Posts Tagged ‘depression’

I am a dad.  I will always be a dad.  I love my kids no matter what.  The moment they each were born, I fell in love with them and will love them until my dying breath.

The problem is, my kids don’t want me to be a regular part of their lives right now.  They are hurt.  They are wounded.  They are embarassed.

I haven’t spoken to my two oldest kids in over a year.  They refuse to speak to me…they refuse to see me…they refuse to interact with me at all.  They are both in high school and they have basically chosen to write me out of their lives. 

My youngest kid didn’t want to see me at the beginning of this year…then he let me back into his life for several months…and now he doesn’t want to see me again.  I think it hurts him too much and he’s too embarassed by me.

I can’t tell you how much hurt I have experienced in the past year because of my estrangement from my kids.  It is a pain that just won’t go away.  And no matter how hard I try to change things, I can’t.  Nothing works.  So I am forced to let go and ride this out.  My counselor told me a year ago that it could take 10 years for my kids to come around.  I just didn’t know that it would be so painful in the process.

I have cried a lot over all of this.  It’s a horrible feeling to be so completely rejected by your kids.  I know that part of this is because of past mistakes I made with them.  Part of this is them punishing me because they are so hurt.  Part of this is their faith, which tells them that I am a huge sinner.  Part of this is their mom, who is letting them make their own choices about how they relate to me.  It’s one big giant painful mess and this is, by far, the worst part about my journey in the past year.  A large piece of my heart has been torn away from me and there is nothing that can heal that pain right now.

Some might chide me and say, “Was it worth losing your kids in order to gain this new sinful lifestyle you now have?”  That way of thinking is ridiculous.  I didn’t choose between my kids and my sexuality.  I had to choose life over death.  My former way of life was killing me and I had to make changes in order finally to begin to live.  It’s just that the cost of life and wholeness and health ended up being my kids…at least for now.  I trust that over time, we will be able to work through all of this and have some sort of relationship in the future.

I desperately miss my kids.  I can’t write any more right now or I’m going to break down into tears.  So I just have to say that this loss is far more painful than I ever imagined.

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8 Months of Silence

Posted: October 9, 2012 in Uncategorized
Tags: , ,

It has been 8 months since I blogged here.  Why the silence?

 
1)  I needed to live into my new life.  I did a lot of “processing” for the past two years and part of me just needed to live and not do any writing or reflecting for a while.  I needed time to get on my feet and time to experience life for a while.  I’ve done so and I think I’m now ready to start writing again.

2)  Things just got too painful.  I hit a wall in February and really wasn’t dealing with things very well.  Quite frankly, everything felt very overwhelming.  I didn’t have it in me to write because it would just bring up the pain more and I was already hurting more than I allowed most people to see.  I worked really hard to keep everything together and to stay positive and I don’t think even I realized the toll everything took on me.

So I stopped writing.  I just kept looking forward to lived.

And what happened during that time is that I have begun to get settled in my new life.  There have been some very painful times during the past 8 months but there have also been some good times.  Life has become much more normal and healing is beginning to take place in some ways.  I am much happier and healthier than I was the last time I blogged back in February.
But it has been a long road to get here.

So I guess I should fill you in on what has happened, huh?  Well, stay tuned and I will be writing a series of posts to catch up to today.

Sorry for my lack of posting for the last few weeks.  Life has been crazy.  I will get back to my regular updates shortly.  But today I want to pause and add this post as a part of The More Excellent Way blog carnival on the subject of “inclusion”.

I am in my 40’s and have been “in the closet” for most of my life.  I lived a straight life, got married, had kids, and have been a pastor for 17 years.  All along, though, I knew I was gay.  But the message that I got from churches and from seminary was that being gay is not ok…and therefore I had to do whatever it took for me not to live as a gay man.  During the past 20+ years, I have silently struggled, constantly trying to suppress my sexuality so that I could be a “good Christian”, a pastor with integrity, and a husband and father.  Unfortunately, the result is that I ended up depressed, withdrawn, and acting out in unhealthy ways because I was trying to be something that I was not…straight!  You can only suppress your identity for so long before it affects your emotional health in negative ways.  My negative emotional health crippled me, my marriage, my parenting, my relationships, and my ministry.

18 months ago, I began a journey towards emotional health.  With the help of a counselor, I came to grips with my identity, my sexual orientation, and how living a lie has caused tremendous damage to me, my family, and my ministry.  As a result, I have recently quit my job at a large Evangelical church in our area, had to find new employment, am moving out next week, and will be getting divorced from my wife.  After so many years in the closet, I am now beginning to live a new life out of the context of who I believe God created me to be.  There has been tremendous cost to become who I already was…but I now believe it was worth it so that I can be true to myself and how I am wired.

I am in the process of planting a new church that is radically inclusive and I have found that there are many people in our city who have been a part of conservative Evangelical churches and have suffered a similar lack of emotional health due to the lack of a message of inclusivity in those churches.  Many are very wounded by the lack of acceptance…and even downright rejection…that they have felt.  It is so sad that so many of us have had to live a lie because we couldn’t be accepted a Christians in any other way!

I often wonder how my life would have been different, had full inclusion for the LGBT community been a value in churches 20 years ago.  While I am thankful for the blessings that have come out of the last 20 years of my life, I know that the pain and damage done could have been avoided if I had had even one Christian tell me that I was ok.  If only I had known that God loved me just the way I was!  If only I had learned that I could be gay AND a pastor!  If only.

My new little church plant seeks to be inclusive of everyone.  I pray that other people’s lives will be touched by the message of Grace that I hope we always communicate.  And maybe…just maybe…a life will be saved from the damage that I had to go through in the past 20 years.

Full inclusion of the LGBT community in Christian churches can LITERALLY save lives from the irreparable damage that is caused when a person tries to suppress who they are for the purpose of acceptance by God and other Christians.  While people my age can’t go backwards to fix the past, we can certain fix the future for the sake of our brothers and sisters who desperately need to know they are loved by God and others!

I have to be honest with you…I have really been up and down lately.  My emotions are up one day and down the next.  I don’t know what to do with it all.  I guess it is to be expected.  I mean, really…I’m kinda going through a lot right now!  It feels like I am riding a seesaw of emotions!

You may have guessed from my “Niche” post that I was feeling pretty good earlier this week.  Sunday’s service with my new church was extremely fulfilling and I felt the blessing of God in a huge way.  I was feeling energized and exited about the future.  I felt freedom in being myself and connecting with the people of our church in a very authentic way.  It just felt so good!

But things came crashing down as I got into this week.  My evenings this week have been very discouraging at home.  It’s hard not feeling welcome in your own home!  There has been a deep silence between my wife and I and that just compounded the alienation I have already been feeling with my kids.  Yesterday was a particularly “down” day for me emotionally.  I can’t begin to communicate the despair I was feeling.  The hurt and rejection I feel from my family runs deeps.  I was starting to question whether there would ever be healing in my relationship with my kids.  I wondered why they feel so hurt so as to feel the need to completely distance themselves from me.  I was feeling discouraged about job opportunities.  And all this week I have been feeling like I can’t do this “double life” thing much longer.

I think that is what is really getting to me.  I have wonderful glimpses of my future life from time to time.  But then I get forced back into the closet…back into conservatism…back into hiding…back into dishonesty…back into having to fit into a mold of constantly proving my value at my old church…and all of that crushes me.  I am getting to the point that I just want to scream, “I’m done!  I can’t do this anymore!  The box you are all trying to fit me into is squeezing the life out of me!”

I know that all of this points to the fact that the end of this period in my life is quickly coming to an end.  I will have to take the next step soon, one way or another, or I will literally go mad.  I cannot keep my world together as it is much longer.  I will be forced out of the closet and into my new life because I will be unable to keep up the charade.

Up and down.

The pressure is building.

Relief MUST happen soon.

 

The past few weeks have been really rough.  About two weeks ago today, my wife took a stab at me publicly and that really hurt.  The same day, I found out that my daughter is now pissed at me and doesn’t want me to speak with her (just like my oldest son).  Honestly, I blew a cork.  I was so hurt and so angry.  After all, I have been bending over backwards, trying very hard to do right by my family in this situation.  And now, it feels like I just keep getting “punished” for everything that is going on.  I decided that I am done being hurt by my family.  I told my wife that I was done and that I will be taking drastic steps to move on as soon as possible.

Things have cooled down since then but the hurt kept me in a lot of emotional darkness for a good week.  But needless to say, life at my house isn’t very friendly right now.

But this weekend, I had a revelation.  I think I have finally come to a place where I am able to let go.

I think it has taken all of the pain, especially the pain of the past couple of weeks, to bring me to a place where I am able to let go and move on.  I have a feeling that God has been trying to pry my clenched fists open!  I have been trying so hard to have some sort of normalcy at home…to still be a family…to hold tightly to all that I know…and holding that tightly had to come to an end.  I can’t move on with my life is I’m holding tightly to my old life.  I think God used the hurt I’ve now experienced with my family to help me to let go so that I can move on.

Now don’t get me wrong…I still love my family.  My kids will always be my kids and I look forward to a better relationship with them in the future.  But I think I needed to let go now so that it would make it easier for me to take the steps forward that I have needed to take.

Plus, the last couple of weeks have been very difficult at my church.  There is a lot of pettiness and legalism going on.  That, too, has brought me to a place where I know I need to let go there as well.  I need to move on.  I need to be in a different type of ministry setting.  I can let go and move on.

So I am letting go.  I am ready to take the big steps of faith I need to take to move on into the future.  I wish it didn’t take so much hurt to cause me to let go.  But I guess God will use whatever He needs to in order to get my attention and help me to move.

So thanks, God!

 

Dammit…I need a breakthrough!  Like…now!  I need it ASAP.  I don’t know how much longer I can do this.  I feel like walls have been built up all around me, keeping me from being able to move in any direction.  But there has got to be a breakthrough soon!

It’s Friday night.  My wife and I just had a very difficult emotional talk.  She’s at the end of her rope.  I’m doing the best I can with mine.  My oldest son is done.  We have to have a change soon!

A commenter on my last post said that it’s probably time for me to move out.  Yeah…I know!  The problem is that moving out then brings my youngest son into the knowledge of what is going on (he doesn’t know yet) and I can’t trust him not to say anything at church.  WE ARE STUCK BECAUSE I AM A PASTOR AT A CHURCH WHERE I HAVE TO HAVE THE APPEARANCE OF A GOOD CHRISTIAN FAMILY IN ORDER TO KEEP MY JOB!!!!!  There is no room for any chink in my armor.  If I could move out now and help all of us to begin the process to heal, I would!  But I can’t.  Sure, it would be a difficult thing financially.  But imagine if I had NO INCOME.  That’s why this situation is so very difficult.

My wife said to me tonight, “I don’t think you know how difficult this is for me.”  She’s right…I probably don’t.  And at the same time, she has no clue how much pressure I am under.  I have to go to work everyday as a pastor and act like everything is fine in my life.  I have to deal with crap on the job and then come home and deal with all of the pressure here.  I have to deal with the fact that I currently have ZERO prospects for a new job.  I have to deal with the pressure of a wife who is reminding me that I gotta be gone and have a new job by the end of the year.  I have to deal with the fact that my oldest son hates me.  And I have to try to keep sane enough to live my life, start a new church, and begin new relationships that will be with me in the future.  And when she says, “You might want to invest in your other son a little more now so you don’t lose him like you did our oldest son,”  I want to scream!  Cuz guess what?  I’ve got NOTHING to give!  I’ve got more pressure on me right now than I’ve ever had in my life!

Oh…and did I mention how I feel like The Church has let me down?  And how I feel like God has let me down?  And how I feel like the only reason I’m in this place where I am right now is because I believed everything that well-intentioned Christians told me and I THOUGHT I was doing the right thing for God????  I drank the kool-aid!  Yeah, I feel a little disillusioned with God and Christianity right now.

But I’m trying really hard to redefine my faith through all of this.

So yeah…I need a breakthrough right now…really badly!

Sorry to vent.

 

Some days are just sad
Those are the days I feel alone in my own home
It’s those days that I feel a giant wedge between me and my wife
I know she is thinking
I know she is worrying
She is hurt…
…and feeling trapped
For her everything has changed
and yet nothing has changed
She is pushing me away…
…far
…far
…away
she doesn’t know what else to do
when things are this painful
I’m not the man she thought she had married
I’m not even the man I thought I was
I’m different
strange
queer
and there’s nothing I can do about that
coexist
that’s all we can do
until God provides the way
until the dollars sprout in new fields
And until then
things are
just…
sad…