Near Death Experience and God Turning me "Straight"
The following author has opted to remain anonymous, this is his story:
I grew up in Ada, OK. A small college town in SE Oklahoma. It’s a big football town and I never was into sports. I was into art, music and theatre, so it wasn't a big deal for me to be picked up in school and people asking "what are you gay or something?" I learned to cope with it. But in reality, I had urges during puberty and knew that they were right. I was different. My family and I grew up in a conservative Church of Christ and being gay was not only never talked about, it was just never brought up as an issue. All I knew, is that it was "wrong" so I tried to conform as many of us do.
That ended later in my teens when my parents got divorced and I became a pretty rebellious kiddo. It was in HS, my sr. year that I left a note for my mom telling her I was gay. I had contemplated suicide, as many of us have, but just couldn't do it. Her first response after reading my letter?? "Your brother went through the same stuff his senior year!" My brother is four years older and was off at college. I had told him about my feelings and all he had said was, "don't tell mom."
Needless to say, the rest of my sr. year was spent against my mom and trying anyway I could to live without hurting her. I had a good group of friends and we would hit up some of the gay bars about two hours away in OKC on the weekends. This was in the mid 90's so hook ups and connections were not like they were today.
When I went off to college about two hours north, I decided to be 100% open and not let the world tell me how to live. I've always been a very passionate person and whatever I'm passionate about, I'm 110% all in. That changed after my first semester.
I had met a guy and he had introduced me to pills and huffing. We never fooled around, but I wanted to. One night, I OD'ed on some pills and a 16oz can of VCR Head Cleaner. I never went to the hospital, but I swear my heart stopped. Part of me died on the floor of his dorm room and in that moment, I was afraid, but also at peace. I can't really describe it all. After I came too, I knew a couple of things. 1: God (or some version of a creator) was real and 2: I was created to harmonize with others. I still felt "gay" but different.
It was a small tech college, so the only ministry on the campus was a Southern Baptist one which I threw myself into. I quickly learned that in that faith, I could not be gay and a "Christian" at the same time, so I prayed and prayed and asked for others to pray with me. Many of my friends were supportive, even a girl that I would eventually marry.
After my second semester, I began leading youth groups and preaching about how god had "Delivered me from my sin of homosexuality!" I even got ordained in the Baptist faith! Later, after college, my best girl friend and I ended up getting together and getting married. She was my best friend and I don't doubt for one second that I didn't love her.
As time progressed, about four years into our great marriage, we started trying for kids. Now during this whole time, I truly felt straight. There would be some moments of "temptation" but I kept pure and kept praying. Even joined a local "Exodus International" for a time. We moved to Tulsa from the small college town after the church I was a youth minister at split and I really began to evolve in my faith. At the point we moved to Tulsa, I was accepting of LGBTQ+ people and even support gay marriage. This was in later 2000's. My only hold out was adoption.
I didn't feel that two men or two women should be allowed to adopt kids because it just wasn't "natural." This all shifted when after trying to have kids for over a year, I finally got tested and I was not able to have kids "naturally" either. So, was I then really gay still??? This question ate at me, but I was married to my best friend, had a good job, good friends and good family life, so why would I want to mess that up?
We began the adoption process and soon got a baby. I'll spare all the sapping details, but he is amazing and just turned 11 in December. Later we adopted a teen from the state at 17, she is now 25 and then after her, we adopted another newborn and she is turning 6 next week!
As time progressed after our 3rd adoption, I found myself not being true to myself and not being true to my wife either. My eyes wondered a lot, which lead to looking a porn, which led to small encounters off in on, mostly in gym locker rooms and hot tubs. Also, during this time, we had found a very progressive church and my wife and I soon found ourselves at Pride events and supporting our local equality center. All of this going on, while I was lying to her, to myself and to my kids.
During this time too, I ended becoming the minister at this church. We did amazing projects and outreach programs and became one of just a handful of "open and affirming" church's in Tulsa. All appeared to be going great, but at the same time, I was dying inside. I began drinking at night, staying up till everyone else was in bed. I began looking a gay porn just to be able to have sex with my wife... all of this I kept very private and no one had any clue. I had become very good at lying and hiding.
Our church began a big transition and was looking at merging with another church when I finally got the guts to tell my wife that I thought I was bi. It was met with tears at first, then anger, but then ended up with us walking hand in hand through a park near our home. She said we can work through this and I wanted to do just that. But inside, I didn't. The next day, she ended up asking me to leave for a week so she could process this and so that we could begin therapy. I was mortified and hurt, but I can't even imagine the pain I put her through.
About a month later, I met a guy named Adrian at the local YMCA. He was young, built and beautiful and after a "guys night at the movies" ended up in my arms in my car. We met for a few days and messed around quite a bit. All the while, me keeping it secret. I told him my story and he quickly ended it. He didn't want to be "that guy" in a relationship. About a week after that, I ended up telling my wife about him. It wasn't pretty. I stood to her and took her anger, her pain and her hurt. I felt dead inside, but at the same time relieved.
In therapy, we talked it out and began a road back to some kind of normalcy. Our love life began to be great and I was really feeling that I was being true to who I was and I was with a woman who loved me in spite of my desires. But sadly, that was also just another facade I created to hide who I really was.
To make another longer story short, a few months passed and we had decided to look at getting divorced. We had a good last few months, but in the end, we both just knew who I was and who I needed to be. We agreed to wait until after our sons 10th bday AND wait till after the last Christmas at my church that I was now the single minister at. But I messed up again.
Our church hosted a local gay men’s choir and I went to one of the after parties and ended up meeting Jason. We hit it off huge and with the drinking only amplified out passion. He was a bi, divorced parent of 2 adopted kids, and our stories connected very well. We ended up making out quite a bit in the bathroom that night. At 2 am, I finally left, still a little buzzed, but going home because I had to preach the next morning. On my way home, Jason and I texted each other the whole way and he sent me quite a few interesting photos of himself.
When I got home, as I expected, the house was dark and quiet. I crawled into bed thinking my wife was sound asleep. She wasn't. "How's Jason?" she asked? It turns out that I didn't realize my texts were connected to my home computer and my wife had seen it all.
At that moment, my life collapsed. In that dark bed, I curled up, and lost everything. My heart broke, my guilt overcame me. She was calm and just laid there while I curled up and felt like I was going to die. I even began planning how I was going to end my life where my wife and kids would be less affected. My heart was beating so loud, my tears burning my face. I knew in that very moment that what life I had was to be over.
"Do you want me to leave?" I asked her through the tears? "No," she said calmly and still in the dark. "We will talk about it tomorrow."
As my heart shredded, at that same moment, I almost felt like I was ripping it out of my chest and holding it up to god and asking, "why?!" And it was at that moment that my heart changed. Creation showed up and said to me, "I know who you are. It's time you did too." And I passed out.
The next morning, I woke up early and while everyone was still asleep, I headed off to church to preach. I don't even remember what I said that morning, but I was so used to hiding who I was, I pulled it off. On my way back to the car though, my heart broke again. A text from my wife. All is said was, "Come home. You're packing back and we are telling the kids."
I pulled up to the house seeing my mothers-in-law car and my own moms’ car in the driveway. My mother-in-law had moved in with us the previous year, so that was not out of the ordinary, but my mom, who knew about what was happening was a surprise.
The kids were oblivious. I walked in the door and everyone was just acting normal. I gathered them all around and began. “I need to talk to you about something.” The tears started in my eyes, and soon spread to my moms and mom-in-law and anger spewed from my wife’s eyes.
“I’m going to be moving in with Nana today”. My kids looked at me blank, frozen. “It turns out that I’m gay. And your mom and I are going to split up.” Looking back on it now, I wish 1000 different ways I could have told them. But emotions were too high and just had to pull off the band aid. What ensued was over an hour so gut wrenching, tears and heat. My two little kids (9 and 4 at the time) ran to me and hugged me and I screamed out how sorry I was and how much I loved them. They cried too and held be like never before. My son even grabbed my face and looked me square in the eye and told me, “Dad, I’m going to love you no matter who you love.” It was the most beautiful and most sad I’ve ever felt in my entire life!
As hours turned into my days, my mother and I bounded and she accept me and loved me. My brother was there too later to help.
As the days turned into weeks, my wife and I battled over many things with the kids, schedules, the house, cars, money, everything really. I found an apartment a couple of months later. I ended up having to cash in my 401K to pay off debt and get set up.
In Nov of last year (2019) we finalized our divorce and I got the 50/50 custody that I wanted, but had to make MANY concessions on finances. My now ex-wife is still hurting and still angry, but we have worked out a lot for the kids’ sake. My oldest daughter (now 25) had a falling out with her recently and has been living with me full time for the past couple of months. We are closer than we have ever been.
Months have turned into over a year. I have a new job, about to move to a newer apartment, and I have a great group of friends and family in my life who have accepted me, love me and most importantly have forgiven my mist steps along the way. My kids and I have bonded so much too and though I only get to seem the week on/off, we are still learning and growing together. I also have a great guy I’m seeing and really just loving the life I’ve been blessed to have now.
Nothing has been easy, but it’s getting better.