Disappointment is exhausting and frustrating. It drains us of energy and joy in life. It wakes us up in the middle of the night in a cold sweat, worrying about what will happen tomorrow. Everyone experiences it in life, but no one wants it. Friend, maybe you just found out your child is LGBTQ+ and don't know where to turn where you and your child feel safe and not judged. Perhaps you have been walking this journey for a while but have encountered another unexpected turn in the road. Maybe you received a devastating health diagnosis, lost your job recently, or have some other struggle that grieves your heart. Life happens.
There are questions we ask ourselves. Like, "Why God, why now? This just adds more pain and anxiety to everything else I am going through. Why me?" These are common questions that most of us ask God, and you know what? God can handle our questions; most importantly, He desires us to come to him with our painful struggles and place them at the foot of His throne. He is God, He is not surprised by our circumstances, and we can trust He has a plan and a purpose for everything. He is our God and desires us to be in a relationship with Him. God doesn't expect you to handle this on your own. We are not meant to rely on ourselves.
Unfortunately, Satan aims to destroy us. He wants to isolate us in our pain. He desires we be suspicious of God and His goodness. So, he sneaks in when we are most vulnerable and says, "Don't tell anybody! If you do, it will only make matters worse. See, God doesn't care about you; this would never happen if he did." It is here that he has an opening for crushing us. Don't believe the enemies' lies! Please don't give him a foothold in your life.
2 Corinthians 1:8-9 says,
"For we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers and sisters, about the troubles we experienced in the province of Asia. We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired of life itself. Indeed, we felt we had received the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raised the dead."
2 Corinthians 4:8-10 says,
"We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body."
Do you see that, friends? We have the almighty God to go to, who can raise the dead! Indeed, since He did that, He certainly can help us with our struggles in our life! We live in the middle between two gardens—a place we must learn to wrestle in, but we don't have to wrestle alone. God wants to comfort and deepen our faith in Him. If we never had disappointments, we would never admit and submit to our need for God. So, keep going to Jesus and hand your concerns to Him. He's waiting for you.
New Embracing the Journey Church Partners
We are delighted to announce our newest church partners. Each of these churches is offering in-person Embracing the Journey parent care groups. These groups follow the same curriculum as all our virtual groups, but they're unique because they often meet in person. If you live anywhere near one of these churches, we encourage you to contact them for details. You will indeed be blessed by participating in one of these groups.
Parent Care Group leaders for families with LGB and Non-Binary Children
Jamie and Rhonda have been married for 37 years. They live in Denver, where Jamie is an executive with an oil and gas company and Rhonda is a Certified Spiritual Director and Enneagram Coach. Both came from a Young Life background. Jamie currently serves as an elder for Cherry Hills Community Church, and Rhonda volunteers with various para-church groups.
They are the parents of three adult children and grandparents to six grands. Their youngest child, Jack, came out as gay in early 2018 at the age of 25. While not a total surprise, the news was devastating at the time. Both felt sadness for Jack and fear about the challenges he would face and the impact on his faith. As parents, they were grieving their own lost dreams and hopes for their family. They struggled with the disparity between their deep love for their son and the Bible verses apparently condemning homosexuality.
"We went into the closet. We didn't know how to process Jack's gay identity. We felt very isolated and had only one other couple with whom we felt safe to share the news." A breakthrough came five months later when Jamie and Rhonda reluctantly felt God inviting them to attend a Gay Pride parade without Jack knowing. They stood on the sidelines with posters stating "Free Mom Hugs" and "Free Dad Hugs" and were blown away by the participants' responses. Jamie said, "We made an emotional connection with the folks in the parade who literally ran over to accept a hug. We felt we were standing in the gap for parents/family members who could not accept their LGBTQ child."
Jamie and Rhonda began to research Biblically affirming/non-affirming viewpoints. For Jamie, David Gushee's book, Changing our Mind, was the most impactful. Rhonda credits BT Harmon's Blue Babies Pink Podcast for awakening new compassion for the extremely painful struggle a Christian suffers in the process of coming out.
A year later, after listening to a podcast featuring Greg and Lynn McDonald, Rhonda and Jamie were moved by their message of Matthew 22:36-40, encouraging parents to love both God AND love their child, not despite the Bible but because of it. They read the book Embracing the Journey, contacted the McDonalds, and joined an ETJ Parent Care Group. They are now facilitating their second cohort. They treasure these new friendships and enjoy walking alongside other parents on this unexpected journey.
This summer, Rhonda and Jamie hosted their first (annual?) Pride Party at their home for Jack and his straight and LGBTQ friends. Rhonda said, "We wanted to host a brunch to get to know his new friends and found it deeply rewarding. We were able to connect, talk and share a meal. It was a beautiful celebration of being seen, known, and loved."
Speaker Series Featuring Debbie Causey
Thursday, November 10, 2022 • 7:30 pm ET
Our next Embracing the Journey Speaker Series, features Debbie Causey a licensed counselor and ordained pastor at North Point Community Church. Debbie will be sharing vulnerably about her journey and thoughts from her latest book, The Big Reveal. Debbie will tackle key topics like faith, grief, relational safety, an LGBTQ+ parent's role, your and your child's mental health, and the importance of showing extraordinary love to your child. Like most Christian parents, Debbie was devastated when her son came out. Her grief was compounded by a crisis of faith, wondering whether she and her husband would have to choose between their faith and loving their child. They discovered a path they didn't expect that allowed them to love their LGBTQ child well, hold onto their faith and find God's purposes for them along the way.
With the holidays approaching, you won't want to miss this message. You may feel that the once joyous holidays you looked forward to now consume you with anxiety about family members discovering your child is LGBTQ, or worse, worry you and or your child will be judged. Debbie's insights are life-giving and will help equip you for your unique journey. Half of our time together will be allocated for Q&A.
There is no cost to attend, all our offerings are free of charge, and the Zoom webinar platform allows you to remain anonymous.
“What lies in front of you is never bigger than the one who lives in you.”
— ANN VOSKAMP Canadian Author
We love this quote by Ann because it speaks to God's Holy Spirit living in us, enabling us to embrace the journey God has set before us victoriously.
Special Interest Story
Three years ago, Chris and Lindsay Kinman, a terrific couple from the Pacific Northwest, reached out to Embracing the Journey for help after learning their child was transgender. What followed is an amazing, life-changing story filled with incredible pain, courage, hope, and healing. Today the Kinmans reside halfway around the world in New Zealand. Earlier this year, they contacted us again, but this time they weren’t seeking help; they wanted to volunteer to help other parents with LGBTQ+ children and start the first Embracing the Journey Parent Care Group in New Zealand. Be sure to read their inspiring story featured in Baptist News Global, entitled “When forced to choose between their ministry and their transgender child, this family chose love."
“Embracing the Journey was the shift,” Lindsay said. “That book saved our marriage. That book altered everything for us because Chris was finally able to find traction in the conversation. It gave him permission to love Jesus and love his kid.”
Nice Things People Say
We wish we could adequately describe the difference in the relationship we have with our daughter now compared to one year ago. Thank you, Embracing the Journey, for taking us on this path. We’d be lost without you. — Anonymous
We love helping parents!!! ETJ has taken us from Fear to Thrive and we are enjoying a wonderful relationship with our son. Life is good and we are grateful. — Kathleen Poche’
What an honor it has been for Charles and me to be with you all on this journey. We have learned so much from each of your stories and from so many amazing words of wisdom. I think both of us were a bit nervous going into this as to what to expect. But we have grown in our faith and grown closer together in our marriage and in our relationship with Katie. We look forward to joining a Thrive group and continuing to have a safe place to grow and learn. — Charles and Lisa Harvey