Searching For God In Religion: Day 1 of 6


What Is a God-Thing?

-Susan Cottrell

“It's a God-thing.” I have said this many times along my path. When I recognize something extraordinary, outside the norm, something especially coincidental or helpful or unexpected, it must be a God-thing.

One day I said this to a friend and she sighed with exasperation.

“Breathe in," she told me. "Breathe out. THAT’S a God-thing.” Ah! Of course God-things occur all around us, all the time—not just those occasional blips that my human brain recognizes and identifies and labels a God-thing!

At that point, I had no qualms about declaring this or that as God-things… (does that mean others are not?). I had not thought through the implications of declaring where God is or is not, what is God’s doing and what is not! Now, of course, all that feels silly. I’ve seen God that is much bigger (and kinder, and more loving) than my then smaller-church understanding allowed.

Now, I’m in a whole new place. Now that my understanding of God has expanded—and my box for God has been shredded!—I see God in ways I didn’t before. I now see God in places, and in faces, I didn’t before. Isn’t that a beautiful thing?

Now, I experience God's presence always. I’ve decided to label it ALL a God-thing. Because it is.


Susan Cottrell is the prominent voice for faith parents of LGBTQI children. She is an international speaker, author and spiritual director. Through her nonprofit organization—FreedHearts—Susan champions the LGBTQI community and families with her characteristic tender-heartedness, and she zealously challenges Christians who reject them with her wise insistence that love—of God and others—is the foundation of faith. She spent 25 years in the non-affirming Evangelical church, is the Founder and President of FreedHearts, has a Master of Arts in Theological Studies, served as the Vice-President of PFLAG Austin (Texas), and was featured on ABC's 20/20, Nightline and Good Morning America. Her books “Mom, I’m Gay”—Loving Your LGBTQ Child and Strengthening Your Faith (published by Westminster John Knox Press), and True Colors - Celebrating the Truth and Beauty of the Real You, have been endorsed by The Human Rights Campaign, PFLAG, The Gay Christian Network and many others. She and her husband Rob have been married for 30 years, have five children, two of whom are in the LGBTQI community, and live in Austin, Texas.