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Serve Him Well


by: Larry Freligh


Under the list of topics I found the following: "People who are dealing with a struggle of being gay and being married. Divorce feels completely wrong but continuing to pretend that everything is ok is not right either." I was married for 28 years and my wife and I both raised three wonderful children. I also spent more 20 years in the military and during that length of time also went through college and became an ordained minister. During ALL of this, I knew from when I was very young that I was "different" than most boys growing up around me. Always seeming to have an "attraction" to boys my own age and later on when I became old enough to date never really wanting to "go out with girls," because I had an attraction to the same sex.

Going on a "few" dates through my high school years I found was a good way of "hiding" who I really was (gay) and did not lead any of my friends or family into thinking that I was anything but a straight "normal" growing boy. At the same time I was brought up in a local church that taught that being a homosexual was "wrong in God's eyes and that those who live that life style will according to God's Word burn in hell." This church, as well as many churches of today, spend more time telling others what they "can't or shouldn't" do, instead of telling us about the love of God...that He accepts us as we are...and about the joy of the Lord!

As a young man I was brought up to live a life filled with fear ("if I do this...or say this...or go to this place...or...etc.) will God hate me? Will I go to hell? Is He a God of Love or a God of hate and fear? So many questions went through my mind. As I got older I began to teach others that being gay was a sin on God's eyes and that those who did "such things" were burning in hell. This was the way I was taught, but the truth being known, I also knew deep in my heart that I was "one of them." I was gay and had been from my earliest memory.

We will go to extremes to hide who we really are. In my case, I didn't want to be rejected by my family and friends if they knew that I was gay. Going into the Army at 18 and then getting married (to a young lady that I had known since childhood) was my second step in trying to hide my who I was -- the life that I so much really wanted to live! We stayed married for more 28 years and raised three wonderful children. It wasn't until our son was killed in Kuwait at the age of 25 that I finally sat myself down and gave serious consideration into "coming out." By this time our two daughters were living lives of their own, both married and living in different states raising families. So one evening I took my wife on a walk and explained to her about my hidden gay life.

All during that time I had not "gone out" on her in anyway. But I was not stupid, nor was she because she late r explained to me that she had felt for a long time that I was gay. She claimed that she had sensed it every time we were out together and I would be watching "other guys." I admitted to her that I had known my whole life that I was gay and I told her how very sorry that I was for "using her" to hide my real self. I said that I felt we were both blessed with three wonderful children and that I did not regret that and that we both had reason to be proud of them.

We decided that I should move out, which I did and now live in a small town some 25 miles away. There is nothing that I can do to tell her how sorry that I am for putting her through this 28 years we spent together. Oh, we were not at anytime during those years ever mean to each other. We never really fought (other than what most married couples would go through), but there was certainly a great deal of pain on that day when I confronted her truthfully about being gay. This was to be expected.

I then began slowly to "come out" to a selected few, family and friends. Moving into a small apartment and now starting a "new" life I am beginning to experience what so many before me have. Slowly the calls and letters are coming in -- mostly from family --"stay away," "you're sick," "you lived a lie all those years," etc. They even come from the church. After all, what should I expect with all of the lies that the churches teach today about gays? Then a call came in just the other night from my oldest daughter telling me that as long as I continue to live in a "life of sin" I was not welcome at her home and to stay away from my granddaughters. My youngest daughter is due to have her first baby almost any day now. Will she call me, too?

Those of you that have experienced this same type of treatment -- or expect to -- must be the ones to also decide for yourselves. Do I live the life that God intended for me to live (being gay or lesbian) or do I continue to be miserable...living a lie...being a fake? I had and still have some decisions to make concerning my immediate family and the choices they have asked me to make. Yes, I love my family VERY much -- more than anyone would ever know -- but, at the same time for more than 40 years I hid who I was. Now, I have the opportunity of finally living my life the way I believe God intended me to live it all along. What shall I do?

Deep down I think that I have already made my decision. I think that I have, in fact, made this decision a long time ago when my now ex-wife and I had our talk. In making some decisions in our lives, we must also accept any consequences that might come along with making those decisions. The pain is great. This is true. But you know what I am learning? That "this too shall pass." That, "all things (ALL THINGS!) work out to those who love God...and are called according to His purpose." Yes, this also means my now bruised relationship with my family and a few friends over my learning that I am gay. It takes faith!

I would tell those of you that are divorcing or contemplating divorce because of this issue that divorce is wrong. It is a Sin in God's eyes. I have faced that fact. I have asked God to forgive me for this divorce, and you know what? He has forgiven me! That's right, He has forgiven me.

In Ephesians 1:7 it says, "In Him we have redemption through His blood, the FORGIVENESS of sins in accordance with the riches of God's grace." 1 John 1:9 tells us, "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness."

I am looking for a support group of other gays and lesbians in my area who have or are experiencing this sort of thing. Perhaps I will start my own support group. The important thing to remember is t hat there are many others out there somewhere who have gone through this. Remember, you are not alone! Most importantly, God loves you. He loves me and I will not fail Him by continuing to live a lie. I can still be faithful to Him. I can still be close to Him. I can still attend church and I certainly will spread the word to other gays and lesbians that just because society considers us "different," "weird," "sick," and many other sad things, that I serve a God who loves me regardless of what they might think. I thank God everyday that when I die I don't have to face them and they will not be the ones to decide my final outcome.

It is just as much of a sin in God's eyes not to live the life that you were intended to live -- to hide -- to waste away all those years. What will you do? As the scripture says, "choose you this day who you will serve." Can you still serve God and be gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgendered? You bet your life you can and if you are one of His children then I would suggest to you that you are obligated to so. So, "serve Him well."

Copyright © 2002 by the author
All Rights Reserved


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