In this season of gratitude, we're especially thankful for those of you who support Embracing the Journey financially. Your generosity empowers us to help more Christian families with LGBTQ+ loved ones through our honest, compassionate, and hopeful teaching. We hear from families every week of how our ministry helped bring healing to their family, or in some cases, saved a loved one's life.
This wouldn't be possible without you; thank you for your generosity!
A Personal Update & Invitation from Greg & Lynn
3 M i n u t e s
5 Tips For Parents Wrestling with Their Child’s Gender or Sexuality
1. Embrace Your Journey
Most parents wouldn't sign up for having their child be LGBTQ+ any more than their child signed up for it. Leaning into your situation is the first step toward healing. Refusing to embrace your journey simply prolongs your pain, slows your healing, and creates further harm. It also creates disunity and too often pushes your child away from God. Rest assured that your child being LGBTQ is not a surprise to God, and there is hope.
2. Respond with Love
When your child tells you they're LGBTQ+, recognize it is one of the most difficult things they will ever do. Your mind is probably swirling with all kinds of anxious thoughts. At this moment, stop and look into your child's eyes, reassure them that you love them and that you are here for them. You may not understand why they are LGBTQ+ but ask them to give you some time to process what they just shared with you. Responding with love will reinforce to your child that you are safe to talk with and encourage further conversations. Remember, your child will never forget your response.
3. Come Out of The Closet
It is an interesting phoneme that when individuals come out of the closet and tell their parents they are LGBTQ, most Christian parents respond by retreating to the safety of their closet. But is it really safe? It is natural to go there, but don't stay there long. Parents worry about how their Christian friends, families, and co-workers will respond to the news that their child is LGBTQ+. They fear they and their child may not be able to attend their church any longer. They wonder if they had something to do with their child being LGBTQ+. Remember, Satan loves to isolate us and means to destroy our families. He knows that when isolated, eventually, we begin to lose hope, and for some, they even begin to question God's existence. Satan desires to destroy our relationships and especially our relationship with God. Know that God is crazy in love with you and your child, just as you are, and he will lead you on your journey. God has trusted you with this, so trust him.
4. Look at Jesus
Exercise great caution when you encounter people who have learned to weaponize the Bible; when select passages of scripture are used to harm people, that cancel out some of the most beautiful and important themes in the Bible. Themes like love, mercy, grace, faithfulness, compassion, justice, and hospitality. As a Jesus follower, we encourage you to dig deep into the gospels and look at Jesus, who he hung out with, how he treated people, and what he had to say. It will have a profound impact on how you view your child and his friends as we are called to be imitators of Christ.
5. Better Together
We can assure you that one of the very best ways to bring about healing for you and your child is to join a safe and confidential support group for Christian parents who have LGBTQ+ children. There is something remarkably healing about walking with other Christian parents on similar journeys. The ability to hear from people, just like yourself, will help you realize you and your child are not some anomalies. Learning what worked and didn't work with other families can be nothing short of life-giving. To join the many hundreds of Christian parents who participate in our groups, drop us a note at firstname.lastname@example.org. We would love to welcome you to one of our groups, and we'll be in touch to let you know what options are available for you based on your time zone and whether your loved one identifies as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or queer.
Shauna & Doug Habel
Care Team Coaches and Parent Support Group Leaders
Doug and Shauna Habel live in Southern California. In 2016, Shauna heard the story of a gay friend recounting his pain and couldn't forget his suffering. Feeling God tugging on her heart, she began googling and found The Reformation Project and learned they held their conference in Long Beach that year. She recalls, "My first moments at the conference were of walking into a worship room and seeing young, gay adults worshipping God. I could feel the Holy Spirit in the room and see their vibrant faith despite the pain they faced. It moved me to tears and a new understanding of the unending grace of our Savior." Then, a year later, their daughter Hannah came out to Shauna on a train as they were traveling through England. It would be yet another year before she came out to Doug, her dad. Once Doug was a part of the conversation, Doug and Shauna felt led to start a parent support group at their evangelical church. After flying to Atlanta to meet Greg and Lynn in April of 2019, they returned to meet with various pastors at Saddleback Church for the next six months, finding Pastor Chris and his wife, Elisa Clark, who have a transgender son. Together, just ten weeks after they first met, they launched the first Embracing the Journey support group at Saddleback Church. A year and a half later, Saddleback Church hosts four ongoing support groups and one small group. Countless families have shared the healing and restored relationships they have experienced with their LGBTQ child and the deeper faith in Christ they have found on this journey. Shauna and Doug envision the day when every parent of an LGBTQ+ child has an Embracing the Journey support group. As the Habel's say, "God calls us to the marginalized, and it is there we find the deepest compassion of Christ.
This compassion moved Jesus to reach out and touch the poor, heal the lepers, and restore the outcast.
As we move in this same compassion, we also experience miracles in our family's lives today. A favorite life scripture for us is, "God is for us! Nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord." Romans 8:38,39
A Favorite Quote
“It is my practice to try to understand how valuable something is by trying to imagine myself without it.”
— HERB KELLEHER
The late Herb Kelleher was the legendary co-founder of Southwest Airlines. We love this quote by Herb because it can be so life changing. We know way too many families who would give their eyeteeth to get a “do-over” with their LGBTQ+ child because they didn’t understand how valuable they were until after their relationship was damaged. This quote is especially fitting during this season of gratitude. Be thankful for and take a moment to step back and do an inventory of what you value.
Parents in Process Workshop
The Parents in Process workshop (October 28, 2021) during The Reformation Project conference was an enormous success for the third year. This year’s event was held in Phoenix, AZ, and attended by 65 parents with LGBTQ+ children. Doug and Shauna Habel spearheaded the workshop on behalf of Embracing the Journey. The teaching was designed to help parents move from fear to survival and ultimately thrive where they experience newfound purpose, they once thought impossible. Members of the Embracing the Journey Care Team, participated in a Parent Panel Discussion. Christian LGBTQ individuals participated in an LGBTQ Panel Discussion. Matthew & Monte Vines shared how they navigated the scriptures together, and an open forum with Greg and Lynn laid the groundwork for increased learning, understanding, hope, and healing.
Support • You Are Not Alone
Especially during the holiday season our team is here for you and help guide you with the stress of family gatherings. If you or a loved one are interested in joining one of our virtual parent support groups or seeking counsel to help you process the myriad of emotions you are experiencing, we are here for you. Write us at email@example.com, and we will schedule a time to talk in person. We do not charge for our services.