I had been married for 20 years when my wife told me to leave. She’d found out that I had been visiting gay websites. That was it. We hadn’t had the greatest of relationships; I tried to please but it never seemed to work- and now it was over. It took 8 months after this for my wife to understand that I was gay; and since then I have had no contact with my three teenage children.
I left one year ago. I was an almost 50 year old man. No friends. Nowhere to go. I’d never really admitted that I was gay- I’d only got as far as thinking that if something ever happened to my relationship, I would never get married again. I’d had casual sex with men over the previous 10 years, but being an evangelical, charismatic Christian meant that couldn’t ever talk to anyone about it, even when I was in my times of deepest need and despair. I couldn’t even admit it to myself.
I knew I was attracted to other guys since I was about 11 and became a Christian soon after. Before I became a Christian, I had tried to please God so much- and discovered that I couldn’t except through trusting in Jesus. But I felt so different, and scared and bad. I was so lonely and felt like a failure. I kept trying hard. In my conservative, bible believing Christian circles, I never met anyone whom I knew to be gay; that didn’t happen until I was 39 !!
Once I found a place to live I started to relax. I wasn’t under pressure to conform; to hide my thoughts and feelings and I didn’t give attention to trying to avoid criticism for not being the man my wife had dreamt she was marrying. But I wasn’t ready to admit I was gay. I crept around a few churches successfully avoiding meeting anyone.
I went to MCC after the church I had been attending had a Sunday morning service where the Pastor and his wife, and another couple were to spend the service sharing about what wonderful marriages they had and encouraging everyone else to do the same. I knew that MCC existed; and honestly, I thought that such a church must be totally compromised in its beliefs and couldn’t be true to the gospel. I was wrong about that!
I joined a home group at Crave MCC- with people who really love me, accept me and support me. I met some wonderful people at the first Freedom 2 b[e] meeting that I attended. I could finally start to say to people ‘I am gay’.
A few weeks ago I was sitting in church. Through the week, I had been thinking about the phrase from an old hymn ‘Just as I am’ (thanks Ben- God is really using you!). And then I realised- God does accept me JUST AS I AM. I come to Him- just me, myself, and the gay bits, and all the baggage- and I trust Him. And He accepts me!! Just as I am. I always felt like I’d failed- especially in the area of sexuality, trying to be straight and in relationships. And now I didn’t have to feel like a failure- because God accepts me just as I am. That’s freedom!! It was so good!!
Lat weekend I read Anthony Venn-Brown’s book. So many parallels between his experience and mine. I am so glad you wrote it, Anthony. I just wish that I had this book, MCC, Freedom 2 b[e] and some wise counsel that would have allowed me to manage the situation with my wife and children better. But we can only move forward.
A few years ago I did a course through a church, which made the following statement. At the time I wanted to believe it, but I couldn’t. But now I can!
I am cherished by God who paid a great price to purchase me.
I acknowledge that I am highly valued, totally forgiven, fully pleasing,
accepted and complete in Christ.
I’m still working through a lot of things: finding a place in the world, in the church, and in relationships. Wishing my relationship with my kids could be restored; knowing that it will resolve one day- but wishing it were now.