father. There is no one whose soul is not precious to Him."