Facing My Deepest Fears
By Willa Medinger as told to Bob Davies (USA)
I first got to know my future husband when Alan and I were in elementary school. He had a lot of good-looking girls who liked him, but he liked me best of all.
We began dating in ninth grade. I remember thinking in my silly mind, I really don't like him! But that was a defense; it seemed like anytime someone really liked me, I'd say that. He was so level-headed, always saving for the future. I'd think, What a bore! But after college when I began to see some of the realities of life, I realized these things in Alan were wonderful characteristics. I began to love him more and more. When Alan asked me to marry him, I accepted. Unknown to me, he had already been involved in homosexuality for seven years.
The first two years of our marriage were ideal. We had a wonderful time, but then after our two girls were born, all kinds of things began to come out from my childhood, a variety of insecurities and anxieties. I think many problems Alan had faced early in life began resurfacing for him, too. After about five years of marriage, things really began to go downhill between us.
Just before this time, I had come to know Jesus in a personal way. One night I had a vision. I was out in the middle of the ocean on a boat, and I saw the Lord out in the water. He kept telling me to jump and I said, "You know I am terrified of water. I can't do it." And He said, "I'll catch you."
Finally I jumped and I remember sinking for a long time. Then Jesus pulled me up and out of the water. I guess the Lord was preparing me for the future. I still had no idea of Alan's sexual involvement with other men.
But within six months of that vision, life became hell for Alan and me. He was unable to give to me at any level as he got even further into homosexual behavior. I felt more and more destroyed as a person.
Several years passed, then a friend of ours who was homosexual came to live with our family. My response when I found out someone had a problem was to go to the library and take out every book I could find on the subject--then set about to "fix" the person.
So I began to read about ten books on homosexuality. As I read, I began to realize that the preconditioning factors were right there in Alan's life. It was very difficult for me to accept, but it became very apparent to me that homosexuality was a problem in Alan's life. But I never confronted him about it. Perhaps I was afraid of losing him. And I never spoke to anyone else about what I suspected. I had this knowledge in my heart for five years but I never expressed it to anyone. God was the only one I communicated with on any honest basis for those years.
Then I began to attend a prayer group. As I became more in touch with the Lord, delving deeper into my Bible and prayer, I heard Him say to me, "You have to let Alan go." I had to stop mothering him. I had to stop building a perfect rose-colored world to cover the mess our lives had become.
God showed me that He was unable to deal with Alan because I insisted in shielding him from the pain. I was saying, "I can take better care of him than God can." It was only a month after I decided to really give Alan to the Lord that his life was totally changed.
It happened on November 26, 1974. Before Alan left for a prayer meeting where he accepted Jesus Christ into his life, he said, "Say good-bye to me. You'll never see this person again." When he came home that night, I knew something had happened. When your husband hasn't touched you in two years, then comes in after a prayer meeting and is chasing after you, you know there has been a change!
It took a few days for Alan to realize how great his healing had been. He found that he no longer wanted to smoke or drink. He was even different with the children. But the greatest change was how much he fell in love with me.
About a month later, Alan came to me and said he wanted to talk. I could see that he was very distressed. As he began trying to talk, I asked him, "You were gay, weren't you?" He was absolutely astonished; he had no idea that I knew.
After that talk, emotions began to surface that I had no idea existed inside of me. I felt like a raving lunatic. The primary emotion was rage. I used to weep for God to take it away, but it grew even more intense.
After church one Sunday, I came home and the feelings were uncontrollable. I grabbed hold of Alan and beat him with both fists, screaming, "I hate you! I hate you!" He was able to just stand there, realizing that God was finally allowing these ugly things to come out of me.
Then I dropped down on the couch in an exhausted stupor for about three hours. When I got up, I felt different than I'd felt in years. But rage continued to pour out of me. I also experienced great difficulty with our sexual relationship.
But God began healing me. The beginning of the journey to wholeness was finding out who I was. When I was a girl, I became what my mother wanted. Then I married Alan and became what he wanted. But I never found myself.
So I began listening to God, seeking to find my identity in Him. When He whispered to my heart about who I was, it would bring tears to my eyes. The things He would say were so very wonderful. He was so loving and encouraging. That's how the person God created inside of me began to come forth.
Then some of the tougher steps came in, such as telling Alan when I was upset, when something he had done angered me, when I felt lonely. I had to honestly confront him, and stop centering my life around him and his needs. I had always been a people-pleaser, doing things I didn't want to, just so others would think I was wonderful.
I began to love Alan as I began to love myself. Finally I could relate to my husband as a man. I no longer had to look at him as my little boy. I didn't have to control him, to keep from being vulnerable. I had always been afraid of masculine men, but I'm not anymore.
The things that have changed in Alan are the things that I love most about him. I love being a woman now, having a husband who challenges me to be the best person I can be.
I have to tell you about another beautiful thing the Lord gave us. In 1976, I became pregnant. The doctor gave some solemn warnings to us about me giving birth to a child at 40. I'd had two miscarriages, but it was an ideal pregnancy from beginning to end. Alan was the most wonderful husband during this time; he helped me through every step, and I felt his love so intensely. I can't remember a happier time in my whole life.
When Steven was born, he was blue for two whole minutes. But the anesthetist got him breathing and his brain was not damaged in any way. In my heart, I heard God say, "You never have to fear again." Our son was a sign to me that Alan would never go back to his previous lifestyle.
Today, our son is in college and is a Christian leader on campus. His looks, voice and behavior are all reminiscent of Alan. We are so proud of him. Every time I look at Steven, I am reminded of the great miracle God has worked in my marriage. As long as He is in control of my life, I know that I have nothing to fear.
Copyright 1984, 1998 by Bob Davies. All rights reserved. Willa Medinger is known nationally as a gifted counselor and teacher for family members struggling to deal with a gay loved one. Her husband, Alan, is founder and former director of Regeneration, an Exodus member ministry in Baltimore, MD, USA.