Love Wins

To those afraid of Target – walking in love

target2The other day I received a phone call from a friend of mine. Like many moms, she was upset about the new bathroom policy at Target.

“I mean, I have a daughter…” she said her voice clearly shaken, “what are you going to do about your kids??”

I paused.

And just said, “I’m not afraid”

Now before you get all bent out of shape over than sentence, here me out.

In my house, we frequent Target A LOT.

Can I get an amen for the Starbucks? My kids looooove “dates” at Target where they can get their own special drink and help mommy pick out stuff.

We feel like Target regulars.

So, when the news broke about their new policy, like many, it got my attention.

Because I am a mom. Of girls.

Girls who I love.

Girls who I would move hell or high water to protect.

And this was new and unknown.

Yet, nothing in me felt afraid.

Not one bit.

I wondered if there was something wrong with me.

Like maybe I was not protective enough.

But, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with me.

And here’s why:

I trust God more than I trust people.

It’s something (through painful experiences) I learned to do years ago.

And, it provided what my heart desperately needed: peace.

Okay, Anna, I get that you trust God and all that, but COME ON. There are child molesters out there!

Let’s be clear that transgenders are not all child molesters. They are people. Could there be one bad grape in the bunch? Sure. But, that’s true with everyone.

Creepers who could potentially harm children are in churches, schools, playgrounds, malls and neighborhoods all across America.

It’s sad. But, it’s true.

But, Anna, this is different. They are in a bathroom, where my children are vulnerable.

You’re right.

It’s my job to do my best to protect my children from sex traffickers, kidnappers, molesters and abusers – especially in situations where they are exposed and could be alone.

All of these people existed in public restrooms before this new policy was in place. Which is why my kids don’t go into public restrooms alone.

Nothing for me really is going to change.

But, aren’t you afraid for your kids?

As I said, there is a long list of potential creepers I could be afraid of. And I should know. I had a lovely one as a babysitter when I was young. I know first-hand the damage unsuspecting people can bring into a child’s life.

That experience, as well as other abusive situations, was the catapult that pushed me to walk through forgiveness. It was a long, at times painful journey, which I write about in my book, Forgiveness Is Not an Option.

But, after walking through forgiveness and experiencing the healing that only God can bring, I had to let go of fear.

Fear of falling prey to an abuser again.

Fear of my children experiencing what I did.

Fear of them being alone with any person other than me.

It was real people.

And it was hell.

A hell I never thought I would escape.

But, through Jesus, and the power of His word, I learned that I can never fully trust people.

Because people are flawed.

People are wounded.

People are breakable and capable of breaking others.

If I set my whole safety net on the merits of people, I will inevitably be let down.

It’s just the world we live in.

But, if I am able…truly able to let go of putting my faith into people and instead, placing all of my trust into a loving, powerful, merciful, healing God – then peace and freedom from fear might just be possible.

So this is why I am not afraid.

Fear and I parted ways a long time ago.

Instead, I choose to cling to a peace that comes from the One whose hands I and my children are in.

Do I walk in wisdom? Absolutely.

Do I keep them close? Yes and yes.

But, do I walk in fear? No thank you.

And, when I’m not frozen in fear, my heart is capable of tapping into something better: love, power and a sound mind (2 Tim 1:7)

When I walk in love, instead of fear, I don’t walk into a bathroom terrified of the person in the stall next to me.

Instead, I walk with compassion. I see them as God sees them. My heart is open to do or say anything the Lord would have me to.

Instead of scurrying out of the bathroom as fast as I can, praying a billion verses of protection over myself, what if, just WHAT IF, I asked the Lord what He wanted me to say to them?

I might have a prophetic word of knowledge.

I might actually go up and hug a complete stranger (sounds awkward and it kinda is – but when they melt and cry uncontrollably in your arms, it’s a pretty amazing experience).

I might get to lay hands and pray for healing.

And, who knows, all of the above might lead to me walking them out of the restroom and over to Starbucks to have coffee where I get to know them – and love on them – even more.

I have to ask, what would Jesus do?

Now for those of you who are screaming inside and just can’t wait to comment about how Jesus would ONLY confront, correct, expose, judge their “sin”, I ask you kindly to be equal about it. If you choose to take that stance, take it with everyone. The gossip, the lying, the drinker, the cheater, the one who puts work over their family, the one who is arrogant and proud, the one who enjoys praises of man instead of praises of God, the one who is short tempered with their kids or their spouse, the one who chooses not to forgive, the one who prays to impress people – I wouldn’t agree with your approach, but I’d at least respect the consistency of it.

And, if you still are dying to post a comment about how walking in love only includes confronting sin, then please do share. Post an experience you had with a complete stranger and how that confrontational approach moved them to fall in love with Jesus.

I love you. And I want others to feel the love of Jesus through you. (Having that said, see my previous post with my thoughts on When to Speak the Truth In Love)

I hope that when I am in a bathroom at Target or somewhere else that I can walk in love and in the power of the Holy Spirit with full and complete soundness of mind.

Because I want to see miracles in bathrooms.

I want to see people set free.

I want to see healings.

I want to see the power and love of Jesus wrecking people for Him.

I’ve tasted His goodness – I want others to also.

And none of that happens when I’m bound by fear.

I’m not perfect at this. Sometimes, I am a total mom grump in bathrooms and ministering to people is nowhere on my radar. But, the times that it is….I get to see a small amount of Heaven visit us here.

From one parent to another, peace.


*When the comments turned towards a debate on the Target policy, I had to turn them off. Sorry*

Author. Blogger. Speaker. Momma to 4.


    • Sheila DeRiso

      Its not just shout fear Anna. This is just the beginning. Whst are you going to do when this is allowed to happen st the school your girls go to, or maybe the ymca where girls shower and are vulnerable. I didn’t boycott just out of fear, but aabout standing up for what is right morally. If chrostians,do not start standing for whst God’s Word says, this country is only going to get worse. Remember Sodom and Gomorrah?

      • Trumbo

        My question is this….why would you let your girls be exposed around other women too? Teach them that they only have to guard themselves around icky boys, that privacy doesn’t apply with each other? Why is that ok? If we really don’t want to be a careless, corrupt society, we need to value modesty and privacy across the board.

      • Brettany Renée Blatchley

        I have been to the YMCA and changed & showered with other women, and I am a trans woman. I regularly toilet and change with other women. Why? Because I am a woman.

        God gives each of us our gender and it is our responsibility and joy to express it. I express mine: my God-given gender. It happens that my gender does not align with certain parts of my body (though it does with certain other parts). God destined for me to be a woman – for His purposes He has brought me through a longer and more difficult pathway than for most other women.

        May I please remind you of what Sodom and Gomorrah was *really* about?

        “‘Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy.” – Ezekiel 16:49

    • Sherry

      It’s not about fear or loving/not loving sexually confused people. I appreciate your ministry heart. However, this also involves an agenda, a New World Order, where people of money and power desire to turn the rest of us into “drones” -worker bees -sexless, nameless, powerless, without rights, dignity, freedom, autonomy. They are trying to so confuse our society, stripping it of any semblance of the glory and nature of our Father God. It’s not about transgenders at all. They are merely pawns too. This is what we battle, this is what we fight. Not the poor folks who have had their DNA tampered with through soy formulas as babies or vaccines or water sources.

      • Brettany Renée Blatchley

        I interact with hundreds of transgender people, and I count many tens as close, even intimate friends. There is no agenda among us other than to simply be our authentic selves – something that is difficult enough when everyone around you issists you are something/someone you are not.

        Confused? No dear, we are not confused about ourselves; you and people like you are confused about us. If you would humble yourself to listen, perhaps you could come to understand us better. It’s a little more difficult than assuming we are some part of a grand conspiracy, but it is much more human, much more in the image of Christ.

    • amy

      I went to a school board meeting for the Fort Worth Independent School District. We hired a new superintendent in August. He came from Arizona and has been here since then. He very recently made the decision to implement a policy in FWISD, district wide, all levelsl, that allow anyone person to enter any restroom or locker room that s/he identifies with. The student could not be questioned by teachers or administrators. The parents cannot be contacted. The school board (elected by taxpayers) did not vote on this policy, and the clients (parents and students) were not consulted. I had very interesting conversation with many folks on both sides of the fence. I engaged mostly with those of the transgender support group because I wanted to see what their argument was. Every person there who was representing the transgender side was from outside of the school district. They were from Dallas, Southlake, Austin, etc. These groups are active, and they mobilize at a moment’s notice. They are changing our culture, and we are silent and hardly present. Are we loving them by being silent? Are we loving them by being disengaged? Every person I spoke to on the transgender side had no idea about the details of the policy. When I revealed that in all honesty a transgendered female would possibly be in great harm if entering a boy’s locker room, they began to understand. You might not be afraid for your children, but I bet a 16-year-old girl walking into the high school boy’s locker room would be terrified. By the way, in the USA, I am sure you know this, but we vote by casting a ballot and by spending money. You vote when you spend money at Target. Your money supports their homosexual agenda (they have a new ad featuring 2 homosexual fathers), and they support United Way and Susan G. Komen, both contributing to Planned Parenthood. And Starbucks. They are proud supporters of homosexual marriage and also supporters of Planned Parenthood, matching employees’ donations. Wow. That means that you are choosing to support those things. There are other coffee shops, local ones in your community that you could choose to support. There are other local shops where you could find everything that Target has. Jesus loves all of the people in these organizations, but He despises their actions. Their actions are evil and contemptible to our Father. He only gives the directive to flee from evil…don’t be a co-conspirator. I am sure that you consider every word you write in your blog carefully. Please consider giving Christian mothers and fathers some sound advice ( is one resource). I am not contending that our efforts to vote and stop purchasing from companies that support evil is going to make a marked impact; the Lord is sovereign in all His ways, and we should be obedient to love and live a life that uses all of our resources to give glory and honor to Him…knowing Him and making Him known.

      • Kathryn

        This again, comes from what I see as a place of fear. I pray that you can take concern with your own life first, and cast the first stone only if you find yourself perfect!

      • Alexis M.

        You do understand that 90% of businesses you give your money to are supporters of LGBT? Examples are Google, Apple, Coca-Cola, Pepsico, Ben and Jerrys, Discover, Citi, American Express,, eBay, American Apparel, American Airlines, Starbucks, Dunkin’ Donuts, McDonalds, and etc and etc. Look it up. You’ll understand that living in fear of a “homosexual agenda” will basically result in living as a hermit–at home, no phone, no internet, no television, hardly ANY food (since Whole foods, Walmart, Kroger, and Publix are out of the mix) and nothing to entertain yourself (yes, even Barnes and Noble are supporters of LGBT).

  • doveeyes4

    You’ve got me thinking about this from a different angle. Definitely brought up some good points, and I never let my kids go to a public bathroom alone either, nor do I with my grandchildren.

  • Lucas J. Draeger

    I can’t help but notice that Fear is a far more dominant part of today’s Western church than love. Fear and Love don’t exist well together because Fear inevitably leads to an “Us and Them” mentality.
    Fear is where war starts.
    Love is where healing and reconciliation grow.
    Well said, gentle sis. You’re an encouraging voice.

  • angeline

    I only came across your blog by accident this week and I love love love what you have to say. AMEN to everything I have read so far!

  • Susan

    Thank you so much for speaking the truth. I no longer have young children, however when I did I kept my eyes on them. Like you, I fully trust God not people and wisdom plays a huge role.

  • O My Soul

    You describe a life of contentment in Jesus. Faith in Him and He says vengeance is Mine, and then we live in love toward our neighbor whether straight, gay, transgender. Congregations need to remain faithful but there is no need for fear or anger but compassion.

  • Jo

    I am so glad I was led to your website through Facebook. I know we are to walk as Christ-like followers and for years I have tried to express this example. Yes, before I read your comment about the uproar on the transgenders, I too wanted to avoid and walk away from those that choose this as a lifestyle. I was approached about 2 months ago with a friend that “came out” and let me know he is transgender. Wanting to dress as a female, and live both male and female. It was a hard conversation, but my response to him was that he had to follow his heart and know that the truth of the matter was something he needed to talk to God about, because I truly didn’t have the answer. I let him know that however he decided to live, I would love him for the person I know and as my friend. Uncomfortable? Most assuredly, but I had to ask myself have I made Jesus uncomfortable with some of my choices and decisions? Thank you for putting into words what I have tried to live for so long. I have a love for all. I pray my courage will become bolder. When I am faced with difficult situations and when I may walk into a restroom and there is another that my eyes say belongs in another restroom, let the Holy Spirit work through me in words and in action to show the love that lives in me and that being Jesus! Thank you agin for the encouraging words.

  • Cheryl

    Absolutely awesome! That is what Jesus meant when he said a new commandment I give.. love one another! He also says over and over in the word fear not! Very well said.

  • Elizabeth

    This is so beautiful and just what I have wanted to put into words for all my frightened friends and family. Several years ago, before this policy my teenage son experienced a man looking through the stall door in a public restroom. It was creepy but my son has recovered and remained the loving and compassionate young man he’s always been. Yes there are creeps among us but there are also loving children if God. I choose to walk in love not fear.

  • Connie Anthony

    I have a question. I am not afraid of transgendered or gays. I fully realize that the person wanting to hurt will make a way for him/herself. I am more concerned about 2 other points. The first point is one I have not seen addressed. I do not want to have to explain away the transgender person I run into to my young grandchildren. This would require sexual differences that these children are too young to try to deal with.!! These are children not exposed to Transgender/gay lifestyles because we do not travel in the social areas that would include these good folks. The fact of a transgender would cause confusion for my kids. I am not willing to explain it away to such young minds. #2 question
    How do we better protect personal privacy in somewhat open areas ? I do not want to flash you and I do not want to be flashed. Why can’t we have a more solid door situation or less stalls and create actual unisex closets… Request respectful answers only.

    • Makkatt

      I have a 4 year old, and I am already working on those issues in an age appropriate way. When my son came home and told me that a little boy at his school didn’t have a father, I told him that sometimes that happens. Sometimes families don’t have a father, or they don’t have a mother, or maybe they don’t have either, but instead an aunt or a grandparent. Or maybe sometimes they have two mothers or two fathers. Families can look very different from each other, but family is who you love and who loves you. And I structure those types of conversations in accordance with our family’s values and beliefs, as should you.

      I’ve wondered what I would say if we do come in contact with someone who is transgendered. The other day someone I knew was female was working the register at a convenience store we frequent. She was very androgynous and my son asked (semi-loudly as they do), “Why does he have a ring in his lip?” I was immediately embarrassed and the clerk kind of giggled. I don’t know if she/he was pleased that my son used the pronoun “he” or was embarrassed about it, so I left it alone and instead said, “Well because that ring looks really neat and different people like different things.”

      I think that until my son is old enough to understand about the biology of it all, I would keep it as “different people like to express themselves different ways.” Eventually, I might add that sometimes though someone is born as a girl (or boy) inside they feel the opposite, and the way they can feel happy is by looking like the person they feel on the inside.

      There are several websites and books about how to address LGBT issues with children. I would look at those and then work on a version that works with your value system.

      Our children are going to come into contact with things we wish they wouldn’t. But hopefully we are there to help them process and guide them when they do.

    • Sherry

      In my own personal experience (family member is trans), the children in our lives haven’t noticed, and aside from the family member, these children are not exposed to many different lifestyles either. Kids are much more oblivious to things like this than we are. Since we have had much more life experience – our eyes and minds have been exposed to so much more – we see things that kids never would. Think about so many children’s movies these days. They have so many innuendos in them (to make them appealing to the adults who take the kids to the movie) that we cringe at, but they go right over the kids heads.

      As far as explaining anything – if it needs explaining – it is simple. It is no different than how we tell our children/grandchildren not to stare at people that are different than us – be is a disability, color of their hair, piercings, tatoos, etc… That said – trans people are not going to look different to kids. The physical attributes that adults pick up on (adam’s apples, bone structure, etc.) that may indicate to us that someone is trans are not likely going to occur to a child, especially in a brief encounter in a restroom. It’s not as if a trans woman is going to walk into a restroom dressed in a way that is going to look anything but female.

      Children will respond/react the way it is modeled to them. If you get tense, freak out or act weird, they will likely pick up on that more than anything. If you smile, nod, or whatever you normally do- the kids will not even notice anything.

    • Helen

      I just happened on this blog, so I’m a little late in responding, but: children tend to look through much more Christ-like eyes than us, in part because they don’t know “better.” They tend to see the person underneath first. When faced with, say, tall women with short hair, they probably won’t be thinking “I wonder what her genitalia was at birth.” They instead think, “Does she seem nice? Will she hand me a paper towel if my mommy is still going potty?”

      All of which is to say that there’s really no explanation needed, at least to them. Plenty of time to talk about the world’s complications. In the meantime, the rest of us could probably use some tips.

    • Brittany

      1. Children are much smarter and kinder than what we give them credit for. Some times it’s as simple as saying “when this person was born, the doctor said they were male/female. When they got older, they realized they didn’t feel that way and have decided to become a man/women.” That way, you can give them a straight answer without having to get into the sex questions they may not be ready to handle. A lot of the older generation are used to people who are LGBTQIA hiding their sexuality or treating them like black sheep. Now, we are living in a time where people are less fearful of being arrested or murdered because of their gender or sexuality. Explaining to young kids now that some men like men and some women like women helps them to better understand the world around them.
      2. American bathrooms are strange. I wish we had doors that went all the way down instead of stopping at the calves haha

    • Lexie

      Why would you have to explain? You don’t walk around naked in public restrooms? A Transgender individual won’t look like Dustin Hoffman in Tootsie 🙂

    • Dawn Ogden

      Explaining gay and transgender to young children isn’t all that difficult. “That man loves the other man the same way your mommy loves your daddy.” “That is a lady. Everyone looks different. That’s a good thing!” (A good message to be teaching your children anyway!) Keep it light, polite and to the point. Kids understand love, usually much better than adults! (And btw, LGBT folks are all around you, we don’t congregate at some secret location)

  • Makkatt

    I was totally tracking with you (and in fact became a follower of your blog after your post about running into a person you knew who was transgendered ) until you said, “people who are transgendered are not ALL child molesters.” Respectfully, I’d like to ask what you mean by that statement. Are you inferring that a large number are? Some are? A few are? Because I would assert that the majority of child molesters identify as straight men.

    Second, I applaud your effort at inclusion. The only thing that bothers me is the feeling that you are working to include them despite them being transgendered. That this whole transgendered thing is a HUGE hurdle to get through, but by golly, you’re gonna do it. Being transgendered is just one small part of who they are. They are a rich, complex, whole person and it just feels like you are reducing them to the sum of that one aspect. I feel that anyone who is transgendered deserves more.

    • Anna McCarthy


      Thank you for taking the time to comment. I can’t respond to every comment, but wanted to respond to yours. The sentence you referred to, was meant to address those who think that of transgenders. Sadly, there are many people who think that. I wanted to make the point that transgenders are people just like everyone else and shouldn’t be looked at as anything different. (And as far as straight men being primary child molesters, I’m totally tracking with you as that was my personal experience as I shared briefly in the blog)

      This topic is SO HARD to address and even harder to express one’s heart in writing. But, I’m trying.

      I don’t view transgenders as any different than any other human. Someone worthy of being loved and valued by God just like me. But, there is a large majority of people who think differently and are having a hard time with this. I am trying my best to help bridge that gap.

      Thanks again for sharing your thoughts. 🙂


  • Makkatt

    Thank you so much for clarifying! You are so right, this is hard stuff to express. And you are tackling a subject that many in the religious community won’t even talk about, so kudos to you. 🙂

  • Asil GM (@lisasm95)

    I stumbled upon your website through a link my cousin posted on Facebook. I’ve read a few of your articles now. Perspective. . . that’s what you’re giving me through your words. Thank you for sharing your take on things. You’ve given me a lot to think on. I definitely am living my life with too much fear and not enough love. And as one reader said earlier, “If you’ve allowed fear to have a place in your life, it just means you’re not walking close enough to God…just saying’”. Thanks for that perspective too Gay Ingram. Walking closer to God is something I need to work on. If you don’t mind, I’m going to hang around your blog for a while and gain some more perspective. 😀

  • Regan

    You are restoring my faith in religious people! I’ve read two of your blog posts now, it is so refreshing to see the underlying kindness and compassion in them.

  • Olivia

    I truly think that people are missing the point. I’m not afraid of seeing a transgender person in my restroom. I am afraid of seeing the heterosexual man dressed up as a woman to get in the bathroom to do harm to women or children. I don;t think ill of the transgender person. I feel sad that the only way they feel good about themselves is to be like this; whatever this is.

    • Dawn Ogden

      Before the law (referring to the NC law and those like it) a predatory man would have had to don a dress and wig and pretend to be a transfemale to gain entry to the ladies room. That was BEFORE. NOW, however, he can walk right in, full beard and all, and say he is transmale. Because this stupid law says that transmales (born female) MUST use the ladies room! Even if they are post surgical! I get that you’re worried about predators, not transfolk, but honestly, the sign on the door isn’t kryptonite to predators. Kids are much more in danger with their father, step father, grandpa, cousin, babysitter (sorry, Anna), coach, pastor, teacher, or any other straight man than they are in a bathroom.

  • Bob Mueller

    I stumbled on to your blog from a link to the strip club post, which I loved. I very much appreciated this post as well; it’s one of the calmer and more reasoned posts I’ve seen from Christians on the matter.

    I feel it’s important to point out regarding Target that this is not a new policy. Read their statement carefully. They’re reiterating an existing policy, and I’m told by an online friend who works for them that this has been policy since 1999.

    The only thing new about this policy is the fear that’s being injected into the issue by ultraconservatives who don’t understand the statistics of genetics.

    • Mike Roark

      I have graduate degrees in bio-medicine and understand genetics. I’m not sure what statistics have to do with it. Seems to me the best policy would be for those with male dna to use the men’s room and those with female dna to use the women’s room. No one needs to be disrespected, shunned, or otherwise hated with such a policy. I agree that people are broken in different ways and it is the love of Christ which redeems us. The transgender is not “worse” than the neatly groomed and tailored, but dishonest businessman. That said, I don’t appreciate any policies which officially enable and promote the brokenness of people’s lives however it is manifested. It’s about a corporate policy to do such, not about judging those whom it seeks to accommodate by it.

  • christi

    I’m not afraid of Target. I simply disagree. And it’s not because I have an issue with transgender people, that I don’t have love for them, or that I don’t presume to already use the restroom with them. I’m simply not comfortable with the platform it furthers for those looking to exploit privacy — most potentially non-transgender men. Judicial systems are built upon the logic that the harder we make it to commit crime or the more likely we are to suffer consequences (ie: get caught), the less likely the ill -intended is to act on their motive. Why would we not presume the inverse of the same logic? I’m not afraid, because in wisdom, I can choose not to put myself or my children in the position. (And I can depend on the Lord for the many other vulnerable circumstances far out of my reach to avoid.) I pray that if my heart is in some manner short of love, God changes it. And I invite you to pray the same for me! Meanwhile I am persuaded that I can demonstrate this wisdom WHILE maintaining a loving heart to those who are needy for compassion in all various kinds of ways. And I would implore you to perhaps be less presumptuous about the hearts of those who are convicted differently than you on this matter. XO

  • Kadsie

    Thank you for your post. This is one of the most clear headed posts I have read. Yes, dangerous people could be there. Dangerous people have always been around. They don’t care about laws. I am surprised that a Christian blogger summed up my feelings so well.

  • Linda Rodante

    I’m not afraid of Target, although i really don’t want to go into a bathroom or dressing room and find a man there–especially not with my granddaughter in tow. Nor do I care for someone less because they say they are transsexual. Neither does Jesus. He loves all. We should, too. However, i will not be going back to Target because at some point I feel a stand must be made. We have gone down a path in America that is way far from where God wants us, and right now–for me and for many others–we will draw a line in the sand. We can stand, in love, and in strength, for what is right. And I plan to.

  • Lillian

    Anna – Thank you for writing this! I had exactly the same “I’m not afraid” reaction when someone asked me about this at church, but hadn’t taken the time to disentangle my thoughts the way you have here. I’ve also been thinking a lot about people in churches who were born with ambiguous genitalia / intersex that compromise 1-2% of the population. I can’t imagine being born with a genetic condition only to be lumped with child molesters in the eyes of fellow Christians.

  • thecrazydaisies

    ok, so newest blog post, I was like, “Right on!” And now 2nd blog post of yours I read…. uh, yes! I LOVE people and I LOVE this post. Spot on.

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