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Engaging LGBTQ: Four Principles for Parents

Linda Seiler, author of “TRANS-Formation: A Former Transgender Responds to LGBTQ,” shares encouragement for parents of children who identify as LGBTQ.
While speaking at a training seminar a decade ago, I asked attendees to express by a show of hands if they knew someone in their sphere of influence — perhaps a coworker or a neighbor — who identified as gay. Not even half the room had hands raised.

That was 2014. Gay marriage had not been legalized, and no one had ever heard the name Caitlyn Jenner — much less knew what a preferred pronoun was.

How times have changed.

Today, there’s no need to ask for a raise of hands. LGBTQ has become so normalized that one out of every five young adults now identify as LGBTQ. Nearly every family has been affected in one way or another, and parents are wondering what to do.

If your son or daughter identifies as LGBTQ, here are four principles to consider:

1. Ask, What now?
Many parents fixate on asking God why their child strayed from the truth. But asking why can send you into a downward spiral of self-introspection and unanswered questions, leading to hopelessness and despair. A better question to ask is, What now? What might God be doing in your child? What might He be doing in you?

The greatest problem for children who come out as LGBTQ is not that they embrace an LGBTQ identity or act out immorally. Their greatest problem is that they’re disconnected from their Creator and don’t know who they are in Him: Beloved. Sought after. Fearfully and wonderfully made. LGBTQ isn’t about sex as much as it is about searching for identity, seeking illegitimate ways to meet a legitimate need. Pray for God to do whatever it takes to help your child find their identity in Christ and become rooted and grounded in His love.

At the same time, ask the Lord what He might be doing in you. Oftentimes, a child’s coming out catapults parents into their own identity crisis, as they realize their self-worth is wrapped up in the apparent success or failure of their child. But the end goal of life isn’t to be the perfect parent who produces perfect children; it’s to glorify Christ in every circumstance in which we find ourselves. Jesus promised that in this world we would have tribulation. And yet, He also promises to be with us no matter what we face. Let the pain of the circumstance drive you closer to the Lord’s heart and the ultimate reason you’re on the earth: to know Him and make Him known.

2. Know that you’re not the enemy
When your child embraces an LGBTQ identity, a parent tends to wonder, What did I do wrong? There’s a tendency to feel that you are to blame. But even the best parenting in the world can’t prevent a child from embracing sin.

How do I know?

Adam and Eve had a perfect Father yet still sinned.

The same devil who seeks to destroy your child’s sexuality also seeks to neutralize you by convincing you that you are the enemy — effectively pitting you against your child. He sets a snare of self-focused condemnation to prevent you from interceding effectively for your child. Rather than taking the bait of the evil one, redirect your focus to the real enemy, the evil one himself.

3. Target the real enemy
The devil is the real enemy — not you, not your child, and not the LGBTQ community. Instead of blaming yourself, choose to fight on behalf of your child against a common enemy. Pray for your child to have an “aha” moment, just like the prodigal son who was eating the slop of pigs and realized he could return to his father’s house.

It may look impossible right now, but faith is choosing to believe God’s Word is true even when your present circumstances scream the opposite. Be assured that as much as you want your child to return to the Lord, our heavenly Father wants that even more. Rather than allowing the enemy to paralyze you with guilt, condemnation, and shame, come into agreement with the Father’s heart for your child and push back against the real enemy at work in your child’s life.

4. Find support and get equipped

It can be an isolating experience when your child adopts an LGBTQ identity. There’s fear that if you tell others in the body of Christ, they’ll judge you for poor parenting. But the enemy knows that fear of what others think will keep you isolated, making it even more difficult to stand in faith for your child. It helps to find support from others who have walked the same path.

One such place is ReStory Ministries, a nonprofit established to equip pastors, support families, and assist churches to become healing communities. ReStory’s website offers free resources on topics such as talking to your children about LGBTQ and navigating transgender pronouns. ReStory also offers online equipping videos with topics that include: When Someone You Love Is LGBTQ, Answering Pro-Gay Theology, and Transgender Trends.

ReStory is also hosting a national conference on Oct. 4-5, 2024, in Indianapolis to equip pastors, ministry leaders, and parents. ReStoried24 features 17 speakers who are experts on LGBTQ, including Dr. Paul Hruz, a pediatric endocrinologist who will explain the devastating effects of puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones.

Additionally, Annalise Shadburne, who started on testosterone as a teenager, will share how she encountered Jesus and eventually surrendered her sexuality to the Lord. She and her husband now serve faithfully at their AG church in the northwest and are a testament to the power of God to redeem what the enemy intended for harm.

ReStoried24 will also offer parent-focused breakouts and Q&A time, where you can meet other parents, get connected to resources, and find answers to common questions. Perhaps most impactful of all will be the altar ministry on Friday night where attendees can receive prayer and encouragement from those who understand.

Though it can be devastating when your child embraces LGBTQ, be assured that God can take what the enemy intended for harm and turn it for your good, for your child’s good, and for the saving of many lives.

Linda Seiler is the executive director of ReStory Ministries and author of TRANS-Formation: A Former Transgender Responds to LGBTQ. For more info about Seiler as well as helpful resources on LGBTQ, visit www.lindaseiler.com and www.restoryministries.org.

Linda Seiler

Dr. Linda Seiler is an ordained Assemblies of God minister and currently serves as a National Chi Alpha missionary, training missionaries in the U.S. and overseas in applied theology and culture. She also serves as the Executive Director of ReStory Ministries. She is the author of TRANS-Formation: A Former Transgender Responds to LGBTQ.