It has been nearly 12 years since our son, Ted, disclosed to us shortly after graduating from HS that he had been struggling with homosexual feelings since he was a young teen. This past autumn while on a vacation, my wife and I began working on our testimony. In reviewing the events of that first week, the feelings and emotions we had experienced once again became fresh to us.
I remember our disbelief and confusion when the reality of what had been revealed to us began to sink in. I had more pride than I would admit in the success we seemed to have had in raising our children by Biblical principals, and Dr. Dobson’s guidance. The shock from his revelation caused great embarrassment for me. Of all the sins in which a child could become involved, this seemed the least “socially acceptable.”
Looking back, we can see how God was preparing us even before we learned of our son’s struggle. Several months prior to his admission, my wife had surgery scheduled, and purchased a book to read while recovering. Having heard that Barbara Johnson was a humorous Christian author, she bought The Best of Barbara Johnson. In the book, Barbara shared her pain and growth through the reality of her own son’s homosexuality. She stressed how important it is to react in love, and give constant, unconditional love to your child. This was a great help to us, especially to my wife, who guided our initial reaction to our son’s dilemma.
Initially, we told no one except our closest family, partially from embarrassment, partly because we did not want to reinforce this thinking in our son. If he was still searching in his confusion, we did not want to seal his thinking by our acceptance of his homosexuality. One of the first reactions I remember was being angry at Satan for preying on such a young, innocent child!
Initially, my wife took the lead in seeking help. That first weekend, not knowing where to turn, she called Focus on the Family. Looking back, we laugh now, picturing that woman in the Focus Resource Center who answered the phone and encountered this desperate, emotional mother seeking help for her son. The Focus worker was not a counselor, but she was understanding, helpful, and prayed with my wife over the phone. Within a few days, a box of books and pamphlets arrived, giving us new information, and hope.
Our desperation drove us to look for help wherever we could find it. I remember thinking, “What can we do to fix him?” “Can we give him some hormone injections?” “Prayer and fasting?” That led us to seek out a Christian counselor, and Ted faithfully met with him for many months.
My wife learned of a Christian support group in Asheville, and we attended for a while. I was just beginning to learn what God was teaching me through all this, but was not ready yet. I did not connect with those in the group, had not humbled myself before God in this area, and we eventually drifted away from the group.
About four years after our discovery, we went to a Love Won Out Conference in Orlando. It was overwhelming, and God was breaking through in many areas of my life. I remember being encouraged by the testimonies of many whom God had brought out of homosexuality.
Somewhere during this journey, I realized that I needed to give up my plans and expectations for my family, my plans and expectations for me, and give them to my Heavenly Father. After all, He is God, and no matter how great I think my plans and ideas are, they are not even in the same league as His. It took a while (I can be slow to get the idea sometimes), but once I made the choice to embrace what God is doing in our lives; confess the pride He uncovered in me; follow Him and be available to what He wanted to do in and through this situation I began to have a whole different view of life. I am the one who has been changed. My walk with my Father is much deeper and richer than it ever could have been without this trial.
Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way. If you don’t know what you’re doing, pray to the Father. He loves to help. You’ll get his help, and won’t be condescended to when you ask for it.
(James 1:2-5 MSG)
Nine years after we learned of our son’s homosexuality, we became aware of Truth WNC, a support ministry in Hendersonville, NC. We sought out their help with some new circumstances we were facing: our son was now living with a partner, and there was tension in our family over their potential visits and how to explain to our young grandchildren about their uncle. Because of my growth in what God was doing in me, this time I related to those in the group and began to become involved in their burdens also. In the last three years, this group has truly become family to us, and I look forward to our fellowship times together, praying with them, watching as many of us grow in our relationship with our Father, and trust Him for our loved ones.
Through the ministry of Exodus, Focus on the Family, and our Truth WNC support group, we have learned the importance of our prayers for those bound by sin and addictions, and for each other (our most powerful weapon in this battle). We receive guidance in how to express love to our son and his partner without condoning their lifestyle. We are challenged to follow God, to be available to what He wants to do in and through this journey.