We were the typical parsonage family. Our oldest, and only, daughter was married and living out of state. Our second, David Michael, was living in the dorm at one of our church colleges. It was his junior year and he was serving as music director at a nearby church on weekends. Our youngest son was in high school and living at home. All three children seemed well adjusted and very happy in their Christian roles. We had the feeling of being "successful" parents.
Maybe it was just a mother's intuition, but I sensed a gnawing, unexplainable pain that seemed to increase with each day. Was our oldest son having a problem? So happy, so exuberant, so in love with Jesus! He was doing what he loved to do most—directing a church choir and singing solos. Still. I felt very uneasy about him for some unknown reason. That's when I decided I should fast and pray to get a direct answer from God. Mike and I had always shared a close relationship, so it was very important that I understand if he had a problem.
At the time I was office manager for a general surgeon. Working five days a week, plus my duties at home and church, I had learned to pray "without ceasing." This was my third day of fasting and it was no exception. Using my lunch time, I decided to take a prayer walk to our church, a few blocks away. While I was walking and meditating on my son, these words seemed to come out of the blue—"spirit of perversion." Whatever can this mean, I asked myself? But, almost in the same breath, I answered my own question. Mike must be involved in homosexuality. But, how could this be? He's in a Christian college! Doesn't he profess to Jove the Lord with all his heart? Doesn't he sing His praises every week? My mind immediately went whirling. Sick pains hit me in the stomach. As much as I tried to dismiss the thoughts, my inner feeling agreed. I must know, even though it hurts.
By this time I had arrived at the church and I knew there would be solitude there at lunch time. The first thing I did was to call my daughter long distance to share with her what I felt God was revealing to me. My agony was justified when she came back with, "Yes, Mom, you're right. I didn't want to break his confidence, but Mike told me he is gay." I don't think I will ever be able to erase those words from my memory!
I explained to my daughter that I was going into the sanctuary to pray at the altar and she could j oin mein the prayer 1,000 miles away.
Words cannot sufficiently describe the spiritual warfare that I encountered. It was as though Satan was actually jeering at me in my face. Could I really feel his breath? No way could I pray on my knees. This required a militant stance! This was an all-out WAR! No war can be more furious than that between a mother and the forces of evil that threatens her child! I prayed, I cried, I wrestled. I knew I didn't dare give into Satan! The soul of my son was at stake! In the heat of the battle I cried out, "Satan, I will not give him over to you! If I have to wade through hell to bring him back, I will do it before I will ever give him over to you! He was born to serve the Lord! He was dedicated to God before he was ever born, so you may as well get your grubby hands off him!" It's hard to say just how long this warfare lasted before I felt that victory had been won. I only know that I was exhausted, physically and spiritually. What was most important, however, was that God heard my prayer!
Within a few months, our son returned home from college and began dating one of the young ladies from our church whom he had known for a few years. It was only a short time after when his father performed their wedding ceremony. Needless to say, we were greatly relieved that his problem was over and our son was now happily married.
The crushing blow came nearly five years later, however, when our daughter-in-law called. Between weeping and sobbing, she broke the news that Mike had left her for another man. Once again the knife pierced my heart. This time even deeper, for there was a wife involved. Another broken heart.
From that day forward our loving, talented, creative son continued to put space between himself and his family. As he found support in the gay community he needed us less and less. Our burden was even greater because we felt we couldn't dare share this loss with our congregation—even our closest friends. If Mike had been diagnosed with cancer, or a terminal illness, we could have found comfort and understanding from the church. But this, we thought we had to bear among only our few family members, How tragic!
Months slipped into years. Nothing changed. Our daughter-in-law had their marriage annulled . Fragmentation. Worry. Loneliness. Heartbreak. Separation. Months would pass by without seeing our son or knowing of his whereabouts and we could still share our sorrow with only a few. Worried about our reputation as spiritual leaders, we continued to grieve alone.
However, something began to happen. Our feeling and sympathy for other parents with wayward children deepened. Now there was a genuine concern for them. No more did we feel self-righteous over having the "ideal Christian family." When heart-broken parents came to us for prayer, we entered into their grief with them. After a few years we began openly sharing our heartache with others. This played a very important role in our healing. God began to use our trauma to bring comfort to other parents of homosexuals.
I would give everything I own if today I could say that our son has returned to the God of his father. That initial encounter with the spirit of darkness happened more than 20 years ago. We are still waiting—waiting—waiting. However, in the meantime, God has brought about a reconciliation between father and son. Nothing has changed our love for our son. He calls frequently and we always end the conversation with "I love you" from both parties.
What about the time of wrestling with Satan over the soul of my son so many years ago? Would I do it over again? A million times, "YES!" From that day until this, God is in control. Through the years, I have found peace in waiting. Not only peace, but I have proved the faithfulness of the Holy Spirit. There are times that He reassures me of His presence with Mike at that very moment. It has taught me confidence in His sovereignty; it has taught me to hang onto hope.
Someday soon, I trust, I will say, "And now for the rest of the story." With happiness, but not surprise, I will tell you of God's wonderful deliverance of our son from the gay lifestyle. Then, too, I will proudly give my name and the full name of David Michael, with his consent. In the meantime will continue to praise my Lord, day and night!
Editors note: We print this testimony with great compassion, concern and a trust that readers in the fellowship of this magazine will share in the prayer battle for this particular suffering pastor's kid and his parents. May he soon "come home."