When I'm 64 is the title of a Beatles song which was popular when my wife and I were married in 1971. We took it as our theme song, little knowing that at that age the biggest challenge we would have to face would occur and result sadly in our separation.
Why did it take so long to come out? I have to go back to my upbringing to answer that, and also mention that the country I live in regards homosexuality as a crime punishable by a jail sentence that is more severe than being caught stealing. Both these things have relentlessly blocked me from coming out.
In fact, so well taught and conditioned was I regarding homosexuality, that I could not even acknowledge the fact to myself for many years. Of course, looking back now I can see signs of being homosexual going well back into my growing up years, but these were dismissed in my mind as probably what every normal boy went through and nothing to be alarmed about. How could I possibly be homosexual anyway, since it was a choice, wasn't it, and there was no way I was choosing to be gay. We mocked anything gay, and I joined in that like any other normal boy.
I grew up being taught to love God though I did not understand about Jesus being my Saviour. I loved my family, though in retrospect I have had a lot of issues to deal with and to forgive. But loving God and my family gave me a vision to be married young and have a family. I dated girls and never acknowledged any attraction to men, even though that was there all along. I married my wife the year after finishing university studies to become a teacher. We went on to have three beautiful children. All three of our children married and now we have eight beautiful grandchildren.
My wife and I always earnestly sought after God and it was in 1979 that we came to give our lives to Jesus and got saved after reading a wonderful story of a man who was radically saved and served the Lord. It was another seven years after that before we came to find a church that we could worship in. And it was a short while after that when I was confronted with my attraction for men and could no longer deny it.
I confessed it to my wife who was devastated but received very godly counsel from a good friend and mentor. I sought help from my pastor but he was not able to help me other than to dismiss it as a thing of no consequence. So we resolved to plod along dealing with it as best we could, but remaining married and to all intents and purposes living a good Christian life and demonstrating to all that we were a happily married couple raising a family in Christ in godliness and righteousness, which was our purpose and intention.
We went to Bible school, we became leaders and teachers in the church and eventually I was preaching to congregations and taking on pastoral responsibilities. I changed church and acknowledged my gay issues to the pastor I was putting myself under when he wanted me in his leadership team. He tried a theophostic deliverance session on me without any success. Later he accused me of not wanting to deal with my problems when I left his church for completely different reasons to the gay issue.
Of course, the real issues were never dealt with and remained a thorn in the flesh. Having admitted my same sex attraction to myself I now found that the door to a form of soft pornography was opened - pictures of men, mostly from exercise magazines. This did not help our sexual relationship which gradually deteriorated over the years to the point that it ceased altogether. I went through times of destroying every picture and repenting and resolving not to go there again, but it was only a matter of time and the pictures began to collect again. Then a little over a year ago we were finally put into the modern world and obtained an internet connection.
My wife had been very resistant knowing it would be a huge danger for me, but our children were keen for us to become conversant with modern communication methods. It was my undoing, only now it spiraled into hard core pornography. I failed to control it and resolved if it was out of control I must separate myself from my wife, which I did in August of 2012.
This of necessity involved coming out to our children which was mostly and still is a painful process. Two of my children have not dealt well with the knowledge and are angry with me and not communicating. I have removed myself from all church involvement and am no longer attending a church. I don't believe a gay affirming church exists in my country because of the laws of the land, though I may be proved wrong in that. My wife has as always remained incredibly supportive though fearful for my salvation being compromised.
For me it was a step I felt necessary to take before being fully informed on what it meant to be a gay and a Christian, so this is a big learning place for me and I am gradually coming to terms with myself and my faith, but the process has been fraught with emotional ups and downs and much anguish of heart and soul. Thank you for this amazing web site and so much vital material here to help one make the adjustments needed. I hope to be able to testify at some point in the future of what God has done to bring me back into ministry. I cannot for now see how that will happen, but with the Lord all things are possible.