Tag Archives: Love

A Message of Love from a Mom

View More: http://photos.pass.us/beckymackintosh

It’s been brought to my attention that my blog posts have been sporadic and it’s time for me to kick it into gear.  Yes, life often gets in the way of carving out time to blog, and for that, I apologize. First it was the shorty-shorts that turned our life upside down. Then the coming out video and post of me and my son brought on a different kind of busyness, AND  that is what leads me to my post today; “A Message of Love from a Mom” me – Becky Mack 🙂 …

Though I don’t get much sleep, I wouldn’t trade my circumstances for anything in the world. It is comforting to know that people around the globe feel I am a safe place to reach out to, someone who will listen without judgement and will love without conditions – it’s worth the sleepless nights.

I pray someday the emails stop, the personal meets ups and phone calls end, NOT because I’m worn out, but because every person on the planet feels LOVED, SAFE, RESPECTED, ACCEPTED and VALUED for who they are and the diversity they bring – No more fear of REJECTION from family, church, school and community.

If you are feeling grateful that your life is *LGBT/SSA free, it’s perhaps because you have NOT created a safe environment for them to tell you. They listen to your conversations, lectures, unkind jokes and remarks and choose to remain silent. They know your goals, hopes and dreams and they don’t want to disappoint you, so they stay quiet.

Many closeted LGBT/SSA reach out to me confiding their pain, anxiety, depression and self harming habits. Many confess they turn to pills or alcohol to numb the pain. They plead “I just want to be normal”.  They pray for God to take this away and sadly, too often they reach a point where they are angry with God for unanswered prayers.

PARENTS, if your child tells you they are gay or same-sex attracted or think they might be gay or whatever terminology they use, it’s not the end of the world!  It’s the beginning of a time to refine and strengthen your Christlike attributes such as; compassion, empathy, charity and love unfeigned. It’s a time to exercise faith and to CHOOSE to believe in a God who meant what He said, “Love one another as I have loved you.” Lean on Him for guidance and understanding. It’s an opportunity to strengthen your relationship with your child by simply loving unconditionally even if they choose differently than you would. Especially if they choose differently than you would.

By opening your heart and arms, you will discover some of the most incredible, talented, gifted and caring people on the planet.  The answer is simple – LOVE!

*LGBT/SSA = Lesbian, Gay, Bi-Sexual, Trangender / Same Sex Attraction

P.S.  To hear my husband Scott and I share our  journey with our son, go to Voices of Hope.  Please share with anyone you feel would benefit.

Restless Nights

Jeffery C. Olsen  Sunset

I’m a mom.  I’m a worrier.

Thus…

Restless Nights. 

Lately I have had a hard time sleeping, I stay up late, get up early and toss and turn in-between. After another restless night, I logged onto Facebook with the intent to share what was on my mind.  As I wiped the tears from my face, I let my feelings spew onto my Facebook wall…

“It is with great sadness that I write this. It’s been almost a year since my son and I did a video of what it was like growing up living in FEAR of telling your parents or telling anyone you are gay. FEAR of being rejected and contemplating suicide as the best and only answer so no one would know. Ever!

I have received hundreds of emails from gay young men from around the world who stumble upon our video and for the first time feel HOPE—hope that perhaps their parents would or could be as loving. 

AGAIN last night I received another long email from a young man pouring his heart out – his worries – his fears – his lack of feeling any self-worth and battling daily depression – fighting the hurtful things that are said in church and in his home, drilling the confusion and pain even deeper.

This young man is only 18 and feels taking his life would be best—he said his father made it CLEAR to him and his brothers a couple of years ago, when his cousin “came out”, that IF any of his sons were gay they would no longer be his son!  

He said, “I cried myself to sleep that night!”

This young man has chosen not to serve a mission, he is feeling the heat from his leaders and especially his mother. He is so fearful of telling them the REAL reason behind not wanting to serve a mission – so fearful that he just wants to end his life – feeling THAT would be the better option rather than have his parents know they have a gay son who is dying inside and has been battling depression most his life because of his inner battle.

His story mirrors TOO many young men I hear from—SERIOUSLY this has to STOP! CHILDREN deserve to feel loved especially from their parents. It broke my heart to know my husband and I had created a home where our own son lived in FEAR of telling us—fear of rejection. Our son was 24, THAT is what breaks my heart, NOT that he is gay.

One of the greatest desires of every child and human being is to feel LOVED, ACCEPTED and VALUED for who they are NOT “Tow the line OR be BOOTED out of the HOME” – THAT does NOT feel like love to anyone. God does not force us to keep His commandments—He lovingly guides us with LOVE unfeigned. Parents DO THE SAME!! 

I promise a GAY son (or daughter) is far BETTER than having a DEAD son (or daughter)! Any day.”

I really didn’t expect many people to read such a long Facebook post – It felt good  to get it off my chest.  I resumed responding to this young man’s plea,  praying he could not only feel my love, but  feel his Heavenly Father’s love.

The unexpected happened…

The response was positive, with over 90 shares.  This young man’s story had not only tugged at my heart, but was touching the heart of others including his own.  He told me he read every Facebook comment and was deeply touched by the love he felt from total strangers. It gave him HOPE to know people REALLY do care.

The yearning to feel his parents love and acceptance continues,  it’s a dream he unfortunately doesn’t anticipate happening for many years to come.  I pray he is wrong.

I continue to have restless nights worrying about “my boys”, the young men who reach out to me in desperation, who live in fear of rejection and  contemplating  suicide.

What can we do to help?

It’s simple,  love your children, your spouse, your co-workers, your peers, your neighbor your friends. Open your heart and mind to see people as people.  Everyone I meet desires to feel loved, safe, respected accepted and valued for who they are.  Create the space that feels safe to talk about feelings without feeling judged and rejected.   If they can feel your love, they can feel their Father in Heaven’s love.

This young man could be your son, your co-worker, your peer, your neighbor, your friend. Let people know YOU care.

Photo by Jeffery C. Olsen

Healing Hearts Saving Lives

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Healing Hearts Saving Lives

In 2012, our 24 year-old son told his father and I that he was gay.  After keeping it secret for two years, we chose to go public in hope of letting others know they are not alone. Within days of posting our video and article, we were inundated with messages and emails from people across the nation with a son, daughter, brother, sister, or who themselves are same-gender attracted – sharing their stories, their hurt and their desire for a better tomorrow.

This experience opened my eyes to the masses that are hurting and contemplating suicide, families that feel broken, and hearts that need to heal.

The nagging thought “What can I do?” lead to creating a website dedicated to “Enlighten Minds, Strengthen Families and Heal the Wounded Heart”.  The things that you will find on the Healing Hearts Saving Lives website stem from the many questions people have asked seeking guidance, love and support.

www.HealingHeartsSavingLives.com 

 

Update: Today was the funeral of Mikey Funk, a young man from Logan, Utah who took his life on Sunday who battled same-gender attraction.  And when I say “battled” I’m referring to the judgement, the isolation and hatred that so many deal with on a daily basis. It was hearing too many stories like Mikey’s that lead me to try to make a difference. If something I share can enlighten one mind, strengthen one family, heal one heart, then I’ve made a difference in one. And that ONE is important to God.

 

Christ on a Bench

 

 

How A Father Went from Homophobic to Loving His Gay Son.

HOW A FATHER WENT FROM HOMOPHOBIC TO LOVING HIS GAY SON

By Scott Mackintosh, the Father

In June of 2011, I attended an annual company sales meeting eager to learn how to better my sales skills. In a classroom setting my mind usually wanders, but this day I was all ears listening to a story; a true story, of a sportscaster named Charlie Jones. Charlie was assigned to announce the 1996 Olympic rowing, canoeing and kayaking events – an assignment that left him less than thrilled, because he thought, “Who watches the rowing, canoeing and kayaking events? Only the rowers, canoers and kayakers …and their families!”

8+ rowing team

What he discovered, however, was that it ended up being one the most memorable interviews of his career. AND what I didn’t know is that two and a half years later, this story would significantly change my life. Preparing for the broadcast, Charlie Jones interviewed the rowing team starting with the basic questions such as “What if it’s raining?” “What if the wind blows you off course?” “What if you break an oar?” The answer to every question was the same,

“That’s outside my boat.”

Finally Charlie asked the rowing team what they meant by their repeated answer “That’s outside my boat?” They explained that they focused only on what they could control, and that was what was going on INSIDE their boat. They refused to waste energy focusing on things OUTSIDE their control.

When the sales meeting concluded it was obvious by the chatter in the room that everyone was impacted by the story. I seriously thought; “Great story, but it doesn’t really apply to me.” I dismissed it and that was that.

Seven months later my entire family was home for the Christmas holidays. I have seven children; three sons, four daughters, and four are married. I was happy to have them all home for the holidays. My son Sean is number three in the family and the middle son – his three
week holiday dedicated to the family, was quickly coming to an end and he would soon be heading back to college in Hawaii.

On the night before he was to leave, precisely at 11:11 pm, my wife and I received a personal message via Facebook from my son Sean. I opened it and began to read. He cut to the chase pretty quickly after telling me and my wife how much he loved us, he dropped a bomb, he told us that there was no sense in beating around the bush and might as well come right out and let us know that he is gay.

I went FREAKAZOID!

I blurted out some things that in retrospect I am very glad that he was not around to hear. (The damage may have taken many years to repair) I didn’t care about his feelings; he obviously didn’t care about mine! He most certainly didn’t care about anyone in our family and obviously the ONLY person that he cared about was himself! In my uneducated way of thinking on this topic, selfishness had to be the single cause and I was sure that this sort of thing was brought on from delving into pornography or other ill meant materials. Why else would he “choose” such a vial and disgusting way of life? (I’m now embarrassed of my ignorant thinking.)

I messaged him back ordering him to come home immediately so we could talk. I was furious and again told him to get home NOW! He said he would gladly talk to me, but that it would still be a little while before he’d be home. He was out visiting friends and saying his goodbyes for another year.

I anxiously paced the floor waiting his return. By midnight he was not home and I angrily went to bed.

I woke up at 4:00 am as my wife crawled into bed next to me. She had been talking to my son for the past few hours. She briefed me a bit on their conversation and then I got up to go see him. She begged me as I left the room to be kind and considerate. I assured her that I would.

I knocked on my son’s door and he opened it to find my outstretched arms offering a heartfelt hug. I spoke only for a moment and made a slight joke about something to ease the tension and then said, “We can talk another time, it’s late.” I went back to bed and tossed and turned for a while trying to figure out what I was going to do to “fix my son”.

Hours later, I was at work and he was on a flight for Hawaii. Every-so- often over the next year, I would send him an email suggesting that he give God equal time and to study “good things” instead of filling his head with the gay articles that he was reading. I had it all figured out that he should get rid of these silly notions that he had conjured up in his head and get married and raise a family. We weren’t getting any closer in our relationship and I was spending my time on deaf ears. They seemed deaf anyway because every scenario that I could come up with, he would answer with a comment like; “Dad, don’t you think that I know about that? Don’t you think that I have read and studied about this? I have known that I was like this for nearly my entire life and you think that these emails that you keep sending me are going to fix me?”

I had not taken into consideration that this was new to me, but that he had been dealing with it for many years.

The following Christmas we didn’t get around to talking about I didn’t want to bring it up and maybe if I didn’t – it would go away.

Two years from receiving this shocking news, Sean was home once again for Christmas. I’m a big outdoorsman and an avid hunter so like any good father would do, I took Sean and my younger son Skye coyote hunting across the state line. (No hate mail please, we didn’t shoot anything, they out smarted us) On our four-hour drive back home we talked about hunting, school and life in general, but I could tell that he wanted to talk about “it”. Finally Sean said “Dad I thought we were going to talk – really talk.” I don’t remember who started what, but all of a sudden we were delving into everything we had both held in for the past two years.

I wanted so badly to fix the situation. That’s what I did as a father. I fixed everything, that was my job, and this was just another “fix-it” project. At one point in our conversation, I asked; “Why would you choose this lifestyle?” I was met with a look of shock as he replied,

“Are you serious? Why on earth would I CHOOSE to be associated with one of the most misunderstood and hated groups on the planet?”

His answer resonated deeper than anything said in our prior two years of sending messages back and forth. This made sense! Although I had read many articles stating that same-gender attraction is NOT chosen but is something they are born with, I couldn’t get it through my thick skull until that moment. FINALLY we were actually able to have a really good conversation where we really talked and listened.

That is when it hit me….

A light came on in my head and the story of Charlie Jones that I had heard several years prior came flooding back and NOW it made perfect sense to me. It applied to this situation. It was a game changer.

For the next few days, I began to take an inventory of what was actually IN my boat. I had focused my energy on fixing my son only to discover that I had done a great job of raising a wonderful young man and the things that he was going through were outside my boat. Nothing that I could say to him would “fix” him and would most likely do father-son- relationship damage. Therefore, I took my fears and worry out of my boat and placed them in my son’s boat.

Next, I pondered on my ability to judge. I was his father and felt that I had that right. My mind reflected back on my Christian upbringing that taught Jesus Christ is the judge.

I realized that I needed to STOP judging him – it wasn’t my job to judge, Jesus Christ had taken that role upon himself, so I took that out of my boat and placed it in my Savior’s boat.

As I focused on what was in my boat, I realized that I had only ONE item left and that was my ability to ACT instead of REACT. I then split it into two categories: to act harshly or to act with love, and because I had placed “judgment” into Christ’s boat, I realized that the ONLY thing left in my boat was to ACT with LOVE! I thought to myself, “I CAN do that!”

I have a wonderful son whom I love dearly and our relationship has drastically changed for the better. It is now stronger than ever, because I no longer focus on what’s outside my boat, instead I focus on what’s INSIDE my boat…. LOVE!

P.S. To read my wife Becky’s journey along with a video of my son Sean telling his own story, click here.