Just Because He Breathes

Just Because He Breathes

June 1, 2009 – 2nd Day of 17 Days in Harborview

On the night of November 20, 2001, a conversation held over Instant Messenger changed our lives forever. Our twelve year old son messaged me in my office from the computer in his bedroom.

Ryan says: can i tell u something
Mom says: Yes I am listening
Ryan says: well i don’t know how to say this really but, well……, i can’t keep lying to you about myself. I have been hiding this for too long and i sorta have to tell u now. By now u probably have an idea of what i am about to say.
Ryan says: I am gay
Ryan says: i can’t believe i just told you
Mom says: Are you joking?
Ryan says: no
Ryan says: i thought you would understand because of uncle don
Mom says: of course I would
Mom says: but what makes you think you are?
Ryan says: i know i am
Ryan says: i don’t like hannah
Ryan says: it’s just a cover-up
Mom says: but that doesn’t make you gay…
Ryan says: i know
Ryan says: but u don’t understand
Ryan says: i am gay
Mom says: tell me more
Ryan says: it’s just the way i am and it’s something i know
Ryan says: u r not a lesbian and u know that. it is the same thing
Mom says: what do you mean?
Ryan says: i am just gay
Ryan says: i am that
Mom says: I love you no matter what
Ryan says: i am white not black
Ryan says: i know
Ryan says: i am a boy not a girl
Ryan says: i am attracted to boys not girls
Ryan says: u know that about yourself and i know this
Mom says: what about what God thinks about acting on these desires?
Ryan says: i know
Mom says: thank you for telling me
Ryan says: and i am very confused about that right now
Mom says: I love you more for being honest
Ryan says: i know
Ryan says: thanx

We were completely shocked. Not that we didn’t know and love gay people – my only brother had come out to us several years before, and we adored him. But Ryan? He was unafraid of anything, tough as nails, and ALL boy. We had not seen this coming, and the emotion that overwhelmed us, kept us awake at night and, sadly, influenced all of our reactions over the next six years, was FEAR.

We said all the things that we thought loving Christian parents who believed the Bible – the Word of God – should say:

We love you. We will ALWAYS love you. And this is hard. REALLY hard. But we know what God says about this, and so you are going to have to make some really difficult choices.

We love you. We couldn’t love you more. But there are other men who have faced this same struggle, and God has worked in them to change their desires. We’ll get you their books…you can listen to their testimonies. And we will trust God with this.

We love you. We are so glad you are our son. But you are young, and your sexual orientation is still developing. The feelings you’ve had for other guys don’t make you gay. So please don’t tell anyone that you ARE gay. You don’t know who you are yet. Your identity is not that you are gay – it is that you are a child of God.

We love you. Nothing will change that. But if you are going to follow Jesus, holiness is your only option. You are going to have to choose to follow Jesus, no matter what. And since you know what the Bible says, and since you want to follow God, embracing your sexuality is NOT an option.

We thought we understood the magnitude of the sacrifice that we – and God – were asking for. And this sacrifice, we knew, would lead to the abundant life, perfect peace and eternal rewards. Ryan had always felt intensely drawn to spiritual things; He desired to please God above all else. So, for the first six years, he tried to choose Jesus. Like so many others before him, he pleaded with God to help him be attracted to girls. He memorized Scripture, met with his youth pastor weekly, enthusiastically participated in all the church youth group events and Bible Studies and got baptized. He read all the books that claimed to know where his gay feelings came from, dove into counseling to further discover the “why’s” of his unwanted attraction to other guys, worked through painful conflict resolution with my husband and I, and built strong friendships with other guys – straight guys – just like the reparative therapy experts advised. He even came out to his entire youth group, giving his testimony of how God had rescued him from the traps of the enemy, and sharing – by memory – verse after verse that God had used to draw Ryan to Himself.

But nothing changed. God didn’t answer his prayer – or ours – though we were all believing with faith that the God of the Universe – the God for whom NOTHING is impossible – could easily make Ryan straight. But He did not.

Though our hearts may have been good (we truly thought what we were doing was loving), we did not even give Ryan a chance to wrestle with God, to figure out what HE believed God was telling him through scripture about his sexuality. We had believed firmly in giving each of our four children the space to question Christianity, to decide for themselves if they wanted to follow Jesus, to truly OWN their own faith. But we were too afraid to give Ryan that room when it came to his sexuality, for fear that he’d make the wrong choice.

Basically, we told our son that he had to choose between Jesus and his sexuality. We forced him to make a choice between God and being a sexual person. Choosing God, practically, meant living a lifetime condemned to being alone. He would never have the chance to fall in love, have his first kiss, hold hands, share intimacy and companionship or experience romance.

And so, just before his 18th birthday, Ryan, depressed, suicidal, disillusioned and convinced that he would never be able to be loved by God, made a new choice. He decided to throw out his Bible and his faith at the same time, and to try searching for what he desperately wanted – peace – another way. And the way he chose to try first was drugs.

We had – unintentionally – taught Ryan to hate his sexuality. And since sexuality cannot be separated from the self, we had taught Ryan to hate himself. So as he began to use drugs, he did so with a recklessness and a lack of caution for his own safety that was alarming to everyone who knew him.

Suddenly our fear of Ryan someday having a boyfriend (a possibility that honestly terrified me) seemed trivial in contrast to our fear of Ryan’s death, especially in light of his recent rejection of Christianity, and his mounting anger at God.

Ryan started with weed and beer…but in six short months was using cocaine, crack and heroin. He was hooked from the beginning, and his self-loathing and rage at God only fueled his addiction. Shortly after, we lost contact with him. For the next year and a half we didn’t know where he was, or even if he was dead or alive. And during that horrific time, God had our full attention. We stopped praying for Ryan to become straight. We started praying for him to know that God loved him. We stopped praying for him never to have a boyfriend. We started praying that someday we might actually get to know his boyfriend. We even stopped praying for him to come home to us; we only wanted him to come home to God.

By the time our son called us, after 18 long months of silence, God had completely changed our perspective. Because Ryan had done some pretty terrible things while using drugs, the first thing he asked me was this:

Do you think you can ever forgive me? (I told him of course, he was already forgiven. He had ALWAYS been forgiven.)

Do you think you could ever love me again? (I told him that we had never stopped loving him, not for one second. We loved him then more than we had ever loved him.)

Do you think you could ever love me with a boyfriend? (Crying, I told him that we could love him with fifteen boyfriends. We just wanted him back in our lives. We just wanted to have a relationship with him again…AND with his boyfriend.)

And a new journey was begun. One of healing, restoration, open communication and grace. LOTS of grace. And God was present every step of the way, leading and guiding us, gently reminding us simply to love our son, and leave the rest up to Him.

Over the next ten months, we learned to truly love our son. Period. No buts. No conditions. Just because he breathes. We learned to love whoever our son loved. And it was easy. What I had been so afraid of became a blessing. The journey wasn’t without mistakes, but we had grace for each other, and the language of apology and forgiveness became a natural part of our relationship. As our son pursued recovery from drug and alcohol addiction, we pursued him. God taught us how to love him, to rejoice over him, to be proud of the man he was becoming. We were all healing…and most importantly, Ryan began to think that if WE could forgive him and love him, then maybe God could, too.

And then Ryan made the classic mistake of a recovering addict…he got back together with his old friends…his using friends. And one evening that was supposed to simply be a night at the movies turned out to be the first time he had shot up in ten months…and the last time. We got a phone call from a social worker at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle asking us to come identify our son – that he had arrived there in a coma, in critical condition. We spent 17 days at Harborview, during which time our whole family was able to surround and love on Ryan. We experienced miracle after miracle during that time, things that no doctor had any medical explanation for. God’s presence was TANGIBLE in Ryan’s room. But that is a long, sacred story that I’ll have to tell another time.

Though Ryan had suffered such severe brain damage that he had almost complete paralysis, the doctors told us that he could very well outlive us. But, unexpectedly, Ryan died on July 16, 2009. And we lost the ability to love our gay son…because we no longer had a gay son. What we had wished for…prayed for…hoped for…that we would NOT have a gay son, came true. But not at all in the way we used to envision.

Now, when I think back on the fear that governed all my reactions during those first six years after Ryan told us he was gay, I cringe as I realize how foolish I was. I was afraid of all the wrong things. And I grieve, not only for my oldest son, who I will miss every day for the rest of my life, but for the mistakes I made. I grieve for what could have been, had we been walking by FAITH instead of by FEAR. Now, whenever Rob and I join our gay friends for an evening, I think about how much I would love to be visiting with Ryan and his partner over dinner. But instead, we visit Ryan’s gravestone. We celebrate anniversaries: the would-have-been birthdays and the unforgettable day of his death. We wear orange – his color. We hoard memories: pictures, clothing he wore, handwritten notes, lists of things he loved, tokens of his passions, recollections of the funny songs he invented, his Curious George and baseball blankey, anything, really, that reminds us of our beautiful boy…for that is all we have left, and there will be no new memories.  We rejoice in our adult children, and in our growing family as they marry…but ache for the one of our “gang of four” who is missing. We mark life by the days BC (before coma) and AD (after death), because we are different people now; our life was irrevocably changed – in a million ways – by his death. We treasure friendships with others who “get it”…because they, too, have lost a child.

We weep. We seek Heaven for grace and mercy and redemption as we try – not to get better but to be better. And we pray that God can somehow use our story to help other parents learn to truly love their children. Just because they breathe.

Linda Diane Robertson
Originally posted on FaceBook on January 14, 2013 – Ryan’s would-have-been-24 birthday
An expanded, live version of this story, presented at the June 2013 Exodus International Conference can be seen here.

Note: If you’d like to see an example of the beautiful, gracious, loving soul who was the person of Ryan David Robertson, read the letter that he wrote to my husband, Ryan’s dad, on Father’s Day 2009, just 9 days before his accidental overdose. We’ve included a picture of the original letter, blown up into poster-size, which hangs in our bathroom to remind us of GRACE.

1,631 thoughts on “Just Because He Breathes

  1. jjjustforcommenting

    I’d like to start by saying I am deeply sorry for your loss. I am not the kind of person to post on blogs but I came across your touching story on the HuffPost. I was Catholic and from South America, and I always knew there was something different about me. These feelings weren’t “normal” and I used to go to church alone a lot. I even considered becoming a priest. My parents were suspicious of me from an early age. A serious of events happened that showed how scared my father was of me “turning gay”, he once pulled me into the kitchen and mocked the way I talked, he said he would kill me if I turn out gay. He would make comments about how he saw two men kissing once and he nearly threw up. I learned to forgive him, because I knew it was fear. My father has been a loving as well, which has always confused me but made me understand him. I treasure our countless nights talking about science, books and physics. However, I loathed myself. I was becoming something that made my father sick to his stomach.

    I spent years hating myself and even considered suicide as an option. When I turned 21, and we have moved to the US, I came out to my parents. It was difficult, to say the least. My father threatened to move back to Venezuela. My mother was the only voice that consoled me. God only knows the amount of times I wanted to drink that bottle of Clorox under the kitchen sink. I spent years crying alone, trying to understand why I was made so defective. No one cared to ask me how I felt, I was only asked to change. My relationship with my father got bearable slowly, he said on the table once: “You already made a decision about your life, and I don’t want to talk about it ever again.” I remember thinking, “I don’t recall ever deciding to be a second-class citizen.” I was destroyed, because I felt like my father selected the sections of my life he wanted to participate in.

    I was my family’s financial support for 5 years until I decided to move to NYC to go to college by myself. After years of still hating who I was, and involving myself in cheap sex and empty relationships, I met someone who changed my life. Before, I asked him to marry me, I took him to Florida to visit my parents. My mother and my grandmother absolutely adore him and my brother liked him a lot as well. My father was quiet and rather distant. He knew I was going to marry him. I tried. I proposed to my boyfriend the following day while at a friend’s house in Miami. God, I was happy! :)

    Two months later, I humbly married him at City Hall in New York City where we both currently live. Only my mother, my grandmother, my sister and a couple of cousins sent their love to us. My father never called me. See, my father is a hardcore Republican, and he’s allowed his political view skew his understanding of what’s best for me. My husband and I did not get married to get a fancy party or to get a chance to wear a tuxedo. I married him because I want to protect him. I want to make sure he’s able to see me if I am sick. I think we are all afraid to die alone, and I want my husband to be that person next to me whenever I have to leave. You know how people get married and get all that moral, financial and love support? Well, we didn’t get that. We are struggling financially and making the best of it.

    I stopped talking to my father after he never called me. I cannot change my father’s mentality but he can’t change mine. I find myself bargaining the situation in my head; if he would’ve called me and said, “I don’t agree with what you’re doing but I wish you the best,” maybe just that wouldn’t have thrown me in the depression in which I’ve been struggling with for the past 4 months. I love him so dearly. He was not only my father, he was my best friend. I sometimes keep hope that he will call and say something, but I know he is too proud to do that. I think I’ve heard him say “sorry” a handful of times.

    Sorry for this very very very long comment, but I am writing this to you and all of the people reading here so we can all see another side, which is religion and politics. I am very proud to call myself an American, and I thank the Supreme Court of the United States of America for allowing me and my husband to lead a normal married life. Hopefully, one day my father can understand this.



    1. Gwennaëlle

      Dear jjjustforcommenting,
      Thank you for writing this. Just like Linda you helped me become a more understanding human. I hope someday I can reach the level of kindness I am aiming at. If I should succeed you’d be part of the means for me to progress.

    2. Celia Lopez McCormack

      Dear C,
      My husband and I are also hard core republican Hispanic family but we do not hate you or your community. Our son came out last year with the fear that we would reject him and cut him from our life. We accepted him and his partner and plan to support and attend the day they tie the knot. Hopefully your father will come around.
      I wrote a song and made a You Tube video capturing my son’s journey which apparently is very similar to yours. I would like to share with you and would love if you forward it to your dad. Maybe it will change his mind. Las Cosas del Amor:http://youtu.be/K8NMG_MzdgQ
      Good luck and congratulations of finding your soul mate.

        1. Celia

          Glad you liked it. Please pass it on especially to your family. I wrote it with all my heart. I wanted to tell your side of the story to all and hopefully change the minds of some gay bashers because…”(You) were born that way and it was not by choice, oh you see that is the way (you were) created by our God…”
          Good luck with everything :-)

    3. Texasmom

      Thank God you had the time to make amends before his death. I think I need to be more accepting and unconditionally loving of my child who can be socially awkward, shy with outsiders but extremely bossy to her family. I have always seen it as my job to change these things about her because they will make her life so difficult. But I think I need to let go of that now–she is 13–and let her figure it out. And just love her. I should have done more of that all along.

  2. Eric White

    Forgive yourself. You are so brave to put Ryan’s story out there, leaving you exposed to being judged and scrutinized for doing what you thought was right. Your story is changing opinions and getting others thinking. I wish you the very best and I truly hope that you have peace of mind. Ryan clearly had excellent parents that loved him. It’s clear. I wish you all the best.

  3. Lindee

    Hey Linda – I tried to find a way to unsubscribe to all the new comments and posts coming through – but could only find a way to unsubscribe from the subscription. I think you are wonderful and this site is a blessing to many. It’s also wonderful how the site is now getting such an enormous amount of activity through posts. I will still check in from time to time – but I needed to unsubscribe from the original subscription. I will re-subscribe here, without checking the boxes that send notification of every post and comment. God bless you!

    1. Linda Robertson Post author

      Lindee…Sorry for overwhelming your email with so many notifications! Thanks for figuring out how to “tell” WordPress that you need a little LESS email!! Much love to you!

  4. Elizabeth Glass

    I read this story and my heart goes out to you and your family. I am a strong Christian who believes that God loves each of us! Your son sounds like an amazing person!! I am so sorry for this tragic loss and for the hate that some people are expressing. We are only called to love everyone. We should never judge- Please know there are people who never met you or your son but we too share your pain and offer our comfort and prayers. God Bless You

  5. Hayden

    I am so deeply saddened by your story, and my heart breaks for you and your family. As a parent of two adolescent boys, I have absolutely made my own fair share of mistakes. We all do. When your son came out, you handled it in the way that you thought best at that time. That’s what we do as parents. As individuals with different beliefs and views on the way children should be raised, we may choose to raise our children in a manner different from our neighbors, but we are all united in one fact; we love our children and genuinely want to do right by them. Those who are criticizing you for the way that you handled this should take a long look at themselves – have they not ever made a mistake? Have they not ever handled a situation with their child that they wish they could take back, do over, or erase all together?

    I am so sorry for your loss. You did what you thought was right and you have paid the ultimate price. I wish you peace and comfort, and I want you to know that your posts have encouraged me to talk to my boys, again, about how much I love them and accept them, unconditionally; gay, straight, or otherwise.

  6. Jeff

    Love thy person the way they are not how you want them to be. If they are gay and happy so be it.. I’m am straight any always be straight but if my sons and daughter choose to be gay I will support them till I die. Because I love them for who they became and how happy thier are

  7. flamidwyfe

    Sending deep gratitude for your words and love from my heart. God simply tells us to love. Thank you for sharing your grief to show that. I’ve shared your story on Facebook. I am sure many relationships may go differently because of your sharing your story about Ryan.

  8. Concerned Reader

    I read your story and I’m concerned. Concerned that. You are deceived. Wake up and smell the coffee, lady.for God is not mocked. Your son was not born homosexual , there is no such. Thing. It is a lie of the “father of lies, Satan ” used to cover up and try to excuse sin, lust, rebellion , against God , and depravity. Yes, you love your son, but you love and respect God above anyone and anything. You lost your focus. Quit lying to youself and tobeveryone else trying to get people to accept homosexuality. God calls it an abomination and you are not holier than God to call it anything else. Your son could have had a chance if you had stuck with God and waked in truth. Jesus is the way the truth and the light. Not you not me not the world. That’s the problem with people today. They want to be lord instead of bowing down to Jesus the Lord. Jesus left us a life instruction Manuel called this Bible. In it He tells us what is right and what is not. What is acceptable to God and what is not. People can legalize patronize and try to justify sin all they want just to satisfy their own lusts but what God saysh. His the only thing that matters becaus He’s th. e only truth thehhre is. You weren’t a Christian. You’re not a Christian now . A Christian is Christlike hense the name Christian. Jesus Christ will never go againt the Father. A Christian will never gonagainst. Christ. You. Should have taught your son to resistthe devil so the devil would flee. You sGould

    1. Anonymous

      Dear, Concerned Reader
      Omg you are such a horrible human being and if i believed in hell i would pay homage to every God to make sure you where there. i wish you the kind of suffering that you propagate to other people. So let me get this right? It is right and just that there son is dead? because god said it was not right? This beautiful human being is now dead because he was not excepted for who he was by the people that he loved and trusted the most. Do you think that he would have chose to be gay after everyone wouldnt except him if it was actually a choice? His family learned this and feel deep regret for it and can see the beautiful blessing there son left behind and that was to uncover there eyes and see not just a book and god but a human. Do you forget that the Bible was written by men and not by god. It may be words of god, sure ok. but do you really think there is no errors in there??? Me and this family dont believe the same way when it comes to religion. But that is neither here nor there because this family shared a PAINFUL, REGRETFUL, LEARNING EXPERIENCE. That sometimes they feel shame about. Have you ever done that you prick? Have you ever shared something that shames you and realized your mistakes and than wrote about it on social media where people could ridicule and judge you just hoping that maybe someone somewhere could learn from your mistake so they wouldnt make the same one. I doubt you have. . .you know why i know you havent? Because it actually take independent thought to come up with a way to teach people anything and all you have is a book made forever ago by men who thought that women should be beat if they didnt listen to there husband. jUST LIKE A GOOD CHRISTIAN TO EMBRACE AND SPEW HATE. If there ever was satan you are it. you spread hate like herpes and dont care who you infect. I send to you from me and mine back the hate that you are sending everyone way. Karma is real i just wish i could be there to see your face when she bites you on your incompetent arrogant ass!

      Love, me

      1. Gwennaëlle

        Dear Anonymous,
        “i wish you the kind of suffering that you propagate to other people.” There is no point in wishing this as Concerned Reader is probably already experiencing it. Sometimes the pain is so deep that we forget where it came from (when we even know) and are left with its aftermath only. Sometimes the pain is so deep that if it should go away we would be left with a whole world to rebuild and the task seems so enormous that living in pain and inflicting pain (as a way to get some relief) seems the only obvious way there is to follow.
        Then God/religion/whatever seems to be a good excuse because it is a power stronger than anything and can’t be defeated. But the truth is that it is indeed a lack of faith from this person because he/she won’t trust that any power could take this wound away.
        Please forgive.

    2. i care

      Dear Linda

      You will often get illiterate nuts visiting your blog and saying all this nonsense, like anonymous over here. I ask that you ignore these kinds of hurtful, hate filled posts. Do not even give it a second thought i mean did you see their grammar? They are either uneducated or just trolls.

    3. amielzbth

      Dear Concerned Reader:

      That Bible of yours is an abomination to humanity as it teaches the world it is OK to be a bigot because the words in the Bible said so. If any of your children (if you have any) ever turn out to be gay and were hiding it for fear of being punished by you…not by God…but by YOU, I feel awful for them. If they are straight, I *STILL* feel awful for them because that means they were raised with the same hateful upbringing. Religion is the great divider. It never shows love. It only shows “love” for those who follow what path it commands you to. Wars have broken out because of religion and the Bible. Innocent people were burned at the stake because of religion and the Bible. If anything has ever taught me to hate, it was the Bible and the bigoted Evangelical Christians who have also judged me because I believe in love and equality. Your anti-gay camps are horrible and abusive. People there are taught to be ashamed of who they are. They are taught to hide who they are. They are taught to stay in the closet, and pretend to be something they are not so that this God of Love can accept them. Its horrible. How can you even say this is God’s love? Its not. Its more like Hitler wrote a book.

      Do yourself a favor and read the book “The Cross in the Closet” and get a fucking clue!

      1. cemariem

        Not all religious people are bigots…
        I am a believer but I also agree with most of your statement. Religion has been a front for power and money grab and God must be weeping for what mankind has done in his name.

    4. Anonymous

      I think you are forgetting something very important and instead of pointing fingers why don’t you take a look at yourself. As a follower of God, your only job is to love. I will say that again because I want to make sure you understand. Your ONLY job is to love. God is the only who gets to make a judgment on someone’s sins. You sitting here passing judgment on Linda, that is you trying to Be God, not follow him.

  9. Jacob

    I’m so sorry that people are saying such terrible things to you guys. I’m a very liberal person who grew up in a very religious community (son of a Southern Baptist preacher). I stopped going to church because of the way it treated my gay friends. The fact that you guys changed your position when you realized you were wrong is so rare and should be praised and encouraged by liberals. Your story is so sad, but also beautiful and meaningful. It makes me think there is hope for the church after all. Thank you for being brave enough to share.

  10. P

    Hi Linda,

    I have to say, your story about Ryan is truly moving and brought me to tears. My son came out to me 2 short weeks ago and it’s definitely been a struggle. I love him with every breath in my body, and I just want him to be happy. And if he finds that with a boyfriend, then that’s the way it will be and everyone will have to accept his decision in a partner. As hard as it is to hear about his relationship, I just sit and listen with a lump in my throat, but I know it’s something that I HAVE to do in order to keep my close relationship with my son. I just keep thinking about your story, your journey with your boy, and it breaks my heart to think that you can’t listen to his stories about the love that he’s found, or that he’s finally happy with who he is. It’s my vow to always be there to listen to my son, really listen, to his stories and his journey, for all the moms out there that aren’t able to listen their sons or daughters stories.

    1. Linda Robertson Post author

      P, you just made my night….Bless you, my friend!! There is no greater gift another mom can give me than to hear that she is loving her child with less fear and more determination after hearing our story….HUGE hugs to you!!

      1. P

        Hi Again…
        So glad that I made your night, and I truly meant every word of it. Also, I was just reading through some of the comments… Wow, can people really be that ignorant? I’m truly shocked that people could write such horrific things to somebody that has lost a child. I for one believe that no matter the ignorance and stupidity that people have, it’s not my job to judge them, I just think they need to learn to keep their feelings or comments to themselves. (Plus they are the ones that need to look at themselves in the mirror everyday… If they even see their reflection, that is)
        Anyhow, I am going to share your journey with my son. And another friend of mine that is on the same journey as myself…
        Thank you for sharing….

  11. indogirl

    I am shocked at how you have been attacked for sharing something so deeply painful and personal. Just shocking. Your story really helped me. Such a heartbreaking thing to lose your son. I can’t even imagine it. I’m sorry for his pain and yours. Please try to ignore the vile comments. Those are not coming from a place of understanding, empathy or love. It is clear to me that you are honest in your regret and desire to truly help others so that they may avoid so much pain. I know you wish to just have your son back more than anything.

    1. Linda Robertson Post author

      Thank you, indogirl, for believing in my heart. <3 I do truly hope and pray that our story may help even one family to avoid what we've gone through. Thanks for getting that.

  12. Daniel

    Linda, my brother (who is gay) recently forwarded me your article and I was completely blown away by your story. A few months back I wrote an article about the often painful interaction between conservative Christianity and homosexuality, especially among family members. It’s an emotionally complicated clash between two of the most deeply personal aspects of people’s lives: faith and identity. I feel like your article is the heart of my more heady approach to the topic, which is simply a passionate plea for everyone to start the dialogue with compassion for each other. I would be honored if you would read what I wrote and let me know your thoughts. I, like you, want the message of love and compassion to be the catalyst for the desperately needed change we need within the church on this issue. http://meansoftruth.blogspot.com/2013/11/homosexuality-and-christianity-call-to.html

  13. nasturtiumnat

    This is absolutely heartbreaking. Thank you for sharing this, Linda. Much love and strength to your family <3 <3 The Christian response to LGBT is so topical at the moment, and it is important that real stories like yours are read – the dogmatic, rule-bound application/interpretation of our faith needs to change, because judgment and shunning is not what Jesus preached. Even though I am straight, I have been grappling with this issue lately, especially since a small number of my Christian friends have 'come out'. More and more (especially thanks to hard-hitting stories like your own – I am in tears that your family had to experience something like this) I am changing my views re. LGBT orientations. I haven't reached an answer regarding scriptural 'condemnation' of these orientations in contrast with people's clearly innate sexuality, but this is clear: Our God-given mandate was not to go out and condemn people, but to LOVE – the most important commandment of all, in Jesus' own words. Whatever our take on this issue, if we are hurting and turning people away from God with our interpretation of scripture, something is not right. This is getting a lot of people thinking deeply and with their hearts. Thank you again Linda… no child should pass on before their parents, but Ryan's passing is already impacting people is SUCH an important way. LOTS of love.

    1. Linda Robertson Post author

      You are so very wise…THANK YOU for taking the time to read our story and to open your heart to this “issue”…which really isn’t an issue at all, but a matter of the souls of people created in God’s image.
      “If we are hurting and turning people away from God with our interpretation of scripture, something is not right.” Amen and amen!!

  14. Cassandre

    Good afternoon Linda,

    First of all, I want to apologize for my english writting, but my mother tongue is french, and I’m still learning english.

    So I also want to say as an introduction that I can’t understand the fact to be a mother, because I am not, so I can’t understand the fact to loose a child either. But, I just want to say something to you.I know it’s going to be easy to say and hard to do. I’m aware of that. You are about to fight a battle. ( already fighting but it is going to be a bigger one, I think), It is going to be a long way. As Paul says to Timothy in his second letter, fight the goog fight. I think you should read again the whole 2nd letter to timothy. Actually I just wanted to share with you a verse, but I read it again, and I think you should do the same. Especially 2Tim chap3 verse 10 to 16.
    Ok, now I have something else to tell you. I know that is a little bit harsh but please don’t make the life of your son become a museum for you and your family, don’t let it happen, even in your mind. It is dangerous. Focus on Jesus, and the way in front of you. Don’t look back too often and try to take care of the next step. Read also Proverbs 4, the all chapter please. I really think it will be helpfull. It was for me a month ago.
    I wish you the best, and God bless you.
    By the way, your story touched my heart deeply, I really cry when I read your post. I will end my post by a kind of proverb we use to say in France, I really don’t know where it comes from but I am sure you have almost the same in USA : “Après la pluie, le beau temps”.

    1. Linda Robertson Post author

      Cassandre, your English is beautiful. Thank you so much for sending me the scripture references, I will definitely read them all and ask the Lord to show me what He wants to teach me. And yes, keep our eyes on Jesus…that was exactly the theme of the sermon this morning at church. Much love to you, my sister!

  15. Jmhe

    Hi , i’m a boy from south America and last year i came out to my parents, they don’t accept me, i inow they love me but they said they would kill me if i keep thinking that i’m gay .basically i went back to the closet :( ….. And i have been really deppressed …. All i want to do is to finish with this , for one part i want to be happy with a guy, but on the other hand i want to make my parents happy too, i just think it might be eassier if i don’t exist anymore .

    1. Linda Robertson Post author

      Jmhe….I am SO sorry. It is understandable that you are so very, very discouraged…I want to encourage you to reach out for help. I know a FANTASTIC web-based counselor, if that would be a possibility for you (http://www.thechristiancloset.com/), she is a dear friend of mine and has made a HUGE difference in so many lives.
      Also, if you are having suicidal thoughts, please call The Trevor Project (http://www.thetrevorproject.org/)…That is exactly what they are there for. You can text or chat with them, too…They might just be the lifeline you need.
      Jmhe, it may not seem like it now, but you can have a WONDERFUL life whether or not your parents ever accept you as gay. I am assuming you still live with them, like Ryan did with us, and that makes it incredibly hard. But it WILL get better. Take a few minutes and watch a few of the videos at It Gets Better (http://www.itgetsbetter.org/)…they might give you a little slice of hope.
      I wish I could hug you and tell you how LOVED you are by God, and by me, even though we’ve never met. My heart is breaking for you right now, and you will be in my prayers, dear friend. If you are on Facebook, please find me and friend me, okay? I am Linda Mueller Robertson there. SO MUCH LOVE to you, Jmhe!!


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