Serendipitydodah for Moms – a private facebook group for moms of lgbt kids

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Serendipitydodah for Moms was created as an extension of the Serendipitydodah blog. The group is secret so that only members can find it or see what is posted in the group. The group was started in June 2014 and presently has more than 1,000 members. The space was specifically created for open minded Christian moms who have LGBT kids and want to develop and maintain healthy, loving, authentic relationships with their LGBT kids. In addition to providing a space for members to share info and support one another, a special guest is added each month for a few days. The guests include authors, pastors, LGBT people, bloggers and public speakers.

 

For more info email lizdyer55@gmail.com

Mama Bear Story Project #5– Carolyn Loewen

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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.

carolynv2

I was a latecomer to the mother status, as I had my son, Kevin (my firstborn) when I was 39. As you know, when a woman experiences pregnancy later in life, the chance of complications increases. I often wonder if this was responsible for my son’s issues. I knew things were different when I was pregnant, not from previous experience, but from what I had been told. Aside from some morning sickness, I hardly knew I was pregnant until my 6th month.

After Kevin was born, things were also not as I had expected. He didn’t sleep well, and he had nightmares early in his life which I did not realize were nightmares until much later. Kevin was a quiet boy, except when he wanted to talk. I tried to make a point of listening to my children (Kevin has a younger sister), no matter how “boring” it got. I believed if I listened to them when they were young, they might talk to me when they were teenagers. He would spend hours walking around the yard with a stick in his hand. When he started kindergarten, I worried about his social skills. His teacher asked for an ADHD assessment, although I was certain he did not have that problem, which he didn’t.

In grade 1, he acquired his best and only friend, who somehow stuck with Kevin even though he was different. Finally when he was in grade 6, Kevin was diagnosed with ASD, Asperger’s Syndrome. After a very steep learning curve, we learned to manage his situation.

When Kevin came out in March 2013, at age 19, I was devastated, but I vowed to love my son no matter what. Growing up in a Christian home and community, I was still on the conservative side of the theological debate, although, for the most part I tried to ignore the issue. Now, that was no longer possible, so I started dealing with it. At first, my son said to tell no one without his express permission. This was very hard for me as I am always in need of venting to a friend. I got permission to tell a few people, and after a few months of suffering in silence I sort of got used to it. I read lots of books. Our pastor at the time recommended “Torn”, by Justin Lee, and I found others. I also found a wonderful Christian female counselor who helped me sort out my feelings, and I am now fully affirming of my gay son.

In November 2015, I ‘came out’ to my congregation. I was not sure who all knew what, and I was tired of the uncertainty. With approval of the pastor/council, at an evening congregational meeting, I read a personal letter, detailing my journey, and talking about my concerns regarding all the bullying, etc. that LGBTQ young people are subjected to. That remains on my heart and I would really like to find a way to interact with youth in my town and be a support to them, as I am sure that many of them are in need of it.

After my son came out, he started educating me on all things LGBTQ. He is a very bright young man and had done a lot of research. I made a point of trying to listen to everything he said, no matter how uncomfortable it might make me. He also told me he would answer all my questions, but I should only ask what I really wanted to know.

One thing that my son discovered in his research and shared with me was the connection between LGBTQ and ASD.  It turns out that the percentage of boys with ASD that are also gay is much higher than in the general population. This made me very sad, because in addition to struggling with social issues related to ASD, he also had to come to terms with his sexuality, and his fear of telling his parents. That is a lot for any one person to cope with.

But people do what they must and aside from periodical struggles, which is called life, we are doing well!

I recently came to the realization that, if I had a choice between my son being gay or being straight, I would choose for him to be gay. Otherwise, he would not be the exact person he is today, and I want my son to be exactly the person that he is!

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Serendipitydodah for Moms is a private Facebook group for moms of LGBTQ kids. Our official motto is “We Are Better Together” and our nickname is “Mama Bears” The group is secret so that only members can find it or see what is posted in the group. It was started in June 2014 and presently has more than 1,500 members. For more info email lizdyer55@gmail.com

Mama Bear Story Project #4 – Sherilyn Hickenbottom

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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.

bricks-bw

When Bethany was thirteen she asked me what I thought about bisexuality. I was a bit thrown by the question and answered in a way that I wish more than anything I could take back. I said “If you have a choice in who to love then choosing a same sex partner makes no sense. It just makes your life too difficult so why do it?” I didn’t analyze the “why” of her question too deeply and I certainly didn’t invite a discussion. I believed it would come back up when she was older and I was bit wiser. Well, she didn’t talk to me again about the subject for several years. She suffered with confusion, unhealthy experimentation, loneliness and suicidal thoughts all by herself. I could have made life easier for my child but one flippant answer caused years of pain and an estrangement that I didn’t even know existed.

Fast forward seven years and our daughter sends us a letter informing us that she is bisexual. This was not a surprise because we weren’t totally unaware of her romantic interests and as a novelist she had been writing LGBTQ+ themed books. We expected this formal coming out but weren’t quite ready for what she told us several months later, “I am transgender and am starting the process to become a male. My name is now Seth and I know this will be hard for you so I’ll give you all the time you need to process it”.

We learned that she had been living as Seth for a while. Everyone around her referred to her as Seth including our other three children. The new information was not as shocking as the fact that we were the last to know. Of our three daughters Bethany was the one that hated sports and preferred ballet. She loved writing, art and ethereal creativity. She was head-turningly beautiful and we considered her to be incredibly feminine. In hindsight, I realize that those feminine perceptions were placed by us because of the way she looked. Our perceptions were wrong – we see the world differently now that we have researched gender, sexuality and living authentic lives.

Loving him unconditionally was never a question for us but it hasn’t been a simple light switch either. I’m upset that he doesn’t have the name that we painstakingly chose for him, although calling him Seth has been much easier than calling him HE. I still say “my girls” when I talk and it makes me sad that there are only two, not three of them. BUT this is what I’ve learned… He is still the same person. He is creative, compassionate, insightful, intelligent, irreverent, sarcastic and one heck of a good writer. He is also an exceptional friend who is drawn to those that have suffered and know sadness, abuse and hopelessness. He is a beacon of survival, courage, hope and faith. My pride is immense! His genitals matter very little to me but his heart is everything.

Over a year later, Seth is finishing up his MFA in writing and has a caring FTM boyfriend. Yes, I use a lot of acronyms nowadays. He came home for Christmas and seemed very secure in who he is and what he wants for his future. The confidence was a beautiful thing to witness. The semi colon tattooed on his wrist reminds us all that this is not a trouble-free life. Sadly, our church ended up not being a safe place and we’ve had people attempt to devalue our faith and who our child is within it. It gets ugly, but our family is united and strong. We’ve learned how to love wholeheartedly and we absolutely see God’s eternal love flowing through our family. This isn’t easy but it is real and truthful and we love each other deeply. Our greatest hurdle and fear comes from a world committed to threaten, marginalize and legislate identity and love. Yes, I say LOVE a lot nowadays too.

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Serendipitydodah for Moms is a private Facebook group for moms of LGBTQ kids. Our official motto is “We Are Better Together” and our nickname is “Mama Bears” The group is secret so that only members can find it or see what is posted in the group. It was started in June 2014 and presently has more than 1,500 members. For more info email lizdyer55@gmail.com

Moms of LGBTQ Kids Express Gratitude to Katie Couric & National Geographic

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Serendipitydodah for Moms is a private Facebook group created as an extension of the Serendipitydodah blog. The group is secret so that only members can find it or see what is posted in the group. The group was started in June 2014 and presently has more than 1,500 members. The space was specifically created for open minded Christian moms who have LGBTQ kids and want to develop and maintain healthy, loving, authentic relationships with their LGBTQ kids. For more info email lizdyer55@gmail.com

 

The following is a letter to Katie Couric signed by more than 400 members of Serendipitydodah for Moms.

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Dear Mrs. Couric,

We are members of Serendipitydodah for Moms, a large private Facebook group of more than 1,500 Christian moms of LGBTQ kids.

Our group was created for open minded Christian moms who have LGBTQ kids and want to develop and maintain healthy, loving, authentic relationships with their LGBTQ kids.

More than 400 of us are signing this letter to express our gratitude to you and National Geographic for the wonderful work you recently did for the two-hour special documentary, Gender Revolution.

Your willingness to explore, inform and educate about gender identity allows this issue to come out of the shadows and exist in a place where misinformation and false ideas can be confronted and corrected. The respectful manner in which you engaged with those you interviewed set a tone that has often been missing in this conversation. And your down to earth, easy to understand, friendly style eliminated the defensiveness that can get in the way of people opening themselves up to listening and learning about a subject that often makes some uncomfortable.

Katie, we noticed and appreciated the way you focused carefully on important details. Your sensitivity and concern were apparent and it meant a lot to us. We think you were the right person for the job in every aspect. The work you have done has encouraged us greatly and given us much hope about the future for our kids. We sincerely believe the Gender Revolution will serve as a catalyst to help change the world into a kinder, safer, more loving place for all LGBTQ people to live and because of that we will remain forever grateful.

Thank you for everything you brought to the project. You have made a lot of Mama Bears happy and as a result you have a whole bunch of forever fans.

With sincere gratitude and respect,

Liz Dyer, Founder & Owner

Abby De Fiesta Cortez

Adele Berardi

Alecia Moss

Aletheia Wall Zambesi

Alise D Chaffins

Alison Defrese

Allena Brown

Amanda Corry Thorderson

Amanda Curtis Dwyer

Amanda Dalton

Amy Goad

Amy Hansley Bennett

Amy Rueter

Andrea Larson Schultz

Angela Maria Coble

Angie Laws

Angie Silver

Angie Stratz Ashmore

Anita Jewell Carter Cockrum

Annie Shelton

Ann McGee Green

Ann Zweckbronner

Arlene Schulz

Barb Cressy

Beau Simcoe

Becky Cantrall

Beth Barndt Ruthenburg

Beth Breems

Beth McGill-Rizer

Beth Wiggins Baswell

Bethany Kirwen

Betsy Bruce Henning

Billie Jo Marrs

Bonnie Miranda

Brenda Holloway Bratcher

Bridget Murphy

Candace Winters

Carie Poynor Downes

Carla Iturregui Picasso-Brown

Carla Michaelsen

Carla Short Spivey

Carol Mason

Carol Smith

Carole Bass

Caroline Williams Joyce

Carolyn Cage Johnston

Carolyn Walker

Carrie Black

Carrie Colladay Stell

Carrie Garske Shank

Caryle A Cox

Cassy Taylor Campos

Cathleen Frantzen Schaber

Cathy Ledbetter Lafever

Chasity Davis

Chelsa Nunn Morrison

Cheri Nill

Cheri Simpson

Cherie Walker

Cheryl Bakkila-Perkins

Cheryl B. Evans

Chris Behne

Christie Hoos

Christie Nader

Christina Aronovici

Christina Lehmann Bergevin

Christina Rosbury

Christy Emigh

Cilla Thomas

Cindy Helzer Baldwin

Cindy Jo Conner

Cindy Morgan

Cindy Richard Broussard

Colleen Hepler Brassington

Colleen Kane

Connie Dupuis

Crista Mason

Crystal Baker

Crystal Squires

Crystal Wagner

Cyndi Silva Raugh

Cynthia Corsetti

Cynthia Gaye Rahm-Clark

Dana Baker

Dana Huntington-Smith

Danette Mohring

Dawn Bellotti

Dawn Bennett

Dawn Pulley Ervin

Deb Foreman Cyr

Deb Gallagher

Debbie KIng

Debbie McCullough Hayhurst

Debbie Rogers Greenan

Debbie Wasielewski Tavarez

Debby McCrary

Debi Jackson

Debi Tucker Boland

Deborah Carlyle Enman

Debra Honeywell Myott

Dee-Ann Bodenheimer-Enslin

Deena Corwin Pfahler

Deleise Carper Brewer

Denise Ramirez-Tatum

Denise Trainer Webb

Diana Dermit McCarthy

Diana Walla

Diane Simms

Donna Campbell Thornbury

Donna Holmes

Donna Thompson Spencer

Donna Turner Hudson

Dorene Rose

Doris Wright

Elaine Falk Parker

Elisa Stoneman

Elizabeth Frauenknecht

Elizabeth McConnel Sutton

Elizabeth Pierce

Eva Sullivan-Knoff

Felicia Dodd

Frances Lavender

Gena Rogers

Genell Brown

Georgi Persons

Gerry Phifer

Gina Williamson

Glenda Crump

Glenda Purkis Boulton

Gloria Melton

Greta Medrano

Gretchen Doornek Mueller

Harriet Sutton

Heather Clevenger

Heather Gee-Thomas

Heather McCracken Bottoms

Ineka Estabrook

Irene Gilliland

Jacque Wright

Jacqueline Rutledge

Jacqueline Steverson Brown

Jade Cutter

Jamie Hovland

Jamie Tessing Bruesehoff

Jammie Risley Hahn

Jan Pezant

Jan Roberts

Jan Wightman

Jane Clementi

Jane Moody

Janet Phillips

Jane Quintanar

Janice Dunn White

Janie Romine

Janine Sarah Moore

Jaron Terry

Jeannette Cona-Larock

Jeannie Babb

Jenna Robertson

Jennie Young-Walczyk

Jennifer Angulo

Jennifer Donovan Jasgur

Jennifer Dunnam Stringfellow

Jennifer Hancock

Jennifer Robinson

Jennifer Schaffner Burkhardt

Jennifer Seeger

Jennifer Stake White

Jennifer Tatum Downs

Jennifer Teeter

Jennifer Wilkins Pearson

Jenny Bishop Morgan

Jerri Surles Collins

Jessica Fahlgren

Jill Blythe

Jill Johnstone

Jill Pote Yarbrough

Jillian Jones

Joani Lea Jack

JoAnn Forsberg

Joann Thompson

Jody Miller Vanderzell

Joy Denton

Judie Brown Gordon

Judith K Volkar

Judy Witzel Harper

Julia Lunardo

Julie Ackerson-Armstrong

Julie Bean Bisgaard

Julie Elliott O’Neal

Julie Greene

Julie Kennedy Eaton

Julie Lenox Haines

Julie Manning Waters

Karen Adams

Karen Decker Kusserow

Karen Sullivan

Karin Paulus

Karin Triola

Katherine Brown Leidy

Kathi Nicholson

Kathie Moehlig

Kathrine M Kraft

Kathryn Zentner

Kathy Ann

Kathy Davenport Isakson

Kathy Ewing-Finley

Kathy Goodwin-Banko

Kathy Green

Kathy Reim

Kathy Renne Post

Kathy White

Katie Jenifer

Katie Willhite Brooks

Katrina Black

Kay Kelley

Kay Otting

Kay Whistler

Kelli Henry Alamond

Kelli Lewis Decker

Kellie Taylor-Lafevor

Kelly Beane

Kelly Cantwell

Kelly Dembiczak

Kelly M Hunsaker

Kelly McKinsey

Kelly Rae Holiday

Keri Lynn Riley

Kim Belcher Messick

Kim Freeman Weill

Kim Kendall

Kim Lue

Kim McMahon

Kim Sonntag

Kimberly Jones

Kimberly Shappley

Kimberlyn Graham

Kirsten Shaw

Kris Gromm

Krista Burdine

Kristen Capp

Kristi Chenoweth Dubois

Kristi Kodos

Kyle Jump

Lannette Sargent

Laura Beth Taylor

Laura Sparks Turner

LeAnn Fenner

Leba Shallenberger

Lee Ann Howdershell

Lenora Lea Gill

Lesa Edwards-Schepers

Lesley Davis

Leslie Jones Webster

Linda Baker

Linda Ling

Linda Rooney

Linda Slater Tow

Linda Wiebe Dickinson

Linda York O’Connell

Lisa Bray

Lisa Cousins

Lisa Giordano Bontemps

Lisa Golden Dugger

Lisa MacGregor

Lisa Maniscalco Hildebrand

Lisa McCrystal Holley

Lisa Nickerson

Lisa Schramm

Lisa Scott Wofford

Lisa Wetmore Shinn

Liz Dyer

Loretta Davila

Lori Black Manning

Lori Bradley-Lewis

Lori Chavers Blankenship

Lori Love-Wise

Lori McCoy Simmons

Lori Rogers

Lyndah Kolkmann

Lynette Joy

Lynn Kato

Madai Girard

Maleea Shaver Castillo

Mally Shell Hatch

Marcie Castiglione

Margi Wilmans

Margie Candler

Maria Breeden

Maria Mongelli Glanzmann

Marianne Minier Walker

Marilynn Bourne Fowler

Marjorie Rudolph

Marlene Hoefer Brummond

Marlene Lund

Marsha Ladd

Martha Maust

Marti Parsons Grahl

Mary Estelle Montgomery

Mary Jo Whitley

Mary Kay Weil

MaryRuth Green Gossett

Meg Shull Bierwirth

Melea Broekers

Melina Madolora Wikoff

Melissa Ballard

Melissa Brady Silva

Melissa Morritt Coble

Melissa Sosenko DeStefano

Meredith Webster Indermaur

Merryl Dietz

Micah Hoshi

Michele Engle

Michele Manuel Fuselier

Michele Wessel Tarnow

Michelle Bradshaw McComb

Michelle Zulch

Millie Donnell

Miriam Pendley

Monica Ausderau Larmon

Monica Maday

Monica-Niki Elenbaas

Morven Roberts Baker

Nancy Barron Booher

Nancy Johnson Campbell

Nancy MacDonald

Nancy Ruh

Nancy Thompson Flikkema

Nancy Villegas

Nancy Wance

Nicole Havlen Hair

Olivia Santos

Paige Gant

Paige Stover

Pam Ensinger Antos

Pam Swendig

Pam Walsh

Patricia Detzel

Patricia Sjöberg

Patti Atwood Grossman

Patti Mercer Churner

Patti Stone

Patti Stratton

Patty Dave-Meriwether

Paula Unrau

Pauline Carlson

Pauline Daly

Phyllis Barber

Rachel Drouillard

Rachel Keyte

Rachel Sargent

Rebecca Fako Uecker

Rebecca Hedges Lyon

Rebecca Sayre

Regina Pitts Woods

Renae Shaffer-Stone

Renay Boyes

Renee Utley Bennink

Rev. Mally Baum

Rhonda Hartzell

Rhonda Morrison

Rita Daruvala

Rob Ullinger

Robin Gowan

Robin Protsman

Robinette Nacca-Cooke

Robyn S Haag

Ʀosaııie Ĺane

Rose Stucchio

Roseanne M. Shannon

Rosemarie Varrichio Campbell

Rossana Neglia McLaughlin

Roxanna Villars Gambrell

S Anderson

Sandra Cathers

Sandra Van Dyne

Sandy Collins

Sandy McClure

Sara Cunningham

Sara Hoel May

Sarah Langley

Sarah Mills Holbrook

Sarah Thacker-Estell

Shannon Eaton

Shawna Dicintio

Shay Bisbee Haude

Shelley McBride

Sheri Martin

Sherrl McFerrin Townsend

Shirley Carley

Sondy Eklund

Spring Davidson

Stacey Frazier

Stacey Jackson Baeumler

Stacy Gouge Drake

Stephanie Anderson

Sue Howard

Sue Tresatti

Susan Berland

Susan Cloys Seaman

Susan Cottrell

Susan Foss Naranjo-Stultz

Susan Hammontree Fortney

Susan Ledbetter

Susan Merritt Slattery

Susan Metcalf

Susan Ridley Griffin

Susan Wardzinski

Susy Rowe Barnhill

Suzanne Lambert Mann

Tamara Darbin

Tamara Totoro Dick

Tammi Perkins

Tammy Flowers Mejdrich

Tammy Watson

Tammy Wenzinger

Tamra Jennings

Tana Lightbown Hendricks

Tari Card

Tenley Dyck

Teresa Medlin Poston

Teresa Parker

Teri Henderson

Teri Stueland Kay

Terri Cook

Terri Gervasi

Terri Nolt

Terri Schempf

Terry Hall Sanchez

Terry Moran

Theresa Cooper

Theresa Moore Martinez

Theresa Tasker

Tina Tocheri Thomas

Tonda Campbell Hoyt

Toni Ann Bradley

Tracie Sells

Tracy Jepson

Tracy Trotter Nagy

Tricia Kaufman-Waddell

Tricia Willard

Valerie Amoling Cronin

Vanessa Horton-Hendershot

Vanessa Melchiori

Vicki Kemp Whorton

Vicki March Belsterling

Vicki Westphal

Vicky Barnes

Vlada Knowlton

Wendy S. Dillehay

Wendy Wiley Canedy

Whitney Straub

Zenia Robertson


 

 

 

 

Mama Bear Story Project #3 – Debby McCrary

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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.

debbym1

We never had a problem loving our fun, kind-hearted son, even though we were concerned for him as early as three years old.

My concerns and fears grew as he was the target of bullies, starting in third grade, and I felt that I couldn’t tell my family or Christian friends the hurt he was enduring because I didn’t want them to know that he was being called “gay”. I feared they would say that homosexuality was an abomination. I could never say that about my son. So, nothing was ever said as I waited for God to answer my prayer.

I tried to make a deal with God, that He could take me, just save my son. I knew that he was born this way and I told God over and over that it didn’t make sense that this precious kid would be judged so harshly. He was good and kind, and this was just how he was made. Would God really make someone, just to condemn them?

When our son was 25, he told us what we knew, and I hurt for him. I told him that this was not a deal breaker; he was our son and we were thankful for him. I can’t imagine how hard it was for our son to feel all alone. That is heartbreaking. He has taught me so much about love and grace.

After 23 years of fearfully praying and begging God to change my child, he did answer my prayer. As it so often goes, He changed me, not my son, and took away all of the fear and burden. This time my prayer was different in that I wasn’t begging Him, but simply asking for His guidance. The answer was loud and clear. I knew I needed God’s help to get through the totally new experience of meeting my son’s new friend (I couldn’t use the term, boyfriend). So, I asked God, “What are ‘we’ going to do?” The only thing that popped into my mind, was this sweet comment, “He is a child of Mine!” I had an instant peace and knew God didn’t need me to fix this. I also started thinking about how to treat a child of God, and the answer was to simply show love.

Now that my burden was lifted, I wondered if there are others that have hidden and continue to hide from their Christian community and family. As I looked around to see if there were others like me God led me to Just Because They Breathe, FreedHearts and Serendipitydodah – all secret Facebook groups for moms of LGBT kids. God has continued to give me assurances of His love through the moms in these groups who, just like me, love and support their children. We share the same burden of struggling to fit into our church community that won’t accept the one who Gods says, “is a child of mine”. A child that is a blessing to us all.

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Serendipitydodah for Moms is a private Facebook group for moms of LGBTQ kids. Our official motto is “We Are Better Together” and our nickname is “Mama Bears” The group is secret so that only members can find it or see what is posted in the group. It was started in June 2014 and presently has more than 1,500 members. For more info email lizdyer55@gmail.com

 

Mama Bear Story Project #2 – Tammy Kalberg

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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.

tammy-kalberg

I can remember the day my daughter told me she was dating a girl like it was yesterday. My immediate response to her was unconditional love, but it felt like someone had punched me in the gut, tears instantly came to my eyes. Those tears, though, were not because she was gay, but because I knew how our family would react, I knew she would be judged by others simply because of who she loved, I knew this ugly world would condemn and judge.

I was mad at God at first; mad that he would bring this child into a family like mine that I knew wouldn’t accept her. How could He do this, why would He do this? But then I realized, God gave her to me for a reason. He chose me to be her mom from the very beginning. He knew I would love unconditionally and fiercely, that I would never abandon her, and that I would always be there to accept and protect her. She did not choose this, she will tell you that. Being gay is not a choice. It is who you are. God did not create this child of mine to be condemned to hell or to never feel love or be loved by someone. He created her just as she is.

She has taught me so many things in the last couple of years. She has opened my eyes to seeing things differently. She has made me stop and think more. She has taught me to love more, love deeper, love purer. She has taught me to be less judgmental and more accepting of people or things that are different. She taught me simply, to just love.

I look at her now and I know that she is finally free. Free to be herself, no hiding, no holding back. She is who she is and she loves it. She feels joy and happiness. She knows love, she feels love and she gives love. She is her most authentic self ever. I am proud of her, so very proud to be her mom. She will most definitely change this world!

My heart goes out to kids whose parents abandon them or refuse to accept them when they come out. I am thankful that my daughter never had to feel that. It has been on my heart lately to get involved somehow, to see if I can help other kids when they come out. Just to let them know they are OK, that they are loved, that there are people who care. Just to give them a mom hug.

There was only one thing I really ever wanted in this life and it was to be a mom. God blessed me with two beautiful and amazing daughters. I was always a mama bear, but this certainly, has made me even more so now. I will die loving them, fighting for them, protecting them and always being there for them. I will forever be their #1 fan and cheerleader. There is simply, nothing better.

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Serendipitydodah for Moms is a private Facebook group for moms of LGBTQ kids. Our official motto is “We Are Better Together” and our nickname is “Mama Bears” The group is secret so that only members can find it or see what is posted in the group. It was started in June 2014 and presently has more than 1,500 members. For more info email lizdyer55@gmail.com

Mama Bear Story Project # 1 – Leslie Jones Webster

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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.

leslie1

I’m a 65-year-old mom of two sons and one daughter, and have been married since 1972. In January 2013, our son, at the age of 38, told us he was gay, had known since middle school and had tried to pray it away all of his life. It rocked my world as I tried to reconcile my former beliefs that gays were making sinful choices vs. the idea that God could have changed my son in answer to his plea for help.

Perhaps a year prior to my son coming out, as the gay marriage issue was coming more and more under public scrutiny, I told myself it was going to be tough. I predicted I was going to be seen as unloving to “the world,” my non-Christian friends and some of my family, because I would have to vote against gay marriage. I had convinced myself I loved everyone but could not condone gay marriage because I believed God intended marriage to be only between a man and a woman. There was and is nothing I wanted more than to glorify God in my life and stick up for Him, so I was willing and prepared to make this stand.

Several years prior to this, after reading many things in the Bible that confused me about what God expected of me, I felt peace in just simplifying my beliefs with Jesus’ first and great commandment to love Him with all of my heart and my neighbor as myself. Over the years, I’d had several conversations with different people including my best friend about gays, their rights, their sin, their choice. I always tried to listen to my friend when she would explain “they are born that way” and we shouldn’t judge them. I argued that if they were created this way, then it was still a choice not to act on it, just like an addict. We’d end our conversation agreeing to disagree, but in my heart I felt I was further along and deeper in my walk with God than she was. (Eeeeek!)

When I spent time with two gay classmates at my 40th high school reunion and saw what wonderful men they were, I was confused, but still held onto my closed-minded beliefs. When my friend told me her son was gay, I told her, of course, you should accept and love him, but I believed it was a sin nonetheless.

These situations were all part of preparing me for hearing the news about my own son being gay. In his determination to not be gay, he married a woman in 2000. After 10 years of what must’ve been a very difficult marriage, his wife asked for a divorce. As the months went by and he was not dating anyone as far as I knew, I began to have a sinking feeling he might “think” he was gay, blaming his “evil” ex-wife.

In January 2013, my son came to visit us for the weekend and after several glasses of wine, he told me the dreaded words “Mom, I’m gay.” As far as I can recall, my first words were, through tears, “All I want is for you to be happy and to be in heaven.” The moment he explained to me how he had prayed for years to not be gay, my heart was broken for him and my beliefs were shattered. I immediately knew God would have healed him if he truly did not want him to be gay and there must be something I had not understood regarding gays.

My best friend was the first person I called who got on the internet and ordered a copy of Justin Lee’s book, Torn. She was such a faithful and loving friend who listened to me cry, question, and try to understand how this made sense. Over the coming weeks, my husband and I met with one of our pastors and friends who had an adult gay son. It was so comforting to know we weren’t alone. A female, devout Christian friend was also very helpful to me telling me it was okay that my son was gay, assuring me God was not judging him, and later coming out to me herself as gay. I knew I was being called to do something. God gave me a gay son and it was not what I wanted, expected, or raised my son to be. I only wanted to teach, nurture, and raise up my children so “when they are old they will not depart from it.”

After much reading and praying and discussing, I have total peace that God made my son gay. My whole family attended his wedding, and we adore his little family and are thrilled to have another granddaughter which they adopted in 2015. If someone gives me an opening, I jump in with all fours and tell them my son is gay and I’m A-okay and why. I pray the church will open their minds and understand what true unconditional love means.

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Serendipitydodah for Moms is a private Facebook group for moms of LGBTQ kids. Our official motto is “We Are Better Together” and our nickname is “Mama Bears” The group is secret so that only members can find it or see what is posted in the group. It was started in June 2014 and presently has more than 1,500 members. The space was specifically created for open minded Christian moms who have LGBTQ kids and want to develop and maintain healthy, loving, authentic relationships with their LGBTQ kids.

For more info email lizdyer55@gmail.com

Moms of LGBTQ kids respond to Beth Moore

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Beth Moore stated the following when speaking to a large gathering of 18 to 25-year-olds in Atlanta during the 2017 Passion Conference last week:

“You will watch a generation of Christians — OF CHRISTIANS — set the Bible aside in an attempt to become more like Jesus. And stunningly it will sound completely plausible. This will be perhaps the cleverest of all the devil’s schemes in your generation. Sacrifice TRUTH for LOVE’s sake. And you will rise or fall based upon whether you will sacrifice one for the other. Will you have the courage to live in the tension of both TRUTH and LOVE?” -Beth Moore

The statement stung me because as the mother of a son who is gay I have often been accused of throwing out scripture in order to support and affirm my son. But, nothing could be further from the truth. As a devoted follower of Jesus and a loving mother I studied, prayed, sought, questioned, listened MORE because I was a Christian mom with a gay son and my experience is that is also true of others like me.

I have a secret Facebook group for moms of LGBT kids (Serendipitydodah for Moms) with more than 1,400 members and everyday I witness the moms in that group asking deep and meaningful questions, sharing profound insight and wisdom, talking about the original language and historical context of scripture. These moms are not people who throw something aside in order to come up with an easy answer for their kids. These moms are not throwing out scripture or setting the bible aside. They don’t want to mislead their kids. They want to know the truth as best they can. They want the best for their kids. They want to feel confident and at peace with the guidance and insight they offer their kids.

So, when someone like Beth Moore says that “a generation of Christians will set the Bible aside in an attempt to become more like Jesus” our ears perk up and we want to respond and share the insight and wisdom that we have gained on this journey of love and faith.

Here are some of the responses from moms who are members of Serendipitydodah:

We follow the Bible, no one is setting aside anything. We are embracing it through the lens of Jesus, not the Lens of religious leaders. We emphasize and embrace what we saw Jesus emphasize and embrace (the best we can). We want to see Jesus be glorified by our love, service to others and the grace we extend to others, not our adherence to rules. – A Mama Bear

Isn’t Jesus the Truth? – so, by becoming more like Jesus you are not actually letting go of the truth. – A Mama Bear

“I struggle to resolve what Beth Moore said, with what the Apostle Paul said, particularly Chapter 13 of First Corinthians on love as one of the only three things (other than faith and hope, which he elsewhere defines) that followers of Christ are to hold primary above mortal speech, human knowledge, and all human understanding. Also, I struggle with Beth Moore’s words when considering the words of Jesus in the definition of the call of Christianity in the Great Commandment, where loving God with all our thought, and emotion, and spirituality, and loving others with the same wholeheartedness, is a refection of how God loves us, and is the axis on which all prophecy and law hinge and find resolution, as in Mark 12 and repeated again in Matthew 22. Therefore, my question to Beth Moore would be, “What truth should we hold above love?”  – A Mama Bear

Bill Maher once said, “I don’t know anyone less Jesus-like than most Christians.” And you know what? The Christians he’s referring to read the Scriptures. I think we moms know from our own experience of supporting LGBT folks that the Bible bullies come out because of their faulty reading of the text. They erroneously employ Scripture to shame, condemn, and ‘other-ize’ people who aren’t like them and who don’t behave in ways they deem appropriate. So it’s not so much that we are dropping the Bible to follow Jesus – it’s that we are trying to drop a faulty, abusive hermeneutic to “GO and DO” what He commanded us in order that the Bill Mahers of the world can see a true expression of God in us. – Meredith Webster Indermaur

Sorry Beth Moore–The BIBLE tells me the Spirit will be my personal teacher. The BIBLE tells me to follow Jesus. The BIBLE tells me to love, even my enemy. The BIBLE tells me to be wary of false teachers (men and obviously women, too) who try to deceive the SPIRIT within me. So I think it’s you and your twisted interpretation of scripture the Devil is using because you are the one trying to separate the walk and life of Jesus from your reading of the BIBLE. – Margaret Boelman

My question to Beth Moore would be, do you have the courage to dig deeper and discover TRUTH? …not the truths twisted, added to, reworded & revised in translations, but the truth of God given by inspiration of the Holy Spirit to Hebrew and Greek speaking people. And would you filter those words through Jesus, THE absolute true WORD OF GOD, who was with God, in God, was God from the beginning? Because in light of that TRUTH there is no tension between truth and love. – Betsy Bruce Henning

I would say that Beth Moore does not have the desire, courage, or humility to see how she is harming God’s dearly loved LGBTQ children. Hers is one of the most dangerous and toxic statements a Christian authority can make, because it instills so much fear in followers and that fear causes a superficial reading of scripture and a reliance on so called Bible authorities. After all, who wants to come to the end of their life to have Jesus say “away from me I never knew you?” I grew up in and lived my whole life in an extended family who believed you were going to hell if you weren’t on the narrow path–the very narrow path that most won’t find and is tiny as the “eye of a needle” [which was interpreted literally by my family rather than in its Middle Eastern context]. Most of the church-going “Christians” I know won’t do that deep digging to uncover Biblical truths. It’s a lot of work, and they’re afraid and don’t trust themselves. Salvation is a lot to risk! They’d rather rely on their pastors and teachers like Moore to tell them what to think. After all, life is busy, and that’s what pastors and Bible teachers get paid for! (sarcasm) If you take the Bible “sola scriptura” as someone else mentioned and as I was taught, you have a lot of cognitive dissonance when you read and study scripture. True study is difficult when you try to understand context and compare the original languages to various translations. An individual almost necessarily needs an “authority” to guide them through those passages that create the cognitive dissonance, or at least someone who makes them feel they’ve arrived at the correct conclusion, because after all, salvation is at stake. – Laura Sparks Turner

Last I checked, love and truth should never be in conflict. If they are there is something wrong with your “truth.” And since when was living Christ-like *ever* secondary? – Debbie King

Be careful judging how the Holy Spirit guides those that don’t fit your label. It is not for you to say what their relationship with God should look like. Doing so, does not define truth. – Debby Laird McCrary

I love the Bible..But I don’t like it being used to discriminate against our LGBTQ children. – Lenora Lea Gill

I will live my life to be more like Jesus and less like the Bible because Jesus is the key to my salvation… not the Bible. – Sara O.

We shouldn’t have to sacrifice truth for love because Truth is Love. – Julie Ackerson-Armstrong

Not just me, but my child searched scriptures, opinions, books… many resources before deciding to just live for Jesus. She has contemplated and attempted suicide over her salvation, over wanting truth and love in her young life. She’s only 14… – Glenda Moore

I have searched and studied because I have a gay son. My heart is now at peace because my eyes have been opened to the true meaning of being a Christian. Many many people adapt the Bible to suit their way of doing things, just as I suppose this Beth Moore has. But one thing I do know for sure is my prayers to God were fervent and from the core of my soul and if God chose to ignore these prayers of mine then I can say He does not love me. But I know that His love for me is real so therefore He heard my cry. – A Mama Bear

I am tired of the box of Christianity they think is so neat and tidy. Life isn’t. God loves each and every one of us just as we are. If one believes that we are souls who inhabit many bodies in this earth school to learn lessons, then it would be obvious that we have been different genders. That can explain a lot. I choose not to be labeled anymore and think that we would all be better off not to slap labels and condemnations on anyone. Sadly, those who think they are right and are hell bent on proving it seem to have no trouble putting themselves in the driver’s seat of the Creator if the Universe. If that isn’t arrogant I don’t know what is. – A Mama Bear

I think we are setting aside the Bible, in some instances, because it simply doesn’t make sense. So many holes. So many translations. Once you free yourself from the Bible being the actual word of God, it is liberating to find your own relationship with Him. People like Beth who cling to the literal Bible as infallible take the easy way out because they don’t require any thinking with their faith. True believers can read the Bible, use their brains and come to a place of peace. That’s faith. Holding fast to something that makes no sense isn’t faith. It’s a crutch.  – A Mama Bear

I have become a stronger Christian, and a stronger person because of my gay son. I read the BIBLE a lot more, and I pray a lot more. – A Mama Bear

IF anyone lives in the tension between truth and love, it is those of us with LGBTQ kids. We have had to learn to love in the unconditional way Christ taught us, instead of the conditional way our culture (yes, our church culture) instructs us. Putting the Bible aside has never occurred to most of us. Indeed, it is what we continue to lean on as we struggle with how God is using us in the place we find ourselves. He watched is Son suffer and die. Many of us do the same, at the hands of people who call themselves Christians. We know the depths of misery and the heights of Christ’s love in our lives. I would also add that if anything has turned me personally away from the Bible, it is people like Beth Moore.- A Mama Bear

It is a far scarier, humbling way to live… to not have it all wrapped up in a neat little box…. It also takes more faith and a much bigger God. – A Mama Bear

This statement from BM brings visions of the type of judgmental, self-righteous church mentality that keeps me and my husband away. It’s so ignorant, flippant and cold-hearted that it’s the furthest thing from Christlike. BM and those like her can keep their American Jesus. – A Mama Bear

I don’t know what truth is anymore — I have read so much information that I am not even sure about the Bible – I am beginning to think it is just stories written by people that lived a long time ago and PEOPLE have translated it from language to language not even knowing if they are right … And picking and choosing what stories should be included, I am just fed up with the Christian right thinking that their interpretation is the one and only way to read the Bible… Whether it is Satan blocking the way or I am just seeing a way different picture. I believe there is a God, I have good sound morals and I try to see people in a different light…. And treating people Lovingly and equally! Right now I don’t anymore! I definitely don’t need to go be “educated” in a church anymore! So DONE with all this! I just want to LOVE! – A Mama Bear

Being a l o n g time fan, it made my heart sink to read those words from her and even more alarming that my more conservative friends and family have used her words to wedge the divide even deeper between the Church, the LGBTQ community and their allies. For me, that’s not how the Word of God works, not at all. The Truth has set me free from any law and I have never loved more deeply or experienced God or the Word more profoundly. – A Mama Bear

The church’s treatment of the LGBTQ community is reminiscent of days when the developmentally disabled and mentally ill were rejected and mistreated and accused of being possessed by satan. It is heartbreaking to see that kind of hate and rejection aimed at your child. The Bible has been in the control of white hetero men of power since its inception therefore, as with all things in human control, is fallible and corruptible. We would be incredibly naive to think that has not been changed to meet the agenda of these powerful men. I love the bible. I read scripture and glean wisdom when God speaks to me through it. I Worship God not a book. He has given me a heart of love for all mankind, including the LGBTQ community. Unfortunately my husband, our church and his extended family do not agree. I will stand with all those rejected and persecuted for simply being who God created them to be. – Elizabeth Frauenknecht

My God is SO BIG and has such a great imagination. Look at the diversity of ALL that God made! I will certainly NEVER be worthy of such unconditional love. Luckily, I don’t have to be, I just have to accept God and God accepts me JUST THE WAY I AM. God made me to be me. He made you to be you. All God wants is for me to be the most kind, loving person I can be and for you to be the most kind loving person you can be. If we all do that (and I fall short EVERY DAY), we won’t have enough time to judge our sisters and brothers. Can I get an AMEN? – Spring Davidson

I’m not a Beth Moore fan. God is much bigger than the biggest, most popular, most righteous, most justified self proclaimed evangelist. I don’t set aside scripture. I listen to what God is telling me which might just not add up to what my pastor, or my Sunday school teacher, or my small group leader or my dearest friend, or my dearest friend who is a pastor or my bible study teacher interprets. I read scripture, I teach Sunday school, I teach Bible studies, I lead support groups, lead small groups, and women and kids and I listen for the still quiet voice of the Lord to tell me what He has for me. My daughter coming out helped me to become authentic. Authentically Christian. Including a slightly different interpretation of scripture from many around me which does not make me wrong. Pray for God to separate the man made stuff from His stuff. He can’t not. It’s a great journey. He has my in the palm of His hand or I couldn’t do any of this. It’s not about me. Beth is too much about Beth. Sorry. Not a fan. – Deborah Noffert

I pray sincerely that one day Beth Moore will have her spirit humbled and broken by the same loving, gracious God that humbled and broke mine years ago! The church has been wrong in judging and persecuting our LGBTQ children of God. The church has taught partial truths and used verses out of context to justify a position of “judge and jury”, acting as “THE voice of God” on a subject that is in no way “perfectly clear” if studied in depth at all. In the gray space, I had to choose a place of trust in the guidance of the Holy Spirit in my life. It is a faith journey that IS NOT for the faint of heart. I reject the implication that I have set my Bible aside in any way. God has walked me into His beautiful presence and commanded that I accept my LGBTQ brothers and sisters as perfectly His. I am in no way to try to change them. I am simply commanded to love them as they are. I was also commanded to apologize profusely on behalf of “the church” that has judged them for the grave and serious harm they have caused in the lives of LGBTQ people that have sought God with their heart and were pushed away by Christians. – Tamara Darbin

I have been to several Beth Moore events and loved her. It hurt me deeply to see her say this. I have gotten so much closer to God since my daughter came out. I have learned so much actually studying my bible, and not listening to what past church leaders/pastors have said. God loves all people, man created the love the sinner hate the sin mentality! God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit loves all. Remember the greatest commandment is about love. – Renay Boyes

I was shocked at the pain I felt all over again when I watched that statement be tweeted and then retweeted by others I believed to be allies. I have struggled to be sure that the truth of scripture was never distorted in my relationship with my child and can honestly say that we have not sacrificed or abandoned any of the truth of the gospel in loving our son or helping him to become the Christian Man that he has become. – Laurie Harrison Lewis

We can idolize our understanding of the Bible and totally miss the God of the Bible. Mercy not sacrifice was both the God of the Old Testament and the God/Jesus of the New. My favorite recent quote comes from Richard B. Hays: “the quality of mercy is not set in opposition to the Torah; rather, Matthew’s Jesus discerns within Scripture itself the hermeneutical principle – expressed epigrammatically in Hosea 6 : 6 – that all the commandments are to be interpreted in such a way as to engender and promote the practice of mercy among God’s people.” – A Mama Bear

Beth must not have read Matthew 22:40! – A Mama Bear

As a parent of a child that was so depressed they would not leave their room for months or get out of bed, I prayed and agonized with God that He would reveal to me what was wrong. During those agonizing times He would whisper “Transgender” to me. It was a couple of weeks later that my then son broke down and told me he was a girl. Was I totally surprised? No, I was so relieved that God had answered my prayer. During our journey, I asked God to close any doors that we were not to go through while we maneuvered through her transition. I believed and had faith that God would close those doors, if we were not to go through them. I had peace from day one. John 14:27 But during this time, I would sit in my then home church Sunday after Sunday with a spirit that was so “troubled” because they did not embrace our daughter. I would see her friends and their parents sitting in the pews and they never asked about her. I would leave sobbing and so heart broken and grieving. As a sister in the body of Christ should I have suffered alone? Our daughter needed her christian friends beside her, but where were they? Who ended up setting the Bible aside? My guess would be the generation of Christians in the church.  – Gloria Melton.

I believe/pray that this will be the first generation that truly sees how horribly we have treated our LGBT brothers and sisters in Christ. I keep asking myself why don’t I know any gay Christians and the response seems to be because we’ve not welcomed them into our churches or society. What are we Christians so afraid of? It’s not a disease that you can catch. These people are just like us made in the image of God. Jesus loves them as much as He loves you and me. Could some of our Holy Scriptures that were translated from Greek and Hebrew be wrong? Yes! Has culture changed since ancient times? Yes! Do you have the courage to open your heart, mind and church to LGBT people? What if Satan is blinding you, as most of our Evangelical churches have sent our LGBT children out on their own in this world confused, depressed and thinking God and His people hate them! This generation hopefully will have the courage to stand up for the LGBT children in their churches and welcome them with open hearts and minds. – A Mama Bear

I read a Letter to Beth Moore in 2015 and through that post I got in touch and joined Serendipitydodah for Moms. In a way it feels like Beth Moore led me to join this group of moms who love and affirm their LGBT kids. I wonder how Beth would feel about that. – A Mama Bear

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Serendipitydodah for Moms is a private Facebook group created as an extension of the Serendipitydodah blog. The group is secret so that only members can find it or see what is posted in the group. The group was started in June 2014 and presently has more than 1,400 members. The space was specifically created for open minded Christian moms who have LGBT kids and want to develop and maintain healthy, loving, authentic relationships with their LGBT kids.

For more info email lizdyer55@gmail.com

Highlights Children Magazine Receives Letter of Support from Moms of LGBT Kids

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After accusations of homophobia late last year, Highlights children magazine will include an illustration of a same-sex couple in an issue for the first time.

The image will appear in the February issue of the magazine and will show two men loading a station wagon for a family trip.

After announcing their intention to include same-sex families in their magazine Highlights received criticism from conservative Christians, including the Christian advocacy group One Million Moms, but the children’s magazine also received a lot of support from advocates of LGBT people including a letter of support that was signed by more than 400 moms of LGBT kids.

The 400+ moms who signed the letter all belong to Serendipitydodah for Moms, a private Facebook group for open minded Christian moms of LGBT kids. The group is secret so that only members can find it or see what is posted in the group. The group was started in June 2014 and presently has more than 1,400 members. The space was specifically created for open minded Christian moms who have LGBT kids and want to develop and maintain healthy, loving, authentic relationships with their LGBT kids. For more info email lizdyer55@gmail.com

Here is the letter with signatures that was sent to Highlights:

Dear Highlights,

We are part of a large private Facebook group of more than 1,400 moms of LGBTQ kids.

Our group, Serendipitydodah for Moms, was created especially for open minded Christian moms of LGBTQ kids who want to develop and maintain healthy, loving, authentic relationships with their LGBTQ kids.

More than 400 of us are signing this letter to express our deep gratitude and support for your commitment to be inclusive of LGBTQ families in your publication.

We understand this can be a difficult issue to navigate and are so encouraged by the way your organization is responding. Your desire to have LGBTQ people respresented in your publication demonstrates that you value ALL children and are committed to helping ALL children become confident, caring, curious and creative individuals.

We believe you and your organization are serving as a catalyst to make the world a kinder and safer place for families with LGBTQ members to live.

Because of organizations like yours, moms like us, are able to remain hopeful about the future for our children.

With sincere admiration and gratitude,

Abby De Fiesta Cortez 

Adele Berardi

Alecia Moss

Aletheia Wall Zambesi

Alise D Chaffins

Alison Defrese

Allena Brown

Amanda Corry Thorderson

Amanda Curtis Dwyer

Amanda Dalton

Amy Goad

Amy Hansley Bennett

Amy Rueter

Andrea Larson Schultz

Angie Laws

Angie Silver

Angie Stratz Ashmore

Anita Jewell Carter Cockrum

Ann McGee Green

Ann Zweckbronner

Arlene Schulz

Barb Cressy

Becky Cantrall

Beth Barndt Ruthenburg

Beth Breems

Beth McGill-Rizer

Beth Wiggins Baswell

Bethany Kirwen

Betsy Bruce Henning 

Billie Jo Marrs

Bonnie Miranda

Brenda Holloway Bratcher

Bridget Murphy

Candace Winters

Carie Poynor Downes

Carla Iturregui Picasso-Brown

Carla Michaelsen

Carla Short Spivey

Carol Mason

Carole Bass

Caroline Williams Joyce

Carolyn Cage Johnston

Carolyn Walker

Carrie Garske Shank

Caryle A Cox

Cassy Taylor Campos

Cathleen Frantzen Schaber

Chasity Davis

Cheri Nill

Cheri Simpson

Cherie Walker

Cheryl Bakkila-Perkins 

Chris Behne

Christie Hoos

Christie Nader

Christina Lehmann Bergevin

Christina Rosbury

Christy Emigh

Cilla Thomas

Cindy Helzer Baldwin

Cindy Jo Conner

Cindy Morgan

Cindy Richard Broussard

Colleen Hepler Brassington

Colleen Kane

Connie Dupuis

Crista Mason

Crystal Baker

Crystal Wagner

Cyndi Silva Raugh

Cynthia Corsetti

Cynthia Gaye Rahm-Clark

Dana Baker

Dana Huntington-Smith

Danette Mohring

Dawn Bellotti

Dawn Bennett

Dawn Pulley Ervin

Deb Gallagher

Debbie McCullough Hayhurst

Debbie Rogers Greenan

Debbie Wasielewski Tavarez

Debby McCrary

Debi Jackson

Debi Tucker Boland

Deborah Carlyle Enman

Debra Honeywell Myott

Dee-Ann Bodenheimer-Enslin 

Deena Corwin Pfahler

Deleise Carper Brewer 

Denise Ramirez-Tatum

Denise Trainer Webb

Diana Dermit McCarthy

Diana Walla

Diane Simms

Donna Holmes

Donna Thompson Spencer

Donna Turner Hudson

Dorene Rose

Doris Wright

Elaine Falk Parker

Elisa Stoneman

Elizabeth McConnel Sutton

Elizabeth Pierce

Eva Sullivan-Knoff

Felicia Dodd

Frances Lavender

Gena Rogers

Genell Brown

Georgi Persons

Gerry Phifer

Gina Williamson

Glenda Crump

Glenda Purkis Boulton

Gloria Melton

Greta Medrano

Gretchen Doornek Mueller

Harriet Sutton

Heather Clevenger

Heather Gee-Thomas

Heather McCracken Bottoms

Ineka Estabrook

Irene Gilliland

Jacque Wright

Jacqueline Rutledge

Jacqueline Steverson Brown

Jade Cutter

Jamie Hovland

Jamie Tessing Bruesehoff

Jammie Risley Hahn

Jan Pezant 

Jan Roberts

Jan Wightman

Jane Clementi

Jane Moody

Janet Phillips

Janice Dunn White

Janie Romine

Janine Sarah Moore

Jaron Terry

Jeannette Cona-Larock

Jeannie Babb

Jenna Robertson

Jennie Young-Walczyk

Jennifer Donovan Jasgur

Jennifer Dunnam Stringfellow

Jennifer Hancock

Jennifer Robinson

Jennifer Schaffner Burkhardt

Jennifer Seeger

Jennifer Stake White

Jennifer Teeter

Jennifer Wilkins Pearson

Jenny Bishop Morgan

Jerri Surles Collins

Jessica Fahlgren

Jill Blythe

Jill Johnstone

Jill Pote Yarbrough

Jillian Jones

Joani Lea Jack

JoAnn Forsberg

Joann Thompson

Jody Miller Vanderzell

Joy Denton

Judie Brown Gordon

Judith K Volkar

Judy Witzel Harper

Julia Lunardo

Julie Ackerson-Armstrong

Julie Bean Bisgaard

Julie Elliott O’Neal

Julie Greene

Julie Kennedy Eaton

Julie Lenox Haines

Julie Manning Waters

Karen Adams

Karen Decker Kusserow 

Karen Sullivan

Karin Paulus

Karin Triola

Katherine Brown Leidy

Kathi Nicholson

Kathie Moehlig

Kathrine M Kraft

Kathryn Zentner

Kathy Ann

Kathy Ewing-Finley

Kathy Green

Kathy Reim

Kathy Renne Post

Kathy White

Katie Jenifer

Katie Willhite Brooks

Katrina Black

Kay Kelley

Kay Otting

Kay Whistler

Kelli Henry Alamond

Kelli Lewis Decker

Kellie Taylor-Lafevor

Kelly Beane

Kelly Cantwell

Kelly Dembiczak

Kelly M Hunsaker

Kelly McKinsey

Kelly Rae Holiday

Keri Lynn Riley

Kim Belcher Messick

Kim Freeman Weill

Kim Kendall

Kim Lue

Kim McMahon

Kim Sonntag

Kimberly Jones

Kimberly Shappley

Kimberlyn Graham

Kirsten Shaw

Kris Gromm

Krista Burdine

Kristen Capp

Kristi Chenoweth Dubois

Kristi Kodos

Kyle Jump

Lannette Sargent

Laura Beth Taylor 

Laura Sparks Turner

LeAnn Fenner

Leba Shallenberger

Lee Ann Howdershell

Lenora Lea Gill

Lesa Edwards-Schepers 

Lesley Davis

Leslie Jones Webster

Linda Baker

Linda Ling

Linda Rooney

Linda Slater Tow

Linda Wiebe Dickinson

Linda York O’Connell

Lisa Bray

Lisa Cousins

Lisa Giordano Bontemps

Lisa Golden Dugger

Lisa MacGregor

Lisa Maniscalco Hildebrand

Lisa McCrystal Holley

Lisa Schramm

Lisa Scott Wofford

Lisa Wetmore Shinn

Liz Dyer

Loretta Davila

Lori Black Manning

Lori Bradley-Lewis

Lori Chavers Blankenship

Lori Love-Wise

Lori McCoy Simmons

Lori Rogers

Lyndah Kolkmann

Lynette Joy

Lynn Kato

Madai Girard

Maleea Shaver Castillo

Mally Shell Hatch

Marcie Castiglione

Margi Wilmans 

Margie Candler

Maria Breeden

Marianne Minier Walker

Marilynn Bourne Fowler

Marjorie Rudolph

Marlene Hoefer Brummond

Marlene Lund

Marsha Ladd

Martha Maust

Marti Parsons Grahl

Mary Estelle Montgomery

Mary Jo Whitley

Mary Kay Weil

Meg Shull Bierwirth

Melea Broekers

Melissa Ballard

Melissa Brady Silva

Melissa Morritt Coble

Melissa Sosenko DeStefano

Meredith Webster Indermaur

Merryl Dietz

Micah Hoshi

Michele Engle

Michele Manuel Fuselier

Michele Wessel Tarnow

Michelle Bradshaw McComb

Michelle Zulch

Millie Donnell

Miriam Pendley

Monica Ausderau Larmon

Monica Maday

Monica-Niki Elenbaas

Morven Roberts Baker

Nancy Barron Booher

Nancy Johnson Campbell

Nancy MacDonald

Nancy Ruh

Nancy Thompson Flikkema

Nancy Villegas

Nancy Wance

Nicole Havlen Hair

Olivia Santos

Paige Gant

Paige Stover

Pam Ensinger Antos

Pam Swendig

Pam Walsh

Patricia Detzel

Patricia Sjöberg

Patti Atwood Grossman

Patti Mercer Churner

Patti Stone

Patti Stratton 

Paula Unrau

Pauline Carlson

Pauline Daly

Phyllis Barber

Rachel Drouillard

Rachel Keyte

Rachel Sargent

Rebecca Fako Uecker

Rebecca Hedges Lyon

Regina Pitts Woods

Renay Boyes

Renee Utley Bennink

Rev. Mally Baum

Rhonda Hartzell

Rhonda Morrison

Rita Daruvala

Rob Ullinger

Robin Gowan

Robin Protsman

Robinette Nacca-Cooke

Robyn S Haag

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Rose Stucchio

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Rosemarie Varrichio Campbell

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Sarah Thacker-Estell 

Shannon Eaton

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Zenia Robertson

What do you think will make the world great? – a reflection for advent

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I have a “secret”  Facebook group for moms of LGBTQ kids. Many of the moms in the group (Serendipitydodah for Moms) are concerned about what the future holds for their kids – especially in light of the recent Presidential election in the U.S.

Niki Elenbaas, one of the moms in the group, posted an Advent Reflection and has given me permission to share it here.

Niki specifically speaks to what is potentially in store for Muslims who live in the U.S. – but the concern can also be applied to many other groups of people … LGBTQ people, Hispanics, African Americans, Jewish people, people living in poverty – even women – are fearful and concerned about their future.

So much hate has been given a voice and a stage. So much has been said about making America great again but very little has been said about specific things that would make America great.

As Christians we are called to make the world great … not great in military power or affluence, but great with love and kindness and generosity and hospitality and inclusion.

This is an especially important time for Christians in America to ponder what they want for their country – what spirit do they want to permeate their land – what message do they want to send out to the rest of the world – will it be a spirit of seclusion and selfishness?  a message of fear and hate?  or will it be a spirit of kindness? a message of radical inclusion and generous hospitality?

This reflection by Niki captures the fear and trepidation that so many of us are feeling this holiday season and invites us to ponder what we believe will make the world great …

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In this last week of Advent I can’t help but think how Jeshua had a lot to say about “whatsoever you do to the least of these,” and nothing about building a great big fence.

And I can’t help but feel stricken to the core to realize how current news about potential government registration of all Muslims parallels the untimely journey that Joseph and Mary were forced to take at the order of a government which didn’t share their faith.

And then I cry to think that the visit of the Magi led to the slaughter of every male child under age two, because soldiers followed the horrifying decree of an evil, self-centered despot. I bet Herod said something about keeping Judea great.

#advent2016

Stories That Change The World #33 – I became affirming through my faith, not in spite of it.

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Stories have the power to change the world … they inspire us, teach us, connect us. This is the thirty-third installment in the “Stories That Change The World” series.

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I have a private Facebook group for moms of LGBTQ+ kids. We have more than 1,400 moms in the group and continue to grow. The group was especially created for open minded Christian moms of LGBTQ+ kids. One thing we often discuss among ourselves is how we reconcile our Christian faith with supporting and affirming our LGBTQ+ kids. My own journey of reconciliation was one of the main things that led me to create Serendipitydodah for Moms. Here is the short version of how I reconciled my faith with being affirming. This process took place between one and two years.

When my son came out at age 19 he told me he had come to the conclusion that the bible did not condemn loving, committed same sex relationships. I fully expected to be able to prove him wrong.

I was accustomed to “studying” scripture as I led women’s ministry in church for many years and also wrote and taught women’s bible studies during that time. I knew what it meant to dig into original language and consider the historical context of the verses I was studying. I was shocked to find that my son was right … there was no clear condemnation of the kind of same sex relationship that my son was talking about. None of the “clobber” verses were speaking about a loving, monogamous, healthy same sex relationship – my son had not forsaken God nor was he living some kind of lustful life. There was nothing in scripture that spoke of a same sex couple falling in love, marrying, building a life and a family together. Therefore, in light of insufficient evidence in scripture I had to ask myself…How should I respond to something if scripture doesn’t clearly condemn it?

The only thing I could think is that I needed to know if there was any evidence that same sex relationships were hurting people in real life. I took time to meet and get to know same sex couples and families and I couldn’t find evidence that they were any different than opposite sex couples – the evidence I discovered was that healthy same sex relationships had the same potential to be good and healthy and life giving that opposite sex relationships had.

When I was going through all of this study, research, thought and prayer Micah 6:8 became a focal point for me:

“He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good;
and what doth the Lord require of thee,
but to do justly, and to love mercy,
and to walk humbly with thy God?”

It was one of those verses that I kept being drawn back to and became one of those verses that ended up being “written on my heart”

The lack of evidence to condemn same sex relationships and Micah 6:8 led me to this:

If scripture doesn’t clearly condemn it and there is no evidence that it is harmful to anyone it would be unjust for me to condemn it and I know how God feels about injustice.

Shortly after I realized it was unjust to condemn same sex relationships due to insufficient evidence I also began to understand that good theology should produce good fruit.

I knew that scripture says that we (followers of Christ) will be known by our good fruit or good psychology.

I knew the good news should produce life giving fruit and if my theology was producing depression, hopelessness, self-loathing and suicide I had to come to grips with the reality that my theology must be wrong.

As I pondered the “good theology = good fruit/good psychology” principle and began to connect with a lot of Christian LGBT people I began to see a pattern … when LGBT people were connected to non-affirming faith communities they were typically very broken, desperate, hopeless, unhappy people and many times they were living out their brokenness in self destructive ways – but when they were connected to affirming faith communities they typically were a lot healthier and living much healthier lives. The evidence was clear and convicting.

I had to let go of the theology that was producing death (emotional death, spiritual death, relational death, physical death) and embrace theology that was producing healthy ideas, healthy choices, healthy living .. theology that was producing health, wholeness and life.

At some point I realized that I could no longer reconcile my Christian faith with the idea that same sex relationships were sinful – the two just didn’t go together.

I became affirming through my faith, not in spite of it. I support equal rights and protection of LGBT people not “even though” I’m a Christian or “in spite of” of being a Christian, but BECAUSE I’m a Christian. I haven’t had to compromise or choose – I have fully embraced my faith throughout this journey.

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Serendipitydodah for Moms is a private Facebook group created as an extension of the Serendipitydodah blog. The group is secret so that only members can find it or see what is posted in the group. The group was started in June 2014 and presently has more than 1,400 members. The space was specifically created for open minded Christian moms who have LGBT kids and want to develop and maintain healthy, loving, authentic relationships with their LGBT kids.

For more info email lizdyer55@gmail.com