The Other Side: Coming Out Story #14

This post is part of the “Our Stories” project, where readers submit their testimony or coming out story. It’s important to engage in meaningful and life-giving discussions about a topic that is too often silenced. When you tell your truth, you help someone else accept theirs.

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Peaceful, quiet, joyful – that’s how I felt when I finally acknowledged that I am attracted to other women; that I am a lesbian.  Not perverse, sinful, or ashamed. That was a surprise.  That and the utter certainty I felt for the first time in my life about anything.  It was as if a gaping fissure in my soul suddenly closed and became mended.  All of the things I mistakenly thought I was collapsed into who I actually am.

It is difficult to reconcile the peace and certitude I feel about this with the pain I perceive in the few dear friends with whom I have shared this news.  I want them to be happy for me.  They are not.  Yet – I understand; I remember my reaction when I learned that someone I knew as a heterosexual announced their sexual orientation was otherwise.  I felt bewildered about their obliviousness, afraid for their souls, and I braced for the consequences in their lives, and the reverberating effects in my own.  I assumed they felt as confused and conflicted as I did about the matter.  Now I see things differently.  They were not confused – they were finally free and extraordinarily courageous.

As I think back over my life, I now understand why I felt strangely drawn to, fascinated with, while at the same time, vaguely afraid of lesbians.  Somewhere deep inside I felt resonance, but recognizing that resonance was either too much to bear or too fantastic to be real.  I recall awkward and unfulfilling relationships with boyfriends – where I thought I felt something, but as the relationship developed, my feelings rapidly progressed from infatuation to ambivalence to confusion to aversion.  I assumed I had just never found the right man.  And when the inevitable breakup occurred with the “It’s not you – it’s me” conversation, I had no idea how true that was.  Nonetheless, I eventually got married to the one man who persisted.

So now, here I am, decades into a marriage that gratefully resulted in two wonderful children, but finally understanding myself and dealing with the monumental consequences of failing to see or figure out what was hiding inside me.  I have told my husband and he is in great pain.  I have not yet told the kids and wonder whether the pain they will experience dealing with this knowledge is worth the freedom it brings me.  I would rather cut off my arm than cause them such pain.

But, the truth is like a siren I can’t block out.  And a life of integrity requires that I recognize and live in accordance with that truth, regardless of the pain it causes me and those around me.  I cannot go back.  I can only hope that living in the truth will ultimately be for the best for all of us.  Pray for us.

-Erin

4 responses to “The Other Side: Coming Out Story #14

  1. Hello Erin, I just read your story and related to all of it except the being married part. My heart goes out to you as I have an awareness of the pain of this dilemma. I felt compelled to respond to your story and let you know that I will most definitely be praying for you and your family. Thank you for sharing your story. The first two paragraphs hit home for me as I’m sure that it does for many people….I’m learning more and more that perhaps we are not a minority….

  2. Congratulations on accepting yourself. You now have the self-knowledge you need to deal with the situation. And all good Biblical Christians should support and accept you as you are- see my blog!

  3. Erin,
    Thank you for sharing your story. Peaceful, quiet, joyful,and the feeling of utter certainty for the first time in my life…. yes.
    I totally understand what you are talking about. I just recently told my husband. I shared the videos with him, The Bible Told Me So and Fish Out of Water. He thinks I am misguided and thinking about things I shouldn’t. I have four grown children. We haven’t talked yet but it is very heavy on my mind.

    I too understand that we can’t go back. The truth is a siren that roars in my ears every day! I did tell a friend who was very happy for me and said that our friendship would not change. But we are of different faith traditions. Those closest to me will condemn me and pray for my lost soul. My confession will hurt them deeply.

    I have been married for 35 years. I am a grandmother. If you see me in a crowd of Christians, I am the one with the gentle quiet spirit who is known for her smile. Hmmm… while inside me the lie that I live rages.

    This spring I am celebrating a year of coming out. Small steps that have made a profound difference in my life. Steps that have drawn me closer to God. It is something that I must celebrate because I do not want to forget the fear, the pain, and the difficulties I have overcome. I feel that God has led me all the way. I am amazed by the people He has brought into my life when I needed them most. I have several friends who are older lesbian Christian women who cherish each other and live wonderfully normal lives. They are professionals and they are all about building understanding and acceptance in their community. These woman are loving and courageous in their daily walk.
    God has also showed me that I must learn to love myself. He has shown me how to do that.The more I reached out to listen, support and care for others who are like me the more I understand God’s love. God is in control and I feel his timing is important. He is preparing me as well my children for the time when I will share this with them. They need to know the truth about me. I have accepted knowing that they may shut me out of their lives. But I am trusting God in this… to care for me and for them. It is all about God’s love. I will tell them because I love them and will always love them no matter what. I do not know where this journey will take me. I don’t know if my husband can continue on this journey with me. But I know this for certain, I can’t go back. The reality, the truth, and the love that I feel in my heart must be lived out loud. Daily, my heart and my voice are growing with courage.
    Prayers for us both! Anita

  4. Couldn’t leave you all hanging – and I have an obligation to report on God’s faithfulness. It’s been two months since I originally wrote this story. My husband and I have now talked with our kids and they seem to be taking it fairly well. Every day in this process has its ups and downs, but I have never in my life so strongly felt the need and desire to rely on God and trust him to help us figure out how to allow truth to take its place in our lives.

    Along the way, there have been friends who have been supportive and others who have not. Some have advised that we are obliged, to live in accordance with the Word, to continue soldiering on in a marriage devoid of physical affection. Gratefully, we have not taken that advice and even though we differ strongly as to our convictions on homosexuality, my husband and I are committed to maintaining a friendship and determining how to love, honor and cherish one another even through this. I think someday, we will all look back on this time as immeasurably valuable in helping us discover what it is God set us on this earth to do and be.

    I appreciate your prayers and kind words.

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