An Evangelical Christian in Odessa, TX, Johnson stewed for months on how her daughter, Cholene, could do such a thing, and whether or not she would attend the ceremony:
One morning, while driving to work, I was “talking” to God, and I said out loud: “What event could a parent be asked to attend that could be worse than this?” The answer came to my mind quickly: “A funeral.”
I knew exactly where the answer had come from, and it shook me to my core. I related this to my son Chip during a telephone conversation. He was quiet for a moment, and then he said, “That’s interesting, Mom, because she has always thought you and Dad would rather she be dead than know she was gay.”
Johnson realized the importance of true Christian love and “adjusted her attitude.” She and her daughter—and her daughter’s wife, Ellen, have since forged a strong family bond.
Now Mother Johnson has written a book for other Evangelical parents struggling with accepting their LGBT children: Above All Things: The Journey of an Evangelical Christian Mother and Her Gay Daughter, out on Changing Lives Press on May 21, details her evolution. “I wrote this book with a sense of purpose-to reconcile families that have been torn apart over this issue, and to reach parents of LGBT children, especially those with evangelical Christian roots, to let them know that they are not alone,” said Johnson, a former dental hygienist. “Our faith can and should lead us all to a path of unconditional love for our children.”
It led Johnson there alright: she’s now president of PFLAG Odessa.
Photo: Shari Johnson/Changing Lives Press