Christian mother Kim Higginbotham mourned the "loss" of her son on May 6 -- but he hadn't passed away.
Higginbotham revealed in a blog entry that she had chosen to cut off ties with him due to her religious beliefs:
It has been said that in marriage, the pain and stress of divorce is greater than even the pain of losing a spouse to death. I believe the same can be said of breaking ties with your child. Unless one has experienced this kind of loss and grief, they cannot fully understand the depth of pain experienced by a parent.
Someone may ask, "Why would anyone break ties with her own child?" The answer is, "loyalty to Jesus." Being a disciple of Jesus demands our relationship to him be greater than our relationship to our own family, even our own children (Matthew 10:37).
Higginbotham also described the sacrifice that she made by cutting off ties with her son:
I pray that you never have to make such a sacrifice, but I also pray that you love the Lord enough to choose Him over your children. This is where we find ourselves. This is our life. Our oldest son has turned his back on the Lord, and in spite of all our attempts, he refuses to repent. Consequently, our relationship has changed.
It cannot remain the same and be loyal to Jesus (2 Thessalonians 3:6,14-15; 1 Corinthians 5:1-13). Our contact with our son is now limited to attempts at restoration. We have no fellowship. We used to share holidays, regular phone calls and texts, family events, etc. but now, all that is gone.
Higginbotham stated the two choices that she believed existed:
Our son has completely turned his back on everything he ever believed. He has no respect for the Lord or His church. He has chosen a life of sin rather than the hope of salvation. And because of his rebellion against God, we as parents must make a choice. Do we overlook his practice of sin and maintain our relationship, or do we withdraw ourselves from him as the Lord instructs?
Higginbotham also recalled the happier times with her son when he was an obedient child:
I feel desperation and hopelessness. I’m scared. What probably began as harmless flirtation with sin has now become a quicksand that pulls my son deeper and deeper toward Hell ... I feel embarrassed by what my son has done.
The fact is, I don’t know this person that I once thought I knew so well. Was I blind to things that I should have seen? I believed our relationship was so close. I adored this child. Was the love our son expressed to us all a lie? How does one go from being a respectful obedient child to flagrantly disregarding everything we taught him and everything that we stand for?
Higginbotham concluded her original blog posting with: "Heaven will be a place of great reunion with those who have gone on before. There is an old hymn that invites everyone to 'come to the feast.' I just wish we didn’t have an empty chair at our table."
She also wrote a lengthy reply to her critics in which she compared her suffering to the suffering that Jesus endured:
And one final thought. Those who have, through their “feigned” righteous indignation, called for my death; prayed that I rot in Hell; proposed sexual acts be done to me; cursed at me with the vilest of profanities; and who have blasphemed the God I serve…let me assure you of this one thing…Your hateful words have only solidified my stance ...
In fact, your words have actually given me reason to rejoice in that you have allowed me the privilege, however small it may be, to share in the suffering of Jesus. "But rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings…" (1 Peter 4:13).
Higginbotham did not specify exactly what behavior caused her to take such a dramatic step, but Sharon Hambrick, a Christian and California lawyer, replied to Higginbotham on her blog on May 9, saying the "sin" of Higginbotham's son was homosexuality:
You made this all about you. Indeed, you know that. “I feel embarrassed by what my son has done.” And there it is -- we have a winner! Admitting the problem is the first step to recovery. You’re embarrassed. It’s so gay, after all! How could a gay child have come out of your womb, your home, your faithful teaching of the Bible? How could anyone, brought up by YOU possibly be GAY?...
All the anger and animosity and hate and wailing and tears and hopelessness and anger and blasphemy and nontexting and never-see-ums are not because he’s gay; they’re the results of your response to his being gay. He’s a respectful, loving person. You’re the one who freaked out. You’re the one who wasn’t prepared for the news and went loony tunes when you heard it. You’re the person who lost it.