How Will I Ever Get Through This?
by Star, PFOX Chapter Coordinator
When you first find out, all you want to do is cry forever. You hope that you'll wake up, and it's only a terrible dream. You pinch yourself to just make sure, but you know it's real. It's happening. But it can't be happening! Shock...denial...grief accompanied by a pain that just won't go away. You see all your hopes and dreams lying shattered before you. Your world has really come apart. You feel broken. You feel so depressed. You feel hopeless, and can't see how this could get better. I hate this! This is the worst pain in the world. Where is God right now? Will this pain ever go away? I need to know. How in the world are my ever going to get through this?...
1. Surrender to God completely right now. I promise you this. If you don't give your loved one to God right now, if you do not constantly lift him/her up to God and ask Him to be the one to work, you will spend every day after this in complete misery and hopelessness. Surrender to God. Give your loved one up to Him. Realize you cannot save him/her. The verse that got me through the first weeks was I Corinthians 6:9-11: "that's what some of you WERE. This verse shows that your loved one CAN change!!! God doesn't make anyone gay. CHANGE IS POSSIBLE. Here is something that I would read to myself every day:
God wants to meet ________ need for love, acceptance and identity. God doesn't condemn, He offers another chance of life. ________ can change by God's power. I, need to let go. I cannot stop _______, my precious one, from pursuing this life. I am not in control, but God is. I must trust God to draw ________ by His Spirit. I must trust God to protect ________. God loves _______, my loved one, even more than I do! God's timing is perfect. His methods are perfect. I must wait on God to work in _________'s life.
2. Learn to pray in complete faith and hope. Pray! Pray! Pray! Become a prayer warrior. Learn how to pray in complete faith. A situation like this completely rocks your faith. You may find that you don't have any right now. When I found out I literally only had less than a mustard seed...but I gave it all to God. And as I drew to Him, I was amazed at how much He increased it. Prayer is power. Prayer changes YOU! I love praying the psalms such as psalm 35, 139-143, and you can personalize them with your loved one's name in it and pray them! This is amazing and powerful. You will see I promise!
3. Hold tight to God's promises! The Bible says that ALL God's promises are YES and AMEN in Jesus Christ. Because of Jesus we can hold tight to the promises in the Bible!! Jesus said in John 14:13-14 that if you ask anything in the name of Jesus, He will do it so that God may be glorified in Him. If you ask ANYTHING in the name of Jesus, it will be done. I love that verse--it's one of my many promise verses that I have held to during this time. Grab hold of these verses and personalize them for you and your loved one.
4. Grieve--let it all out!! This is grief, this is loss. It doesn't have to a permanent loss but right now your loved one is lost in this lifestyle. The enemy has snatched him/her up. It's very sad to learn this. It's really hard. Be sure to grieve. Cry and get it all out and THEN lay your sorrow at the foot of the cross. When you lay it down, don't pick it back up!! Surrender your grief and lay it at the foot of the cross. Does this mean you will never feel sad? That you will never ever cry again over your loved one? No. Of course not. But the huge sorrow....the overwhelming one that makes you want to not go on, this is the one you must get all out, and then surrender it. You'll never get through this if you are controlled by your grief for day after day. You'll be miserable, and will not be of any help to your loved one.
5. Immerse yourself in Praise and Worship music. The last thing you feel like doing right now is praising God right? You are devastated and don't know what to do. How in the world can you lift up your hands in worship to God? But this is not what we see in the Bible. We see worshiping God at all times. What helped me more than anything when I went through this for the first time was listening, and after I was able to because it takes some time, singing praise and worship songs. There is something healing about worshiping God. I know it's the last thing you feel like doing but it really really does help. Hillsong Worship
6. Learn, learn, learn!! Get your hands on everything. Go to PFOX's site at www.pfox.org for more resources. You want to know all there is to know about SSA. You want to know how to talk to your loved one when you have opportunities. Educating yourself and learning how to communicate with him/her is essential.
7. Get counseling if necessary. You will get a lot of support and encouragement here but you may need or want more help. You may want to seek counseling if you feel you need more than just support. I'm glad you are here though!! That's a great step to healing :)
8. Be a beacon of hope and a shining light for your loved one. He/She is going to be watching you. Someone who is suffering and broken isn't going to find much hope in a Christian who seems almost just as miserable. It is important that you take care of yourself (including the things I mentioned above, but definitely not limited to this list). You know how you help your loved one? The two biggest things are prayer and your own walk with God. You know what the Bible says? The Bible says we need to make people JEALOUS with the hope that we have. Your loved one needs to see something different in you. He/She needs to see something in you that he/she does not have but that he/she desperately wants. You need to make him/her jealous with the hope you have in you. But if you don't have hope that won't be possible. Remember our hope is in Jesus Christ--in who He is. Let God change you!! Pray "God change me" not "God change my circumstances." That's HUGE. God may not change your circumstances in the way you want Him to or when you want Him to but He will definitely change you if you ask Him. Grow deeper in love with God. He is EVERYTHING. Is He your world? Then show it!!! This is what your loved one needs to see in you. This is a BIG way for you to help him/her. Growing in God for yourself. You can't change your loved one, but you can be an example. And you can sure do a lot for yourself. And this is what helps. Promise!!!
What Can I Do Now?
After you have learned how to take care of yourself and have found healing in the Master Healer Himself, you will be ready to focus more on how you can help your loved one. Here are some of the things I have learned and what I have found most effective in reaching out to my loved ones:
1. Pray and keep communication lines open. This is number one!!!
2. Remember, you cannot change him/her. I know how much you just want to shake him/her and make him/her see the truth. If he/she would just listen to you he/she would save himself (and you) so much pain.
3. Love more; talk less. Unconditional love has been my most influential tool. My gay best friend is also a pagan witch. (Talk about heartache). He was surrounded all his life by fake Christians and finally rejected the faith. The only reason he listens to me talk about Christ is because I show him unconditional love. He isn't very open to anyone else sharing the gospel with him other than me.
4. Continue to take hold of our spiritual weapon: God's Word and prayer. A great book to get is The Power of a Praying Parent by Stormie Omartian. Get her prayer cards--she breaks down different areas in which you can pray for your loved one. Sometimes we just don't know what to pray for. Remember, homosexuality is a symptom of the real problem...we need to find the root issues...pray about those roots. Another great book is "Praying the Prodigal Home." It is amazing and touches on homosexuality and personal stories from parents. Do you have a prayer partner? If not, get one right away. Pray daily together and just see God move. Every night my prayer partners and I pray for our loved ones. We have seen God move in unbelievable ways. It happens very very slowly at first. For a year it seemed like nothing was happening.
5. Don’t forget how deep God’s love runs for your loved one. Say this to yourself everyday: God loves _______ more than I do! I know that sounds incrediblely simplistic but that is the one thing that has comforted me more than anything on this journey.
6. Hold on to those promise verses. Find some verses in the Bible that really remind you of what God is doing for your loved one as you pray. For example, one of my favorites is Isaiah 57:18-19: "I have seen his ways, but I will heal him; I will lead him and restore comfort to him and to his mourners, creating the praise of the lips. Peace, peace to him who is far and to him who is near, says the LORD, and I will heal him." Personalize these verses: replace "him" with your loved one's name.
7. When you share something, be ready for your loved one to share something with you. Let him/her talk. Just listen. Breathe. Think before you speak and make sure your loved one is finished. Avoid futile quarrels.
8. Know what sways your loved one. Facts vs. Feelings. If it's feelings, you'll want to focus on sharing testimonies not scientific and medical facts. If it's facts, then you want to share the scientific and medical facts.
9. Know how much you can share at one time. Don't push too much just because you know that if he/she would just read this it will be clear to him/her. Don't be swayed by that logic. It's easy to fall for. There is always a limit, and if you want to continue to share things with your loved one then you need to know what that limit is.
10. Make sure you have a very strong, open relationship with your loved one first. Take time to just build the relationship before you share anything. Let your loved one talk first. Let him/her share what is on his/her mind. Just listen.
11. Remember your loved one's beliefs are just as strong as yours. His/Her feelings are very real. Never forget the realness of all of this. If he/she is in a homosexual relationship, that is real. And that is important to him/her.
12. Never compromise. Your loved one's beliefs will change all the time. But never let yours change. Hold to your convictions. Make sure your loved one knows them (once only). Once your loved one knows knows, he/she knows. And they will continue to be clear to him /her by your unmoving convictions and faith. Your loved one most likely will not need to be reminded.
13. You are the gospel that your loved one is reading. He/She may not want to pick up a Bible. Your loved one may do all he/she can to empty him/herself of every Bible verse that has been hid in his/her heart. But he/she will always read you, and you are the greatest testimony he/she could ever read. Truly model Christ before your loved one. Christ neither condemned nor condoned. Master the balance between the two. My friend actually said this to me: "You my dear, are an actual Christian to me. When I read the bible, I see Star. Sure you make mistakes, but you still live the life that I think God would want (if he was real)." Your loved one may not say something like this to you, but he/she will see the difference in you (If there is one!) over time. Keep in mind that this may also be what keeps him/her away (the conviction). Trust God is working and, even in his/her bitterness toward you, your Christian influence will win out in the end. (Another loved one of mine did not talk to me for almost two years for, I believe, this reason. I would write to him once every month. Finally, he did respond to me. He said only the nicest things, which lead me to believe that he was observing me that whole time, thinking about everything. He still does not communicate with me regularly but because of that letter, I know my influence is effective. Do not lose hope in your prodigal loved one who wants nothing to do with you. He/She can shut you out of his/her life, but your Christian influence will live on. God will see to that! Pray and live the life!