Many years ago when Where Grace Abounds began, our founder, Mary Heathman, wrote a one-page article for parents who sought out our ministry after finding out that their son or daughter was same-sex attracted. Although many things have changed in the years since these original words were written, the principles still apply and are appropriate for parents to understand. Mary’s words of wisdom still ring true in these circumstances and are as applicable today as they were 30 years ago. Here are some of the key points she shared in her article along with some of the lessons I have learned along the way.
…with God. Pour it all out in prayer…the pain, confusion, anger…whatever it is…get it said to the only One who can really help.
…with each other as parents and spouses. Talk about how you really feel – Allow each other to be in different places…sometimes one person will be angry while the other is sad. That’s ok! Talk about your hopes, dreams and fears. Pray together for your son or daughter and for each other. It is not uncommon for parents to blame themselves for things they did or did not do as they were raising their children when they receive this information. Realize that we can’t go back and rewrite history. Instead we must move forward from this point.
…with your son or daughter. Let them know of your love and share with them how you are feeling.
…with significant people in your life…people you trust to keep your confidence, understand, support and pray for you as you navigate this new path.
…read a variety of books on the subject (WGA has a recommended reading list for parents and friends), search the scriptures, and pray for the insight of the Holy Spirit as you seek out the truth. There is as much to unlearn as there is to learn about this issue. Drop your stereotypes, dig in and find out what is true. As you learn, commit all to God. Talk to God and each other about your discoveries.
JOIN A SUPPORT GROUP…
…other parents, family members and friends of those with similar issues can be a source of encouragement and spiritual nourishment to you and you can be the same for them as you all navigate through this time together. Community is a very important part of learning and growing in understanding. Make this time a priority!
…you can’t change your son or daughter. The desire to “fix” things will be strong. You can’t “fix” things…this is part of your child’s journey. Relate to them with unconditional love and acceptance. Channel your desire to say something “to do or to help” into prayer. Tell God your deepest desires for them. Tell your son or daughter that you love them! You want to set them free??? Then, set them free! Remind yourself that we each have free will to navigate life. Trust God to continue to work in his/her life just as God will continue to work in your life.
How do we do all this? Without God, we can do nothing. So don’t even attempt it without turning to the only One who can handle anything that comes our way. Invite God into your situation immediately. Keep God at the center of your search until you find peace and resolution. It will not be an easy journey at times, and you won’t be able to expedite the process. There will be a variety of issues to navigate along the way, but it is always best to seek and follow God through the journey allowing the Holy Spirit to transform you and refine you. We are all looking for a way through our confusion, the truth about sexuality and relationships, and the abundant life Jesus promised. Learning to love more deeply and fully is a lifelong process filled with hills and valleys. Be willing to engage in the process and open to learning all God desires to teach you along the way.
Family & Friends Coordinator
In 2005, Jill and her husband Steve began attending WGA’s support group when one of their adult children disclosed their same-sex relationship. They began participating in the Friends and Family group and over time joined the leadership team. Steve and Jill have been married for 38 years; have 4 adult children, and 8 grandchildren.
Jill joined the leadership team in 2007 and started serving as a volunteer staff for the Friends and Family group in 2010. In 2010, she started organizing the semi-annual gathering of Friends and Family activities and other activities such as the 25-year WGA anniversary celebration.
Jill has a BS in Home Economics Education from CSU. She was a licensed teacher for many years. Jill enjoys planning and organizing events, meeting with individuals, and providing hospitality. In 2013, she joined the staff to coordinate the Friends and Family ministry. She is active in leading small groups, discipleship counseling and coordinating the monthly newcomer breakfast.
Make a Difference in Someone's Life
If you enjoy reading WGA’s blogs and would like to show your support, please consider making a donation. Where Grace Abounds is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. The majority of services, including support groups and discipleship counseling, are provided free of charge. Your financial gifts help to cover the costs associated with offering a free program to those who seek WGA’s services.