As we entered the chapel that Sunday, I sensed my son’s uneasiness as we quickly took our seats. I saw no awkward stares. The people who looked our way smiled with a friendly nod. As the congregation began to sing one of my favorite hymns, “Because I Have Been Given Much,” gratitude filled my heart, and that’s when the tears began. The words “I have been given much” rang true. I had a wonderful husband; seven grown children, four who are married, raising children of their own; a son on a mission; and, in my church pew that day, I had one arm around my unwed, pregnant daughter and my other arm around my gay son, with his boyfriend sitting beside him. My children were with me at church, and they had come on their own accord. These tears trickling down my face were tears of joy.
Through experiences I’ve had with them, I have learned that even when we disagree, we can still be respectful of our differences and find plenty to love in one another. They taught me lessons in love that I don’t think I could have learned any other way. Today, I was grateful that my son and daughter had the courage to come to church with me. It was a much-welcomed tender mercy.
Following the Church meeting, my daughter received a genuine hug from her visiting teacher, and many in the congregation shook my son’s hand and introduced themselves to his companion. My heart filled with deep gratitude as I witnessed true Christlike love. It’s the kind of love we can all work to develop each day.
God knows what we need to become more—to become more like Him. He knew I needed these seven children, with all of their different perspectives and personalities.