The Mama Bear Story Project is a collection of portraits and autobiographical essays from members of Serendipitydodah for Moms – Home of the Mama Bears
We are all God’s children, and we all deserve love, grace, and mercy.
Throughout my life my faith has been challenged, but I have always found my way back to God. This is a story about my faith, as I understood it, being ripped to pieces and my beliefs about God all but destroyed. It is a story about finally coming back to my faith and to a God who loves all, unconditionally. This is a story about my daughter finding her courage to be true to herself and risking it all to reveal that to everyone around her.
My daughter was always a curious, sensitive child with deep thoughts and a heart of love. But when she hit puberty, it was like a dark hole swallowed up the child I knew and loved. My teen became sullen and angry with everyone, with life. I thought it was because she was bullied at school and because we had moved far away from the only hometown she knew. After much conferring, we felt it necessary and important to enroll her in a private Christian school. Life seemed better, but there were still tremendous mood swings. I figured it was a phase they would grow out of. Soon, they graduated and went off to college. Again, I figured life was going to get better for her, that she would find her wings and fly. Little did I know…we were about to embark on a journey none of us were prepared for.
It became apparent that something was seriously wrong, but Autumn would not talk to us about it. All she said, was that, if she told us, it would destroy us. I assured her that nothing she was hiding could destroy us. As Autumn became more and more disengaged and troubled we decided it was time for her to come home from school and get help. From my view, life continued to be bleak and dark for Autumn, but she would not open up to us or anyone. Finally, one day in November 2014, Autumn came out. She explained, that in short, she had been born in the wrong body. Although, gendered as a boy at birth, in reality she was a female in her heart, soul, and mind. I won’t lie, my world came crashing down. I carried on, but I began to question everything.
Autumn’s fear of her secret destroying us was not far from the truth, but one thing remained – my love for my child. That could not be destroyed. We were devastated – how would our future look for each of us moving forward? So, our journey began anew. No longer a son, but a daughter. Eighteen months later, Autumn came out to the world, declaring her new name and her new identity, an identity she had hid for years, one that she was aware of, but one we had no clue about. That same day, I came out to those around me. People could choose to walk with me or walk away. It was not open for discussion. I have been blessed that so many of my friends and family continued to walk with us and embrace Autumn as her true self.
I have been fortunate – not many people have challenged me on how my faith can accept a transgender child. Those that have questioned, must not truly know my child. This is not a choice and there is no “agenda”. It is not about Satan getting a hold of my child, as some may think. My child is not lost. She is not a freak. And she most certainly is not damned to hell. She is loved and cherished and accepted by a God much bigger than the box many try to put Him Autumn is a delight. She is kind and sensitive. She is a blessing to those around her. She is a true friend to those who know her and accept her. And, perhaps most important – she is brave, strong, and courageous.
My story is about grace, love and mercy. God’s loving arms are big enough to hold everyone. After all, Christ instructed us to love one another, not judge one another.
Serendipitydodah for Moms – Home of the Mama Bears 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 5,000 members. For more info about the private Facebook group email firstname.lastname@example.org