Christian children's author Matthew Paul Turner announces he's gay and divorcing his wife

Matthew Paul Turner and his wife Jessica are divorcing

Christian children's book writer Matthew Paul Turner has announced that he is gay.

In an announcement posted to Facebook and Instagram on Friday, Turner also revealed that he is divorcing his wife, Jessica, in order to "embrace freedom, hope, and God as a gay man."

The pair have been married since 2004 and have three children together. 

In the statement, he said informing his children had been "one of the hardest, most beautiful things" he had ever done. 

He admitted it was "difficult news" to share with people but said the decision to divorce had been made "after much thought, prayer, and counseling." 

"While we're best friends and thoroughly love doing life, parenting, and pursuing our dreams together, ending our marriage is necessary because I am gay," he said.

He then stated that as someone "who spent 30+ years in fundamentalist/evangelical churches, exploring God through conservative theologies," he had "lived many days overwhelmed by fear, shame, and self-hatred."

"But for the first time in my life, despite the sadness and grief I'm feeling right now, I can say with confidence that I'm ready to embrace freedom, hope, and God as a gay man," he said. 

Turner is the former editor of CCM, a magazine about the Contemporary Christian Music scene, and is author of the Wall Street Journal bestselling children's book When I Pray for You.

In addition to children's books, he is author of The Christian Culture Survival Guide, The Coffeehouse Gospel, and Provocative Faith.

Jessica Turner is a Christian writer who blogs at The Mom Creative.  In a separate statement on Facebook, she said: "We are moving forward with ending our marriage, while remaining deeply committed to our family and each other.

"We are all adjusting to a new normal, with our home now extended under two rooftops."