My parents will be celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary in December. 50 years! Amazing! Yesterday, my sister asked them what they wanted to do to celebrate. They said they weren’t planning to do anything. Their reason…the family dynamics now that I’m out have caused too much tension between my sister and I. (For reminders on exactly what our relationship is like read here and here.) They just didn’t feel like dealing with it. It was too hard.
Hearing my mom say that she didn’t want to celebrate the monumental feat of 50 years together compelled my sister to call me. I know that she and I have talked a couple of times in the last year, but it had to do with our kids hanging out and was all business. Yesterday was different. She was emotional when she called. She didn’t like how the last 4 years had been between us, but she wasn’t sure how to change it. She needed to hear from me.
Well, I have changed quite a bit over the last two years or so. I am more sure of what I believe. Before I had a hard time justifying my faith and my sexual orientation, but after many prayers, much scripture reading in more than one translation and language, and thinking about the nature of God, I have a better understanding of who I am and how He made me. My sister said she didn’t have a problem with the idea that God made me this way. That wasn’t the issue. The issue for her was that we are all created with a bent toward sin. That babies and young children tend to be selfish without being taught that behavior. I have no problem agreeing with that. But it’s what we do with that sin as we become aware that it is sin that matters. We are not to be enslaved by the things that tempt us to sin. What tempts her might not tempt me, but no matter what our temptation is, we have to fight it. By controlling our desires and putting God first, we are giving Him glory and striving to live in holiness. I had no real problem with anything that she said.
But…and you knew there would be a BUT…
If I am constantly praying to God to change the way He made me because it is sinful to desire to be in a same sex relationship that gives honor and glory to God, and He doesn’t do it, I’m just supposed to struggle with who I am for the rest of my life? It’s ok to tell God that He made a mistake when He made me because this me isn’t good enough and can’t be fixed? I know that God allows people to suffer afflictions for years and decades and wants honor and glory to come out of those situations. People living with diseases with no hope of a cure other than a miraculous one, are in the same situation I’m in. Is the person God made them to be, whether it’s short, tall, deep, wide, able-bodied, or abled differently not good enough? I don’t think so. God doesn’t make mistakes. We are the ones who decide that we aren’t good enough. God made us exactly perfect, each of us varying degrees of different from the others, and when we complain and ask Him to change the very thing that makes us us, we are telling Him that He messed up. I don’t think so.
Will I still sin? Of course. Selfishness, anger, jealousy, gluttony, and idolatry are all things I struggle with. I would love for God to take the temptation of food away, but I don’t need to give up food totally so that I don’t overeat. I need to pay attention and make sure that I am careful with how much I eat and thank God for what He provides. I don’t struggle with being gay. I just am gay. It’s who God made me to be. If I am ever in a committed relationship again, I will give Him thanks, honor and glory for it and all the other ways He’s worked in my life and heart. I won’t ask Him to decrease my love for the other person, but to increase my love for Him and His perfect plan.
There was so much more to our conversation that I haven’t put here, but I am too tired to think on it all. Also, I didn’t change her mind on any of it. In fact, I think she hung up more resolved in her convictions. That’s fine. I respect her decision. I know it’s not one she makes lightly. I knew when I came out that I would be changing the way my family related to me, and that quite possibly I would lose some relationships altogether. I don’t think my relationship with my sister is completely lost at this point. And my door will always be open for her to walk through. She knows that.
And because I know someone will wonder, we are going to try to do a small party with all 4 kids and their families and a few of my parents’ close friends for their anniversary. All together celebrating them. It’s what needs to happen for all they’ve done for us.