22 Nov 2023
There’s a hurting and often invisible population amid the LGBTQ+ revolution right now: parents. Each week I hear stories from moms and dads who communicate their pain, need, and sense of grievous loss in response to a child who is struggling with sexuality or gender or has embraced unbiblical ideology altogether. Proverbs 17:17 says, “A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.” I’d like to humbly offer a few suggestions to my brothers and sisters in the church about how to love this often-invisible part of the body of Christ well in their adversity.
Weep with Those Who Weep
We are all familiar with Romans 12:15: “Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep.” Be prepared to enter the heartbreak of your brothers and sisters walking this difficult road. Even Job’s friends, who did not always offer the best counsel or help, entered into Job’s grief. Job 2:11 says, “Now when Job’s three friends heard of all this evil that was come upon him, they came each from his own place, Eliphaz the Temanite, and Bildad the Shuhite, and Zophar the Naamathite. They made an appointment together to come to show him sympathy and comfort him.”
As people who need Christ, we ought to not be shocked that these issues are on our doorstep.
How can you grow into that kind of friend, seeking out parents who are hurting? You don’t always need all the right words to say; sometimes a quiet companion in suffering is just what someone needs. “And they sat with him on the ground seven days and seven nights, and no one spoke a word to him, for they saw that his suffering was very great” (Job 2:13).
A Showcase or a Hospital?
As people who need Christ, we ought to not be shocked that these issues are on our doorstep. How is God wanting you to grow as a safe and trustworthy friend for others in their heartache? After all, we are fellow Christians who know that in this world, we face trouble. We all know the painful burden of others’ sins and the reality of our own dark hearts without Christ.
Brothers and sisters dealing with the trauma of a child who has embraced a transgender or gay identity commonly describe their ordeal with words such as devastating, suffocating, sleeplessness, agonizing, earth shattering. The parents I’ve ministered to are generally earnest, sincere believers who have poured into their children’s lives and nurtured them in the Lord. Frequently, I hear stories from parents who were blindsided by their kids’ embrace of an LGBTQ+ identity. Their hopes and expectations for their kids becoming faithful adult followers of Jesus are crushed, and so are their hearts.
We want these believing parents and their children to see the church as a welcoming place where they can wrestle with these issues.
Pray about how you can be approachable and ready to enter into the sorrow of these parents. And consider talking with your church’s leaders about how they are thinking this through as they shepherd your congregation. We want these believing parents and their children to see the church as a welcoming place where they can wrestle with these issues. Remember Jesus’s words to the scribes and Pharisees when they murmured against him because he ate with publicans and sinners: “They that are whole need not a physician; but they that are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance” (Luke 5:31).
Pastors, Preach on LGBTQ+ Ideology
Brothers, you have an amazing privilege to preach about the beauty of God’s good creation—male and female made in his image and the beauty of marriage between one man and one woman. Preach to the young people in the church; warn, urge, and encourage them in the way of truth. Don’t shy away from these topics. Based on the constant flow of Christian parents reaching out to us here at Harvest USA for help in dealing with their LGBTQ+ identified children, these issues are in our churches whether we know about them or not. We can’t abdicate through silence, hoping we’ll somehow be safe. Parents desperately need God’s ambassadors to be that prophetic voice to their children alongside them. If you’re preaching on this issue, it makes it a lot easier for parents to feel comfortable approaching church leadership for help.
Many parents feel alone and isolated, even in their church. This ought not to be. Often, when their child comes out of the closet, they go in the closet.
Many parents feel alone and isolated, even in their church. This ought not to be. Often, when their child comes out of the closet, they go in the closet. They feel shame and guilt. Unfortunately, many young people caught up in the LGBTQ+ movement are poisoned against their parents and coached to blame and attack their parents as toxic for not affirming their new identity. These parents need the church to be there for them. The church is God’s place for these parents to grieve, to receive wise counsel, to be bolstered in the truth, and to be supported in their many difficult decisions. And the church needs to be ready and willing to minister to their children, as well.
Humility and Love
Philippians 2:1–8 is helpful and instructive—it calls us to emulate the humility and love of our blessed Savior. Parents going through this kind of suffering won’t benefit from pronouncements of guilt, judgmental assessments of their parenting, or easy answers to their child’s struggles. They need kind, humble, and gracious brothers and sisters who will walk gently beside them and be there in all the ups, downs, and messiness of this difficult road God has called them to walk.
The parents I walk with are asking hard questions and doing serious heart work which requires faith, repentance, and a teachable spirit as we work through our curriculum, Shattered Dreams, New Hope. They’re often dealing with excruciatingly hard decisions about pronouns, new names, same sex wedding attendance, how to navigate their relationship with their child’s gay partner, how this issue affects family dynamics with other children and grandchildren, and a myriad of other things. Be the kind of friend who is faithful in prayer, ever ready to encourage, and willing to lament with them. And be real about your own suffering and shattered dreams.
These are just a few suggestions which I’ve ruminated on over the time I’ve been privileged to walk alongside these hurting parents. May God help us to be those who are known by our love and willing to lay down our lives for the brethren to the glory of God, the good of his church, and as a witness to the unbelieving world.
02 Nov 2023
Creativity—and imagination. Humans are blessed with these things by their Creator. It’s part of the image of God in us. He, after all, is endlessly creative.
The trouble is that our creativity, like all other good things he has given, is twisted by our fallenness; we’re very good at misusing it.
Consider our tendency to imagine the future. There’s a place for planning and organizing, but “thinking ahead” can simply mean manufacturing negative what-ifs. It can become a constant habit of borrowing trouble; it can be the incubator of false assumptions, worry, and despair. We often readily adopt those what-ifs as real possibilities, which soon develop into probabilities. Before we know it, we’re imagining them as prophecies. . . and soon, in our mind’s eye, they’re facts!
This negatively creative mindset can become our regular context of thinking and cause us to progressively doubt much of what God has told us in his Word.
It’s incredibly easy to wander into the fearsome Land of What-If and live there.
Why Is What-If Thinking So Easy?
Parents and families of sexual strugglers may ask:
- What if my son marries his partner?
- What if I’m the only one in the family who says this is wrong?
- What if my daughter decides to do hormones or surgery?
- What if the people at church shut us out because our son is gay?
- What if my daughter tells the grandchildren that Uncle Jim is now Aunt Jane?
- What if my son stops all communication with me because I accept Scripture?
- What if my daughter’s new “friends” lead her into drugs, or worse?
- What if this all goes on for years . . . and years?
We’re capable of filling our thinking with awful possibilities. But to what end? Why do we do that, especially when we don’t (and can’t) exist in the future?
Control and Trust
Our desire to be in control is the primary motivation for what-if thinking. We want to make and control the plans. In this, we’re still doing what Adam and Eve did: trying to know, be, and do what only God can know, be, and do. We want to replace him; we want to be sovereign. That may sound like an extreme diagnosis, but when we’re controlled by worry and manufactured assumptions about the future, we usually spend our time fearing and trying to manipulate that future based on the self-deception that we can manipulate or prevent it.
In essence, then, we have forgotten what we know about a sovereign God who is in charge. His will always culminates in good and glory, regardless of what it looks like to us in the process. When we forget this, fear seems warranted—even necessary. It’s a vicious cycle. Essentially, we’ve panicked over the “horizontal”—the relationships and situations between us and other people—and forgotten the “vertical”—our relationship with our Creator and Savior. We’ve stopped trusting the only One who can help. What-if thinking fixes our eyes on ourselves—our wisdom, understanding, and desires—instead of trusting the Lord who knows and loves us.
How Can We Escape What-If Thinking?
We do what-if thinking so very well. We can’t just stop thinking this way; our what-ifs must be replaced by something even stronger—and the good news is that we have that in the gospel of Jesus. Look at it this way:
- What-if thinking consists of possibilities. It makes sense to replace possibilities with something that is for sure, always factual—the person of a Creator God.
- What-if thinking requires that I, myself, create and manage scenarios that look like solutions. However, working a heart-change in a sexual struggler is beyond my ability. So why not rely on the Holy Spirit to do a job that was never mine in the first place?
- What-if thinking quickly loses its hold on our minds when we see prayer for the struggler as our main ministry. Prayer means laying our concerns before our Father—without including timetables or directions. We admit our inability, we trust him to work, and we ask him to direct us clearly toward any role that he has for us. In other words, we pray; we follow.
Not surprisingly, Philippians 4:6 says that the outcome of this dependent, prayerful, patient-with-God approach will indeed be a stronger way, made-to-order for keeping us from the Land of What-ifs entirely:
“And the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
Look to the cross of Christ and see our Lord’s faithfulness; consider our Father’s overcoming grace. Ask him for the grace to focus on all he is and says. Let him be God. As for the Land of What-ifs? No need to go there!
14 Sep 2023
This post is an edited excerpt from Across the Kitchen Table: Talking about Trans with Your Teen, by Sam A. Andreades. Available to preorder now at Harvest USA!
A difficult case confronted Jesus as he came down from the mountain in Mark 9. His disciples had been trying to help a father whose boy was really messed up, but the problem was too difficult for them. What follows is the longest description of a healing/exorcism in the Gospels. The uncommon amount of detail affords us insight into how Jesus worked to restore people to wholeness. While we do not know all that Jesus did each time he made someone better, this lengthy example shows that it sometimes involved a process.
Jesus the Diagnostician
Jesus works with families. The process of addressing the child’s need first turns into an instruction for the friends trying to help—in this case, the disciples (Mark 9:14, 18–19, 28–29). It then turns into an address of the father’s need as well. Jesus talks to the father about the man’s own heart as revealed by the situation (Mark 9:22–24).
We similarly find, in trying to help a condition like teen trans, God challenges our own hearts. As secular psychologists Susan and Marcus Evans recognize, “exploring the family dynamics is an essential part of any assessment [of gender dysphoria].” As you help your son or daughter, God is after your growth as well. At the very least, a gender-troubled loved one will require you to grow in love and faith. You, as the parent, are instrumental in your child’s progress.
Then the Diagnostician turns to the boy himself. Jesus has a way of drawing the real problem out of people. In his presence, the evil possessing this man’s son soon shows (Mark 9:20). The boy is in the grip of a spirit that brings him to body-mutilation. This self-destructive force has overcome his soul (Mark 9:18, 20 and Matthew 17:15 emphasizes the boy’s self-harm). As Jesus observes the manifestation with the father, he asks the man a telling question about his son: “How long has he been like this?” (Mark 9:21, NIV). Jesus is interested in the boy’s history; it somehow helped to hear what may have led to the present condition.
Breakfast and Other Past Events
Revisiting the past to study a key moment when “it all started” occurs in other places where we see God’s counsel in the Bible—in fact, the first one. God revisits the beginning of Adam and Eve’s problem by asking them what they had for breakfast (Gen 3:11). He thereby takes them back to see the decision they made that produced the shame under which they now labor. Isaiah the prophet conveys God’s diagnosis of how Israel had, at one point, gone wrong in adopting another means of security instead of God himself. He takes them back to a past key time when they “made a covenant with death” (Isa. 28:14–19).
Going backward sometimes helps people go forward. A probable cause of pronounced body alienation is earlier-life trauma. As John Calvin put it, “Satan mixes up his attacks with natural means.” Sins by others against our bodies can greatly exacerbate the shame to which we are already susceptible. If one feels like one’s body is the problem, a reasonable place to look for the source of that discomfiture is in an experience that would make one want to separate from the body. Unfortunately, childhood sexual abuse, an example of the kind of trauma that can derail a person’s gender, can take place without anyone finding out until much later.
Sometimes, for example, in response to being hurt by a man, one finds in an abused girl a desire to be a man in order to not get hurt: “I want to be a man because men are not vulnerable.” Early on, she makes a decision to never get hurt again, and this is the best way to ensure it. She deeply wants what she perceives as the protective power of being a man. Sometimes, a sexually abused boy concludes, “I am treated by men as a woman, so I must be a woman.” He internalizes his abuse and shields himself from disgust by the strong desire to be a woman.
Of course, such a horrid experience as child abuse is very difficult to revisit. It is easier to say, “I’m in the wrong body” and never have to speak of it again. But, if that is our reality, ignoring it further damages us. When a person is ready to talk about past excruciating experiences, licensed counselors can help provide the delicate care needed to make the recalling tolerable. Furthermore, revisiting such awful memories can only help if the person reinterprets them in light of God’s presence and acceptance. As cited above, God directed his first “How long has it been like this?” question to Adam and Eve. God revisited their initial decision to help them connect their wrong reaction to temptation to what they were currently experiencing. He then lovingly clothed them, giving them a new way to deal with their shame (Gen 3:21). Jesus’s questioning of the boy’s father showed that his presence can overcome any trauma, even if it dates to childhood (Mark 9:21).
In Prison No Longer
When, as Jesus found in his diagnosis, we see a greater evil has taken hold, God will take greater measures. One time, a cross-dressing man—we’ll call him “Archie”—contacted me at his wits’ end. He came over to talk, and we reviewed his strange history. Since age fourteen, Archie had periodically adopted a woman’s persona. Therapist after therapist, psychologist after psychologist, told him this was just how he was made. But it didn’t help. He ended up in prison. When he got out, he said, “I am still in prison.” He was, at times, close to suicide. When, decades later, he finally broke free of the addictive medications he was on, he began to have clarity about himself.
As he described his strange history to me and asked for my help, he made no bones about having a demonic possession. It was more a matter of Archie doing the diagnosing rather than me. He could tell that Satan lay behind his man-denying behavior. The Dark One exploited the sexual molestation visited on Archie at six years old by an evil grandfather.
I do not tend to rush into these things. Archie had not been to church in 25 years. But he did understand his guilt, shame, and need for reinterpretation in Christ. After further discussion, prayer, and enacting appropriate safeguards, I (as I’ve done on rare occasions) performed an exorcism. That was the beginning of Archie as a changed man. In my last contact with him, he wasn’t in prison anymore. (We can expect more need for demonic deliverance as our culture continues its steady march to paganism.)
Trauma-induced gender tearing can be redeemed by re-understanding it to be inside the care of our heavenly Father and including it in the reason for Christ’s work on our behalf. But this the Holy Spirit is faithful to do with God’s children. It is remarkable to see him apply Jesus Christ’s excruciation to areas of pain in our lives to bring about healing, forgiveness, and, in the end, freedom. Yet this, he does.
 Susan Evans and Marcus Evans, Gender Dysphoria: A Therapeutic Model for Working with Children, Adolescents and Young Adults (Oxfordshire, Oxford, England: Phoenix Publishing House Ltd., 2021), 93.
 John Calvin, Calvin’s Commentaries (1852; reprint, Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 1981), XVI:II:322.
07 Sep 2023
Whether you’re parenting toddlers, teens, or both, today’s sexual climate probably concerns you. I once heard parenting described as walking around with your heart outside your body ; that feels accurate. Parents face intense vulnerability as we strive to keep our dear children safe. Now that I have a teen and a ten-year-old, keeping my boys safe looks much different than when they were babies and toddlers. I’m no longer worried about them catapulting out of their crib or flinging themselves into a pool.
But the dangers they face as they grow older are even scarier. Will they cling to Christ amid an antagonistic culture? Will they continue to know who they are as boys—growing into men—made in God’s image to glorify him? Will they resist the dehumanizing and addictive lure of pornography? If they marry, will they commit to women who fear the Lord? Of course, I care about their physical well-being. But will their souls be safe?
More than anything, I long to rejoice in eternal glory with my sons as my brothers.
God Uses Means
It’s easy to look around at the world and let fear shrivel our hearts. According to a recent Barna survey, 73% of Christian parents are “concerned about their children’s spiritual development.” This concern isn’t groundless; our children are under attack (see 1 Peter 5:8). As Mark Sanders highlighted, so many of our youth are deceived and seeking purpose in identifying as LGBTQ+. What can we do to make sure our kids will be okay?
Being not sovereign, not omniscient, and not omnipotent, we can’t guarantee anything. Our parenting can’t secure any particular outcome for our children. Faithful Christian parents might, heartbreakingly, watch their children turn away from the Lord.
Yet God works through means. In his providence, godly parents are a gift to their children and instruments in the Lord’s hands. How can we parent our kids from a place of confidence in the Lord rather than fear? Here are some thoughts and practices I’ve observed in wise Christian parents that my husband and I seek, by God’s grace, to follow.
- Trusting the Lord
Exhausted and defeated when my newborn wasn’t sleeping despite my having read, underlined, and applied all the baby book instructions, I agonized over what I was doing wrong. Don’t we all like a clear “do this, get that” sequence? But children are not programmable robots and only sometimes do what we expect.
Just as we’re saved only by God’s grace in Christ, not by our works, he is the only one we can rely on in all aspects of raising our kids. If they resist LGBTQ+ ideology and other sexual sins, it will be by God’s grace. This shatters my pride and gives me hope. If our children stand firm, praise Jesus—it’s his work alone. If they turn away, God is still good and accomplishing his plan in their lives and ours. I am finite and less good than God, the author of my children’s story as well as my own.
I am finite and less good than God, the author of my children’s story as well as my own.
The Judge of all the earth shall do what is just (Gen. 18:25) and calls himself “a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness” (Ex. 34:6b). This truth soaks comfort into a believer’s soul, helping us entrust our precious children to the everlastingly faithful Father. We can’t guarantee anything, and we certainly can’t save them—and this is good news, because we make terrible saviors. The hopeful reality is that they’re in the hands of the triune Creator, who is justice, mercy, and love.
I’m happily convinced that praying for and with our kids is the best thing we can ever do for them. It’s better than all the discipline, school choices, family times, and device limits in the world.
Praying for Our Children
In Christ, frail humans are united to the One who spoke the universe into existence and keeps our breath circulating each moment. Prayer acknowledges that we are God’s, his way is best, and he is mighty. Before stating that “children are a heritage from the LORD, the fruit of the womb a reward” (v. 3), Psalm 127 begins with a foundational truth: “Unless the LORD builds the house, those who build it labor in vain. Unless the LORD watches over the city, the watchman stays awake in vain” (vv. 1–2). We can rest (“he gives to his beloved sleep”) because God is the builder and the watchman (v. 2).
Yet here lies one of Scripture’s great paradoxes: the almighty Lord chooses to work through the prayers of his people. Our prayers are part of God accomplishing his plan for our children. Let’s earnestly plead for them—for their salvation, their preservation, their delight in Jesus, their Kingdom usefulness, their eternal joy.
Praying with Our Children
Praying together establishes the family as a team, united in seeking the good of unbelievers for God’s glory. It lifts our gaze up and away from ourselves, opening our eyes to a world that needs the gospel and increasing our compassion for the lost. You most likely know a young person experiencing gender dysphoria—as a family, bring him or her before the throne of grace.
Praying with our children also models how believers can respond to intense emotions. In Christ, none of us must bear life’s weight alone. What a gift this is! We’re introducing them to our lifeline—a replenishing stream of communication with the living Lord who welcomes us in our sin, confusion, weakness, and fear. In prayer, directed by God’s Word, our children can run to Jesus with the deep troubles of their hearts instead of looking for hope in sexual sin and misplaced identity. We teach our kids to call 911 in an emergency; how much more to run to Jesus in prayer.
- Christ-Centered Marriage
Marriage in the Lord is holistically beneficial. Instituted by God for his glory and our joy, marriage between one man and one woman leads to whole-family flourishing that ripples out into the church and wider community. The radiating warmth of a godly marriage undermines today’s cultural idea that traditional marriage is oppressive. It’s so good for children to experience the loving stability of a home where their parents’ marriage is anchored in the Lord.
However, families face the reality of sin daily, and sometimes grievously. Your marriage may not be a haven; it may be broken. I’m sorry if you’re carrying this heavy burden.
Marriage, as great as it is, is not a final destination. It exists to illuminate the eternal spiritual reality of Christ and his bride, and, in the church, we bear one another’s burdens (Gal. 6:2). Being part of a local church also provides the opportunity to see healthy families in action. My husband’s dad had an affair with the neighbor’s wife when my husband was only two years old. Later, his stepfather physically and emotionally abused him. Yet in the church, he saw husbands and wives loving one another and children happy in their security; he began to learn what it means to follow Jesus as a husband and father.
- Christian Community
I’ve learned much from families who are consistently involved in their local church, pursuing the means of grace despite physical obstacles and pain. This communicates to our kids that meeting with God’s people, under the preached Word, is not optional but essential. Taking communion, singing, praying together in the Lord—this is oxygen to believers living in a carbon-monoxide world.
And in the family of God, our children get to experience a truly gracious community. A desire for belonging may often drive young people toward an LGBTQ+ lifestyle. But the church offers a far richer, more diverse, beautifully hopeful community where every individual matters not for how they self-actualize, but because God says they are innately precious image-bearers.
We need not hide from the world, afraid of being infected by its cultural agenda. Exercising wisdom is not the same thing as letting fear guide the way we interact with unbelievers.
Hospitality has always been central to following Jesus, and following Jesus leaves no room for fear, snobbery, or judgment. We were not saved by a superior understanding of male and female chromosomes or because our sexual preferences align with the Bible’s teaching, but by God’s welcoming mercy. We who call Jesus “Lord” were welcomed by him when we were deceived and hopeless. The bedrock of Christian hope is that the triune God loved us when we were still sinners and made us alive together in Christ when we were dead in our trespasses (Eph. 2:4–9, my emphasis).
In a culture saturated by an anemic, clichéd understanding of love—where “love is love” and “love wins”—the biblical assurance is this: God is love and Jesus wins.
When we extend hospitality, our children get to be exposed to a variety of people, lifestyles, and personalities. They see that the transforming love of Christ causes us to love others, even those who are different from us. Especially in our partisan world, this is a powerful apologetic for the gospel. I’m inspired by families who demonstrate their theological convictions through gospel-motivated and Spirit-sustained hospitality.
To begin teaching your kids about sexuality, one friend says, just read the Old Testament during family worship. It will provoke all sorts of questions. She’s joking but also serious—God’s Word doesn’t shelter us from the ugliness of human depravity. It’s right to explain to our kids (age-appropriately) what’s going on and how it points to our Redeemer.
The temptation to avoid uncomfortable topics is real, but if we don’t speak with our kids about sexuality, we can rest assured the world will. Let’s resist any hint of shame culture that would cause embarrassment about the bodies and functions God created. Individual families need to decide when they’ll introduce things like biologically correct anatomical terms, the reproductive cycle, puberty, pornography, LGBTQ+ ideology, and other sexual developments and sins our children will face. But we must own our responsibility to teach them. I pray my boys know that they can come to their father and me with any—any—question and receive a truthful answer.
Our Hope: Jesus Alone
In a culture saturated by an anemic, clichéd understanding of love—where “love is love” and “love wins”—the biblical assurance is this: God is love and Jesus wins. Hopefully these aims encourage you in your parenting. Raising children in a world increasingly hostile to Christianity is scary. But—perhaps you’re feeling this, too—my sin scares me even more than the sin “out there.”
Inconsistency, irritability, distractibility, preoccupation with other things—these are some of the dangers my children face from a mom who claims to follow Jesus yet so often doesn’t live like it. Will they know I love them when I’m half paying attention and half trying to figure out my next task? Will they still see the beauty of Christ when they see me grumbling about chores or restless in discontent?
My hope as a weak and fallible mother rests in Christ alone. His children are clothed in his righteousness, and he will finish the work he started in us (Phil. 1:6). He is faithful; he is powerful; he is enough. Parents: with our confidence rooted in our Savior’s character and victory, we have every reason to press on, courageously raising our kids amid a threatening world.
1] As yet, I’m unable to pin down the source for this quote. It’s commonly attributed to Elizabeth Stone, but I’ve also seen it attributed to Ellen Cantarow. If anyone knows, please contact Harvest USA and fill me in!
24 Aug 2023
Joan McConnell serves as Harvest USA’s Director of Parents and Family Ministry.
Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways! (Romans 11:33)
To be able to look back on one’s life and see at least some of the Lord’s ways and purposes is not just a privilege; it is astounding. In Take Heart: Daily Devotions to Deepen Your Faith, David Powlison says, “We are caught up into the purposes of a Savior and a King” (157). Through pain and joy, the Lord has prepared me to serve with Harvest USA.
Several years ago, when I was interviewed before joining Harvest USA’s Board of Directors, I remember saying, “it just makes sense.” I meant that, for decades, the Lord had been weaving strong threads into my personal resume—threads that were not necessarily welcome. However, in the light of his sovereignty, I had to trust that they had purpose. Those threads included growing up in a broken home, having a 38-year marriage damaged by my first husband’s pornography involvement, and, eventually, my dear son’s pursuit of a homosexual lifestyle. By God’s grace, I realized I needed to use the pain rather than ignore or resist it.
I met Harvest in 2004. The Lord’s timing was more than coincidental with my son’s situation. In a church that has supported Harvest for years and uses their resources widely, my background easily led to my facilitating a Harvest-organized parents’ support group since 2013. I also became involved in Harvest events my church hosted. Now, stepping from membership on the Harvest Board into service on its staff “makes sense” again since my personal passion has long been for those whose lives are touched. . . and, yes, changed. . . when family members struggle with sexual issues.
The vision of Harvest’s parents and family ministry has two facets. First, of course, is the need to understand what’s going on in the life of a sexual struggler and to learn what Christ-like ministry toward them should be. Second is the need to offer an undergirding ministry to that closest circle of parents and relatives. I especially look forward to opportunities to create insightful, biblical resources that meet the second need.
The threads of education and experience also weave into my work at Harvest USA. Born and raised in Washington, D.C., I’ve lived in the picturesque “travel postcard” of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, for 33 years. I have two grown children, one grandson, and eight step-grandchildren. After 29 years teaching Spanish and Latin, I joined my church staff in 2007 for women’s ministry and counseling, all of which has used my training at Houghton College, Dallas Theological Seminary (MA in Biblical Studies), and Liberty Theological Seminary (Doctor of Ministry). Though twice widowed, I continue to see my Father’s goodness and to rely upon another verse from Romans (11:36): “For from him, and through him, and to him are all things. To him be glory forever!”
17 Aug 2023
Yes, that’s the question I invite you to ponder, sisters and brothers. I’m not asking if you believe in God or if you pray and go to church together. My question aims at your heart: is Christ central in your marriage, or is he a friendly neighbor? Do you push Jesus aside, expecting your spouse to meet all your needs, give you an identity, complete you?
Well, friend, if you do, you’re not alone. In my sixteen years of journeying with wives who’ve faced their husbands’ sexual infidelity, I consistently heard three humbling realizations come out of their hearts:
- I knew I depended on my husband too much, but I had no idea how I made him (and our marriage) an idol.
- I’ve been a Christian for so long, yet the pain of this situation has revealed that my relationship with Jesus isn’t as deep as I thought.
- Facing my husband’s sin is devastating, yet God is using this trial to draw me into a closeness with Jesus and a depth of faith that I didn’t know was possible.
When Jesus isn’t in his rightful place, marriages (and all relationships!) will struggle. No person can fill his shoes as our eternal bridegroom, friend, heart-healer, and so much more; Christ alone is our loving Creator, Lord, and Savior.
Three Views of Marriage
I’ve heard three prominent views of marriage over the years from Christians. For all of them, Christ and two believing spouses are in the mix; the difference lies in the place each one occupies. Look at the chart below and see if one seems to describe your marriage or serious dating relationship.
No spouse would choose the pain of sexual betrayal; it was never God’s intent for you. However, from the ashes of devastated trust, I’ve watched wives receive the Lord’s healing and transforming discipleship through this pain. Christ invites and shepherds wives (and husbands, too) to allow their disappointment in marriage to lead them to re-place Jesus as their priority relational focus, putting him back where he should be, in the very center.
The Three Legged-Stool Marriage welcomes Jesus as the third leg holding up the marriage. The problem is that he’s understood to be one of three equal partners: wife, husband, and Jesus. But the Bible says Jesus is to have supremacy—the first place (Col. 1:18)—in all things, including your marriage.
Over time, a new kind of spiritual and relational intimacy grows as two spouses prioritize loving and trusting Jesus as their source of life, security, meaning, and unfailing love.
The Spouse-Centered Marriage displaces Jesus as central in the relationship and demands that your spouse provide what can only be found in Jesus: unfailing love, identity, and value. Marriage is a gift, but it was never intended to displace the Giver of that gift. When God says, “You shall have no other gods before me” (Ex. 20:3–5), he means it!
As common as these two views are among believers, God has something better for you: a Christ-Centered Marriage. Over time, a new kind of spiritual and relational intimacy grows as two spouses prioritize loving and trusting Jesus as their source of life, security, meaning, and unfailing love.
Repenting of Spouse Idolatry by Re-Placing Jesus
“Re-placing Jesus” refers to at least two steps of obedience. First, a humble acknowledgement that, somewhere along the way, other people or things have displaced Jesus as Lord over your heart and marriage. The Scriptures clearly point to the beauty of marriage and the gift of shared, committed love over a lifetime. Though sin pollutes and erodes marital intimacy, friendship, and mutual enjoyment, God gave marriage as a gift for his people and ultimately as a signpost to his eternal, selfless, steadfast love for us (see Isa. 54:5, 62:5; Eph. 5:31-32; Rev. 19:7, 21:9–11).
A Christ-centered marriage will exhibit two spouses as needy saints who continue to sin yet look to the gospel for help.
Second, God calls you to proactively, consistently cultivate your relationship with Jesus and receive discipleship about how he created marriage to work. After all, all things were created by, through, and for him (Col. 1:16), including your marriage. Reach out to mature Christians and ask for prayer and encouragement. Look for singles and married people who honor Christ in their lives and couples who don’t present as having it all together. A Christ-centered marriage will exhibit two spouses as needy saints who continue to sin yet look to the gospel for help. Ask how they weather the hard times, how they’ve kept Christ as their priority, and what they do to grow as lovers of Jesus together as a couple.
Your view of marriage may not be what God wants it to be right now, yet Jesus never runs away—not even when we displace him with gifts. Friend, are you married? Look to Christ! Are you dating someone special? Look to Christ! Cry out to him as your only worthy Lord and the only source of unfailing, unwavering love.
Hear, my son, your father’s instruction, and forsake not your mother’s teaching, for they are a graceful garland for your head and pendants for your neck. (Proverbs 1:8–9)
Directions have existed since creation. Why? Because contrary to what modern culture attempts to assert, everything has a unique design and purpose and can only truly function if it does what it’s designed to do. When God created sea creatures, he established directions: fill the sea and reproduce. Fish must function in this design, or they would fail to exist. If all the fish relocated to trees or stopped laying eggs, guess what? There would be no fish! God’s design, purpose, and direction for sexuality, too, has existed since creation. Sex matters to God, so it understandably matters to parents who fear the Lord. But what do you do with God’s directions for sex when, on your daughter’s 18th birthday, she leaves home to live with her boyfriend? Or when your married son, the father of three of your grandchildren, feels compelled that his only hope for happiness is to begin hormone treatment to transition and become a female?
Life Comes with Directions
Just as fish need directions, so too do children, parents, and all people to live godly lives (2 Tim. 3:16). Parents, even if your adult child is rejecting biblical direction, that direction is still good and necessary. Compromising your conviction to biblical truth is not the answer; the goal must be to learn to steward biblical teaching as if it is a champion’s graceful garland and pendant. A trophy’s value is rooted in the fact that it must be earned. To receive the trophy, an athlete must meet an unwavering standard; otherwise, the prize would mean nothing. Let the same be said of your teaching. Don’t compromise the truth. Don’t waver for the sake of presenting teaching your child will accept; to do so is to strip its value. Instead, pray that God would bring victory in your child’s heart, that he or she would come and receive your direction as only a Spirit-changed and empowered champion can: one who is willing to run to achieve the goal and, in doing so, reap the reward.
There’s Still Hope When Your Child Ignores Direction
We all know the stereotypical story where the dad on the road trip refuses to use the map or ask for directions. Normally, those stories end with him getting so lost he finally caves in and pulls out the map or asks a local for help. Now apply this story to your wayward child. The profoundly hopeful lesson parents need to cling to is that getting lost can be a great way to realize you need directions! It could be that your child’s very lost-ness is what the Lord will use to show him how much he needs help.
I now rejoice, not that you were made sorrowful, but that you were made sorrowful to the point of repentance; for you were made sorrowful according to the will of God, so that you might not suffer loss in anything through us. (2 Corinthians 7:9)
Praise God for this verse! Parents, I cannot imagine what it’s like to watch the child you conceived and raised dig their own grave of sin. But I can, with confidence, urge you to look to the light even from that dark place. Joy and sorrow can co-exist. You can endure by clinging to the fact that as deep, ongoing, or lasting as sin may be, the hope of repentance is still possible. The darker the night, the more clearly light shines.
Don’t Become the Missing Directions
My mom is the definition of frugal, and I say that with the greatest admiration. Her ability to use Facebook Marketplace and Craigslist to make every Christmas better than the last is astounding to me. However, one occasional problem with a pre-owned gift is the missing directions. We can figure out how to use most every directionless gift, but there’s always that one we can’t figure out that forces us to resort to YouTube tutorials.
The profoundly hopeful lesson parents need to cling to is that getting lost can be a great way to realize you need directions.
The reality is that everyone, at one point or another, is looking for directions to life. Like my family at Christmas, everyone who cannot find direction from one source goes to another. Sometimes we look to ourselves, and at other times we look to peers, politics, bosses, or our favorite social influencers. Parents, if you allow bitterness, resentment, or anger to drive you to remove yourselves from your sexually struggling child’s life, your child will still spend the rest of her life searching for direction—she just won’t come to you for it.
But what if you’re already the one your child won’t come to? There are many things that could be said, but find hope in Paul’s vision of discipleship:
I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow. So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow. The one who plants and the one who waters have one purpose, and they will each be rewarded according to their own labor. For we are co-workers in God’s service; you are God’s field, God’s building. (1 Cor. 3:6–9)
Remember that God is, ultimately, the one who pursues your child, and you are not his only means of that pursuit. Trust in the glorious truth that God saves a people—a body—a church. God’s pursuit of your child is not bound to a specific bubble of influence. God is using the full interwoven tapestry of his chosen people, spread throughout the world, as a part of his outreach to the lost, including your lost child.
Is It Easy to Get Direction from You?
Maybe you know a guy like my dad—he likes to be the one to get the mail out of the mailbox. I guess he finds joy in the habit of it. As a family, we try to respect that, but the problem with this habit is where the mail ends up. The family calls it “dad’s basket.” It should just be called a mess. For any chance of easily receiving a letter without having to wrestle through “dad’s basket,” you must greet him at the door to look through the mail before it lands in the dreaded basket.
God is using the full interwoven tapestry of his chosen people, spread throughout the world, as a part of his outreach to the lost, including your lost child.
Parents, where does your child have to go to find direction from you? Will they have to wrestle through a mess, or will they know that all they need to do is greet you at the door to receive what they need with love and joy?
[B]ut in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect. (1 Peter 3:15)
As parents who love the Lord, your adult children are blessed to have your influence in their lives. Continue loving them. Pray for patience to entrust them to the Lord in their wandering, even as you prepare to offer godly direction with gentleness and respect. Remember where your hope rests—in this uncertainty, there is certainty that your Savior, who shared in your suffering, promises to sustain you into shared glory forever with him. Therefore, there is always a place for hope in your struggling heart.
This article was written by Harvest USA Parents and Family Ministry recipient Kim Taylor.
My story is typical of most parents who’ve faced the heartbreak of discovering their child struggles with same-sex attraction. We were happily oblivious to the darkness just under the surface that would change our lives forever. From the moment I found out in 2007—when our son had just turned 17—until I found help at Harvest USA in 2020, there wasn’t a day when I didn’t cry. I cried for my son, my broken heart, and all the loss—the loss of a future marriage for my son, grandchildren, a daughter-in-law, and simply being a “normal” family.
Suffering in Isolation
I would’ve told you I was trusting in the Lord, but the evidence showed otherwise. I would’ve said God was enough for me and our situation, but I wasn’t living like it. My faith was weak, but I was self-deceived in this area. I had a lot of learning and unlearning to do. Little did I know that this journey would not just be about my son but about God bringing me into a strong faith and conforming me into Jesus’s image. I desperately wanted help but was too ashamed to seek it. I told no one about our son because I feared the condemnation and judgment I would’ve once given to someone in my situation. So, I suffered in isolation, with no hope in my heart.
I bought the world’s lie—hook, line, and sinker—that this was just how things would always be. Hopelessness drove me deeper into my despair, and the cycle of unbelief continued. I knew God could help, but would he?
Little did I know that this journey would not just be about my son but about God bringing me into a strong faith and conforming me into Jesus’s image.
In 2018, when our son sent us a letter stating that he and his partner were married, I could no longer handle my devastation alone. I began to look for help online, and by the grace and direction of the Lord, I found Harvest. I could barely wait to start the first session and had to stop myself from completing the entire curriculum in one day. I can’t tell you what the possibility of hope dangling in front of my heart did for me.
Openness, Healing, and Waiting
By now, the hope wasn’t that my son would turn away from living in alignment with LGBTQ+ values so much as it was hope that I could be free from the feeling of total despair I’d adopted. In the first session, I got to share openly for the first time without fear of judgment! I cried my way through every session.
As the meetings progressed, I was encouraged to share with someone outside the group about our son. This took tremendous courage and strength from the Lord, but I did it! I shared my burden with my ladies’ Bible Fellowship class. They came around me and prayed with me, and I sobbed like I hadn’t in years. I got a surprise that day: I discovered that healing began when I quit hiding. And I got a group of ladies who now pray regularly for my son. I had robbed myself and him of this blessing for many years because of fear, shame, and pride.
I got a surprise that day: I discovered that healing began when I quit hiding. And I got a group of ladies who now pray regularly for my son.
I’d like to tell you that, after 15 years, my son is now a disciple of Christ, but he is not. The surprising thing is that I am! Although I was saved as a little girl, my faith had never been challenged to this degree. I’m now walking by faith, believing against hope that my son will repent before the Lord. I’m no longer in that pit of pride and despair that mired me down for so many years. Now I’m anxiously, even excitedly, waiting on what the Lord is doing and is going to do in my son’s life.
Hope in the God Who Works
Though I see no evidence that God is working in my son, he is working in me. In Romans 8, Paul considers that “the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us” (v. 18). Don’t you long for “the freedom of the glory of the children of God” (v. 21)? This is the hope in which we were saved (vs. 24)! And this hope for believers is a solid guarantee, sealed by the blood of Jesus.
God says that hoping for things we can see is not hope. We are to wait patiently for the consummation of God’s plans. In this, we trust our children to him. His timing is different from ours. By God’s grace, running and finishing our race well involves placing 100% of our faith in the God of the universe to move as he will in our children’s lives, believing that he is constantly working (John 5:17).
To hurting and broken-hearted parents: Jesus came not only to save you, but to heal you and give you victory over despair. I’m living proof that you don’t need to live one more day in hopelessness. I want other hurting parents to find what I’ve discovered: Our faithful, almighty God will work in us and our children according to his will. We are called to pray and leave them in his capable hands, whatever the result. I remember the day I fully surrendered my son to the Lord. I went into the bathroom and lifted my hands, imagining my son being in them. I held him up and told the Lord to do whatever he needed to bring my son to repentance.
To hurting and broken-hearted parents: Jesus came not only to save you, but to heal you and give you victory over despair. I’m living proof that you don’t need to live one more day in hopelessness.
Am I still heartbroken? Yes. But now I thank God for the heavy burden he has placed on my heart. For, though it hurts so deeply and still moves me to weep, without it I would not remember to fall on his mercy continually.
Having spent many needless years in gut-wrenching hopelessness, let me encourage you with the life-changing hope that faith will give you. Hold to the promises, providence, presence, and power of the almighty Creator of the universe. Find some passages of hope from God’s Word; write them down and carry them with you to read and meditate on. Trust in the work your heavenly Father is doing. Allow my favorite hope-verse to encourage you: “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope” (Rom. 15:13, my emphasis).
Caitlin McCaffrey’s post, “Women Are Struggling Too: The Sobering Statistics and How to Respond,” is challenging. After citing various statistics, Caitlin writes, “Single evangelical women are potentially the demographic most rapidly abandoning a biblical sexual ethic in churches today.” That sentence put a pit in my stomach for two main reasons:
1. The beauty of womanhood. My mom and grandmothers, the wives who’ve brought joy and edification to close friends, the women I serve with at Harvest USA, my girlfriend—I hold these women in high esteem. That deep affection largely hinges on their femininity. Our culture has distorted this word, but God defines it: “Charm is deceptive, and beauty does not last; but a woman who fears the LORD will be greatly praised” (Prov. 31:30). Biblical femininity is not bound by culturally established “girly-girl” charm, beauty, or behavior. It is about female image-bearers courageously fearing the Lord in whatever role, place, or season he has placed them. Such virtue deserves praise.
2. Men are partly to blame for our sisters’ struggles regarding sexuality and gender. Harvest USA’s Sexual Sanity for Men warns that “Sexual sin not only emasculates us through robbing us of strength and enslaving our souls, it places us outside God’s design and calling” (32). I asked Caitlin why she thought these single evangelical sisters are likewise “de-feminizing” themselves through sexual sin. Men, we hold a piece of the blame. In our apathy as potential servant leaders, in our captivity to habitual sexual sin, we are a stumbling block to our sisters.
Sisters, I want to give you hope and motivation for remaining steadfast to the Lord. And to my brothers in Christ, how can we better serve the women God has placed in our lives? We can begin by remembering some key truths.
We Are God’s Image-Bearers
So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. (Genesis 1:27)
We have human value because the Creator made us in his image. To be human is to reflect God’s image and therefore proclaim his worship. God establishes male and female. Sister, you are, at your core, human—made to worship God. But God has also chosen you to be a woman. As a woman, you uniquely radiate worship to your Creator. Male and female humanity echo distinct praise to our beautiful Lord.
Brothers, how do you value your sisters in Christ? Do you see women as a commodity whose value is rooted in your sexual or relational self-centered desires? God forbid! These are your co-image bearers. Their value is rooted in the same reality as yours—created in the image of God, established by our Creator to worship him.
We Are Seen and Received
And behold, a woman of the city, who was a sinner, when she learned that (Jesus) was reclining at table in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster flask of ointment, and standing behind him at his feet, weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears and wiped them with the hair of her head and kissed his feet and anointed them with the ointment. (Luke 7:37–38)
Bask in the unique, tender beauty of this woman’s worship—her devoted courage to go into the lion’s den of judgmental pharisees. What honoring consideration of beauty and value to bring exquisitely expensive perfume to pour upon her glorious God. What a humble, tender, and personal act to lay on Christ her own tears, worshiping him with her emotions and serving her Master with her lips and hair. Look at Christ’s response: “Therefore I tell you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven—for she loved much” (Luke 7:47). This woman was truly seen by Christ. He received her loving act of faith as excellent worship.
Brothers, we live in a culture of double standards. Has hypocrisy invaded our hearts? Do we view our sexual sin as soberly as the sexual sins of women? We all need to go to our Savior with a broken and contrite heart as this woman did, knowing that Christ receives it as a loving act of faith. He is abundantly forgiving. If we have received his forgiveness, how dare we see sister believers as anything other than his beloved children?
We Are Co-Laborers
Soon afterward he went on through cities and villages, proclaiming and bringing the good news of the kingdom of God. And the twelve were with him, and also some women . . . who provided for them out of their means. (Luke 8:1–3)
Who accompanied Jesus on his mission? The twelve male disciples and some women, who uniquely helped Jesus and the twelve. The worship of the woman washing Jesus’s feet was not a one-off incident or fluke. Women participated throughout the entire unfolding of Christ’s ministry as a vital part of it.
Brothers, are you co-laboring with your sisters in Christ? Are you recognizing your sisters for what they bring to the table as you work in unity to serve the Lord? This passage is meaningful to my heart because dear sisters are the foundation of my financial support here at Harvest USA. I’m a living testament to the necessary value women bring into Kingdom-building efforts.
We Are Called to Serve
(Older women) are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled. (Titus 2:3b–5)
Women were a vital part of Jesus’s ministry and they’re vital to every generation of the church. God is glorified by continual generations of godly women serving as part of his body—part of his bride.
Brothers, when you consider the future of Christianity, do you wonder who will be your church’s pastor or the next generation’s Billy Graham, R. C. Sproul, or John Piper? I encourage you to expand your vision, so it matches Paul’s. Who will be the next generation of godly women? Encourage your sisters with the fact that they are needed, called, and can rise to the occasion by the power of God’s Spirit and the church’s support.
When men and women fear the Lord, it impacts the whole body of Christ. Brothers, let’s open our eyes to our sisters’ struggles with sexual sin and come alongside them as fellow image-bearers, equally forgiven by Christ’s lavish mercy, and co-laborers for his glory.
15 Jun 2023
This post is a contribution from guest author John Perritt, Director of Resources for Reformed Youth Ministries.
I remember a specific day from my childhood all too well. I was in sixth grade. The school day had ended, and a friend invited me over to his house. We were in his brother’s bedroom and my friend got down on his knees to reach under the dresser. My eleven-year-old self had no clue what was about to happen to my heart and mind as I was exposed to a pornographic magazine.
At that point in my life, I really didn’t know what sex was. What my eyes saw that day wasn’t sex, but a perversion of it. I’m now approximately three decades removed from that incident, but I can recall the exact image to this day. It’s seared in my mind. Like a scar, it seems it’s going to be with me until I go home to be with the Lord.
By God’s grace, that image deeply upset me. It was enticing but repulsive. Amid my ignorance and naiveté, I knew something wasn’t right about what I was viewing. Part of what I remember about that moment was the feeling I had—not arousal, but something more akin to sickness. A feeling that made me want to go home immediately. That image hurt me.
The Weight of Pornography
There’s a weightiness to pornography that, I think, gets at a creational good from the Lord. God created man and woman as sexual beings (Gen. 1:26–28). As Christians, we know that sexual desires are to be expressed specifically between members of the opposite sex in the context of marriage. This gift from the Lord carries weight because he’s given us precise instructions for stewarding it. The specificity of the gift points to its weightiness.
There’s another aspect of this weightiness. I never told my parents about when I saw pornography. I don’t even know if I spoke about it with the friend who showed me the image. I took that image to bed with me that night. I carried it with me in the hallways of my school. I’m sure it poisoned the way I looked at the opposite sex. The initial sickness I felt became a weight I carried around, a weight I didn’t allow others to help me carry.
What are your children carrying around with them? What secrets are they keeping from you? How have these images heaped burdens upon their shoulders?
To be sure, the Lord was helping me carry that weight, but I wasn’t reaching out to the community the Lord had given me. I was too young to know what I should do with that weight. I’m confident I was a Christian at the time, but I didn’t talk to the Lord about this. I didn’t know what accountability was—so I carried that weight with me.
There’s weightiness from the good things of the Lord because they point us to his glory, his immensity and omnipotence. At the same time, there’s weightiness from the evils of a broken world, too, which become burdens we carry around.
As you read this article, you know what I’m talking about. Right now, you’re carrying some burden. It may be a specific sin you’re wrestling with or your marriage, divorce, or singleness. It may be the burden of parenting or barrenness, an illness or chronic pain. The fall birthed endless burdens that plague us.
Our Children’s Burdens
What about our children? Single or not, we’ve all been given children because of the body of Christ—we have spiritual sons and daughters. And those sons and daughters are carrying burdens right now. How many of their burdens are related to pornography?
Some are saying that most teens spend approximately nine hours a day on screens. Even though they’re in classes and have after-school activities, they manage to find hours upon hours to look at a screen. What do they see?
In those nine hours, they’re looking at thousands of images. No doubt, some of them are pornographic. Others may fall in the category of ‘soft porn’ or implicit sexual images: bodies may be fully clothed, but the images are sexual in nature. To state the obvious, this still stirs up lust, and God’s Word doesn’t take that lightly. These images leave deep impressions upon our children.
What are your children carrying around with them? What secrets are they keeping from you? How have these images heaped burdens upon their shoulders?
Christ, the Burden-Carrier
This entire article may be burdensome to you. While I want this to be a sobering look at the world our children are growing up in, I also want to give you some hope. Remember our Savior’s words:
“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (Matt. 11:28–30)
Jesus not only carried our burdens on the cross and triumphed over them in the resurrection, but he also bore them throughout his perfect life. He is the one human in history who endured temptation without sin (Heb. 4:15–16). He knows our weaknesses. He remembers that we are dust (Ps. 103:14), and he will not break a bruised reed nor quench a faintly burning wick (Isa. 42:3). We can come boldly to our Lord and point our children to him in hope.
Talk to your children. Today. Push things aside and ask your children about the burdens they’re carrying.
So, first, take those burdens to the Lord. Voice them to him and know that he hears you and loves to talk to his children. Also know that he loves your children more than you do.
Second, talk to your children. Today. Push things aside and ask your children about the burdens they’re carrying. Even if they don’t open up, let them know you’re in their life to help carry their burdens; they don’t have to carry them alone. Remind them that their heavenly Father is carrying them as well. Remind them he’s always listening, and he always understands.
We can approach our children with compassion, pointing them to Christ and praying for them to know the peace of laying their burdens at the foot of the cross.
John Perritt, DMin, serves as the Director of Resources for Reformed Youth Ministries (www.rym.org) and has served in student ministry for over twenty years. He is the host of “The Local Youth Worker” podcast. John is the author of several books, including “Insecure” and “Social Media Pressure: Finding Peace Alongside Jesus.” He and his wife, Ashleigh, have five children and live in Ridgeland, Mississippi.