“Embracing The Journey,” written by Greg and Lynn McDonald, is a colorful Christian-based narrative about loving your LGBTQ child. In the novel, the McDonald’s describe experiencing a huge life altering epiphany upon finding pornography that would suggest that their son was gay. After an uncomfortable but loving conversation with him, their worst fears were met.
Before opening the book, I was greeted with my own fears and traumas. I am the child and grandchild of ministers. I am also gay. And I was afraid reading this would either denounce my love for God or empower the negativity that so many parents bring into relationships with their children – not to any faults of their own but faults, nonetheless.
What I enjoyed most about the book is it’s written in “mini” conversations from both Greg and Lynn’s own perspectives. Greg was shaken that his son was able to hide such a big secret from him for so long. This speaks to his manhood and humanity for being his father. Lynn spoke of the shattered dream of what her family looked like in her head versus what it was.
I also appreciated one major point that Greg came to: all children want is for their parents to love them in return. How true this resonates with any parent or child regardless of his or her sexual identity.
Lynn was also torn between the love for her child and her need to find out if his sexual identity was a decision or simply a passing fad. Greg Jr. shared with her his fears (of coming out), which ranged from abandonment to financial severity. At that moment, her motherly, and Godly, instincts kicked in and the real work had to begin.
Together, they made a list which they called Key Learnings: Make it Personal. I won’t review them all here, but there were two items that spoke to me on a deeper level as follows:
- When your child says that they are gay, lesbian, bi-sexual or transgender, believe them. Don’t pressure them to recant or “act straight” just to please you (or God, who is never pleased by hypocrisy or lies). Our children naturally want to please us but pretending to be what they’re not can cause a great deal of emotional and spiritual damage long term.
- Seek a Christ-like response. If Jesus were talking with your child, what would He say to them? Push aside quotes from the media, the experts and even your pastor. There will be a time later to work through the ideas of others. But while everything is fresh and vulnerable, follow the footsteps of the God, who extends grace and offers love first.
“Embracing” highlights what all parents should want: your child to be who they are – authentically. If the truth of who your children are doesn’t align with your goals and dreams for them, let those goals/dreams go. You want to raise an emotionally healthy individual that will become a productive adult.
Another fave thought I took from the novel is, as much as human beings strive to be like God, sadly we fall short. Parents don’t come with a guide on how to be perfect. It’s not realistic. But again, if you’re looking for honesty and transparency from your child, give them the same respect. Don’t belittle them with insulting stances you’ve heard on television or from homophobic friends and family. Work with them as God works with us.
The book also reveals the ups and downs of the McDonalds’ marriage. It was refreshing and educational to read their testimonies of accepting Christ as their savior and the growth of their individual and collective soul journeys. It wasn’t just a cakewalk to be married and have children but took work and a lot of it.
Embracing The Journey is chock full of wisdom, bitter and needed truths and love. It embraces the nuances of being a Christian, living in flawed humanity and thriving to be a loving parent. I highly recommend this book mainly for the personable keys that are written from a godly parental perspective.
EMBRACING THE JOURNEY (A Christian Parents’ Guide To Loving Your LGBTQ Child) is available now in hardcover, ebook and audio.
Christopher D. Weaver is a PR consultant, freelance writer/editor and author of the site Running Across My Mind, where he shares words of encouragement and honest conversation about daily life. You can check out his reviews of Hollywood Beauty Salon, Zoe Ever After, and music review of Brandy’s Beggin and Pleadin right here on MMT.