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When individuals identify as LGBTQIA+ they often feel a great sense of freedom and relief. However, they often forget no man (or woman) is an island and their decision impacts the lives of friends and family who love them.  Often these family members and friends have nowhere to turn for help, hope, understanding, or encouragement. For nearly 30 years Living Hope Ministries has offered support groups for friends and family, and wives whose husbands are struggling with their gender identity. LHM support groups provide a safe place where honest dialogue, discussion, and support can be found without judgment or condemnation while maintaining a strong biblical sexual ethic and love. 
 

When Someone You Love Comes Out:
You Are Not ALONE!

Living Hope offers a place where Christian men and women can find help in resolving their gender identity conflicts.  It is a rare, yet much-needed ministry.  But what happens in families of faith where the person experiencing these feelings decides to embrace them?  How should Christian friends and family respond?  Living Hope has a significant group of parents, wives, and friends of men and women who struggle with their gender identity, who desire to respond in redemptive, and God-honoring ways to those they love.   

My connection with LHM began when we found ourselves in that very situation.  Our son struggled to resolve his attractions with his faith, and eventually felt he had no choice but to identify as gay.  As his parents, we were in a difficult position.  We knew that the Bible clearly teaches that romantic love is only to be expressed between one man and one woman.  We love our son dearly but could not affirm or celebrate his decision to act on his same sex attractions.  We needed a place where we could talk to people who understood our situation and had experience in successfully engaging with a loved one who was pulled between their faith and their feelings. 

The first resource that I accessed was the Friends and Family section of the online support forums.  When I was not yet ready to talk with anyone I knew about our son's decision, the forum provided a group of other parents, friends, and family members who were experiencing the same thing.  They would listen to me, offer prayer and even guidance for how to show love with healthy boundaries.  Next, my husband and I attended a retreat, where we met Living Hope participants in person and found the same kind of support from actual flesh and blood people.  It is a wonderful feeling when you are hurting to know that you are not alone; that someone understands and is praying for you.  After that first retreat, my husband and I began attending the in-person weekly support groups.  The same type of support was offered, but by meeting with the same group week after week, we formed deep friendships and were able to see ways that God was working in each family.  Often the work God was doing was in the parent, spouse, or friend of the person who brought them there, an unexpected but welcome development.   

My husband and I felt strongly that we wanted to be a resource for other Christians who found themselves dealing with a loved one with same sex attraction.  My volunteer participation in the forums and the weekly support groups has grown into a part-time position as the Friends and Family Director at Living Hope.  I am still involved in all the previously mentioned aspects of Living Hope (plus some other responsibilities), but now can be more focused on helping others find the same encouragement and hope that we have found.  During this crazy pandemic year, LHM had to transition from in-person support group meetings to Zoom meetings.  Although we have missed the in-person feature, Zoom has provided us a way to stay connected to each other.  Virtual meetings have even opened the door for some who live quite a distance away to join us for support.    

The biggest lessons that I have learned in my journey are a deeper sense of God's faithfulness to His children and His promises.  I have learned the importance of persevering in prayer.  God repeatedly tells us in His word where hope can be found.  It is found in Him, the faithful, promise-keeping God.  When we focus on that and give him room to work in the hearts of our loved ones, we can have hope.  I have also learned that God wants to work on refining me, and as I change it benefits not just me, but my whole family. If you are also the friend or family of someone who experiences same-sex attraction, and you have not utilized any of the support we offer, I hope you will reach out to us.  You don't need to be isolated – let us walk alongside you! 

“And now, Lord, for what do I wait? My hope is in You.” Psalm 39:7 

Resources: 

Living Hope has a book full of encouraging stories from our participants, Hope Has a Name.  In it, men and women, friends, and family members share how God has impacted their lives while they sought Him instead of the world's answer for dealing with same-sex attraction.  One of these stories, shared by Emily, includes these encouraging words for parents: 

“My mom shared with me not long ago that years ago, after I came out to them, the Lord gave her the promise of Jeremiah 31:16-17.  She held on to that for all those years and continued to pray that the Lord would change my heart.”  

God does honor His promises!  You can read the rest of her story, and those of many others by ordering a copy of Hope Has A Name. 

Hope Has a Name - Book: Support for those struggling with homosexuality (livehope.org) 
 

Living Hope has many helpful podcasts.  This is a free resource and new podcasts are uploaded weekly.  If you have yet to listen to HopeCast, or if it has been a while, these can be accessed anywhere that podcasts are available, or through our website.  For parents of teenagers, HopeCast 88 would be particularly helpful - “How Parents Can Respond to Their Teens and Find Hope.” 

Podcasts - Living Hope (livehope.org) 
 

Our Support Groups will soon return to in-person meetings!  Beginning the first week of May, the support groups will meet in person on the first and third weeks of the month.  We are not abandoning our Zoom participants, though.  Online meetings will continue on the second and fourth weeks of the month, and LHM is extending that opportunity to those who live too far to attend in person.  If you would like more information about either support group option, contact us.   

 

Marsha Inman 

Friends and Family Director

Marsha discovered Living Hope in 2007 to find help in responding redemptively to a family member who had come out as gay. She and her husband have benefitted greatly by participating in the Friends and Family support group, learning how to balance love for their family members while holding to a Biblical sexual ethic. They find encouragement in welcoming and serving others as the current leaders of that support group. In 2010, Marsha was invited to be part-time office staff as Ministry Associate for Development, exploring new funding opportunities through foundational support and other fundraising efforts. Recently, her role and title have changed to Friends and Family Director. She will continue to work on fundraising efforts and other projects, but in addition, will be a contact person for Friends and Family members who connect with Living Hope either through the local support group or online.

Marsha has a Bachelor of Arts in both English and Biblical Archaeology and a Master’s degree in English. Besides her work at Living Hope, she is involved in serving at her church with the women’s Bible Study, is a lay counselor for Soul Care, and is a Regional Administrator and luncheon speaker for Stonecroft Ministries. When she is not serving somewhere, she enjoys entertaining and spending time with family and friends.


by Ricky Chelette, Executive Director

 

Texas is finally open, and though many will argue the good and bad of the Governor's declaration, most feel relieved that there are options to attend church, events again, and yes, even support groups. Though we have not missed a week during the pandemic, we, like many, have had to pivot and move to Zoom meetings in place of our typical in-person support gatherings. 

Though the pandemic certainly changed the way we did ministry over the past year, it did not stop our ministry from reaching out and pressing on with the life-changing work God does through LHM.  We pivoted quickly to online Zoom meetings weekly and haven't missed a week.  Additionally, even though we were unable to travel, we continued to speak in the US, Australia, and Russia to churches and pastors' conferences, to those who were longing to respond redemptively and biblically to this cultural moment.  

As a result of our online Zoom meetings, we have added many to our number who live outside the DFW area but had no support in their city or state. Their participation has been an encouragement to all of us, and we have been able to support, encourage, and bless them, helping them to know they are not alone. 

In May, we will begin regathering as a hybrid of in-person and online support groups alternating every other week. The first and third weeks will be in-person at our Texas locations, and the second and fourth weeks will be online Zoom meetings. Safety protocols will be in place for the in-person meetings to keep everyone as safe as possible.

If you would like to be involved in our online or in-person meetings, please contact us to set up an intake interview with one of our staff. If you have been through an intake and it has been more than six months since you have participated in the group, please contact us to rejoin the support groups. We would be honored to serve you in any way that we can as together, we journey towards Christ and embrace our redeemed identity in Him. 

Check out over 100 episodes of Hope Cast! - Honest conversation about real issues Christians face regarding sexuality, faith, and discipleship.
Designed specifically to speak into the sexual and relational brokenness of our lives, these verse-by-verse teachings of the Bible help all believers discover how to surrender their lives, sexuality, and identities to the Lord and be faithful followers of Jesus Christ.
Your prayers are vital to the work the Lord is doing at Living Hope Ministries!
Please join us in praying for the Next Generation and the unique struggles they have with identity and sexuality:
  • Pray that this generation would hear the truth of the Gospel message and understand its implications for their view of their sexuality. 
  • Pray for deep convictions about the Gospel and God’s design for identity and sexuality; specifically for youth leaders, parents, and churches as they impart these truths to teens and young adults.
  • Pray for God’s leading as Living Hope seeks to come alongside and equip churches as they minister to the youth and young adults struggling with their sexuality and identity. 
 “Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised, and his greatness is unsearchable. One generation shall commend your works to another, and shall declare your mighty acts.”
Psalm 145:3-4  
Living Hope continues to offer confidential, free, weekly, peer-led, support groups for men, women, friends and family, and wives of men with relational struggles, as well as online support forums. If you are interested in participating in these weekly groups, please contact us to get connected. We would be honored to serve you.
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