Have you ever had those days where out of the blue, something occurred to you that seemed so obvious? Well, that happened to us earlier this week.
For most of our children, “coming out” is one of the hardest things they will ever do. The fear of not being loved or known can be crippling. Consequently, our Care Team encourages parents to make sure their children know they are fully loved and known not just by them but also by God, and nothing will ever change that. As Pastor and author Timothy Keller says, “To be loved but not known is comforting but superficial. To be known and not loved is our greatest fear. But to be fully known and truly loved is, well, a lot like being loved by God.”
So, the other day, we were co-leading one of our Embracing the Journey parent care groups with a group of amazing parents from the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom. It occurred to us the need to be fully known and truly loved also applies to parents. Most Christian parents fear judgment for themselves and/or their children and therefore keep their children’s sexuality or gender a secret from friends and family.
It became obvious that hundreds of parents flock to our parent care groups seeking a community where they find solace, hope, and peace because they are in a safe environment. Parents find themselves surrounded by other like-minded Jesus followers who all have LGBTQ+ children. They feel safe to share vulnerably and deeply, and as a result, they discover they are fully loved and known by their new group of friends.
Through our coaching and counseling ministry, we hear from new parents daily. Sometimes parents have known about their child being LGBTQ+ for years, while others just received the news. Don’t go it alone. If you are looking for a safe community of like-minded fellow Christians with LGBTQ+ children where you can be yourself, Embracing the Journey Parent Care Groups are for you. They are live virtual small groups that meet via Zoom meetings. Though it may feel like you are navigating choppy and uncharted waters, these are not uncharted waters for our team. To learn more about our safe parent care groups, drop us a note at: firstname.lastname@example.org attention Greg and Lynn.
Speaker Series Featuring Dr. David Gushee Wrap-Up
Hundreds of people from 44 states, Puerto Rico, and 8 foreign countries registered for our June 9th Speaker Series featuring one of the world's leading Christian Ethicists, Dr. David Gushee. David shared his thoughts on “Transformative Encounters and Paradigm Leaps.” He invited listeners to understand how encounters with their own LGBTQ children can change the lens of how we read scripture. If you could not attend the webinar or had a nonworking Zoom link, you can view Dr. Gushee's talk and the 40-minutes of Q&A that followed.
Parent Care Group leaders for families with LGB and Non-binary Children.
If you had told Scott and Hanne a year ago that they would be part of the Embracing the Journey leadership team facilitating a Parent Care Group, they would have never believed it! The journey with their now 26-year-old non-binary transgender child, Scottie, has brought them to a place that now brings joy and blessing.
As Scott and Hanne say, “The journey has certainly not been without pain and loss.” Their son Scottie (David at the time) came out to them as same-sex attracted while preparing for missions eight years ago in college.
Scottie went to Northern Africa as a missionary committed to staying celibate unless the Lord somehow changed his desire from men to women. When Scottie realized God was not changing him, he wrestled with God about whether he could be a gay Christian man and possibly be in a same-sex relationship. He felt affirmed by God and, as a result, was asked to leave the mission.
The Larson’s response from the beginning had been “We will always love you, and we will always support you,” while internally, they were filled with fear. Hanne says, “Our fear leaked onto Scottie during that time and caused a lot of pain in our relationship.”
After Scottie’s return from Africa, he moved in with his sister Sarah in Chicago. Sarah is one year older and was an amazing support to Scottie. He enjoyed worshipping at Sarah’s church until he was informed he could not be in any leadership capacity. So much hurt and rejection caused Scottie to walk away from Christianity.
Scott and Hanne point out that “It has been a journey for us to acknowledge how our fears from when Scottie was very young contributed to much of his pain.”
We are so grateful for Embracing the Journey and how having the support of other parents has brought us to a place of healing, deepened our relationship with Scottie, and changed us in the process.
Today, the Larson’s also volunteer with a group of LGBT asylum seekers. These individuals come from around the world, where they are persecuted because of their sexuality or gender identity. They regularly host events for 30 LGBT asylum seekers and facilitate a bi-weekly trauma group. Scott and Hanne say, “We now get to be a place of mutual healing for each other. We are amazed at the creativity of God!”
“Be yourself. People may admire you for your strengths, but they connect with you through your weaknesses.”
— CRAIG GROESCHEL
This quote by Pastor Craig Groeschel really resonates with us. Too often, parents are concerned they may no longer be admired or even respected when their friends learn their child is LGBTQ+. Yet, the reality is that we connect deeply with those willing to reveal their weaknesses. Look at the deepest relationships you have; seldom are they with individuals who put on a shiny appearance that they are practically perfect. We all admire genuine and authentic people, especially our kid's generation. It is tempting, even normal, to be concerned about what others may think but remember, we serve an audience of one, Jesus.
Special Interest Story
Drs. Lane and Laura Smothers who are physicians in Casper, Wyoming are part of the Embracing the Journey leadership team where they counsel parents and lead Parent Care Groups for Christian parents with LGBTQ+ children.
For the second year running, the Smothers set up an Embracing the Journey booth at the Casper Pride event. They gave away countless mom and dad hugs, copies of the book Embracing the Journey, Skittles, and water bottles, but mostly gave of themselves. We salute TEAM SMOTHERS!
Consider Partnering With Us In This Life-Saving Work
As bridge-builders, reconcilers, and peacemakers, God allows us to be part of his work to bring about healing and restoration for countless Christian families with LGBTQ+ children. Because of the generosity of families and churches who our ministry has blessed, we do not charge for any of our services:
One-on-one biblically based counsel
Parent Care Groups
We invite you to become a financial partner by making a recurring monthly or one-time gift; caring quality people like you allow us to help countless hurting families. When you partner with us we will send you two signed copies of Embracing the Journey, A Christian Parents Blueprint to Loving Your LGBTQ Child. You’ll find this book extraordinarily helpful as it will help you develop a deeper relationship with your LGBTQ+ child and God. You can give the second book to a friend or family member struggling with their journey.