Some are confused by the fact that I was "wronged" by my husband who came out as gay. Some assume that I'd be angry, not just with him but with ALL gay men. There are those who I used to go to church with that are puzzled when I actually support and affirm loving relationships between gay individuals, and that I openly advocate for gay marriage. How did this come about? I will try to explain.
First of all, I loved my husband, Ray, I was crushed and confused when he was depressed, but he finally told me the reason. The reason was that he was gay - always had been, but had denied the fact and denied himself. Everything about my mental and emotional framework came apart. My perceptions were that it was impossible to be Christian AND gay. As I read and learned, I had a hard time, but I found many sources that say our sexual orientation is a given (and some people, I understand, have a more fluid sexual orientation). And I began to realize that there are people who believe that there ARE gay Christians.
In the months following Ray's big reveal, I sought information. I did not go to the counseling office at our church. I knew what those "answers" would tell me - the same conclusions that had resulted in Ray's self-hating and condemning results. It was hard to be alone, anonymously calling mental health offices, asking, "Do you have experience dealing with marriages where one person is gay and another is straight?" I'd call from my cell phone, I didn't identify myself except by my first name. I'd ask them to please return my calls - and I heard from none of them.
The first book I read was by Mel White. It is called, "Stranger at the gate." Mel's story was sometimes difficult to read because there were descriptions of his earliest crushes, and he included his attractions to men during his marriage. Even so, I immediately was struck by his love and commitment for Jesus throughout his life. I was also impressed that he and his wife, Lila, remained close even though they parted and ended their marriage. I was afraid for my future, but reality was
hitting me, too. Ray and I both cried a lot.
Online I somehow found Peterson Toscano's blog. I read links posted alongside his entries. I knew he had compassion not just for the gay person in a marriage, but also for the spouse. I began to write comments and send e-mails, anonymously, and Peterson responded. I had a connection!
I began to understand something new: there is a difference in what I'd been told in church (gay and Christian cannot co-exist) and the fact that there are good Christians who believe in Jesus, hold to his teachings, and they live their lives with integrity, even though they are gay. What a shift in my thinking! I could not even wrap my mind around my fundamentalist mindset - it was a turning I had never considered. I'd go through stages where nothing I thought made sense, because to accept these new ideas meant that there was no hope that Ray and I could stay married. What an awful conclusion.
As Ray and I talked over several months, in my mind I could accept what my heart could not: Ray needed to leave. Leave our home, our kids (all were college age or older) and he had to leave me. He needed to heal in many ways, and it would have to be away from all the familiar surroundings that he knew and where he was known. I had never imagined this, it was surreal.
I cannot minimize any of what has happened to us - and it seems simplistic to put it here in words. These words can't explain what this has done to my faith. Faith is part of my life that even though I've been disappointed (devastated), and I cannot give up on God. I believe God is present in my life, knew all about this before it was revealed to me, and that there are reasons why I only know the past and present rather than the future.
But I also know that God knew RAY, that he created him (just like he makes us all) and that when Ray came out, it was not "coming out" to God. Because of the way our life transpired, I can look back and see that our path was ordered by God. Ray's songs made him loved, made him successful. But it was the songs about his inmost struggle and hope that Jesus would win out, help him, that endeared Ray to his listeners. Ironically, these are the same listeners who now have (mostly) turned against him because of what the struggle was. (Our website has received thousands of negative and cruel messages, as well as many, many supportive and loving ones as well.)
Since 2004 I have talked to all kinds of people: gay, lesbian, straight, bi and transgender. I've talked to Christians of lots of denominations, and to some I've "come out," as the former wife of a gay man. They seem surprised that I'm gay-affirming, which means I accept and value people who are not straight. I find support for that in the scripture that says, "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in him shall not perish but have everlasting life." I think that covers us all.