About Time

Sometimes I don’t write because it seems there’s nothing new happening. And then suddenly it seems as if too much is happening and I just can’t find the time to reflect and write. MJ hasn’t been so busy since her last internship ended. But the past couple of weeks were busy with appointments for both of us. MJ had appointments with Pathways, Whitman Walker, and her psychologist.

The Pathways team, MJ’s psychologist, and I have been stressing to her, the importance of getting on a more regular schedule. We want her to wake up at a reasonable hour and work at her desk for the better part of each day, whether she works on paying work or not. She’s agreed to do it, but so far she’s been struggling with insomnia at night and ends up sleeping much of the day. We’ve set up call to let her freelance employer know that she is recommitting to getting up and being available for more projects and projects that may require quicker turnaround times. Pathways is also still searching for a permanent job. I’ll have to let you know how all of that goes.

In high school she had a hard time getting to school on time but she never had this much trouble waking up before. Alarm clocks and all the tricks we’ve tried just don’t work. I’m tired from trying to get her up each day. It seems to me that as gender dysphoria has gripped her tighter, the less she wants to be up and out in the world. It’s been debilitating. She is reclusive and I think she would rather sleep all day than have to show up as a person she isn’t comfortable with.

MJ came out to me about 7 years ago. It’s taken me this long to understand and accept that she’s transgender. When she first told me, I thought it was possible that it was another obsession of hers. She’s had many obsessions, typical for people with Asperger’s Syndrome. But gender dysphoria isn’t going away. It’s hold on her is getting worse.

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Mama Bears Dig Deeper, Love Wider

Last weekend I was privileged to attend the Gay Christian Network Conference. I was invited to go with my dear friend, a fellow “Mama Bear” as the mom’s of LGBTQ kids are called. When I got home, MJ said, “I can’t believe you went to that.” I told her that I went because my journey is different than her journey. See, as a Mama Bear, I will protect my child fiercely and do everything I can to give her the opportunity to grow into the person she was created to be, to set her on the path that God has chosen for her. I want to know that she will be granted salvation and we will see each other in eternity.

I went to the conference with not a lot of expectation but I knew that I would come away with, at the very least, some language. And, I learned far more than I thought I ever could. I’m still processing it all but I can tell you that God has definitely broken my heart for what breaks his. The LGBTQ community yearns to be known, to be affirmed. The world tells them they are not worthy, but God loves each of them.

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Another Internship, a NYC Adventure, and More Ground Covered

Work’s been keeping me from writing and that’s a good thing, but now I have a lot to tell you. First off, MJ will be starting another internship next week and Pathways helped her line up some possible freelance graphic design work. In the meantime, she made her way to New York City for a concert. She also emailed Whitman Walker to make an appointment… AND we celebrated her birthday. As she’s getting older, I’m noticing more maturity and am encouraged by the growth she’s had this summer.

The Pathways team set up this second internship with a publishing company and I think they’ve found a good match. MJ felt comfortable with the employees she was introduced to at the meet and greet. She’ll mostly be putting magazine ads together, but I believe there will be opportunity to do some photography too. Unfortunately it will be more layout and less design but a good environment to practice discipline and develop healthy work habits. There will be a lot more structure and more clearly defined tasks and deliverables than in her previous internship. It also seems that this time there may be an opportunity for employment after 10 weeks. The main concern MJ has is that they work on Macs and she prefers PCs. It will be an adjustment and I just pray she isn’t going to be to obstinate about it.

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Waited Out the Storm, Got Rewarded by A Rainbow

Recently, as is often the case in summer, a quickly moving thunderstorm passed over us at the beach. My husband and I decided to wait it out and as the sky cleared, a rainbow appeared on the horizon. That’s kinda the way life is for us, isn’t it?

Whenever the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and all living creatures of every kind on the earth.
– Genesis 9:16

While the news has been filled with reports of occurrences demonstrating unrest around the world, I think there’s a widespread concern that we are on the brink of certain disaster. And here in the U.S., no matter what side you fall on, the political climate and upcoming election has us on edge. Yet most of us also have more personally pressing concerns to deal with in our families and everyday lives. We are waiting out the storms, praying for change, and anxiously waiting for better days to come.

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Snowzilla: God Makes Us Wait

I haven’t posted in a while, mostly because I’ve been very busy at work, but also because there wasn’t much to report. We weren’t making much progress toward the new year’s goals. MJ still hadn’t gotten back to that great sleep/wake schedule she had going before the holidays. And then “snowzilla” happened. I won’t kid you, I had a hard time staying focused on the positive and finding encouragement. But I know that God sent the snow, reminding us that He is in charge. He ordered us to be still for a bit and take a break. (Yeah, that’s my car under that pile of snow.) I recognized that I was deep in waiting mode… waiting for Pathways to find an internship opportunity, waiting for the weather to give us a break and for the roads to be cleared, waiting for God to work things out.

Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!
–Psalm 27:13-14

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New Year, New Chapter

We had a very quiet and peaceful Christmas and I am so happy we’ve said goodbye to 2015. It was a difficult year for the whole family. We ended the year with a flurry of activity as we wrapped up MJ’s resume and portfolio and prepared for the holidays. So, I’ve been letting MJ take a breather while I focus on some other things. Here’s a quick recap and some thoughts for the year ahead.

MJ started the year still struggling to get through college classes. We fought constant battles to stay on top of the work so she could pass. After 4 years of community college, we were doubtful that MJ would ever be able to get a degree and she was unsure of what direction to take. We felt like there were very few alternatives to school and not many opportunities available. I was still having a rough time comprehending her gender issues and was distressed by the nocturnal schedule she was keeping. She also had some online relationships that proved to be toxic and often times debilitating.

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Changing Church

It has taken me a long time to write this post because I don’t want to offend anyone. I like to think of myself as a peacekeeper. So, I took my time with it and chose my words carefully. Also, as we got closer to Thanksgiving, I wanted to be sensitive to the timing of this message. Let me just say that this is written in the spirit of me trying to think things through. Let’s work this out together.

I had originally planned to write this post as a one-sided bashing of the church for its failure to include and minister to transgender people and the people that love them. But, a few weekends ago I went on a retreat with some of the most godly women I know. While there, God showed me a few things that softened my heart. I still feel “the church” needs to change but the church is made up of people. Some of those people, like the women I joined on the retreat, are individuals who radiate Jesus’ love so brightly. Some people are just like me, who love the Lord and are questioning things. If you wonder how you might better serve the LGBTQ community, this message is for you. If you have been rallying against “the church” this message is for you too.

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