I remember thinking, How could this be true? It must be my mind playing tricks on me. My son "Phil" had been raised in God's Church. I came into the Church with my elderly mother and two small children, a daughter, age 6, and my son, Phil, age 4. He was still just a baby in my eyes. He took naps during services and colored and played with his toys just like all the other little ones.
But, as time went by, one thing was a little different. He just never seemed to fit in with the other boys. Phil was sensitive and very friendly, but he would never go along with the boyish pranks the other boys played at church. Running up and down the aisles, hiding in places they should not, being rough with each other—Phil would not go along. He was a good boy, respectful to his elders and never did he know a stranger. He talked with all the adults and seniors, but the kids just didn't accept him.
I always thought it was because I was a spiritual widow. No father attended church with us. Most all of the other boys had fathers that served at church and were always present. Our church was very social and somewhat cliquish.
The teen years came, and Phil played basketball in YOU. He was very tall, and they placed him under the basket for rebounds. He was clumsy and could not dribble very well, but he did okay in my eyes. I was always proud of his effort, but he just didn't fit in there, either. Most all the coaches were kind except for the one who called him "Baby Huey" all the time. He probably never knew how much that name hurt my son. However, Phil persevered and he had friends in YOU, but the closest were female.
Looking back now, I see all the signs that my son was in trouble. I did become concerned when he was about 16. I went to the ministry and asked them to recommend a male mentor. You know, one of the dads to take Phil under his wing and be someone he could talk to. But that was short lived. A couple of the fathers included Phil with their own families on several occasions, and I was thankful, but no real bonds were ever built.
Phil even had a girlfriend at church. They dated for several years, but one day she came to church with a new boyfriend who was considerably older, and I watched my son's confusion and then his eventual realization that it was over between them. Later, Phil told me she was upset because he had never tried to get physical with her and that was what she wanted. But he treated her very nice and was a good boyfriend; he just did not try to make the relationship sexual. Again, I thought, what a good son. Never did it cross my mind that he was not attracted physically to her. But then again, they were only teenagers and had no business messing around with sex.
When the Church broke up in 1995, my son stayed with the truth. I still was blind to any signs that he might be homosexual. He wanted to follow God and stay faithful. But then my mother passed away. Phil had been very close to her. Our family had dealt with homosexuality already, as Phil had a cousin and an aunt who lived openly gay lives. He knew how the family felt about it, especially his grandmother. Now that she had passed, Phil began to come out slowly and gradually. I ignored all the signs. Denial was my friend, and it helped me to cope.
Then one day at church, we heard a sermon from an elder about homosexuality. It was very graphic. Phil thought it was inappropriate for his little brother, who was 8 at the time, to hear. He became so agitated he left services and went to the car. I was so embarrassed and deep in my heart I felt a stab and a sting and a pain I have never felt before in my life. I knew, I knew, and I wanted to just die, right there. I wanted to just disappear.
That was a turning point for me. The sermon was about how parents usually cause this unnatural and abnormal desire in their children and how sick and twisted these people are. And then the heavy weight of guilt fell on me, and I have spent the last nine years trying to make peace with myself and my son.
I have finally come to acceptance . . . not approval. But I have looked back over my son's life, and I see how SSA (same-sex attraction) has formed in him. I love him. He is an exceptional son—always there for his family. He still tries to keep God's way of life. He loves going to the Feast of Tabernacles and keeps all the Holy Days. He even attended with me a "Love Won Out" conference, which was all about homosexuality and that change is possible through Jesus Christ our Lord.
I have pleaded, bargained with and begged God to remove this from my son. Phil also has told me he has done the same. I used to think the answer was just a cold abrupt, "No." But now I believe the answer is "My grace is sufficient." I know God is with us. I know He loves my son more than I do. And I also know He will answer these prayers and that He will be with us on the journey of living a life that honors Him despite this "thorn."
May God's Church eventually, through education, compassion and unconditional love, become the safe "home" where people with this affliction can overcome and be accepted. May God speed that day...
This article appears in the following topics: Homosexuality / Same-Sex Attraction