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, even if it was incredibly difficult.

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 and went to all the youth group events and Bible Studies. He chose to get baptized and filled journals with his prayers. He read all the Christian books that explained where his gay feelings came from and dove into counseling to further discover the origin of his unwanted attraction to other guys. He worked through difficult conflict resolution with Rob and I and invested even more deeply in his friendships with other guys (straight guys) just like the reparative therapy experts advised.

But nothing changed. God didn’t answer Ryan’s prayers – 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. As a teenager, he had to accept that he would never have the chance to fall in love, hold hands, have his first kiss or share the intimacy and companionship that we, as his parents, enjoy. We had always told our kids that marriage was God’s greatest earthly gift…but Ryan had to accept that he alone would not be offered that present.

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.

2,304 thoughts on “Just Because He Breathes

  1. Derek Scott

    Hi
    Thank you for your kindness and love in sharing this story. My son is gay and I would give my life for him. Recently I have understood the power of the words in Isaiah, words I have long known but are open now. “I chose you” and “I knew you before you were born.” God chose my son and knew him before he was ever known to us. My son is made in the image of God. Then, with astonishing clarity, Jesus “what you did for the least of my brothers, you did for me”. His brother. My son, his brother. No half life, no half made or faulty image of God, His brother. All my fury at the church, I am a Catholic and the Church’s words are not those of God on this, all my fury is abating. God has shown me these words anew. Jesus died for my son too and I’m happy to say it. He answers prayer. Love your sons and daughters without reserve. I say this with joy today. Love them.

    Reply
    1. dogtorbill

      Derek, the Catholic church’s words are most certainly not those of exclusion, warranting fury. Please sit down with your pastor, he’ll understand and you’ll realize the love and compassion you both need to know. Above all, your son needs to know that Jesus is hurting with him and walking with him and carrying him, as he does with us as parents. My gay son found such love and consolation, compassion and strength through the Church.

      Reply
  2. Rex

    “But nothing changed. God didn’t answer Ryan’s prayers – 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.”

    I am so sorry to read about Ryan. I starting crying at my desk when I read this in office this morning. I am a 30 year old man. I come from a family of God fearing Christians. Like Ryan, when I was younger, I joined youth groups, served in church, went on mission trips, prayed and prayed and prayed that I would become straight. But God never answered. Somehow the same God that said that it was not good for man to be alone, decided it was fine that this man would be alone for the rest of his life.

    Being the eldest son from an Asian family, meant my parents pinned all their hopes on me, I did exactly what a model eldest son will do – got good grades in school, served in church, looked good (enough) and helped out at home. It would break me if I would disappoint my parents, yet I know all my achievements would be for nothing once they knew that their perfect son wasn’t that perfect after all. A few years a ago, I deliberately applied for a job position that would relocate me far away from my family because I couldn’t bear it anymore. Although I love them very much, I figured it would be better if I saw lesser of them.

    I live alone now, I do not attend church anymore. Till today, I struggle with who I am daily and have problem accepting myself still. I hope there will be a day where I wake up and the world just isn’t such a sad place anymore.

    Reply
      1. Ellen

        I first read this in 2013, and Ryan’s story comes to mind often. Mainly because there are so many similarities between his and my own. So much hurt and pain that was so needless, and that was inflicted upon me by people and communities who were SUPPOSED to be kind and loving. I know that you have learned and grown and changed and opened your heart, and I know that I need to be forgiving and show that same love and compassion and lack of judgment toward others, but that’s very difficult to do and sometimes I’m actually really angry at you Linda, even though I don’t know you! But this story still haunts me. And I did learn one very important thing…I have two nephews now. The older one actually has the same name as your son. And every time I see them, I make sure to tell them I love them just because they breathe.

        Reply
        1. Linda Robertson Post author

          Thank you for sharing, Ellen…and it seems really understandable to me that you are still angry with me, After all you went through. I am so very sorry. I rejoice, though, that you’ve found such peace and redemption in your life, Ellen. Much love to you.

    1. Kim

      Good morning Rex God has put you in my heart. Like Linda I thought I knew what God said about being gay when my son first told me. He woke me up at midnight evidently his “I can’t take it anymore moment”. After daily fervent prayer for almost a month God gave me His answer. Let go of what you think you know and Love. Jesus gave us the New Commandment of love. No judgment no interpreting Gods word and scripture just focus on Love. We are to love each other and love God above all else.
      My heart goes out to you feeling alone. My son married an Asian man and they have a beautiful daughter. It was hard for my son to tell me he was gay he knew where I thought I was in my walk with God.
      You are respected and loved by God Rex. He knows you completely. Please look to Him for guidance.
      Gos is using Ryan’s death for good. He wants you to be happy. Embrace joy!! Your parents will either be there or not. God will always be there for you. Stand firm with Him and life may not be easy but at most you know You Are Loved and God has your back. You have great purpose here in the world. I’m praying for you to live your life!

      Reply
    2. Ellen

      There WILL be that day. I didn’t think there would be either. I’ve sat where you have. Ryan’s story is mine too. It took a lot of time, and love, and patience, but my family came around. And the world doesn’t look so sad. I see the beauty. And there are Churches that will accept you and love you just as you are. But what the most important thing is, is for you to love and accept YOURSELF. When that day comes, it matters so much less what those around you think.

      Reply
    3. Deanna Williams

      Rex, God created you just the way you are. He created you in your mother’s womb. He doesn’t make mistakes. He gave you gifts and talents. He loves you. He has a purpose for you. He does not want you to be alone. God fully loves and accepts you just the way you are and wants you to live your life to the fullest (including a relationship) knowing his love. His love is so great that he gave his son for you. I encourage you to talk with God and remember the depth of his love for us. I pray that you come to accept yourself for the person that God created and will be filled with his love for you. I also pray that your family will open their hearts to Jesus’ message of love and accept you as God created you. I hope that you find your chosen partner.

      Reply
  3. Greg McDonald

    Hi Linda,
    We are so very sorry for you and your families tremendous loss of Ryan. Fifteen years ago when we “found our son out” as being gay we responded very similarly to you and your husband. If you could have done it wrong, we did!!! In our case we were able to reconcile our relationship with our son, but like you our heart continued to break for the countless families who get torn apart in this messy world, in the name of Jesus. Consequently two years ago we created Embracing the Journey, where our sole reason for being is building bridges between the LGBT community, their families, and the church. Yesterday some great friends at North Point Church in Atlanta shared with us about you, your story, and your ministry. After reading your story we immediately posted a link for your blog on our website, and recommend it as a must read for all Christian parents with a child who identifies as being LGBT. Thank you for your incredible ministry that is full of love, humility, grace, honesty and a incredible amount of candor. We hope our paths cross in person sooner than later.

    Greg & Lynn McDonald

    Reply
  4. mikevonroy

    Hi Linda,

    Thank you for bravely sharing with the world your very moving story. It moved me to tears. I would like to do a reading of your piece for my company’s Pride event this year, but first wanted to get permission from you. Please let me know what you think. I am happy to give you more details and personal information about myself if you like.

    Much appreciated, and thank you again for spreading this powerful message of love.

    Mike K

    Reply
  5. Angel

    Stories like this give me hope. I am sorry for your loss though… I am 35 and been with my partner for almost 12 yrs and still struggle with my parents and brothers. I am depressed but yet try to keep my head up. I feel that I am beginning to lose my faith and now I think my family is finally giving up on me… Sucks! There is a lot more to my story but I can’t keep myself from crying when I think about it or talk about it.

    Reply
    1. Linda Robertson Post author

      Oh, Angel…I am so very sorry. That DOES suck. So very much. But your family’s response has absolutely nothing to do with how much your Creator absolutely ADORES you…He delights in you exactly as you are!

      Reply
  6. Molly

    Hi Linda,

    I have been following Rob and your testimony and blog which have been very encouraging and comforting – Thank you .
    My son came out to us around this time last year which was very difficult for us
    We love him and have accepted him, and we are trying to learn more,understand him as well as the LGBT group more.
    Sometimes we find that it’s quite a struggle and challenge to reconcile maybe because of our culture and faith.
    Can I talk to you more on this. Infact we are in Seattle this weekend and if you are free , we could meet up.
    Molly

    Reply
  7. Mark

    Linda and family,
    I first came across your story when I read the book ‘God and the Gay Christian’ by Matthew Vines. It was a brief synopsis but nevertheless it was a punch in the gut. That was my story. I won’t forget the line in the book which encompassed one of the lessons you learned. That you taught your son to hate his sexuality and since sexuality is something which cannot possibly be separated from self, you taught your son to hate himself. I bawled in my car thinking to myself they get it! They get it!
    I’m a 39 year old man and in recovery. Finally reconciling with Jesus Christ and losing my terror of surrendering to him. I was a distinctly spiritual child from a very young age. Raised in a devout and conservative Christian home. I believed wholeheartedly and wanted to follow all the rules. My mother and others in our congregation took notice and said I would go far in the church. I think I was a bit precocious, lol. Before I knew better, I lectured the neighborhood kids that they weren’t supposed to be outside playing on Sundays because it was the Sabbath. I would tell myself I didn’t want to break any rules or sin because that was even more pain I would have caused Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane. When I was 13 years old, my mother gave me the ‘sexual sin’ talk and I started crying. I told her about my interest in other boys my age. She sent me to see the pastor to get the help I needed to overcome these temptations.
    For the next 5 years I met with the pastor on a weekly basis to help me overcome my homosexual attractions. I truly believed in the church and wanted to do everything i could to overcome these feelings. I memorized scriptures, sang hymns, and prayed, and prayed. I was told over and over again if I had enough faith then Christ would take these feelings and attractions from me and replace them with healthy heterosexual ones. The result was I began to hate myself. If I did everything they told me to and it still didn’t work, then something must be wrong with me. In my shame I began compulsive behaviors which were also considered sinful and this compounded the situation. I was subjected to ‘church discipline’ and was no longer allowed to take communion. I was very musically gifted and could no longer sing in the choir, play the piano for the men’s meetings, or give performances in the service with other church youth. I began to fantasize about suicide starting at 15 years old. I attempted when I was 17. When that still failed to get me the help I needed, I joined the military to get away from the toxic environment I was in. I’m convinced that saved my life. The events leading to my enlistment could only be attributed to God.
    I think the military helped to slow my downward spiral but eventually my destructive behaviors became addictions. Life finally landed me in recovery a few years ago and it was a long and painful process to extricate myself from the belief that the Christian God didn’t love me and wanted me to change who I was. In my mind there was no such thing as unconditional love. I couldn’t trust God and therefore surrender was impossible. It has been a long road but the faith I had as a child is finally surfacing again. It was put in my heart when I was born and I’ve always yearned for a closeness with Christ, and to do the right thing. Faith and surrender is scary but it’s a relief. I love the song ‘I AM’ by Mark Schultz. I envision myself singing it out to the heavens and earth in defiance of what I was told when I was young. I can be a follower of Jesus regardless of my sexual orientation. God has always been faithful. It’s a matter of letting God do His will, and not what myself, or others think it should be.
    I am so sorry you lost your son. I hope you can and have forgiven yourselves. You didn’t know what you were doing. Although my parents will never change their stance or believe what I endured was traumatic, the truth you speak gives me hope and validation. My prayers are with you and your family. Your friend and neighbor in Seattle,
    mark.

    Reply
  8. Chris

    Linda-

    I am the father of a beautiful 11-month old girl, who I expect to be 16 any minute now. Your story brought me to tears. I am constantly in fear that I will affect my child negatively, and that she will suffer for any faults in my parenting. I am a fairly liberal, not particularly religious man, but there are still many situations that are not so clear-cut and easy to handle as a parent. There will be many of my own hurdles to cross in my lifetime as a father, and I hope that you find some comfort in knowing that your experiences and lessons learned have made a significant impact on me, and that I will draw upon that whenever the time should call for it. Your story has changed at least one more life for the better.

    -Chris

    Reply
    1. Linda Robertson Post author

      Wow, Chris…Your message made my morning! And clearly, you are a wonderful father – determined to raise your daughter to know that she is loved just because she breathes!

      Reply
  9. Karen

    Linda,
    Thank you so much for sharing your story. For taking your heartache and letting God use it for good. You have inadvertently affected me. I belong to a private Facebook group (TR: Freedheart Moms) that has been an saving grace. This group was started out of one of your groups or because of you (not sure exactly which). It’s a group for Christian moms of transgender children. My son is AFAB transgender person. He is also the greatest gift ever given to me, besides his two siblings. God threw me out of my complacent comfort zone so I could question everything I’ve ever learned in church. I’m a researcher at heart so it was a blessing to dive into interpretations and translations of the Bible as well as context and meaning of verses, especially as you look at the verses before and after. It started with my parents who not only abandoned my child but refused to speak to me because I supported him. They did this all in the name of Christianity and the feeling of being convicted from what the Bible says about homosexuality (which is mind-boggling as my son is not gay, he’s transgender). I tried to reconcile my own beliefs when my son told us but it was his therapist who broke through to me. He is a Christian as well and he told me my son wasn’t a mistake but a gift instead and was here for us to learn from especially regarding love and acceptance. In the New Testament, Jesus asks only two things from us specifically- love one another as we would ourselves and have no other gods before me. There is no disclaimer, no buts and or ifs. In that moment in no longer was about my comfort, only about my child’s well- being. My son who once had a love for God no longer will step into church because of Christians who proclaim to know what’s best for him if only he would repent. I find myself taking up his cause now from people like the Activist Mommy and the likes of her. I praise Hod for putting me on this journey. I thank people like you who share their pain to teach others. Bless you!

    Reply
  10. Renee Cuffe

    Your story…is very much like my story. I see you wrote this in 2013. It’s still making a difference.

    Reply
  11. Dan Duval

    Thank you for telling your story. How powerful for a parent to be able to share with others. I wanted others in the Seattle area to know that the Interfaith Mission of Sts. Francis and. Clare of Assisi is a welcoming and truly affirming small group of many faiths that gather to support ALL people. We are in Tulalip WA and we can be found on FB. I know there are many welcoming churches and we are but one that will support people in thier faith and recovery from the ostracizaton that may have been expreinced. We believe in LOVE.

    Reply
  12. Jennifer

    Thank you so much for sharing your story. My 17 yr old daughter has recently come out after nearly a year. Although I feel as I’ve handled it pretty well thus far, everyday is a learning experience. Her dad hasn’t been so understanding. I came across your story searching for answers regarding her love for God and her sexuality in fear of her letting the judgment cause her more pain than what she has already had to carry alone. Reading about Ryan broke my heart as well as gave me clarity. As Christian parents, you did what you thought was right. There is no guide to follow. As much as my heart aches for you, I am so touched by the love and grace you had for your son and he for you. You were given the chance to make his world right and you did. I read his letter, and was amazed by him and his loving heart. He knew that he was loved and supported. I’m so sorry for your loss. God bless you!

    Reply
    1. Linda Robertson Post author

      Wow…what an incredibly kind and encouraging comment, Jennifer. Truly!
      If you’d ever be interested in a private online group for Christian moms with gay kids, please message me on FaceBook (linda mueller robertson). So many of the moms have stories just like yours…and many of their husbands feel like yours does. No pressure, but if you’d like some support, let me know. Much love to you, Jennifer!

      Reply
      1. Elise

        My son told me he was gay over a month ago, when I asked him if he was after having a discourse about his religious paper on sexuality within the Church. He was going to tell me and his dad when he goes off to college in the fall. So my husband does not know. When I found out I cried for a week I was just so incredibly sad. Not to mention angry more at God than anything else; I have my reasons. I have read so many stories online and advice after advice on how to cope with this revelation especially for a Catholic family, I even spoke to a priest in confessional but he seemed to want to blame my husband. Hell, I want to blame somebody, myself included. Anyway, I came across your story of Ryan and it has certainly given me pause on how to approach the religious aspect of homosexuality. My son and I have been discussing what it says in the bible and he has expressed to me how so afraid he is of being alone and going to hell. Oh how I want to scream at God! My beautiful boy! I will reach out to you, Linda, maybe join your FB. I need someone to talk to. There are no perfect words for how to deal with this or help him through his questions and concerns. The priest did offer couseling for me because how can I help him when I am struggling with this, too. But reading your article I am going to try hard to trust God and leave it in his hands since he is the one who did this, not me, not his dad, and my son certainly did not choose this! Thank you for sharing your story. You have no idea how much it helped me and by extension my beautiful son.

        Reply
  13. Isaac Norris Jr

    Dear Linda,
    It was the story of your son Ryan that led to my coming out to my family in October, 2014 at the age of 58. Until that time I had been too ashamed to say anything or do anything. I just had followed God and done whatever I thought everyone including God wanted me to do. Until this past year I have been alone with no friends because I was ashamed. This past year in 2016, I had my first boyfriend and the relationship lasted 6 months. He broke it off after six months. Since that time I have been so angry at God and at myself for waiting so long to do something about my situation. I am so tired of being angry. I don’t want someone to blame. I just want peace in my heart to live as a gay man and if God sends me gay friends to be with, I would love that. I hope HE will at least do that so I will not continue to be alone. Please keep me in your prayers. Ryan would be so proud of all you have done since he left us. Do keep it up.

    Isaac

    Reply
    1. Linda Robertson Post author

      Oh, Isaac…no wonder you are feeling anger and loneliness and sadness and probably so many other emotions. I am certainly praying for you tonight. And thank you so much for taking the time to share how Ryan’s story affected your life…what a gift that is to Rob and I!

      Reply
  14. Triple G

    I wanted to join the Navy, but didn’t because people might think I’m gay. So I joined the army and hated every minute of it.
    I wanted to be an RN, but didn’t because I was afraid people might think I’m gay.
    I could go on, but every thing I ever wanted to do , I didn’t do for fear people would think I’m gay.
    So I learned to become an actor. Everyday, 24/7 and say things I didn’t believe, do things I didn’t want, date girls I had zero interest in and at the end they would feel they did something wrong and weren’t worthy-they’d feel bad, I’d feel bad, but hopefully no one would think I was gay.
    But I am. Ive known I was since 5th grade. But I never wanted to be. So I fought it and fought myself and learned to hate myself while telling everyone everything was fine. Panic attack’s in my brain and constant worry, worry I’d be found out, that everyone I loved would reject me, and my heart rate is already going up just remembering. I’ve nevee been able to tell my family my true feelings. I avoided them. We were on a cruise and I was “caught talking to two queers”. I totally panicked and my solution then on was avoid all family gatherings. I always had an excuse and became more and more isolated and alone.

    I’m saying all this because everything above – are terrible sins. And why? Because those sins hurt others.
    My being gay has never hurt anyone.
    All the other things I did hurt everyone.

    I never got into drugs or alcohol thankfully-I withdrew into myself and depression. I wanted to kill myself, but knew that would hurt the people I love and I couldn’t. If I told them I was gay it would hurt them. If I killed myself it would hurt them. So I did what I had read in a book, “you can accept that you are gay, but you must accept to not sin you cannot give in to your desires, you either must find a relationship with a woman that will accept you or be alone-God is testing you”. That was basically what I read, and my heart just sank even more. I was the one being tested and would have to live my life in misery, while those that are “normal” get to have the things I want-I’m being punished for being like this-the way I never wanted to be and wished I wasn’t and it’s such a simple thing really, why does it have to be attached to everything?
    And I knew everyone would hate me and make fun of me just like in school and this would never end.
    I regretted reading that book. I didn’t buy it, I was reading it at the Media Play bookstore and in secret trying to find out what to do.
    But then I heard it…I didn’t notice the two guys that happened to have went out of their way to go to the section I was in and read what I was reading.
    “Look at this faggot reading a book on how not to be a faggot”. I just melted not from the physical fear but worried others would know. And right there reading the how not to be gay book in the Christian and motivational section I was assaulted. I felt no need to fight back-when I was in my truck later in the parking lot and crying to myself and knowing I could never tell anyone I just felt it was all fitting and that this would be my life. That I was the sinner and the one going to hell. And that I deserved everything coming to me.
    25 years of that.
    I never thought I was the bad guy.
    Going to hell.
    Already there.

    Reply
    1. Isaac Norris Jr

      Dear Triple G,
      I just read your tread and it breaks my heart because I know exactly how you feel. I am sure that I am older than you for I did the same thing you did except I did it for 40 years. I tormented myself for that long thinking that it was what God wanted me to do but do you know that after 40 years I finally told my family ( not all of them but just those I trusted) that I was gay and God began the healing process of healing me from the inside out. He began to show me himself that HE had made me gay for a reason. My therapist asked me one day, “Have you ever considered the possibility that God created you gay for a reason?” For a moment I was taken back by his comment. I had thought about that. I had realized that because I had suffered so much from being gay that I was more compassionate and more understanding of the suffering of others and therefore I tried to help others more. And is that not what God commands us to do. To show His love and HIS compassion. PLEASE PLEASE don’t keep torturing yourself for something that God has allowed in your life. He made you that way for a reason. And you and I know that the Bible says that God does not make mistakes. HE knows beforehand what HE is doing and why he is doing what HE is doing. Accept your gayness, give God glory and let HIM use you for whatever purpose HE has for you in this life. You are one of HIS children. I am not saying that life will be a bed of roses when you do this. Mine has not been and is still not. Most of my family still does not understand and I have accepted this but I know that as long as God is happy with my life and approves of what I do for HIS glory, what else matters Triple G. IS that not what we want? To make our heavenly Father happy?

      It is time to accept your gayness and to begin to live your life as God intended you to. You will be surprised at the things you will experience and the joy that God will give you. HE is such a wonderful Father, our Father in Heaven. Let HIM show you just how much HE loves you. Give HIM a chance to show you how to be the person HE created you to be. You will be surprised at what happens.

      Isaac

      Reply
      1. Sarah Brown

        God does not make mistakes but the Bible does specifically state in Romans 1:18-32 that homosexuality is God’s curse for generational sin & pride. Homosexuality is not part of God’s Devine plan but a punishment for those who seek to circumvent God’s perfect plan. Leviticus 18:22 & Leviticus 20:13 superficially prohibits homosexuality.

        Reply
        1. Linda Robertson Post author

          Sarah, I trust that you don’t intend to cause more harm to a group of people who have been egregiously harmed much of their lives, all too often by the church…they’ve been harshly judged, condemned, cast out, often publicly humiliated, etc, etc.

          It sounds like you feel that God creates people to gay as a punishment…then condemns them for it. Or maybe I misunderstand you. But either way, Paul said that Jesus is the exact representation of God, and we know, from the Scriptures, that God is not a God of vengefulness but of such abundant love and mercy and grace that we cannot begin to fathom how good He is. I am praying today that you will, yourself, come to know the God of Love….and how much He adores and cherishes you.

    1. RedmondGuy

      So sad… Linda, there are obviously hateful people on both sides of this issue. I know you realize that, but please accept my support.

      Reply
    2. Bill

      Said like a true, loving Christian. God is surely happy to see you take pride in making fun of a person’s deceased son.
      I get a kick out of seeing how mean “Christians” can be. And you, certainly put on a good show of hate.

      Reply
      1. Tom

        I agree Bill. That post he or she made was hateful. Probably a member of the Westboro Baptist Church which is a church that promotes hate against gay people.

        Reply
  15. Tom

    This is just a general comment for those who struggling with sexual indentity. No matter if you are gay or not you are loved unconditionally by the source of life referred to as God in religions. If you are gay it was because it was part of your life’s purpose to be and never has God had an issue with homosexuality. It has always been men who had issues with it. Also I mentioned in a comment a long time ago a book that discussed the near death experiences of gay and lesbian people who almost died and went on a journey to heaven. While there not one of them ever received a rebuke for being gay. It is as if it doe not matter at all.

    Reply
    1. Sarah Brown

      Wrong. God has issues with homosexuality. God specifically states that homosexuality is a curse for generational sin (Roman 1:18-32). God also specifically prohibits men having sex with other men in Leviticus 18:22 & Leviticus 20:13.

      There is not one instance in the bible that affirms romantic same sex relationships.

      Ephesians 5:31
      “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.”

      Ephesians 5:31 does NOT read as
      “For this reason a man will leave his father & his other father & be united with his husband & the two will become one flesh.”

      Bible specifically states God created woman to keep man company. Bible never states that a man was created to keep another man company.

      Reply
      1. Linda Robertson Post author

        Sarah…thanks for taking the time to read our story. Though we, obviously, disagree about how to interpret the very few things that the New Testament says regarding homosexuality (Jesus Himself stated that we do not have to follow Old Testament law. If we did, we’d have to follow all of it, and none of us do that.), I respect you for taking the time to read things that fly in the face of your own convictions.
        I am curious – why does this topic upset you so, friend?

        Reply
        1. RedmondGuy

          Who knows what Sarah’s issues are – dealing with her own homosexuality, or maybe she is just a “troll” on this site. But, Linda, I admire your way of going right to a loving response, when it can be so easy to return evil for evil. You are an example for us all!

        2. Linda Robertson Post author

          I don’t know about that (thanks, though <3) but…what I do know is that if we keep screaming at each other from opposite sides of the fence, we'll never end the polarization of this country and the constant online hate that happens. I want to do my part to nurture respect and thoughtful communication. That said, for me, that is way easier to do on the internet than when someone in my own church community is saying something that condemns LGBTQ+ people, people of color, immigrants or other marginalized groups. Then my heart races and I have to breathe before I speak and ask God to give me the same love for them that He has. It is hard, right?

  16. Toni

    I need help, a need. Since I revealed about my homosexuality to my mother I have been suffering, and I have not been able to have the same conversation with my father. My father prefers a dead son to a gay son, I’ve heard of him.

    Reply
    1. Tom

      Your father made have said those things but as your father he might react differently. If not it will not be your fault in any way. You still have your mother to love you and I don’t think your father will want to lose his family over this and maybe he will accept it no matter how he feels. You are in my thoughts and I wish you the best outcome.

      Reply
  17. Kenny pratama putra

    Hi I am Kenny
    Your true story same as What I am feeling now, since I opened my gay personality to my parents 3 years ago ,my parents,younger brother,and my grandma not accept me being gay. And my parents always do pray to the lord Buddha for me not being gay , but it’s makes me feel stress, I said to my parents I feel gay when I was 5 years old. I am not feeling depression when my grandma and my younger brother guess their to bring me to psychologist but I said no I don’t want to go there , when my parents force me to go psychologist , I directly go to room and crying, and I pray I want said my family accept me being gay. 1 years later I bring and introduce my boyfriend from Singapore to my house.my grandma and my younger brother make my bf not comfortable until he leave and choose stay in hotel. I said to my bf I will visit you to your hotel in here but he said in messenger no you don’t need visit me where the hotel I stay because I have a new bf” when he said that to me I cry, depression, and i feel wanna suicide but I think again suicide its finish all problem . And I try to calm myself. And now I have find true bf in my life he from US. I share many things to him and he share too. My bf experience same as me get rejected from peoples when he open being gay
    I really want to meet my bf in US but I don’t know how to meet because I need visa , flight ticket to go.there
    I hope.someone in here can help me to bring me to meet my bf in US
    Because I don’t want stay with my family again, because many depression I get if I must stay long time with my family

    Reply
  18. Cindy Corbin

    God bless you , we said the wrong things with my son Burtton who had told us he was gay. He went off to college and shot himself in the head. I found him . I’m forever regretting a lot of things. It’s been two years since my forever twenty year old son passed away .

    Reply
    1. Linda Robertson Post author

      Oh, Cindy…I mourn with you. Your loss is so very fresh…my heart is breaking this morning. I am praying for you & your husband today – Especially because it is Father’s Day. I just can’t imagine what it must have been like to find him, on top of losing him.
      I sure do know what it is like to be burdened with regret. The only thing that has really helped is the gift of a good therapist…one who really gets it (and lots of visits to see him). I sure hope you’ve been able to find one, too. I am sending you so much love today, Cindy…<3

      Reply
    2. Linda Robertson Post author

      Though I hardly ever use FaceBook anymore, if you’d ever like to connect more, find me there (I can’t find you)…Linda Mueller Robertson. Again, much love to you. Wish we could sit and have coffee and you could tell me all about Burtton.

      Reply
  19. Rand

    God does work with you and talk with you. I know he did with me.
    A lot of things are between God and
    Yourself and people should quit judging and understand that. I refuse to attend a church where I have to sit and listen to sermons on the evils of homosexuals. There are a lot of things I disagree w/ when it comes to gays and gay culture but you could say that about straights and straight culture as well! God bless this woman!

    Reply

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