20 Apr

Is It Gender Disphoria?

What do you do when your 5-year old daughter says she wants to marry one of her friends? And that friend is a girl… 

I’m going to risk parental—and my daughter’s potential—embarrassment here to share a story, because I feel God is asking me to, as this is not a topic with which I feel parents have navigation and “helps,” because no one wants to talk about it, and everyone wants to save face. Oh, your child just said that??? What in the world are you doing wrong in your parenting for that to have happened???

I know I probably will receive flack, whether actual comments or just inner resentment from some who don’t hold my belief about God’s design for biological sex and gender, but I truly believe God has given me a testimony that needs to be shared.

When Bekah came to me this morning and said that she wanted to marry her little “girl” friend—rather than the little boy she was been friends with for months, declaring that she would marry him—my heart completely sunk. Immediately, my thought was what I said before, “What have I done wrong? What do I say in this moment that will be the right thing for her to hear and understand?”

Knowing that I simply was not in the right frame of mind to say anything other than, “No, you can’t do that,”—and probably not in the nicest tone, either—I suggested we go and talk to her Daddy, because he is very level-headed about these situations and always has an amazing way of explaining things to our girls.

We walked into the bedroom, and I said, “Daddy, we need your help. Bekah said she would like to marry [this girl].” As calmly as could be, Michael began to ask her questions about why she wanted to marry her.  His main question was, “What do you think will happen if you do marry her?”

(On an honest side note, I started to think twice about my choice to have her come talk to Daddy, since for whatever reason he seemed to be perpetuating the conversation rather than helping make it go away, and it took me a few minutes to realize where he was going with it and that he had made the correct choice.)

At first, Bekah said, “I’ll become a boy.” Michael, without missing a beat, said, “Bekah, just because you marry a girl doesn’t mean you become a boy. God made you a beautiful girl, and that’s who you need to be.”

“Oh,” she said. “Ok.”

As he continued to probe her with the question, “what do you think will happen,” we started to realize that she just had a misinformed view of marriage.

Bekah’s next answers shocked me: “Well . . . We’ll get to sleepover to-gever . . . And we’ll play . . . And watch movies . . . read books to-gever . . .”

Michael went on to explain that those are all wonderful things that she can do with this gal as her friend. Bekah looked at him quizzically, and said, “Really?”

After her understanding that she would still be able to do these fun things as friends, Michael then asked if there was anything else that was influencing her decision in this marriage arrangement.

Bekah went on to say that “boys are mean . . . They kick and punch and spit . . . They are not nice.”

Somewhere in the last couple of months, our Bekah has grown up just a little and decided she doesn’t like the immaturity of boys, lol. Daddy went on to explain to her that boys do those things until they grow up, and even sometimes, if they don’t mature while growing up, that they can still do some of those things. He explained that maturity is learning what the right thing is to do and then doing it.

I then told her about my experience as a child—how I loved to hangout with the boys and play football and all other kind of boy things. Back then, I would have been labeled your typical Tom-boy (and some would probably still say that about me today). I can’t imagine what it would have been like growing up these days, but as far as I can remember, although my preference to like boy things overrode any girlie tendencies, it was never a thought in my mind that I would become or should become a boy. He made me a princess, and He made her a princess, and if I would have decided to be anything other than a princess, I would have never even met Daddy, and she would not be born.

I also told her that she may not even know the man she will marry right now. Her Daddy and I didn’t meet until we were 19 and 21. If we would have known each other before then, we may not have even chosen each other based on our immaturities, lol. Sometimes the friends you know when you are young are not the friends you know when you are older.

There were other smaller points in between our conversation, but those are the main ones. Bekah began to leave the room, and I asked her if I could have a hug. She crawled up and gave Michael and me each a hug and then we told her we loved her. She went to the door to leave, and before closing it said, “Ok, I’ve changed my mind about becoming a boy and marrying a girl.”

Is our daughter gender-confused? Was she experiencing gender dysphoria? Not at all! She simply didn’t understand the definition of marriage at her young age of 5. She loves dolls, and dresses, and all things girl. She hasn’t had a friend up to this point who has been a girl other than her sisters, who—from experience, I know—can be downright mean and nasty and unfair in their own right. All her little friends, just based on our friendships and stage of life have been boys, and so having a “girl” friend who is not her sister is a new experience for her, and she likes the attention and kindness she receives. 

But truly, all she knows at this point, is that she sees Daddy and Mommy hanging out together, having “sleepovers” in the same bed, watching things together, reading books, etc., and since she now loves doing these same things with her new “girl” friend, she believes she wants that for her forever future, not understanding at 5 years old what marriage truly is—all she knows is she doesn’t want to hangout for the rest of her life with someone who kicks, punches, and spits, lol.

We, as parents, are far too quick to shut our kids down with a quick and harsh, “No,” wanting these hard and uncomfortable topics to just “go away,” especially when it is something in these categories that could be what we think would adversely affect their future, instead of trying to make sure we understand where they are coming from and the lens from which they see the definitions of the language they are using. Our 30-year old+ mature definitions are not their 0-to-18-year old definitions, and working to get on the same page and realize what they are talking about goes a long way to them truly understanding the world and walking in the path that God has for them.

Had I just wrecked into Bekah with an—“Absolutely not! You can’t marry a girl!”—her worldview at that moment, sans Daddy-conversation digging for the truth, would have told her devastatingly, “Mommy just said I can’t have fun times with my friend. My world is ending because I can’t do the things I love to do with someone I love to do them with. Mommy doesn’t love me or want me to have fun.”

And that conversation in her head would eventually morph into what the world tells us we should do when no one understands our feelings or shames us for the way we feel like we “identify” as we are growing up. My daughter doesn’t identify as anything other than a 5-year old girl who loves dresses and dolls and that had her definitions mixed up and needed a teaching moment. And so many parents, rather than capitalizing on that teaching moment, either say, “Oh, that’s wonderful—yes, you should be that,” or “No way!” immediately shutting down the conversation and solidifying the faulty worldview in either case. I am so overly thankful for my amazing husband, who being led by the Spirit, knew exactly what to say to coach our precious girl through her thought process and into all truth. (Love you, forever, Michael Tuck!)

Now, does that mean we will never have this conversation again? Is the door completely closed for Bekah? Possibly not. But for now, GOD’S TRUTH has won out, and our girl knows that she is a beautiful princess that can have amazing friendships with other princesses, but if God ever intends for her to be married, it will be to a handsome prince. If it comes up again, we will have to remember this teaching moment and ask the Lord for wisdom on what to say based on the definitions that she has grown into in that moment in her life, whether they came from a biblical or secular influence, also asking for strength and compassion, no matter the outcome. 

Again, I know that not everyone will agree with me, even some of those who are on my friends and family list. BUT PLEASE HEAR ME WHEN I SAY, my disagreeing with you, and how I feel God has called me to raise my child, and the voice I must have to the rest of the world DOES NOT CHANGE MY LOVE FOR YOU. If God ever stopped loving me—through any choices I have made, good or bad—I wouldn’t be able to stand here redeemed by His blood as a testimony of His grace and be able to say that I LOVE YOU.

I’m expecting comments with a wide range of viewpoints, from, “You go, girl,” to “Block and Unfriend,” and everything in between, and if the latter happens, I would challenge you to reach out and let’s have a loving and mutually beneficial conversation before you hit that button, but I pray that this story helps another parent and child who may need to hear it. I will try to leave the comments open, but I just want to forewarn everyone, that if it gets too out of hand, I will either have to turn off commenting or delete the post. With all love and respect and for the glory of my God and King . . .

Agape,

Kelley Tuck

“And so, since God in His mercy has given us this wonderful ministry, we never give up.” – 2 Corinthians 4:1 (NLT)

19 Sep

Paleo Chocolate Banana Pancakes

This morning, I had the blessing of taking care of my children while my wife rested after taking care of a sick child overnight. Like most dads when they have extra time at home, I tried to make the day a little more special. Breakfast was first on the list, so I decided to try finding some paleo pancakes. (A few days ago some friends of ours invited us over to dine with them. They were very thoughtful to try to make us a paleo meal. Our hostess whipped up a paleo-ish pancake recipe that she found online. The search for this recipe was sort of inspired by her.)

After finding one, I checked to see what we had in the house and gathered everything together. By the grace of God we had all that we needed, with some small (paleo) improvisations (I made the chocolate part a little different from what I found online – my version is what is in the recipe below).

As I was cooking the pancakes, my children suddenly became very silent. It was the calm right before the storm. My oldest daughter had been in the stickers and was putting them all over herself. This wasn’t a big deal. But then my youngest started screaming because no attention was being given to her. So as I began trying to entertain and calm my little ones, I could smell the pancakes beginning to burn. Fortunately, I was able to hold a baby in one arm, while flipping the pancakes in time, so they were still edible.

After the crying had subsided, we sat down to eat. One taste, and I was hooked! I don’t think I have ever had such delicious pancakes, with no flour in them whatsoever. This is a recipe that we will continue to use for years to come.

[amd-zlrecipe-recipe:1]

12 Sep

Paleo Failure – Fishy Bites/Coconut Flour

About a month ago, my wife and I started a program called Whole 30. Essentially Whole 30 is a very strict Paleo diet. We did this for many reasons. One of the main reasons for me was to get rid of some skin problems I have been having. During this diet, I was wanting to try out all sorts of recipes that I found online. After having chicken and potatoes for 20 days in a row, I was ready for a change in cuisine. My wife was nice enough to try a recipe that I found online for “Fishy Bites”. Just so you know, fish is my favorite type of food. Not only that but these were supposed to be just like fish sticks which I absolutely loved growing up. Yes, I know that fish sticks probably contain no fish at all but it was still good.

Some how during the course of making dinner, I volunteered myself to make most the recipe. Kelley started it but I ended up finishing most of it. I could taste the “Fishy Bites” with every ingredient I added to the bowl. It was like being a kid again. When it got to the almond flour, we decided to use coconut flour instead. (WARNING: If you ever exchange any flour for coconut flour, you need use 1/4 cup of coconut flour for every 1 cup of flour. Also for everyone oz of coconut flour you use, you need to add 1 egg. If the recipe calls for 1 cup for flour and 2 eggs, you would use 1/4 cup or 2 oz of  coconut flour and 4 eggs. You will see why in a second.) Back to the story. It wasn’t long until we had replaced a few of the ingredients and still thought, “Hey, it shouldn’t matter. It will taste fine in the end.”

After cooking the “Fishy Bites” in EVOO(Extra Virgin Olive Oil), they didn’t stay together like I wanted them too but it was only my first time. I served them up on a plate and called the family in for dinner. Kelley and I blessed the food and started to eat. It only took one “Fishy Bite” then out came the buffalo sauce. The taste for ok but the texture was like trying to swallow sand paper the size of a golf ball down your throat. By this time, we had each consumed two “Fishy Bites”. We asked our two year old to take a bit and she immediately was disgusted by them. We continued to eat each one trying not to gag ourselves as the tuna slowly, and I mean slowly, made it’s way to our stomaches. By the fourth bite, Kelley and I are about to die, not only from lack of air but how much we were laughing at our first Paleo food fail. We finally got all five bites down…but wait. I had thought they were going to be so good that I had made fifteen of them. I quickly texted my friend to send his dog over to finish of the last five. Sammy gladly devoured the remaining “Fishy Bites” and returned home satisfied.

The lesson of the evening, even though something might look good on a website doesn’t mean that it will taste as good as it looks. The same thing is true with sin. Sin looks to good to us when we are just thinking about it. We mull it over in our minds. We think about all the different things we could do if we gave into the temptation. Then we execute our plan. Sin is good for the moment but after the pleasure is gone, disappointment comes. Yes, we laughed about the “Fishy Bites” until we were almost on the floor but sin is not a laughing matter. Sin not only takes the joy that we find in Christ, it destroys everything around us including ourselves. It creeps in unaware in the small things that we think and keep in our minds.

But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death. (James 1:14-15 ESV)

Let us take hold of the thoughts that tempt us:

We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ, (2 Corinthians 10:5 ESV)

We are promised that God will not tempt us more than we are able to bear through Christ:

No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it. (1 Corinthians 10:13 ESV)

Thank you Lord for allowing us to see and know what the desires of the flesh are compared to the desires of the Spirit. Lord, by your strength may we follow you each day as you guide our path through this life. You are the rock that we build our house upon so that when the storms come, our house will stand.

12 Sep

Quick Running Fuel

Larabar bar single

When Kelley and I started our Paleo journey, one of the hardest things was trying to figure out what we would eat for our workouts. It needed to be something quick, easily accessible and cheap. I asked a friend of mine who had been on Paleo for a while and he said that Bananas, raw eggs and coconut milk made into a smoothie were a good source of fuel but I wanted something already pre-made. I researched around and found a great product called Lärabar. There are not many prepackaged products out there that only include whole ingredients.Larabar Bar Double

The main three that we eat are:

The store we went too didn’t have much variety. We went to a different store and found a few more that I we will be trying next:

Now even though Lärabars are great, there are different types of Lärabars that contain not so friendly Paleo foods. The ones that contain chocolate or peanuts are disqualified because peanuts are in the lagoon family and chocolate is made with sugar and unclarified butter.

I usually eat one before I go running and then after I’m done with the run. After you eat the Lärabar, wait about 10 minutes before you workout and no more than 75 minutes. When you are done, make sure to eat even though you might not feel like eating. You want to make sure that your body gets the calories and nutrients it needs to build muscle. It’s never good to substitute one of ours meals as our workout food. Workout food needs to be eaten on top of  the normal three meals a day. We can all run or workout until we are overly sore but if we don’t put in calories that our body needs to build, we will never be able to grow our muscles.