What if my teenager comes out as gay?

If your teenager comes out as gay or has already come out as gay then you are not alone in the Christian community, there are many other families who walk the path with you. We have taken some of the advice given on an online Christian peer support group, some from parents who have recently found out their son or daughter is gay, and some from parents who have been dealing with this for many years, to try and help you make sense of your own response.

We have categorised their advice into 7 key areas and want to share their words of encouragement with you. We hope you find this advice as useful as we did.

1. Unconditional Love
2. Don’t take it personally
3. Look after yourself
4. Talking about God
5. Communicating in general
6. Boundary Setting
7. Seeking God yourself

The following are quotes from parents:

UNCONDITIONAL LOVE
“LOVE, Love, and love more. Your daughter has not yet had an experience of the fullness of the Father's love. Pray for an experience. A supernatural God and Jesus encounter that will wreck her for the ordinary.”

“As a parent, I'm with you, yet my direction was to not allow anything to keep me from showing my love to my kids. The same as the Father does for me when I fall short.”
“Don't focus on the sin and allow for more division. Show love. Love does not condone sin, it is the very thing we all need when we fall short or fail to live in the fullness of what God has for anyone of us.”

“It’s our love unwavering in times that draws our children, our faith that Jesus has them and it’s all in his hands that let us love unconditionally.”

DON’T TAKE IT PERSONALLY, DON’T FEEL GUILT OR SHAME
“Don't take her lifestyle choice personally. It's not a reflection upon you as a parent. She is her own person and even if you did everything right, she is still a deeply flawed, sinful human being like the rest of us and is responsible for her own mistakes. Imagine if the shoe were on the other foot and someone was yelling and screaming and preaching at you and shunning you. That would not convey the love of Christ. You have to remember that you cannot play the role of the Holy Spirit in her life, nor can you berate someone into the Kingdom. You really do have to learn to release it over to God and trust that His wisdom in dealing with your daughter is greater than your own.”

“My son had become my idol and he was stealing my joy for the Lord. I had spent so much energy and time worrying about him instead of giving him to, and relying on Christ. I realised that only God could change my son’s heart. I let go and let God.”

“You gotta just let people develop their own faith with the Lord. I would give her space/privacy since she's an adult. At this point your daughter has the knowledge and background to know how to get back in step with Glorifying God in her body, but she decides not to. In all honesty, this roller coaster is going to glorify God no matter what comes of it. Stay optimistic and trusting in His plans. I think the best thing you can do is not to feel guilty, nor ashamed of having a daughter who is LGBTQ but let it STREGTHEN your testimony.”

LOOK AFTER YOURSELF
“Rest in God while you love her unconditionally.”

“For yourself, there is a lot of patience you should have with yourself! It's hard to control our emotions even though our mind knows God is fully in control! Don't be cynical with yourself, nor God, believe and surround yourself with support too! I fully believe things will get easier!”
“You be her parents and let Jesus be her Saviour. Otherwise, she won’t want to have anything to do with you.” Only Holy Spirit can convict a person of sin and righteousness not a parent, grandparents or friends.”

“Now, let me shift to you...you have every right as a citizen of the Kingdom of God to ask Him for a picture of His future for them. A word and picture of knowledge. Then you stand on that picture as His promise that will not return void.”

“Take time to heal your heart. She is the Father's, trust Him.”

“Spend this trial growing your personal faith walk as God wants to do a work in you while He draws your child in His time. It will not be easy but a cross you can bare, with God’s help. A word God gave me that comforted my woulda, coulda,shoulda feeling is the Lord said, I created a perfect child and placed her in a perfect world, I am a perfect Father and she was still deceived and sinned, how do you think I felt? That is the power we are praying and fighting against but we have the victory!”

HOW TO SPEAK ABOUT GOD
“Pray! And speak truth but don’t give the enemy a foothold. She’s testing limits & boundaries. She knows what’s right, keep interceding in prayer. If you forbid her, she will have forbidden fruit syndrome & do it anyways.”

“Be loving and truthful if your daughter comes to you with questions.”

“Don’t hide the truth, but share it in such a way that they get to choose, but are under no misconception that this is God’s choice for them – when you share the Bible with them you may ask what need are they trying to meet? Tell them that their heavenly Father would like to meet than need (acceptance, significance, worth, value, loved etc)”

“I caution you on standing in a position of "thumping" her. God will do the convicting in His time. Every knee will bow and every tongue will confess...that is a word. He already promised. You raised her up in the word. Be still and step into peace.”

COMMUNICATION
“Continue an open communication relationship with her. And be sure to allow God to write her testimony, even if it contains errors and sin and poor decisions... I believe the foundation you have laid will ultimately bring her around to seeing the truth, and her testimony will glorify God immensely.”

“I would write her a personal letter, explaining your love and hope for her to come out of her lifestyle to seek fulfilment and salvation in Christ, because it sounds like there are some things you want to say regarding her spiritual walk but she won't listen to in person. It doesn't need to be a letter trying to CONVINCE her of her sin or a thesis paper. I would make it very personal and reflective on your own testimony too. Lay out your convictions, how you will remain her mother, her support, and provide words of Christ counsel (even if she is not ready to hear it now. She may appreciate this letter later when her ssa relationship falls apart or what have you).”

“Get to know their pain. So basically to listen to them. As much as every fibre in your body wants to challenge & correct them, & holding back your opinion takes all your will power. But instead of challenging them, listen with concern. NOT that you agree. But that you care.”
“My daughter doesn't want me to speak of anything having to do with God/Jesus/Christian. I used to avoid the topic but now I simply just be me and mention things only if it would be something I would say in any conversation.”

SET BOUNDARIES
“Set boundaries for your house and request that they respect them. Understand that they may go out on their own, but don’t allow that to colour your judgment. You MUST trust God in the journey. You gave her to Him. Ask God for wisdom and knowledge. Then stand on that.”
“Let her know you want to make this work but with appropriate boundaries. May I recommend “Messy Grace” by Caleb Kaltenbach”

“In some ways, while boundaries are still VERY important and helpful for someone like your daughter (e.g. no sleeping over, no alone time together in bedrooms etc), I think there also needs to be a balance where you as a parent show that you trust her. You have brought her up in the best way you know, and you can trust these foundations particularly if she is still attending church and taking her faith seriously. I know this is very hard because in some ways you may not fully trust her or her friend. But in placing trust in her, you are helping her take responsibility for her decisions and actions rather than not doing something because "my parents don't want me to..." The latter attitude will likely produce bitterness and a desire for her to rebel against those rules.”

“As a young person gaining more and more independence, I wanted to hear my parents have confidence in my ability to make good decisions. Sure, they should also voice when they disagree, and certainly put boundaries in place to protect the values of their family home, but as a growing adult, it's now time to take responsibility for ones decisions, even if we make poor ones sometimes and have to learn the hard way from our decisions.”

SEEKING GOD
“Stay Prayerful and optimistic, this maybe something as simple as them missing key convictions in scriptural truth.”

“Pray that her conscience doesn't become hardened against that conviction as she's choosing to continue indulging her flesh.”

“God has His own plans and purposes that He needs to work out in her life first, and the timing of those plans doesn't always match up with our own. Usually it takes years of a person struggling and fighting against God and going their own way for them to finally see the futility of it all. Sometimes they need to hit rock bottom and feel a nagging, gnawing sense of emptiness before they see their need for Christ.”

“My choice is to surrender my broken heart and trust Jesus and the work he is doing in my son’s life! My son has a foundation of loving Jesus... I choose to trust the Holy Spirit to bring my boy back to the foundations of his heart, mind and soul!! This is my area of... do I believe?? Is God faithful to complete the work he began in my child? I live by a different kind and experience of faith now... one I didn’t know I would have to walk out in my life. But this is my journey to discover a new facet of the Father’s love and tenderness! Oh God I believe...but help me in my moments of “fear, sadness and unbelief!”

Our prayer is that you will be able to stand firm in your faith, whilst also showing love and compassion to your child.  Please consider joining Abba’s Heart, our online support network of parents who are actively praying for their prodigals.

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