Susan and Robert Cottrell
We are honored to share the following blog post from Rob and Susan Cottrell. Susan serves as PFLAG Austin's Vice President. We thank them for allowing us to reshare this piece, which was originally posted at their freedhearts site over on Patheos.


It’s 8:28 am, I open my laptop, Facebook pops up, I click on “family” and Hannah, our youngest daughter, has publicly announced to the world that she is a lesbian. OMG… I love this girl! :-) She is wise beyond her years and bolder and braver than me. This is Rob, a proud Daddy, writing you today.


Hannah is 18-years-old and she told us she was gay a couple years ago, but not many other people knew. She graduated from high school at 16 and has been living, serving, and touching lives in South Africa for two years. She is a singer/songrwiter, surfer, skateboarder, fashion designer, artist and so much more. She has a rare heart and is so compassionate, loving and tender.


As I type these words, she is on a plane coming from Dubai, on her way home. :-)  Get ready Austin, here she comes!


(Just a reminder… we have five children and our oldest daughter came out about four years ago.)


Hannah’s Facebook ‘coming out’ post is absolutely stunning in it’s honesty, transparency, wisdom, love and grace. Within hours she received hundreds of likes and hundreds of comments. I just had to share it with you.
The words of our precious, incredible daughter Hannah, coming out to you and the world…


To some of you this may come as a surprise, and to some of you it may not.
In order to begin living life to it’s absolute fullest, I’m committing myself to being more open and real.
Here goes.
I’m lesbian.
And I love Jesus.
SURPRISE
For those of you smiling and overflowing with love, I thank you. The generation before us fought about interracial marriage. Our generation’s battle is same sex marriage, and I am grateful for you who will stand with me to fight the good fight.
For those of you with jaws dropped in disgust, ready to ‘unfriend’ me from Facebook, I ask you to please do so. I believe Jesus loves me for exactly who I am. I have no problem losing “Facebook friends” over this matter. It just shows how we never were truly friends. I am asking you to respect my beliefs. So I also respect yours. And if what I stand for bothers you, then you have my blessing, no hard feelings.
For those of you who will send me messages with bible verses from 1 Corinthians and 1 Thessalonians that you believe condemns homosexuality, I do appreciate your concern but please be informed that I have spent the past 3 years dissecting the bible, reading the original transcripts and languages of the books that address sex between same gender humans, and spending nights among nights awake crying out to God asking if He hates me, if He made me like this, what I did wrong to be like this, and praying for Him to change me. And the only answer I received was simply, ‘I love you’. So if your personal interpretation of the Bible condemns homosexuality, it’s okay. Just know that we have different personal interpretations, and there is no need to send me verses you believe will change me. And I just gotta tell you, God freakin’ loves you. My heart aches if you interpret the Bible as saying anything else but how much He loves you. HE LOVES YOU.
Being gay isn’t a choice. It isn’t an excuse for sex. It isn’t rebellion. It isn’t a disease.
Contrary to popular belief, gay men don’t lust after every man they see, and lesbians don’t lust after every woman they see.
I stand unafraid to questions, comments, and difference of beliefs. Please feel free to leave a comment and send me a message. I encourage us to differ, as that is what makes us individuals.
I am just as human as anyone, and I do not deserve hate. Neither do you.
I have learned more than I ever could have asked for this last year, specifically this last month of December. I am in my own skin, the skin God Himself created for me to be in. I am awesome. And I have nothing to apologize for.
PS.
I’m sitting here with a glass of wine eating a bowl of cornflakes at 4pm in the afternoon in the southern most part of africa. i’d say it’s the most legit way to handle coming out on facebook.
cheers, cool cats

If you have been unable to come out, or your coming out was met with pain or withdrawal or rejection, I am sorry. Know that you are valuable, and worthy, and beautiful — and any rejection reveals the limits of the rejecter, it says nothing about you. Please believe us about this.
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