One of the hardest things to do as a parent is to let your children go. We spend so many years nurturing, loving, and protecting them that when the time comes for them to go out on their own, you realize you’re not ready for it. Our children might be, but I have found that as a mom, I wasn’t ready for it. Watching someone you love make a bad decision, is heart wrenching.
Several years ago, Ciara came to our home, (at this time she was married and actively in the ministry) and confessed that she had been struggling with same sex attraction. My husband and I were shocked, but we felt we needed to proceed with love. She stayed with us for a few weeks and we thought she was back on track and had dealt with some things. Another couple of years goes by and she calls us up and says she has decided to leave her husband, her calling and God to run off with another woman. We invited Ciara to come and live with us while she sorted through her feelings and encouraged her to not make any rash decisions. As I said earlier, one of the hardest things to do as a parent is watch your grown child go their own way especially when you see the pain and destruction it will cause them. So, we did the only thing we could do…we prayed for Ciara. At this time, she didn’t need a lesson in theology…she didn’t need to know what the Bible said about homosexuality. Ciara knew all these things. We felt God tell us to just love her. Ciara needed a lesson in love, not just any love, but God’s pure, holy, unending love. The enemy had lied to her and the only thing that could disprove those lies was the love of the Father. She had to experience God’s love through us.
I can’t say that I didn’t get frustrated with her. I would be lying if I said I never got angry with Ciara. However, I did my best to NEVER let her see my frustration or anger. Deep down inside, I knew that if we pushed her too much, we would lose her forever. That was something I wasn’t willing to do. A lot of good people, with sincere intentions, drive people away from God because they badger them with religious ideals instead of Godly love. Jesus never turned anyone away. When he confronted the woman at the well, he did so in love. She found something in Him that day that she couldn’t find in any other man and it changed her forever. Ciara needed to find God’s love because that was the only thing that would change her forever. So, we watched and prayed and loved on her as much as we could. Let me be clear, I am just as proud of Ciara today as I was back then. Her spiritual condition didn’t change how I viewed her or how I loved her. I didn’t stop loving her because I disagreed with her choices. I was never ashamed of her because I disagreed with her lifestyle. I was grieved because I didn’t want to see her lost spiritually.
When Ciara left for New York, I was so sad. I remember holding her and wishing I could heal her heart…but that wasn’t up to me, so, I let her go. I let her go, trusting that God would bring her back. It wasn’t easy, but it was the only way. God’s grace is amazing. We all want to receive great grace, but are we willing to extend it just as much? The bible says in Luke 12:48,
“To whom much is given, much is required.” Luke 12:48
When we receive great grace, a requirement to extend great grace comes with it. The kingdom of God isn’t about receiving, it is about giving.
“By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another” John 13:35
It is very easy to cast the first stone at someone else, it’s not so easy to put the stone down and look at your own faults.
People need to see that they are desired by God. If they could find a love that they’ve never found anywhere else, they would be changed forever. It is not up to you and I to transform people from their sinful ways…it is up to you and I to point them to the ONE who can transform them from their sinful ways. How can we ever change the world, if the message we are proclaiming is hate and judgement? God loves us as we are…yet He also loves us too much to leave us the way we are. God is the faithful Father portrayed in the prodigal son story. He is waiting to welcome us back with love and clothe us in righteousness.
Ciara is not the same person she was. She is now stronger, more graceful and compassionate. She can now extend great grace, because she has received great grace. She can now show the Father’s love because she has experienced His love. I am so proud. Not just because she came back to God, but because she uses what she walked through to help others find His love just like she did! - Peggy Cowan