The families I’ve encountered over the last eleven years of ministry who have navigated these waters most healthily are the ones who have opened themselves up to learn about something that was previously foreign to them, to search for information, to be open to learning from other resources, and to continue in conversation with other parents, and most of all, with their children. And above all, they’ve deepened their relationship with God and stayed connected to brothers and sisters in Christ. Here’s another post in our continuing series from the father of an LGBTQ child, my friend, Brad Yarbrough, offering great advice – Build a Team!
One Easter Sunday when you were hearing about Jesus coming out of the tomb, my wife and I heard, “I’m coming out of the closet,” from our gay child. And so, our journey began.
What’s a parent to do? When you find out your kid is gay, you want help, resources and support, right?
Since that Easter I’ve met Justin Lee and attended one of the annual GCN conferences and met someone named ‘Sally’ and attended a CenterPeace conference, as well as attending several parents’ meetings in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. Also, I’ve done a lot of reading and studying over the past couple of years.
One of the biggest blessings of attending these events has been the opportunity to meet several loving, positive people. Many of these people are parents of LGBTQ children. They are strong allies that my wife and I can trust and get advice from… or celebrate with or simply cry.
Let me encourage you to attend events like this and introduce yourself to people there (attendees, speakers, sponsors, volunteers, etc.). This is important because you want to build a team of positive supporters who can and will help you on this journey. You can encourage and support other parents as well.
I’ve learned a lot but wish I’d known more about the attitudes and opinions of other adults when they discovered that our child was gay. Some people refused to talk to us or fellowship with us anymore. They were judgmental and think that gay people are going to Hell. They sometimes say things like “the Bible clearly says…” or “love the sinner and hate the sin”, etc.
But wait, there’s good news!
Our new supportive friends and a few of our previous/past friends, some Christian and some non-Christian, are kind, loving and supportive.
So build your team! Look for these people and surround yourself with them. You’ll be pleased to know that these new friends will be there for you if you need to cry or pray or rejoice. Or if you want some advice or just a hug. My wife and I decided to show love to our LGBTQ kids (two of our children have identified in this group so far) and we’ve met several other parents who are also supportive to their gay children. You will meet similar parents.
Do not be afraid or embarrassed to attend events. You might just make a new life-long friend!
If you want to come to one of our parent meetings in the DFW area or meetings that exist in other communities, let us know. We have had people visit who drove a few hours to attend.