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God brought this eye-opening, heart-exploding, joyful struggle into my life to lead me to a place I have never gone before.

“God doesn’t make mistakes.” That’s what I told my youngest son after he sat me down and told me that he wants to become a woman. My son, who was baptized in the Christian Reformed Church, who attended Sunday school and youth groups and went on mission trips, told me that God led him to the knowledge that he is transgender.

For months I dove into the Bible looking for Scripture passages to show him that God could never approve of this. I signed up my husband and myself for therapy, hoping to find out how to talk sense into my son. I didn’t want to lose him. The therapist couldn’t offer any comfort in sorting out all of our questions and feelings. Instead she referred us to a support group for parents of LGBTQ children.

This group allowed us to open up and reveal the pain, confusion, and sadness we were feeling without being judged. The leaders suggested reading material, and as I began reading these books I slowly realized I had been so focused on finding the perfect Scripture passage to enlighten my son that I missed what he really needed: love, a listening ear, and acknowledgment of his struggle and pain.

I started focusing on Scripture with an eye to how Jesus would treat my son. What would Jesus say to him? Jesus was compassionate, loving, forgiving, and patient. He wouldn’t be judging my son or withholding his loving touch. He might seek him out, as he did the tax collector Zacchaeus. My son needed to be embraced. But my church could not give him what he needed. Nor could I, because of my own ignorance and pride. 

Jesus himself gave us the greatest commandment of all: love God and love one another. Can we do that and trust God to figure out the hard stuff? Can we see through the outward shell of a person and see the potential? Our mission is to share God’s life-saving gift of grace with everyone. Only God can see into our hearts to see his Spirit working. We don’t know how God will work through us in his kingdom, but we know God is working through us.

I still believe God does not make mistakes. God brought this eye-opening, heart-exploding, joyful  struggle into my life to lead me to a place I have never gone before. I can’t fix this. I can only trust God. I pray for my son every day to listen to the Spirit in him to guide him on this journey. I see God working in him, leading him to a church that has welcomed him with open arms.

So I pray for our churches to join me by loving people like my son just as if they were your own son or daughter. Share with them God’s gift of grace by welcoming them into your community. Then stand back  and watch what God can do!

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