February 29, 2024

When LGBTQ+ Hits Home, There’s Help

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O Lord, you are my God;
    I will exalt you; I will praise your name,
for you have done wonderful things,
    plans formed of old, faithful and sure.
(Isaiah 25:1)

Watching my dear child embrace a gay life for nearly twenty years has forced me to do some serious thinking, the kind of thinking I never anticipated—thinking that grabs, dismantles, and rebuilds all areas of my life. Unexpected concepts and questions have pushed me beyond my easy assumptions and comfort zone. Walking this road reminds me of high school chemistry.

This Isn’t Supposed to Happen, Is It?

My dad believed firmly in the liberal arts approach to education: exposure to various disciplines regardless of preferences or abilities, including math, languages, piano—and high school chemistry. Suddenly I met theories, equations, elements, and properties, all a hopeless jumble in my unscientific mind. The further the classroom instruction progressed, the more lost I became. I wasn’t used to complete bewilderment or failure, but both seemed unavoidable in chemistry.

Though it may be next to impossible to comprehend, my heavenly Father planned my child’s journey to be part of my journey as well.

Scripture says that my heavenly Father holds my times in his hand (Ps. 31:15), suggesting safety and comfort. What does it mean, however, when we are baffled by clear evidence of human fallenness? Does God recognize what he has allowed into my world through my child’s LGBTQ+ identification and choices? Has the situation created by my child’s conduct slipped past the Lord? Understanding why I’m in this place can feel as hopeless as understanding high school chemistry.

Yet amid this bewildering situation, the Lord is still present and working. Am I ready to explore and learn how God can bring good out of fallenness—how he intends to teach me his grace as I struggle regarding my dear child?

You Expect Me to Know How to Handle This?

Today’s culture would say I was “traumatized” daily by chemistry class. That may have been accurate, but, in those days, it did not serve as an excuse or escape. Once or twice a week, we students went to the lab to demonstrate what we’d learned. This practice simply underscored my inability. Do you ever feel that way as you navigate life’s circumstances?

Though it may be next to impossible to comprehend, my heavenly Father planned my child’s journey to be part of my journey as well. I must trust that its baffling inclusion in my Father’s lesson plans for my life is not an “oops.” It’s not something he must scramble to accommodate. No, it is within his plan for me—a plan formed “of old, faithful and sure” (Isa. 25:1). Scripture and God’s sovereignty leave no room for any other explanation.

But how can the effects of something so opposite, so disappointing, so counter to God’s design be part of his “faithful plans”? The answer to that question is something I will observe in a lifelong lab class. My Father’s assignments may surprise, puzzle, and stretch me, but they will always be “faithful and sure,” just as he is.

Can Somebody Please Help Me?

My chemistry teacher was not compassionate toward untalented students like me. I needed serious, capable, outside help. As the Lord would have it, my lab station was across from two successful students who rescued my chemistry career (I still remember their names and faces!). These cheerful lab partners kept my head—and grade—above water. Their input was dependable, accurate, available, and gladly given. I was dependent on them; I had no other option. And yes, despite myself, I was slowly learning. I still remember what a precipitate is!

Am I ready to explore and learn how God can bring good out of fallenness—how he intends to teach me his grace as I struggle regarding my dear child?

Similarly, when our Father sends us, daily, into the lab of loving and relating to our children identifying as LGBTQ+, he constantly offers the support and rescue we need for the realities of our dear child’s situation. Those supports are the same, whether we are new to a baffling journey or have spent decades, by his grace, being faithful examples and loving intercessors.

Our Father provides:

  •  His presence—attributes, blessings, power, faithfulness
  • His Word—truth, authority, guidance
  • Prayer—openness, urgency, humility, trust
  • Fellowship within the body of Christ—support, comfort, instruction

These are heavy-duty, custom-made resources from our heavenly Father. Use them!

The Lord’s provision of these robust supports makes it clear that it is foolish to deny the reality of the journey or undertake it alone. While ongoing wisdom for our journey finds its source in God (James 1:5), life-level support and essential encouragement also come from our brothers and sisters. Be sure to seek and connect with them (Eccles. 4:9, 10).

How Do I Survive the Day-In, Day-Out Stuff?

At the end of our lab assignments, each student had to write conclusions regarding the experiments. Likewise, both now and in the future, we can always benefit from recalling these basics:

  • Our Father’s lesson plans rarely match ours.
  • Our dear child’s journey is a purposeful part of our Father’s growth-plan for us, too.
  • Our ability is insufficient, and it is hard to trust God.
  • Our Father sends all the help we need.

Our Lord’s instruction and his promise to accompany us on our personal journey, which parallels that of our dear child, will become two of the “wonderful things” he does (Isa. 25:1) and for which we will be able to praise him.

More resources you might like:

Joan McConnell

Director of Parents and Family Ministry

Joan McConnell is Harvest USA’s Director of Parents and Family Ministry, providing fellowship, advice, and biblical encouragement for those impacted by their family members’ sexual struggles. Joan holds an MA in Biblical Studies from Dallas Theological Seminary and a Doctor of Ministry degree from Liberty Theological Seminary.

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