Jessyca has a passion for softball. She played softball for junior high, high school, and college teams, so we spent a lot of time at ballparks. I loved to go to her games. I hated to miss even one. If she had an out-of-town game, we would go and spend the night—sometimes in a hotel or in a camper on the back of our truck—and away we went. We had a great time.
Traveling to games provided us with time to talk. During that time, we developed the ability to talk about anything. I miss those years of softball!
After playing softball in college for two years, and with an injured shoulder, Jessyca decided that it was time to leave softball and pursue another passion of hers—serving a mission. Jessyca has a way of putting her mind to something, focusing on it, and giving her all in order to accomplish it.
Jessyca was an excellent missionary, and she wrote amazing letters home about the incredible spiritual experiences she was having. They were the once-in-a-mission-type experiences, but for Jessyca, they occurred regularly. The inspiration that she received was clear; she acted on it, and the blessings were there.
It was after Jessyca returned home from her mission that she told me she was dealing with same-sex attraction.
She wasn’t making a statement by telling me; it was more of a realization on her part.
We had a very frank and mature discussion about it. We talked openly with each other, just like we always had in the past.
As time went on, we began to discuss this in greater detail, and I could see the struggle within her. To see that battle within her was heartbreaking, and it still is.
As a parent, how can you not want to help a child who is struggling? It’s a natural parental instinct to want to hold them and make it all better.
And even though I can’t make it all better, I can listen to her, love her, and support her.
This has been difficult, but she will fight through this, and she will be stronger for it. She attacks all of her problems by diving in, studying them, and finding people who can support and befriend her. And that’s exactly what she has done with this situation. She has found people to connect with and to help her through it.
She has put an enormous amount of effort into understanding how she feels, and she spends a lot of time on her knees in prayer. There is no doubt in my mind that she receives guidance through the Spirit. She knows that she has had special guidance through this and special answers to her prayers. She knows that. She has a burning testimony because of these experiences; hence, I know she can make it through.
Walking through this with Jessyca has opened my eyes and softened my heart.
I have unconditional love for my children despite what they go through. That unconditional love and acceptance of them is clearly what’s important.
We all have circumstances in our lives that can be specifically hard for us. We all need to help each other, be a little more understanding, and show love and acceptance, just like our Savior does for all of us.