Sunday, May 13

Mothering a Boy with SSA

My mom is an angel. Many of the good things I learned in life have come from her example. Seeing her kneel in prayer at her own bedside, hearing her pray for me. Watching her selflessly serve others. Hearing her ask forgiveness from me - a five-year-old or an impetuous teenager. Working alongside her outside or at service projects. Talking with her late into the night about the gospel and its application to our family... in everything she does, she has helped me know that, no matter what happens in my life, I am loved.

I finally told my mother about my same-sex attraction one night, and her response will always stay with me. Her first concern was for the pain and anguish I felt - the burden I had been carrying in something she hadn't been able to see. The next question was what she could do. She honestly admitted that she didn't know what it even really meant to have same-sex attraction, what I was facing, or what it meant for me in the future. She wanted to learn, and to understand how she could help.

Today, on Mother's Day, I wanted to highlight some of the things that my mother did for me that helped me in my path. I believe that she helped me - not only to stay alive through the times of extreme depression, but to find peace and hope in living the gospel, develop a relationship with God, and rise to the man I am today.

My mother prays. I remember countless times walking in on her as she was voicing a prayer - sometimes early in the morning, sometimes at night, sometimes in the middle of a difficult day. The image of her kneeling at her bedside is imprinted on my mind, and when she was praying, nothing took precedence. Prayer was sacred in my home, and always brought perspective to our trials. There were times that I ran away from heated discussions, and went to my room to pray, and someone walked in on me, only to quietly close the door and walk away. In many cases, the issue was already resolved before we spoke again, because of prayer.

In my darkest hours, I returned to prayer and shared my heart with God. Years of practice meant that when He answered, I could hear Him... and prayer has been a mainstay of my life and a boon to keeping my salvation and happiness intact.

My mother works hard. If I told you everything my mother did, I'd lose my anonymity. I'm pretty sure there's no one like her in the world (that may be hyperbole, but you get the picture). She is the epitome of hard work - but not just hard work, smart work. Working together on projects, we would often diagram out our plans, make charts and determine the best modality to meet our goals, then jump in with a zest that made time disappear. I learned that the good things in life come with work, and more work, and more work... and, even more importantly, that sometimes the work itself is the blessing. A cultivated garden never grows only weeds. It grows boys and men who love the earth, working with their hands, and finding ways to make life better.

There have been countless times that I've looked at my life and wanted to give up. To give in and stop working. I've put in hundreds and thousands of unseen hours, and I have nothing to show for it. The blessings I want so desperately, which seem to come to others who flippantly go through life, haven't come. But the love of work, and the perspective I learned at home, working through impossible and difficult trials, has given me a new lease on life. The Lord called me to work in the vineyard - not to bear fruit. If I will do my part, He will take care of the rest, and in the meantime, I have the opportunity to work alongside Him - in the darkest and deepest and roughest parts of life - and to see His miracles and the way they can change the world. I wouldn't trade my memories of working with my mother for anything. And I wouldn't trade the lessons I've learned from working alongside God for anything either.

My mother repents and is real. I remember once getting into a fight with my mom when I was really young. I don't remember what it was about, but I'll always remember what happened later that day. I was in my room, probably crying, and she knocked on the door, opened it, and came and knelt at my bedside. There she asked for my forgiveness... and indelibly engraved in my mind that it was okay to repent. It was okay to struggle in life. It was okay to be honest and open and admit your faults - even to those who relied on you for everything. Maybe even especially to them.

When I realized that I was fighting, and losing, the battle of ssa, part of me wanted to run away from the Lord - to reject the thought that maybe He gave me a trial I couldn't overcome on my own. But the memory of my mother, and the repentance and faith she taught me, helped me understand that it's okay to be imperfect. The Lord really did allow me to have this trial - a trial much bigger than my own ability to overcome it - so that I would turn to Him. And as I've turned to Him, He has given me strength.

My mother finds peace and joy in everything in life. We've faced extreme circumstances in my family... death, physical and mental illness, financial hardship, catastrophes, and plenty of social and emotional trials. But I have never once heard her complain... even though others sometimes do on her behalf. She finds joy in the moment, and perspective in the purpose of the Lord. To her, everything has a purpose - the question is finding that purpose, and then determining what I need to do to do my part.

There were times in my life when I wondered if it was even possible to be happy. If I would ever understand my personal purpose and why the Lord had made me who I am, and also given me the trials I have to overcome in life. And the perspective I have has made all the difference. So that when I faced death or sickness or the reality of lifelong trials that would bring certain pain, I could look up at the rain and smile... knowing that God was involved in my life, actively guiding my footsteps to make me into the man He could see - someone far better than who I see in the mirror each morning.

My mother is constantly learning and growing. She prays and speaks with God, and calls down blessings on me. She works every day of her life, focused on others. She speaks her mind to me honestly, and changes her perspective when she is wrong. She's not afraid to ask forgiveness, or to reprove when I need to change. And no matter what she faces, she strives to find the peaceful and the happy, the hopeful and the good. She actively participates in everything the gospel has to offer... and is proof that it works to bring people closer to God and happiness in life.

And that made a world of difference for me.

Dear mother, I'm grateful for what you've done for me. Your faith and example have given me a path to follow. Countless times, I've felt blessed by the Lord because of your prayers, even when I didn't deserve the blessing. May God stand as witness that you have done your part in my life. You've saved me from darkness and taught me to walk in the light... and I can never repay you for the person you have helped me become.


  1. GMG,

    That was an absolutely beautiful Mother's Day post. And yet, I find myself wanting to quote so much from it that has nothing to do about your mother, but too much for the 140-character world I live in.

    Thank you for inspiring me again. Thanks for allowing me to peer into your life. And thanks for showing me a different angle on the Gospel!

  2. Sounds like your Mom is a really cool person..I don't doubt that we might have different views on religion (I'm Wiccan), but that's little stuff..if she supports you and loves you that is the stuff that matters.
    Please tell her that I hope she has a Happy Mothers Day, and I hope your own life is going well also.

  3. I am a mormon mother with a gay son. I hope he feels the same way about me, my greatest sadness was that he ever believed I would love him any less for being gay. My sadness is that he won't live the life I imagined for him but the life he is living is a good one and he is happy.
    I live in England and don't know a single other mother of a gay child, especially in the church. It was a hard time for me until I realised that my boy is who the Lord made him, all I have to do is love him and support him and nothing could be easier than that! Thank you for writing this blog.

  4. It sounds like you have an amazing mother! You are so blessed to have someone that is such a great example for you and who loves you so much. That was such an amazing tribute to your Mom. Thanks for sharing!!

  5. Your blogs are so appropriate not only for people with your struggle but with physical disabilities or sicknesses or any other issue that would keep them from having the life they meant to. Really inspiring words. I hope you know your lessons are no longer for just yourself, but now you are teaching many other people too.

  6. Thank you for writing so openly and for being an example of so much strength during opposition. I admire you for not giving into the mentality that is adopted by most of the world, even though I understand that this trial is not an easy one. I hope I can one day be a mother like yours is and was to you...she is admirable and truely embodies what the gospel is really about: repentance and progression.

  7. I have a son who is gay. I haven't quite known how to handle it all. This is all so new to me. I had such high hopes for him and the life I thought he would lead. This whole topic weighs heavy on my mind. I am thankful for you blog to help me have better insight as a mother. It would be easier if it could all just go away and all of you would be spared such hardships. I find comfort in that you are able to find a way to still live gospel standards. I pray my son can figure it all out and won't get so lost in the path that he won't have a desire to come back. I don't know if I'm making sense. I'm struggling. It's not something you can talk to with just anyone. It's hard. I can only imagine how hard it must be for you and for my son. The gospel is true. I am comforted knowing you feel his love and have been able to manage through this difficult trial! Thank you! I hope I can be the mother to my son that your mom has been to you. Its so hard! I'm learning! With God anything is possible!


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