Life as H’s Mom

So my life changed recently…not just for the day, but for the rest of my life. Returning home from a pleasant morning at a ladies brunch and packing shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child at my Bible believing, evangelical church, I was greeted by an innocuous looking envelope. I recognized the writing of my second child. I set down everything I was carrying and immediately opened it expecting to be blessed by a letter from H. As I read, I felt a feeling of calm and peace come over me that had nothing to do with what was on the paper. There is no other way to explain it, I was being held by the Holy Spirit.

The screaming at God, the sobbing that would leave my broken heart depleted, the crushing grief that could not be openly discussed or adequately expressed would come later after the initial shock wore off. How could I blissfully awaken one morning as the proud mother of a son and go to bed without one when there being a death? I was completely blindsided by words that could not possibly be true.

Transgender—a word the culture has embraced as an absolute—had intruded into my life. MY LIFE! Not a perfect life, not a life without deep valleys, not a life without rugged paths, but a life in which I had learned to be content. Now there was something that would change everything. I would no longer have a son. I would no longer be able to say, “I have one of each.” I would no longer look forward to the day he would become a father or that I could say I was the mother of the groom.

It made no sense. The child had never shown any proclivity toward femininity. He had never seemed like anything but a typical boy who liked sticks and swords and super heroes. He liked girls and still does. Jeans and t-shirts were his standard wardrobe…emphasis on the t-shirts which he collected by the dozens. He wore long hair but, hey, so did Jesus, right? It was only in the last year that H started wearing nail polish. Then this year H had chopped the waist length hair to h shoulders and had started wearing it in a different “style.” I had asked h about these changes saying it just seemed weird or strange—I don’t remember which word I used. It was the perfect opportunity for H to open up to me.

But H didn’t, and I wish he had. We could have spoken face to face about his struggles. I could have held him in my arms and assured him of my love. I could have looked into those brilliant green eyes and told him that Jesus loves him no matter what. Instead, we spoke awkwardly over the phone with two thousand miles between us. I couldn’t see the look in his eyes, nor he the look in mine. He couldn’t see the look of fear that threatened to incapacitate me. He couldn’t see the overwhelming concern for his well-being. He couldn’t see the confusion that consumed my soul.

The tone of my voice and the inadequate words were all he had. Hopefully, they were enough. How could they be enough though? They were not enough for me.

I have to trust that this is what God has planned. This may be why I’ve been sent to the frozen hinterlands. God is at work, I know this to be true. I am here for a reason. Is it so that HE can work on H without me meddling in what HE is doing? I imagine myself there with H, having long discussions. I imagine trying to get to the bottom of his gender identity dysphoria. I imagine myself trying to understand the change of course his life has taken. I imagine messing up and screaming at him! I imagine the disastrous results of losing my temper as I have countless times in my life. I imagine the uncontrollable monster that I could become if I let all the emotions that I am feeling right now take over.

That is why I am two thousand miles away from my transgender child. I must learn on my own. I must pray alone. I must allow God to be my guide as I transition into my new reality. I must keep busy in my life and allow Him to do His work in me…as HE also works in the life of H.

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