I Love My MommyEssays, Featured, Social Justice — By Emily Timbol on February 28, 2011 at 8:00 am
The fourteen year old me would be horrified and shocked about what I am about to publicly write, but here goes: I love my Mommy. While this is not a new emotion for me, as I’ve been blessed to have a very good relationship with both her and my Dad, lately I feel like I need to address just what it is that makes me love her so much.
She’ll kill me for saying this, but she can’t cook. Never could (except for meatloaf). She’s not exactly Martha Stewart and didn’t teach me how to decorate a table, or carve The Last Supper out of radishes. She’s not wealthy, doesn’t help me financially, and has never given me extravagant presents, like a car or house. She wasn’t super lenient on me growing up, and never let me forget who was in charge.
What she is, however, outweighs everything she’s not. She is the most humble and loving person I know. She is intelligent, caring, and has a bigger heart for her friends that live in Africa (who she’s only met once) than I do for most people I see everyday. She is open- minded, calm, and actually listens to people when they talk, because she truly wants to learn from them.
It’s this last quality that has really changed things, probably forever, between the two of us. I’ve written publicly about the difficulty I’ve faced with my family over my religious and political beliefs, but something I haven’t addressed is how my Mom’s reaction to everything has affected me.
When I first told my parents that I felt like my calling was to show love to the LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Trans-gender) community, they were cautious and a little worried. Many nights were spent arguing over Bible verses, and things usually ended with one or both parties upset. When my best friend came out, who they have known since he and I were both ten, the conversation changed a little, since the debate wasn’t over a “group” of people, but about someone we all loved. When I had the booth at the PRIDE festival, my parents wanted to come with me and actually spent more time talking to people than I did.
Two things happened. The first was that the more time my Mom spent with the gay community, the more I saw her attitude change from questionable judgement to Christ-like love. The second was that the accusations I was getting from family members and friends over my ministry shifted from me to her.
I’ve seen some of this (as probably some of you have too) because, embarrassingly, a lot of this has been done over Facebook. But I know that there is a great deal of it I haven’t seen because when I ask her what kind of things are sent to her privately, she usually keeps quiet.
It’s a burden I wasn’t quite expecting, to know that by trying to serve Christ, I have indirectly affected the relationship of my mother with her family. It’s something I didn’t expect because, unlike say, getting pregnant outside of marriage or succumbing to substance addiction, starting a ministry usually is something people praise. I guess the exception is that I’m asking people to support a ministry that’s for people who are fighting to be treated better by the very people from whom I’m asking support. Unlike feeding orphans or cleaning up the beach, the ministry I have been called to is one that sits directly within a political battle. Like most battles, there are casualties. The people who are the most political seem to be the ones who are most willing to ignore the dead.
While I expected some battles, I didn’t expect the way God has spoken to me through watching my mother amidst the fighting. The truth is, if no one is ever willing to change, there’s no hope for a ministry that seeks to both love the LGBT community and also encourage the church to love them as well. What God has done through my mom is to show me that, with His help, people can change. Even people who before were fighting on one side, if they are willing, can put down their weapon and bend down to help someone on the other.
Really, it’s not the Facebook fights that matter. What matters was the dread and hopelessness I felt after every argument. I started to wonder if there was any point in trying to encourage Christians to love the LGBT community when there are so many Christians who are more committed to their opposition of gay people having rights than they are to any other cause.
Then something started to change. I noticed that along with the opposition in the arguments, there was an increasing amount of support from my Mom. She was loving and patient, but also passioned, and as Bible-heavy as ever. Instead of coming away from these encounters feeling dejected, I came away from them feeling incredibly loved. Because she gave me hope – that people can change, that they can switch sides and fight for love, and that this ministry isn’t pointless. Most importantly, she’s shown me that it’s not really her I have to thank, but God, since He’s the one who changed her. Ultimately, because of my Mom’s commitment to not just Christ, but to loving the LGBT community, I’ve seen more evidence than I could have hoped for that proves that, yes, God loves gay people.
Knowing that was one thing, but seeing how God wanted me to clearly, and definitely see that, is another. So thanks Mom, for being willing to change and love, so that God could speak to me. I love you.