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Friday, April 01, 2016
Gender Dysphoria - Eleanor Shepherd
Three years ago when I agreed to come out of early retirement
to serve as a pastor, I had no idea the challenges I was going to face as I
accompanied parishioners on their spiritual journeys. One that has really
created a great deal of soul searching for me has been the accompaniment of
parents whose young adult child has been suffering from gender dysphoria and is
in the process of undergoing therapy that will result in a change in their
parents came to faith in Christ several years ago as a result of their
involvement in an Alpha Course.They continue
to grow in their faith and have been faithful in teaching their children and
encouraging them to commit their lives to Christ.When they realized the agony and hopelessness
their child was experiencing because of the gender dysphoria, they chose to
love and accept that child and do whatever they could to help that child deal
with their identity and hold on to life.
meet with the parents on a regular basis and often our lengthy conversation
begins by my simply asking how things are going.They have been upfront with me from the
beginning about their own feelings about the situation and about their need to
love their child whatever the consequences.As I have watched the pain these parents feel about the choices their
child feels obligated to make, I have often been deeply moved by their love and
their constant choosing to practice the way of love.
everything else, these parents desire their child to be in a relationship with
God. They know that as Christians, if they prove unable to show love to their
child at a time when this person they love so much, desperately needs to be
supported by their love, they give the false message that the love God gives
them is not strong enough to endure this kind of trial. They are learning to
open themselves to receive from the Lord the love they need to share with their
the midst of this dark and difficult time, the parents are discovering the
faithfulness of God in a new way. One day, as the mother and I talked about how
difficult it is for them to accept who their child is becoming. I shared a
says in the Bible, that in Heaven, we will be like the angels.We will no longer marry.Our sex will not be a significant
factor.Somehow it was freeing for her
to realize that what matters to God is not whether her child is a boy or a
girl, but rather what the orientation of the heart of that child is.What matters is if that child is open to the
Spirit of God or not.God loves the
child, whether they are male or female.To Him it does not really matter.
next day, the mother was talking with her husband about their child as they
were trying to encourage one another. In the course of the conversation, the
father said, ‘‘I have made a great discovery!’’
is that?’’ asked the wife.
does not matter whether our child is a boy or a girl. The Bible says that when
we get to Heaven our sex will not be important. God loves our child, whether
they are male or female and the change will make no difference to His love for
can’t believe it,’’ replied the wife.That is exactly what our pastor said to me yesterday.
affirmation reminded them that God was involved in this journey and strengthened