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.

JoAnn Forsberg


1984. After hanging up the phone, I went and turned on the shower. Standing in there crying, head upon the wall. Thinking everything I knew for years in fundamental Christianity was washing down the drain with my tears.

It wasn’t my son, yet. It was my brother who had just came out to me as gay. Gay in an era when people still whispered in church pews about anyone who even remotely seemed different than the picture perfect post card we all joked about. You know, the postcard with the picture of a white (straight) American Christian.

At that moment everything I knew about Christian life was now over. For if God was going to hate my brother, he would have to hate me too. The search began as I tried to imagine how a loving God could reject any child of his?

Of course, the normal happened. I was asked to shut up or leave church. So I left. I started studying every theology book I could find. It was a tough study, but, I was no longer going to rely upon a preacher to teach me. I wanted to know what great minds of history had to say.

No internet yet, just a soul seeking knowing in my spirit that God had to be more vast than the minds teaching Christ.

In 1989, my third son, Chad, was born, by the time he was five, we realized this creative child was unique himself. So, when he “came out” at fifteen it was more a celebration of him being able to feel comfortable with himself. To be comfortable in his family. To be fully loved and embraced.

Today, in this family, we joke about half of our extended relatives being gay. Some are “adopted in” as we will wrap our arms around any who need a family.

It’s normal, it’s just real life, it’s just family. We don’t even think about who is gay or who is straight. We are just family.

Blessings. JoAnn