My oldest daughter Beth lived the homosexual lifestyle for almost 24 years. Never once, during that time, did we hear “Mom, I’m gay.” Beth is the oldest of my four children from my first marriage and this is our story.
When my children were four to 11 years old, their Dad chose to walk out on us after his unfaithfulness and sexual abuse of our nine-year old daughter. Fourteen months later I was granted a divorce.
Times were difficult for us, but with Christ we stayed active in church. Unable to afford a sitter on my salary, Beth became the main caretaker of her three siblings while I worked. I was in such depression, I didn’t realize the problems I was presenting to my children because of this. Beth lost her childhood and her siblings resented her position over them. These years later, there are still some repercussions over this.
About eight and a half years after the divorce, I met a Christian man – someone who won the approval of each of the children.
Ten years after the divorce from my children’s father, Fred and I planned to be married.
In January of 1979, we went to a local mall to shop for our wedding rings. After we made the purchase, we turned to leave the store and froze in our tracks. Beth and a girl were walking together in the mall. They were hand-in-hand and kissing each other – on the lips. Needless to say, we were shocked. Fred took me home and waited with me until Beth came in. He confronted her about her behavior and her excuse was “My friend had bad news and I was comforting her.”
This girl was a girl from our church! We knew her Christian mother! Her sister was my assistant teacher in Sunday School! This behavior was not what we expected from either of these young ladies and I – I felt numb, ashamed, guilty, and grief-stricken. My children were raised in church and each had made a decision for Christ in their childhood. We were active in church, and I had seen nothing out of the ordinary in Beth’s life that would cause me to question her lifestyle.
Two days after this incident, Beth had her twenty-first birthday. The next day, Fred married me, in spite of it all. Being an only child raised by his father, Fred had no idea what the future held for him, for us, or for the children who were then 14 to 21.
Fred confronted Beth one morning a few months after we were married. At the time, Beth was working as a bartender and had brought an unknown girl home to spend the night. They were in bed together, asleep. Another confrontation. It wasn’t long before Beth moved out and shared a rental unit with yet another “friend.” That “friend” came with Beth when she’d visit us. She joined us on holidays and for birthday celebrations. They never behaved in any questionable way, in our presence. We were always dealing with unconfirmed suspicions regarding her life. It was extremely unsettling.
Shortly after this relationship ended, Beth (who had been in the Air Force Reserves while in High School) elected to join the active Air Force. Later Beth would tell me this was when she openly lived the homosexual lifestyle. Over the years, when Beth would visit home and go to church with us, she would respond to the invitation to give her heart and life to Christ. Then she would leave, and resume life as she had before.
When it was time for reenlistment, Beth did not reenlist. Instead, she had a baby. They were living in another state, and Beth had another partner.
When our granddaughter was about five years old, Beth sold her home there and moved back to Ohio. Other partners entered the picture.
When our granddaughter was 12 years old, she was diagnosed with leukemia and was hospitalized for a full month, where she experienced many painful treatments including chemo and radiation to her head and a stroke. It was then, January 2001, that Beth came to the realization that God could/might take her daughter unless she changed her way of living. This crisis brought Beth to God in repentance and she received His love and forgiveness.
In 2002, Beth told Fred, “2001 was the worst year of my life; yet, it was the best year of my life.” The worst – because of her daughter’s diagnosis and the endless pain she suffered. The best – because her life has been redeemed. Today, Beth is a living testimony of God’s grace.
She has had some serious temptations, but turned to God, and He has been faithful to her to provide that way of escape which is promised in God’s Word.
We are so grateful to God for answered prayer. Today, Beth is living a life for God and is celibate. Her pastor knows her story and she brings much joy to our lives.
Our granddaughter had her 25th birthday in August. She is considered healed but does suffer from Avascular Necrosis, as a result of the chemo, radiation and medications she was given while being treated for Leukemia. God is faithful.
During those almost 24 years, we had no one to talk too and didn’t want anyone to know about Beth and her lifestyle. We had no direction. We were ashamed and I felt guilty. What did I do to cause this? What could I have done differently? How can I “fix” this? Mothers, in particular I’ve learned, want to “fix” things. We had no support, no family nearby, but then again, who wants their family to know? We kept our secret to ourselves. It was very painful all those years.
We talk quite often with Beth regarding those almost 24 years. She said she always knew we loved her. She and Fred have a very good relationship. She has reminded me that I always ended our phone conversations with “I love you and so does Jesus.” At the time she resented it, but she knew it was true. A seed planted.
It was about six months after Beth left the lifestyle, that we learned of a support group in Columbus, Ohio and were invited to attend. We chose to visit Bridge of Hope and found the ministry also had a support group for spouses. There was none for parents and we wanted to learn, so we went to the spouses group. Fred was the only man in the group. We attended for a year. At the end of the year, we were asked to lead a Parent’s Support Group. We accepted and served in that position until June 2010, when we became co-Directors of Bridge of Hope.
In September 2006, we had the opportunity to develop another support group for relatives and friends at our church. We call it “Circle of Love.” Our logo is a crown of thorns with a single red drop to represent the sacrifice of Jesus Christ for our sins, and His never ending love, mercy, and grace which is extended to the parent/family/friend and to their loved one.
The crucifixion and sacrifice of Jesus Christ was for all sin, including the sin of sexual immorality. God is faithful to complete the work He has begun in our loved ones’ lives, and we have the hope for change and a new life in Christ for those we love and pray for.
Circle of Love began as a ministry to relatives and friends. Through the leading of the Holy Spirit, we opened our group to men and women who deal with unwanted same-sex attraction. We have been amazed at what God is doing in this ministry. In our meetings there is no condemnation, or judgment. The love of God is shown in the compassion, concern and healthy friendships that have developed. Again, God is faithful. He never fails. We are blessed to have our Bridge of Hope leaders join us in ministry in this group.
Our granddaughter has been in remission since 2001 and is now 25 years old. She attends the Nazarene University in Mount Vernon, Ohio. She is a Christian and brings us a lot of joy. Over and over, God has shown us His faithfulness in so many answered prayers.
May we be His hands in this world and a reflection of His everlasting love.
“May the God of hope fill us with joy and peace as we trust in Him, so that we may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13 NIV
Nora Seemann is the director of Bridge of Hope in Columbus OH.