Serendipitydodah For Moms

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Serendipitydodah for Moms is a private Facebook group for moms of LGBTQ kids. The group was started in June 2014 and as of january 2019 there are more than 4,000 members. Each day moms of LGBTQ kids gather virtually to share a journey that is unique and often very difficult. The group is a place where they share a lot of information, ask questions, support one another, learn a lot and brag on their kids. The official motto is “Better Together” and the members nickname themselves “Mama Bears”

The group is private so only members can see who is in the group and what is posted there. For more info about the private facebook group email lizdyer55@gmail.com
For a list of helpful resources for parents of lgbtq kids click here.

There are four subgroups, several special projects and more than 50 regional groups available to the members of the private Facebook group.

The four subgroups include:

Serendipitydodah Mama Bears to the Rescue
 is a subgroup for Serendipitydodah Mama Bears who are willing and able to be available to do small acts of kindness for lgbtq people who need connection, care or assistance. This subgroup makes it easier for members to coordinate and organize to do things such as attend a wedding as an affirming stand in mom, visit someone in the hospital, help someone get settled in a new area, provide some transportation, include someone in their holiday gatherings, send a note of encouragement etc  The work that Mama Bears to the Rescue does is focused on being a “loving presence” in the life of lgbtq people who need connection and support. All members of Serendipitydodah for Moms are eligible to access and participate in the subgroup.

Serendipitydodah MTK is a subgroup where the conversation is trans specific. It is mostly made up of moms of trans kids. The conversation in the subgroup is trans specific. All members of Serendipitydodah for Moms are eligible to access and participate in the subgroup.

Serendipitydodah Blue Ocean Faith is a subgroup for members of Serendipitydodah for Moms who want to dive in deeper to their journey of faith and connect with a faith community that is fully inclusive of lgbtq people. Ken Wilson and Emily Swan, who are both pastors of Blue Ocean Faith Ann Arbor Church, assist in facilitating the group and offer pastoral care to the members. All members of Serendipitydodah for Moms are eligible to access and participate in the subgroup.

Serendipitydodah for Moms of Double Rainbow Kids is a subgroup of Serendipitydodah for Moms. It was set up specifically for moms of autistic kids who also identify as LGBTQ. The conversation in the group focuses on autistic people who also identify as LGBTQ. All members of Serendipitydodah for Moms are eligible to access and participate in the subgroup.

Special Projects available for members:

The Mama Bear Story Project –  Stories have the power to change the world … they inspire us, teach us, connect us. The Mama Bear Story Project provides a stage for the members of “Serendipitydodah for Moms” to share autobiographical essays and personal portraits in an effort to connect with other moms like themselves and to make the world a kinder, safer, more loving place for all lgbtq people to live.  The project was started in January 2017 and as of July 2018 has published more than 30 essays written by a mom of an lgbtq kid. Each essay includes a portrait of the mom and is shared on The Mama Bear Story Project Facebook page and on the Serendipitydodah Public Blog.

The Made With Love Project invites members of Serendipitydodah for Moms to make heart patterned friendship bracelets for members of the lgbtq community to remind them they are loved just the way they are. Anyone can submit lgbtq people to receive a “Made With Love Bracelet” by sending the person’s name and address in an email to lizdyer55@gmail.com (feel free to also add some information about the person). This is more than a bracelet – this is a movement created by moms of lgbtq kids who are committed to making the world a kinder, safer, more loving place for all lgbtq people to live.

The Banner Blanket Project was started by a member of Serendipitydodah for Moms. The project delivers handmade blankets to LGBTQ teens and young adults who find themselves not supported by their family. The hope is that the blankets delivered to them will serve as a reminder that there is someone who loves and cares about them. Moms of LGBTQ kids who are members of the Serendipitydodah for Moms Facebook group are invited to make no-sew fleece blankets and mail them to assigned recipients. You can nominate someone to receive a Banner Blanket by emailing their name and address to lizdyer55@gmail.com

Free Mom Hugs – Serendipitydodah for Moms is a proud partner of Free Mom HugsFree Mom Hugs is a group of affirming parents who love their LGBTQ+ kids unconditionally and take hugs of love and acceptance to others. They are dedicated to educating families, church and civic leaders, and not only affirming the value of the LGBTQ+ community, but celebrating it. Members of Serendipitydodah for Moms often connect with Free Mom Hugs and get involved with the advocacy work they are doing and the two organizations often work together on special projects and events. Visit the Free Mom Hugs website for more information.

A helpful list of resources for parents of lgbtq kids can be found here.

 


 

Serendipitydodah for Moms is a proud partner of Free Mom HugsFree Mom Hugs is a group of affirming parents who love their LGBTQ+ kids unconditionally and take hugs of love and acceptance to others. They are dedicated to educating families, church and civic leaders, and not only affirming the value of the LGBTQ+ community, but celebrating it. Members of Serendipitydodah for Moms often connect with Free Mom Hugs and get involved with the advocacy work they are doing and the two organizations often work together on special projects and events. Visit the Free Mom Hugs website for more information.

 

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Mama Bear Story Project #41 – Sara Cunningham

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The Mama Bear Story Project is a collection of portraits and autobiographical essays from members of Serendipitydodah for Moms – Home of the Mama Bears

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When I was a child, my mother called me “Goose,” I am certain now more than ever this was because of my natural ability to put my nose into other people’s business. I needed to know what was going on, if everyone was ok, and most importantly when we could all get together again. Community was everything to me then, and it certainly is my focus every day now.

My Journey to becoming an ally began with the words from my child, “Mom I’ve met someone, and I need you to be okay about it.” I didn’t take the news very well, and I said and did some things I regret even to this day.

I had to re-examine my religion as it suggested that I needed to choose between my faith and my child. I discovered, with the help of some others who came alongside me, that what I believed about LGBTQIA+ people came from a few verses in the Bible that had been misinterpreted and misunderstood. From there, my journey went from the church to the local pride parade wearing a homemade button and offering Free Mom Hugs or High Fives.

I wasn’t the first mom to show up at a Pride Parade offering love and hope and hugs, but I did create a non-profit based on that experience. After my post about being a stand-in mom at same-sex weddings went viral; what we have seen has been a movement of love and celebration for the LGBTQIA+ Community.

It has been the most amazing gift dropped in our laps as far as getting the message out to moms, dads, educators, and churches that NOW is the time to get educated, to step out of fear and ignorance and come out of their own closets to speak out on behalf of their children.

But what has been even more beautiful is the community, the connection and healing that is taking place in the lives of LGBTQIA+ youth and adults due to the thousands of compassionate, empowered people who are responding and offering support, birthday cards, words of affirmation, homemade blankets, and other simple but very important small gestures such as referring to a transgender person by their chosen name.

We also recently had a follower on Instagram post about their 11-year-old child who attempted suicide because of intense scrutiny and bullying from family and school. We noticed the post and got our group of “Mama Bears to the Rescue” their address and when the young girl came home from the hospital, she was surprised by dozens of cards, stuffed animals and blankets from Mamas all across the country. These small acts of kindness, this kind of loving presence in the life of that child and her Mama delivered a message of love and hope that was life-changing for them.

This is where we are going Beyond The Hug. We are supporting homeless youth with Free Mom Hugs Hoodies. We are helping our transgender friends fund legal fees for gender name changes, emotional and financial support after top- surgeries; we travel to small-town colleges and encourage their GSA’s. We are educating on behalf of our communities in schools and in the workplace. We are advocating on behalf of mental health awareness, ending workplace discrimination, and putting an end to once and for all the mental abuse that is conversion therapy.

So many young LGBTQIA+ people are hurting from family rejection and rigid religious beliefs. We may not be able to solve most problems – but one thing we can all do is be a loving presence in the life of LGBTQIA+ people. Anyone reading this can send a card, speak words of affirmation, get together with someone for a coffee, give a small gift, use someone’s chosen name, give a hug. These are things we can all do.

My hope is that my journey will inspire all of you to want to be a loving presence in the life of LGBTQIA+ people.

Together I believe we can change the world, so it is a kinder, safer, more loving place for all people to live.

Love wins. Hugs and high fives help too.

Sara Cunningham is a Mama Bear and the Founder, Executive Director & CEO of Free Mom Hugs. Sara has been featured on the Today Show, CNN, and viewed by millions on social media. You can follow Sara and Free Mom Hugs on Facebook and find out more about her message of love and hope by visiting the Free Mom Hugs Website


Serendipitydodah for Moms is a private Facebook group for moms of LGBTQ kids. The official motto is “Better Together” and the members call themselves “Mama Bears

The group is private so only members can see who is in the group and what is posted in the group. It was started in June 2014 and presently has more than 4,400 members. For more info about the private Facebook group email lizdyer55@gmail.com

 

Mama Bear Story Project #40 – Melissa DeStefano

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The Mama Bear Story Project is a collection of portraits and autobiographical essays from members of Serendipitydodah for Moms – a private Facebook group for open minded Christian moms of LGBTQ kids.

 

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I had hoped that my son would wait until after high school to come out as transgender. But I realized I’d prefer a thriving son over a dead daughter.

When I gave birth to my first baby, the doctor said, “It’s a girl!” Before I even knew my child, those words helped me imagine the future.

But the future was different from what I expected.

By the time my child was in high school, he went by a boy’s name, ran on the boys’ cross-country team, received hormone therapy, underwent chest surgery and used the boys’ bathrooms and locker rooms.

It was clear early on that Aidan was different. From about the age of 2, Aidan didn’t want long ponytails but short hair. He wanted to wear shorts and track pants — going shopping meant the boys’ section. He was super athletic. Aidan looked like a boy.

I thought I was raising a tomboy. I wondered whether someday my daughter would come out as a lesbian. Then, in junior high, Aidan told me, “Mom, I was born in the wrong body. I’m transgender.”

I was floored. When your child comes to you and says, The most basic things you think you know about me are false — it takes your breath away.

I Googled my mind into oblivion. I read about families that kicked children out of the house and disowned them. I read about schools that refused to use a child’s chosen name and preferred pronouns. I learned that transgender kids have a sky-high suicide rate. I was terrified. I realized that my choice might be a dead daughter or a thriving son.

Living your truth is hard — but right

I had hoped Aidan would wait until after high school to come out publicly as transgender, but after 10th grade, he told me he was going to do it on Facebook. I couldn’t stop him, and so I posted my own letter alongside his video — and people were supportive. Afterward, Aidan seemed lighter and happier.

Even so, it was not an easy path. Our family used to go to church together, and we’d jam to Christian music in the car — until one church associate told Aidan he was damned to hell. Aidan was devastated, and eventually quit the youth group. These days, he questions the existence of God. I still go to that church and feel so sad and angry that representatives of an institution I value denied my child’s sense of himself — I didn’t want that to happen in other places.

So I felt grateful for the support from Boyertown Area High School in Boyertown, Pennsylvania. By 10th grade, when Aidan started there, he had been consistently dressing in boys’ clothes for years. He told the guidance counselor he had gotten strange looks using the girls’ bathroom and needed an alternative. She offered the nurse’s bathroom.

That summer, Aidan started taking testosterone. When he returned to school in the fall, we filed for a name change so he would officially be “Aidan.” Then he had chest surgery. In Aidan’s senior year, he joined the boys’ cross-country team and, with the school’s permission, began using the boys’ restroom and locker rooms.

Finally, he felt fully validated for who he is. Aidan was coming into his own as a happy-go-lucky, popular and confident trans kid. Everyone who met him seemed to like him — he was even elected to the Homecoming Court. My fear began to fade.

But during Aidan’s senior year, a handful of other students sued the school, claiming that their privacy was violated because transgender students were using the same bathrooms and locker rooms. Adolescence can be an awkward time for anyone, but the high school has private changing areas and bathrooms so no student has to change in front of others.

I’m grateful that two courts have recognized the right of transgender students like Aidan to use the bathrooms and locker rooms that match their gender identity. But now the other students have asked the Supreme Court to review the case. We are working with the American Civil Liberties Union to discourage the Supreme Court from taking up the case.

It might seem like this is just about a bathroom — but in fact it’s a powerful institution saying to a child, you have no right to be who you say you are. Schools form the center of kids’ social lives, and they are where kids develop a sense of themselves. Had the school excluded Aidan from the same facilities as other boys, it would have negated, instead of affirmed, his new and shining confidence and ease in the world.

He knows transgender kids who have had more experiences like that: They have been rejected by family, friends, institutions. Several have attempted suicide.

I consider myself a very lucky mom. God blessed me with two wonderful kids. My greatest hope is that the world recognizes my son, and other transgender people like him, and allows them to find their paths.

 

THIS STORY WAS FIRST PUBLISHED ON THE USA TODAY SITE.

 


 

Serendipitydodah for Moms is a private Facebook group for moms of LGBTQ kids. The official motto is “Better Together” and the members call themselves “Mama Bears”

The group is private so only members can see who is in the group and what is posted in the group. It was started in June 2014 and presently has more than 4,400 members. For more info about the private Facebook group email lizdyer55@gmail.com

Mama Bear Story Project #39 – Vanessa Nichols

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The Mama Bear Story Project is a collection of portraits and autobiographical essays from members of Serendipitydodah for Moms – a private Facebook group for open minded Christian moms of LGBTQ kids.

 

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The Bullies Have Arrived and I’m Ready To Use My Words.

My daughter was bullied for the first time two weeks ago.

Unfortunately, I’m not surprised. But that doesn’t mean it hurts any less as a mom.

When you’re a little girl that appears to be a boy, when you don’t fit into a perfect little societal norm box in this hateful world, bullies will find you.

She was on a play date in a different neighborhood. Her and her friends went to the community’s playground and met two boys around the ages of 10-12.

All started out well and fine, they all played together, until they didn’t.

The two boys began picking on my daughter, before even knowing she was a girl, making fun of her clothes, her shoes, her hair. When she corrected one of them for calling her an “ugly boy”, telling them she was a girl, they then called her a “tranny”, a freak, a fag, and gay. None of such terms were even understood by my child. Because she’s 8 and ignorant to such slurs and hatred.

She handled it well enough. She talked it out with me when I picked her up. She asked a lot of questions about the words they used and just seemed overall confused, but not overly sad.

She is the type to stuff emotions a little bit so I’m not sure the validity to her dismissive attitude but I was proud of her strength. We keep open communication about the incident and I made sure to tell her that these boys were just mean because they didn’t understand her and that they must have felt bad and ugly inside to do that to someone else, to which she responded well.

As for me? I didn’t handle it quite as gracefully.

I was so sad. I am so sad.

This is a tough pill to swallow for a parent. This bullying epidemic is some scary shit, especially when you bring the notion of social media into the conversation. It’s fucking terrifying.

I analyzed the incident for days. And by analyzed , I mean obsessed over it. And by obsessed over it, I mean I lost sleep, I cried and I thought about running away with my child somewhere it feels safer than this. Anywhere that posed promise for more open mindedness.

Because I know this won’t be the last bullying incident. I knew this was coming and it was the day I dreaded for years.

When my daughter’s gender identity adventures began at a very young age, of course I was hoping it was a phase. Of course I was.

Who would want their child to have a more difficult life? Who would want their child to be different, to stand out, to struggle? No one. Absolutely not one parent on the face of the earth.

But alas, she continued to express herself in the same patterns: “boy” toys, “boy” clothes, “boy” haircut, all with a bit of a masculine nuance to her mannerisms since age 4.

I’ve never labeled her transgender, as I’ve written and talked about publicly. Let me be clear here and interject- I would label her transgender, and let her socially transition, if she asserted herself that way, if she affirmed that in her heart she feels like a boy, if she ever went into depression or anxiety over it, or if she attempted suicide over it as many young children do when they’re trans. Because I now knowthat being trans a science based fact, because I’ve done my research, because I know families that have had a suicidal 7 year old because their brain doesn’t match their genitalia.

But thus far, that hasn’t been the case. We keep an open dialogue and yes, she sees someone that specializes in gender issues. Because it’s confusing as fuck, for her and more so for me. This is not a made up thing.

So, for now, she’s a girl with a very feminine name who looks like a boy and confuses so many strangers.

Which is where the bullies will continue to dive in. Because they’re afraid. Because whether you’re a child, a teen, a young adult, or full grown, fear breeds ignorance and ignorance breeds terrible behavior, as we have all been privileged to witnessing.

People are afraid of things and issues and other people that they don’t understand. They’re afraid and they react out of that fear. And the bullies aren’t taught to filter that out by their parents. Ignorance is perpetuated in their homes, it’s learned behavior. And that behavior translates into hatefulness. Just look around social media. Adults are the absolute worst offenders.

People ask me all of the time. “why do you write about this? Why do you put this information out to the universe to get scrutinized?”.

And all of this analysis of this first bullying incident solidified my answer- to preach the word of kindness. To maybe, just maybe, educate one person on what it is that makes my child different. To advocate for all differences.

I posted a little blurb about this incident on my personal Facebook page, trying to spread a message of kindness and teaching children to not say anything if they don’t have anything nice to say.

I received a private message from a person I knew from high school who stated that I set my child up for this bullying, that this is my fault, because I “let her dress like a boy”. To which I replied, I simply will not shove my child’s wants and needs aside, force her into a box, for the comfort of everyone else. No way. That would certainly make it better for everyone else wouldn’t it? But that is not allowing my child room to be who she is. That is not setting her up on a solid foundation.

She is who she is.

And that’s why I write.

For her.

To create a better world for her the only way I know how.

And to those that believe writing about this topic is over exposing her- that’s a fair concern but listen, she will grow up knowing her mother is a fighter for equality. And I hope that makes her proud. I will absolutely stop writing about this the moment she asks me to.

But in the meantime, I will fight for a better place for her to exist just how she is. Her authentic self. I will use my writing as a super power of education and plea for kindness.

And hope for a day where acceptance is commonplace and bullies have no place in the world.

A mama can hope. A mama will fight.

Vanessa Nichols is a single mom of one amazing redhead, living in southwest Florida. Her writing has been featured on Scary Mommy, BLUNTMoms, Elephant Journal, and BonBon Break. She’s a lover of yoga, a sun worshiper, a traveler, and a dreamer. Follow her on Twitter and Facebook and read more on her blog.


Serendipitydodah for Moms is a private Facebook group for moms of LGBTQ kids. The official motto is “Better Together” and the members call themselves “Mama Bears”

The group is private so only members can see who is in the group and what is posted in the group. It was started in June 2014 and presently has more than 4,400 members. For more info about the private Facebook group email lizdyer55@gmail.com

Mama Bear Story Project #38 – Jennifer Stringfellow

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The Mama Bear Story Project is a collection of portraits and autobiographical essays from members of Serendipitydodah for Moms – a private Facebook group for open minded Christian moms of LGBTQ kids.

Jennifer

 
We’re Angry
 
 
Do you know what just occurred to me?💡
The reason I and many other moms of LGBTQ kids come across as angry?
Its because we are.

We’re angry!

 
We did everything right according to bringing a child up in a Christian home. We did all the things. We brought our kids to church, we taught our kids from the Bible, we taught them to pray and prayed with them, we taught them right from wrong, we sang the songs ‘Jesus loves me this I know’ being the A#1 song, we made sure every summer they were in VBS, we went to all the extracurricular functions, we taught abstinence until marriage, we did everything we could do to make sure our children were saved and would enter the kingdom of heaven.
 
And what did The Church do to our kids when they came out and told the truth about who they are? The Church told them they are broken. That the way they were born to be is a sin. An abomination. That the only way to be acceptable is to marry someone they have no attraction to or to force them into celibacy.
 
And do you know what a lot of our LGBTQ kids have done about The Churches treatment of them??? They’ve given the middle finger to Christianity. They can’t live… literally cannot stay alive and surround themselves with The Churches options for them for the way they were born to be. And this is why our kids separate themselves from The Church… so they can literally keep breathing.
 
So yeah, I’m angry. I’m really angry. That all the years and all the work I put in to making sure my children love Jesus has been snuffed out in one fell stroke by The Church. Neither of my kids claim Christianity as their faith.
 
Thanks Church.
 
Jesus would have none of this😞
 
And that’s an explanation on why we come across as angry.
 
It’s because we ARE!


Serendipitydodah for Moms is a private Facebook group for moms of LGBTQ kids. The official motto is “Better Together” and the members call themselves “Mama Bears”

The group is private so only members can see who is in the group and what is posted in the group. It was started in June 2014 and presently has more than 3,800 members. For more info about the private Facebook group email lizdyer55@gmail.com

Mama Bear Story Project #37 – Corina Dulecki

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The Mama Bear Story Project is a collection of portraits and autobiographical essays from members of Serendipitydodah for Moms – a private Facebook group for open minded Christian moms of LGBTQ kids.

CRD-AKD

My Journey

I’ve been on a journey. As with any journey, the road has had ups and downs, twist and turns. Let me tell you how my journey started and where it has led me.

A few years ago, my oldest child was home from her university. I don’t remember what day it was or what I was doing but I know I was sitting on the floor (which means I was probably folding laundry or petting the dog). My daughter said she needed to talk to me. The way she said it made me ask her if she was pregnant. She said “No, I’m gay”.

So the journey begins. I’ve always been liberal politically and religiously (surprising since I grew up in a Missouri synod Lutheran Church) so this announcement was not difficult for me to hear. We went on with her visit and soon she went back to school. I don’t know how she came out to friends, but I soon saw some posts on social media. The most noteworthy was a twitter post on national coming out day. For a while after that, she didn’t talk too much about relationships and we didn’t meet or hear about anyone special. I don’t think my relationship with my daughter changed much during this time. We have always had a good relationship and it has only gotten better since she has become an adult. She is fun to talk to and we have a lot in common.

In Jan 2018, my daughter went to Spain to study aboard. My husband and I were blessed to be able to go visit her when she was done with her program. We traveled through Spain with her and I saw once again what a wonderful young adult she has become. After we left Spain, she stayed another week before she flew back to Chicago for the summer.

My husband met our daughter in Chicago the following week and moved her back to the apartment. She was planning to stay in Chicago for the summer to work. That was a big deal because for the past three summers, she had worked at a Lutheran camp as a camp counselor. (She had been a camper there since 7th grade). Since her faith was important to her, she was active in our church and Living Water Ministries while in high school.

Fortunately while at Loyola, my daughter found a home at a Methodist Church. Not only did she worship there, but she also worked in their after school program. I was able to visit a few times. It was much smaller than our home church but it was very welcoming and very progressive. I noticed this even before I entered the building. There was a “no guns” sign as well as a pride flag out front. The sermon was social justice focused. Every time I attended, I was welcomed with open arms. I always saw God’s love shining through when I visited.

Meanwhile, my church (an ELCA church) announced that they would be holding a series of three forums on same sex marriage. The purpose was to help the church council establish a policy about whether to perform same sex marriages. It never occurred to me that the church didn’t already allow this, so I started researching and learning. As I said, I’ve always been liberal politically and religiously, but this was different. This was my baby girl we were talking about and this was the church where my baby girl grew and developed her faith.

Ironically, at about the same time I found about the upcoming forums, I found a Facebook group called Serendipitydodah for Moms-A place for unexpected discovery. This is a closed Facebook group for mothers (mainly Christian) of LGBTQIA+ kids. I joined the group and quickly posted a question explaining what my church was doing and requested resources and books to help me learn about gay marriage and the Bible. The other moms responded right away with books, articles and other resources. I was worried about what my church would decide so I started reading and researching. I read everything I could.

I also started thinking about the LGBTQIA+ community in my town. To be honest, I knew little about it. From conversations with my daughter, it didn’t seem that her high school had been LGBT friendly. I wondered what other LGBT folks thought of our city. Although I want my children to live wherever they feel comfortable as adults, it made me sad to think my child may not feel comfortable where I lived. I started following the local Pride Center on Facebook. I went to their parent’s group a few times and met some lovely people.

I also continued going through the resources that I had learned about on line. First, I read the book “Torn” by Justin Lee. Although I already believed that homosexuality was not a sin, I didn’t really know why I believed that (outside of the fact that I believe that my God is a loving God). This book helped me to begin to understand how this is biblically true. I shared the books and resources with my husband and we seemed to be on the same page.

Next, I listened to a podcast called Blue Babies Pink. It was created by an evangelical Southern Christian. It was his life story of coming to terms with his homosexuality. His story was amazing.

I continued to read books and resources throughout the summer and fall. David Guhee’s “Changing our Mind”, “The Sin of Certainty” by Peter Enns and “A Bigger Table” by John Pavlovitz were all wonderful. These writers really helped me see that the Bible does not condemn homosexuality. I started learning about the “clobber verses” and how they were traditionally interpreted. I started to learn a new way to understand those verses. I also began learning about affirming churches.

As I was discovering all these resources, I found out about many local events that were happening and attended several. I heard John Pavlovitz speak at a United Church of Christ service. John was an amazing speaker but what was more amazing was the church itself. The pastor was a gay married man with whom I had the opportunity to speak after the services. I told him what was happening in my church and he said he would pray for us. I drove home filled with much peace and joy and was more sure that gay marriage is okay in the eyes of God.

I learned that the local Christian Reformed Church has a group called All One Body which advocates for unrestricted participation in all areas of church life by all members who confess Christ, whether single or partnered without regard to sexual orientation or gender identity. This group had speakers come to a local CRC church so I went to a few of their events. One was Justin Lee (author of Torn). I had been moved by this book so I was glad I could hear him speak. He was amazing! This group hosted another speaker who was a local pastor, Rev. Jim Lucas who founded GIFT (Gays in Faith Together). Hearing his story and testimony gave me one more reason to believe God did not condemn gay marriage and homosexuality is not a sin as many Christians believe.

A local United Methodist Church hosted and event called Inclusion First. It was a week-long series of events to “transform ourselves, our churches and our community to be more inclusive to our LGBT+ neighbors”. My husband and I had the opportunity to hear a panel discussion with several LGBTQIA+ people that was nothing but inspiring.

The more I read and saw, the clearer I was that the Bible is not against gay marriage. I was seeing scripture in a whole new way and was becoming very passionate about this topic, but I started to get worried about my own church. What if my congregation does not vote to allow gay marriage? What if my church did not allow my daughter to get married there if one day she wants to? I also started to wonder what the conversations were going to look like at the forums. What would happen if people I have been friends with for years would look at my husband and me from across the aisle and say they believe that homosexuality is a sin and for that reason your child cannot get married at our church?

While those concerns were heavy on my heart, I spoke with a co-worker who identified as LGBTQ+. I told her about what would be going on in my church. She shared with me that her wife might have some more resources (because of her occupation). The two of them were gracious to take a Saturday morning to meet with me over coffee to talk about all of this. It was wonderful to hear their stories and viewpoints and get to know them better. Their love for each other and their compassion for me as I struggled with my fears was clearly a gift from God.

Shortly thereafter, I was in Chicago visiting my daughter and her girlfriend (she is now in relationship with a lovely girl). It was getting closer and closer to the date for the first church forum and it really hit home how important this is to me. I read numerous authors that wrote so intellectually about what the Bible says and doesn’t say about homosexuality. I understand the clobber verses in a whole new way. I have met many members of the LGBTQ+ community in Grand Rapids and West Michigan. I saw what several other churches were doing and I wondered about the ELCA at large. This led me to a website called Reconciling Works: Lutherans for full participation. It’s a program for Lutheran congregations to publicly welcome LGBTQIA+ people and be placed on a Reconciling in Christ roster. I learned what it meant to be a truly Affirming Church.

I continued to be worried about what my church’s forums would look like. What would it be like to sit across from someone I call a friend and find out that they don’t believe like me? I decided to ask one of my pastors if we could meet prior to the forums. We talked about what I had been learning and reading. He let me know that our congregation had people on both sides of the aisle when it came to gay marriage in the church. That made me sad because after months of reading, learning and talking to people, I didn’t know anyone in my congregation could be against allowing gay marriage.

I went into all of this to educate myself so that I could be well spoken about why I believe that my church should allow same sex marriage, but I think God had more in mind. Now I want more than just having a policy that allowed our church to preform same sex marriage. I want a congregation that loudly and clearly shouts “LGBTQIA+ siblings in Christ, you are loved and welcomed here. We want you to be comfortable here within our walls. God loves you, we love you. You are welcome and safe here”.

This has been my journey. I know it is not over and I’m not sure where it will go from here. What I do know is that I love my children. I do know that God loves my children. I hope and pray that my church will also show that same love to all of God’s children. I hope that our church becomes truly affirming.

( A post script: My church will have the same sex marriage policy completed in Jan 2019)


Serendipitydodah for Moms is a private Facebook group for moms of LGBTQ kids. The official motto is “Better Together” and the members call themselves “Mama Bears”

The group is private so only members can see who is in the group and what is posted in the group. It was started in June 2014 and presently has more than 3,800 members. For more info about the private Facebook group email lizdyer55@gmail.com

 

Mama Bear Holiday Hugs Project

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The Mama Bear Holiday Hugs Project is hosted by Serendipitydodah for Moms, a private facebook group for moms of lgbtq kids.

The holiday season can be an especially lonely and stressful time for many lgbtq people who have lost support due to their lgbtq status. Members of Serendipitydodah for Moms are invited to send holiday messages of love, hope and affirmation to lgbtq people who need support during the holiday season.

To nominate an lgbtq person to receive a Holiday Hug message, in the mail, from an affirming mom, click on this link and fill out the form. (Name, address, sexual orientation, gender identity and pronouns are required)

MAMA BEARS GIVE THE BEST HOLIDAY HUGS!!

PLEASE help us spread the word by sharing this post!!

If you have questions you can email mamabearholidayhugs@gmail.com


Serendipitydodah for Moms is a private Facebook group for moms of LGBTQ kids. The official motto is “Better Together” and the members call themselves “Mama Bears” The group is private so only members can see who is in the group and what is posted in the group. It was started in June 2014 and presently has more than 3,700 members. For more info about the private facebook group email lizdyer55@gmail.com

 

Mama Bears to the Rescue

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If you know an LGBTQ person who is feeling alone and needs some love and encouragement please consider telling them about “Serendipitydodah Mama Bears to the Rescue”

Serendipitydodah Mama Bears to the Rescue is a private Facebook group made up exclusively of moms of LGBTQ kids who love, support and affirm their own LGBTQ kids and want to love and support other LGBTQ people who don’t have that kind of support and affirmation in their life.

The focus is small acts of kindness, making personal connections and being a loving presence in the life of LGBTQ people who have lost support due to their LGBTQ status.

The members of Mama Bears to the Rescue do things such as include LGBTQ people who need support in their holiday gatherings, stand in as affirming moms at same sex weddings, send notes of encouragement, find helpful resources, talk on the phone, text, get together for coffee or lunch etc

If you know someone who is an LGBTQ person who could use some Mama Bear love and encouragement please click on the following link and fill out the form:  https://goo.gl/forms/OvjCWfIcBYgVPe883

 

DEFINE IT! – Gender Identity

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Gender identity is one’s innermost concept of self as male, female, a blend of both or neither. Gender identity is how individuals perceive themselves and what they call themselves. One’s gender identity can be the same or different from their sex assigned at birth.

It’s a common misconception that gender identity and sexual orientation are connected. If someone is transgender, for example, many people automatically assume that they must also be gay. That, however, is not the case. Gender and sexuality are different, and it’s an important distinction to understand. Transgender people may be straight, lesbian, gay, or bisexual. For example, a person who transitions from male to female and is attracted solely to men would typically identify as a straight woman.

A person’s sexual orientation determines who they are attracted to. A person’s gender identity is about their innermost concept of their self as male, female, a blend of both or neither.

One easy way to think about the difference between sexual orientation and gender identity is: “Sexuality is who you go to bed with, and gender identity is who you go to bed as.”

Most people feel that they’re either male or female.  Some people feel like a masculine female, or a feminine male, while others feel neither male nor female.  Feelings about gender identity can begin as early as age 2 or 3.

Most people’s assigned sex and gender identity are pretty much the same, or in line with each other. These people are called cisgender. However, some people feel that their assigned sex does not match their gender identity.  (i.e., assigned sex is female, but gender identity is male). These people are called transgender or trans. There are many gender identities that fall under the transgender label/umbrella including gender queer, bi gender, agender, non binary and gender fluid.

Future “DEFINE IT” series posts will go into more detail about specific gender identities and other related terms.

DEFINE IT! – Pansexual

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Pansexuality or Omnisexuality can be defined as romantic and/or sexual attraction to a person regardless of their gender identity or sexual orientation. This includes cisgender and transgender men and women, non-binary people, people who are agender, bigender, genderqueer and all who fall outside of the gender binary. Pansexuals are often described as being “gender blind”

However, it’s important to keep in mind that pansexuality can mean different things to different people, which can make pinning down a definition that fits everyone challenging.

Pansexual people often say their attractions are about “heart not parts” and explain that the physical aspect and gender identity of a person do not factor into their attractions. However, others who identify as pansexuals may express that  even though gender may “play a part” in who they are attracted no identity is necessarily excluded from their realm of possible attraction.

The best thing to do is remember that pansexuality is a broad and flexible term that can be claimed by many people.

Always listen to what someone who identifies as pansexual tells you pansexuality means to them and respect their explanation and boundaries.

 

DEFINE IT! – Sexual Orientation

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Sexual Orientation is different from gender and gender identity. Sexual orientation is about who you’re attracted to and who you feel drawn to romantically, emotionally, and sexually.

Sexual Orientation refers to a person’s unchosen and natural sense of sexual attraction. However, one need not have any sexual experience in order to understand their own sexual orientation.

Research indicates that a person’s general sense of attraction is set, persistent and resistant to change.

Sexual orientation is not binary and should not be conceived as either straight or gay. Instead, sexual orientation should be thought of as existing on a spectrum where many people fall somewhere in between straight and gay.

Asexual, Bisexual, Demisexual, Gay, Heterosexual, Lesbian and Pansexual are a few sexual orientations but the list is much longer and constantly evolving.


Serendipitydodah for Moms is a private Facebook group for moms of LGBTQ kids. The official motto is “Better Together” and the members call themselves “Mama Bears”

The group is private so only members can see who is in the group and what is posted in the group. It was started in June 2014 and presently has more than 3,700 members. For more info about the private facebook group email lizdyer55@gmail.com