I recently shared a picture of my twelve year old on social media. I’ve always been so proud of all my children, in all their uniqueness and particular strengths, and this post was no different. My pre-teen has emerged as a very talented crafter and seamstress/tailor, and I wanted to share the latest creation. But as I looked back at the post, I realized I wasn’t being genuine. I deleted the photo because I realized I was purposely avoiding using the pronouns and the name my child had chosen. Until I could proudly share my child, I didn’t want to share at all. So, I deleted the post.
Don’t throw your pearls to swine. This is the words of Jesus, and it’s one reason I had not openly discussed my child. I knew that those who don’t know or see our hearts would judge, and judge us harshly, but there comes also a time to stand proudly for what you know God is doing, to dispel long-held traditions of men, and to elevate the love of God above all things.
My last blog post spoke honestly about the struggles through depression and anxiety my eldest child has experienced this year. If you missed it, I’ll include a link here. I basically eluded to the fact that my child was questioning who they were, but that most importantly, my husband and I knew only to love them through it.
A common saying among Christians at large is, “God doesn’t make mistakes.” As a general statement, yes, I would agree, but it misses the fact that we currently exist in a broken world. In this brokenness we see sickness and death. We hold tight to an eternity where these things will be no more, but until then we cling to our faith in a Savior who carries us through the complexities of a broken world.
When a child is born with their intestines on the outside of their body, do we say, “God doesn’t make mistakes?” No. Instead we fix the problem that occurred in utero. Why did this anomaly occur?! Because this world is broken. But God has given us the ability to right some of the wrongs, but more importantly, His Holy Spirit to guide and carry us through the rest.
As my child began to question their gender identity, as a wise woman of God, I prayed and I learned. I devoured articles (the scholarly, peer-reviewed ones, rather than YouTube “experts”) about the complexities of development in the womb. As a woman of science and faith, I could understand that while God knew my child as He formed them in the womb, we also existed in a plane of earth where mismatches happened as it all knit together. The development of sexual organs was only a small piece of the greater puzzle of hormones developing in utero to cause a sense of one’s being and self. The important part to me was, my loving child’s spirit was the same one God placed in my womb; secondary was the mismatch that happened as the human body developed.
After that, I began to seek the Lord about how I should respond now. My child who loved Jesus and us didn’t love themself. They didn’t love themself because they felt as if their body had betrayed them. On the outside my child was developing breasts and curvy hips, but on the inside he felt quite different. I will never be able to explain to you how it feels to watch your child fall into a pit of despair, feeling like they are abnormal, a mistake, and broken. But God doesn’t make mistakes. And we had to come to that realization as a family.
My child had stopped smiling, and it broke my heart to pieces. Yet I watched the glow return bit by bit as he opened his heart to us about who he felt himself to be in spirit. A boy. I watched the glint of his sweet spirit return as I took him to get a boy haircut, and even more as I replaced his female wardrobe with male clothing. I still hold dearly in my heart the first night I looked down at my feet, at my child wearing his first outfit bought from the boys’ section, and seeing his genuine smile that had been absent for so long. Up until that moment I had still been questioning if I was doing this parenting thing right, but as I saw that smile I thought had been lost forever, I knew in my heart, “you’re doing the right thing.”
I don’t expect most of you to understand, and that’s ok. You cannot begin to fathom the heartfelt, hard conversations my husband and I have had alone together. You will never understand the cries and laments I have spoken to The Father. You aren’t here. You cannot know my son’s beautiful heart, and how I watched it almost disappear, yet through God’s grace and wisdom given to us in how to parent him, we’ve been gifted to see him emerge stronger and more resilient. Authentically himself.
I don’t expect you to understand, but if you’re a part of our lives, I do expect your love and support. If my precious son is met with anything but that, I will cut you out for his sake. Just being honest. We have had so many conversations about this, me and him. After all, who would choose to embrace a lifestyle that would make them the target of judgment, hate, ridicule, or even violence? No one. But this is who he is. God doesn’t make mistakes, and I’m so glad He chose us to be the parents of this boy. We were made for this, and to give him the support and love he needs to survive, and also thrive.
When I was pregnant with my first child, I was certain it was a son. Ben and I decided to call him Noah, and this is the name my child has now chosen. I think a common misconception in Christian circles is the influence of the world, The Left, or whatever you want to call it. We, as Christians, are taught to protect our children from this. In the past, Ben and I wouldn’t let the girls watch cartoons with same-sex partnerships, and we didn’t allow the girls on social media. We homeschooled, and ran in our Christian circles. But if your kid gets on a computer and questions things like, “why do I not feel like a girl” or “why do I want to die,” they will find the answers to why they feel so abnormal. I think they need to find the answers in these cases, and I’m grateful God gave us the wisdom to allow Noah to discover this for himself. We are seeing a therapist, a psychiatrist, an endocrinologist, and a whole slew of providers understanding of how my son was formed in the outward body of a female, but filled with the hormones inside his body that make him identify as male.
The psychiatrist told me last week, “I am honestly amazed at how well you and your husband are handling this. Noah will be years ahead of his trans peers emotionally because of your love and support.”
She went on to explain the emotionally and mentally broken adults she saw who had not received the love they needed from their family. It made me feel good to know I was loving my baby through the hardest experience imaginable, and that he would not have to go through such a difficult thing alone. He had our love.
This won’t be a surprise to some of you, and to those I trust to love us unconditionally, I’ve already shared it. But I realized that I’m a big-loving momma, and to love my baby the best, I have to be honest and genuine. Noah has also been wanting to come out to everyone. Can you imagine having to hide who you are for fear of ridicule?! We agreed that I could write this post letting you know, this is my son, Noah. He is exceptional, bright, and quirky. He’s autistic (which is common in gender identity children), and his heart is beautiful. I’ve seen the ugly-hearted things people on social media say about the transgender community, but know that your ignorance will not break him. His heart is strong, and his family is a barrier of God’s love around him. It is your choice whether to be a part of that love we share. Regardless, I am proud to say, this is my son. This is Noah. The same he has always been. Just a little different.
John Delaney says
God Bless you both, best wishes and good luck. As they say, parenting isn’t for sissies. And your faith and heart are right: love heals all, conquers all. So long as your child knows that you love no matter what…it will turn out.
God bless you for what you are giving Noah. He is a very lucky boy to be your son. Thank you for sharing this with us. ❤️
Nancy Obrigewitsch says
No matter what choices we make as a parent the ones that matter the most are the ones that let our love shine through. I haven’t been through this particular journey but I did grow up with a Aunt who was a year younger than me and always had more boy tendencies ( in the 70’s &80’s) to the point when none of us were at all surprised that she was gay and she had dressed boyishly for years despite having to deal with large bosoms. We actually had a conversation about it a few years back where she said I think you guys ( myself and my cousins) knew before I did! It was definitely a different generation then and my Grandma ALWAYS had her in frilly dresses despite her hating them because she was the last child of 10 children! I think that the path may have ups and downs and of course everyone has opinions but if you have close people who love you, well that’s a blessing and God IS LOVE!!
You are a great mom. Noah is a great son. Thank you for sharing your journey. You are not alone in it and sharing helps others who are going through something similar. Thank you for all you do.
He looks so handsome! Good for you to take the tough road and be genuine and authentic. Tell Noah that he is brave and that when it gets down to it, “God is spirit and those who love God must worship in spirit and in truth.” Bless you all!
Chasity Taylor says
Noah, I am so glad to get to know you better, and I’m thankful you’re standing in your truth with loving family by your side. I hope parents who are also seeking guidance on how to love their children find your story and it helps them.
Brie, I have known u for many years and I know u r whole heartly a Christian and u will most definitely support and love u child no matter what. Noah u r a handsome and have a beautiful soul. Ben and Brie,Noah could not have been chosen a more loving supporting parents. Y’all r in my thoughts and prayers. Noah keep ur heart on God 1st and u will be just fine.. Brie, I know it had to be hard on all of u but ur doing a great job raising ur kiddos.I love u always 💓
Brie, thank you for sharing your vulnerabilities. How wonderful that you have found a way to love and accept your son. I imagine there is some grief to at the loss of the daughter you expected to have.
Thank you. I think people forget to give mom and dad some grace. This has upended everything we thought of how we’d react to the situation. But everyday we ask, “did I love my child well, today?” And then we start over.
Christy Bess says
Thank you for introducing us to Noah. I personally know how difficult it is to navigate being a parent of a transgender teenager, especially being a part of a faith community that does not accept our children who do not fit the norms. What some people may not understand is that all we want is for our kids to be happy, healthy, safe, and feel loved and accepted for who they are, and sometimes it means a big change for this to be realized. Ultimately, all we can do is love and support them and hope that others will do the same.
Thank you. Yes! Yes, to everything you said. Hugs 🤗
Mallory Brown says
Brie, you are such an amazing parent. You are doing right to love and support your son. Hang in there it will not always be easy but your son has the love and support from family he needs.
My 20 year old son James and I welcome you to this journey. It is both beautiful and treacherous at times. It is well worth the travel, and grace you give each other along the way!
Thank you for your kind and compassionate comment. I wanted to reply effectively, but it’s a lot, so I wrote another post describing where I’m at with this. Again, thank you. https://briegowen.com/2022/11/09/love-the-sinner-not-the-sin-my-journey-with-homosexuality/