The following was written by Christian parents who are an active part of the Strength in Weakness ministry. As you’ll see, this couple has two wonderful children they love very much, one of whom has fully transitioned to female. To respect this family’s need for confidentiality, we have changed their names and any other identifiers. As a Christian organization that offers help to Jesus-followers who live with unwanted, same-sex attractions and parents of LGBTQIA+ children, we have the privilege of encountering courageous people like this time and time again. We believe that there is a way to address these controversial, multifaceted, and emotional issues in a manner that doesn’t lower the traditional Biblical sexual ethic and yet, at the same time, uplifts the love, mercy, and compassion of Christ. We trust you will find that this moving account exudes both attitudes. We thank this mom and dad and their two adult children for allowing their story to be told.
- Guy Hammond; Executive Director, Strength in Weakness Ministries
But God had not abandoned us, and as is always the case, His timing was impeccable. Right at this time, our local church hosted a special weekend with a minister and his wife, Guy and Cathy Hammond from Toronto, Canada. Guy used to live a gay life until he became a Christian in his mid-20s and now leads a ministry called Strength in Weakness, an organization designed to help homosexually attracted Christians and parents of gay children. Guy was very empathetic toward Ed. The teachings and knowledge were just what we needed. We found hope in the godly wisdom, help, and understanding that we received. We bought several of Guy’s books, and the Strength in Weakness website gave us resources and connections with other Christian parents who had suffered similar experiences. How comforting to know that we were not alone after all.
Additionally, we sought help from a professional marriage counsellor, as we did not want the pressure and strain of this to harm our marriage. We could not allow Satan to have a further foothold in our family. The counsellor helped us immensely with sorting through all the different emotions, perspectives, and insecurities that we were experiencing.
It took time, but Ed built up the courage to write a letter to Tim communicating his deep love for his son, seeking to understand what Tim had experienced and was experiencing. As a dad, Ed had to work through his feelings of confusion and anger, but as he did, the Holy Spirit maneuvered His way through his heart to bring him to a place of compassion for what his son had suffered.
Our holidays that year were difficult, as if a cloud of sadness were hanging over our heads. We cried over the loss we felt and over the division in our family.
In January we got a call from Tim that there was a conference in our area that he was planning to attend, and he expressed a desire to come home. Our hearts felt guarded, but it was good that our child wanted to come home to see us, and we said yes. During that visit, there was another heated discussion that resulted from Tim venting some feelings. Once that was over, things were a little on edge, but we tried to just have a good time and talk about things that were of interest to him, like school and friends.
Then there was the name issue; changing from a boy’s name to a girl’s name (now Tina) and rephrasing pronouns to use “she” instead of “he”. Tina took issue with this several times, demanding that we get it right. We asked for grace, explaining that we had called her by this name for years and this change was difficult for us.
Eventually, Tina did have re-assignment surgery, and on her next visit home, she was a D cup. This was difficult for us to see. We prayed that God would help us to keep our focus on loving her and our eyes open to seeing the amazing gifts, talents, and wonderful qualities that were still a part of our son, now our daughter. We had surrendered our child to God.
Through the Strength in Weakness ministry, we joined a parent support group where we continued learning more about loving our child and building bridges instead of barriers. How will we ever reach them without a bridge to connect us?
By focusing on unconditional love, we have come to experience a better relationship with both our children. This does not mean we have agreed with everything our children have decided to do; but we want them to know that we love and accept them, even if we don’t approve of some of their choices.
Over the years, we have striven to show our love in both word and action toward Tina, like driving a fifth-wheel camper cross country for her to live in while she finished med school! We have worked to be present daily in her life by sending thoughtful texts and making calls. For us, it has been a miracle to see how her attitude towards us has also changed; she calls and updates us almost daily. Tina also comes home to visit whenever possible. We know that it was never a question of whether Tina loved us. Remarkably, Ed and Tina’s relationship has matured and grown to the point that her dad is the first person she calls when she needs a shoulder to lean on. Today, they enjoy a wonderful, loving relationship, and it’s truly a miracle what God has done.
There are many things about Tina that we are incredibly proud of. She is now a caring doctor at a prestigious hospital. She loves her family and will do anything to help anyone. So much of what we taught her growing up from the Bible is a part of her character today, like compassion, loyalty, kindness, and love. If you were to meet our daughter Tina face to face, you wouldn’t be able to tell that she is transgender. She is modest in her dress and appearance and looks very much like the side of our German-descent family that has larger-framed women. Tina also has a male partner who is loving and protective towards her. He enjoys spending time with our family, as he suffered a troubled upbringing and has responded to the love and hospitality that we have offered him.
We will leave you with another proverb that is often overlooked by parents,
“Whoever fears the Lord has a secure fortress, and for their children, it will be a refuge.” Proverbs 14:26
We know that our adult children look to our faith and that it is often a source of strength or refuge for them. It is our prayer that it will become their own once again through our example of fearing God.
This is not the story that we would have written for ourselves, but God has allowed it to be ours. We humbly accept where we are on this journey and we trust that God is leading the way. We look forward to seeing what He will do with the rest of our story, both for ourselves and for our two amazing children.