I Can’t Sleep

Posted in Thoughts by Mark on July 17, 2015

It’s been a tough week for our family. It’s been a lot like someone has died, but there’s no body for a funeral. There’s no sense of closure to soften the grief and make it fit into the pattern of life. There’s only a void left that is filled with sadness and pain. The sense of loss is clawing at all of us like a wild animal, and tonight it won’t let me sleep.

None of us were really surprised. We had seen the signs, had our suspicions, and wondered when the dishonesty would stop and everything would be brought out into the open. It was like seeing a loved one begin to waste away from a disease and trying to hide it from everyone by missing family gatherings, making excuses at Christmas and not coming home, keeping distance so nobody could pick up on what was happening so they wouldn’t have to explain or be embarrassed by well meaning words and actions. Eventually the truth can no longer be denied and has to be revealed for better or worse.

That’s what finally happened this week. But there was no better. Only worse.

We’d been in touch daily online. Chatting, commenting on posts about news and silly things. Exchanging thoughts and ideas, making wisecracks and just being family. Jane and I have been talking about a road trip for a visit just to spend some time as family so we can enjoy time together face to face instead of over telephones and computer screens. We were about to make that happen, too. Then last week Jane got a a call and everything was laid out in the open.

Joe finally admitted he is gay.

I think he was completely unprepared for the response he got from Jane when she told him she had known for a year, and had suspected so long before that. He didn’t believe her when she told him so, and that I had kept her from going to New Orleans and making a huge scene about it when she found out, and that I had gone to visit him then to spend some quality time and remind him he was loved by his mom and dad.

Jane, being the nosey mom that she is, had been trolling his Facebook page and looking at the pages of his friends when she found one of his friends’ relationship status said he was in a relationship with Joe. All the pieces fell into place and we understood why he had distanced himself from everyone except for rare occasions. We were disappointed and hurt, angry because our son had been seduced by the great lie of the gay lifestyle. But we prayerfully decided to keep it to ourselves and allow him to tell us when he was ready rather than alienate him by confronting him. So we waited. We shared the news with a select few people we could trust to pray.

And a year later he finally told us.

Joe called Jane and had a tearful conversation with her. He spoke with some other family members, too, but he never called me. He messaged me through Facebook and I was swamped with work and told him I would talk with him later, expecting to catch up with him later that afternoon or over the weekend. We never got that chance. In his chat message he said, “This is the hardest thing I’ve ever done, Dad. I’m doing it to protect you.” And I never heard anything else from him.

Monday Jane told me Joe had unfriended almost everyone in the family and blocked them from accessing his Facebook page. He has severed ties with everyone who truly loves him and cares about him except for a few who will not cause him to feel conviction for what he has done. His actions have caused a great deal of pain for those of us who love him. But we do still love him and will never stop loving him.

One of the lies the gay community tells itself is that families will disown and hate them for their lifestyle, especially Christian families. Nothing could be further from the truth. Christians know about unconditional love and live it daily, so they’re going to unconditionally love their kids regardless of what they’ve done. They’re also going to be realistic about the consequences of choices and actions, but they aren’t going to do anything motivated by hate.

 

When Joe talked with Jane he cried. Jane says he was sobbing uncontrollably at times. It is obvious to me that he did not want to go through what he knew he was going to do next because he loves us and doesn’t want to cut us out of his life. He knows how much we love him and how much he means to us, and shutting us out hurts him deeply. He has convinced himself that this is something he has to do, and it is tearing him apart. What could possibly be worth that kind of pain?

Jane and I are hurting right now. We know truth, and we know the author of life and how life works, so we know how far Joe has strayed from truth into delusion. We also know he has surrounded himself with people who will reinforce his choice rather than challenge it. One of those people was once a pastor in the Birmingham area, a man who now calls himself a “pastor to the LGBT community”. This person is deeply deceived and is misleading those who need truth, and our son is one of those being misled by him. I have seen this person’s responses to those who disagree with him online and it is clear that he is a bitter, angry man underneath his religious facade. This is confirmed by mutual friends who have reached out to minister to him and have experienced his anger. It is our prayer that God will intervene and remove this deceiver from Joe’s life or reveal to Joe what a deeply deceived person he actually is.

Right now, just a few feet away from where I sit typing this is a stack of Christmas packages waiting for Joe to come home and open them. Those packages have been there for over seven months, and they are going to stay right there because I know something Joe is too confused to comprehend. I know that when Joe was a child he prayed a prayer of salvation. I know that he was exposed to truth. I know that seeds were planted in his spirit that will always remain. Right now he is a lost sheep – but he is one of the sheep. And I know the shepherd, the one who sacrificed himself to purchase Joe’s forgiveness, will seek him until he is found.

“If a man has a hundred sheep and one of them wanders away, what will he do? Won’t he leave the ninety-nine others on the hills and go out to search for the one that is lost? And if he finds it, I tell you the truth, he will rejoice over it more than over the ninety-nine that didn’t wander away! In the same way, it is not my heavenly Father’s will that even one of these little ones should perish.”
~ Matthew 18:12-14