I'm busy working on my blog posts. Watch this space!
Beth: Unable to Love and Unlovable
December 20, 2017
Beth grew up like most little girls do, dreaming of a fairy tale life.
When she was five years old, Beth’s parents were divorced. Her father had been having a secret affair for over seven years. He later went on to marry her, and Beth’s mother remarried as well.
For most of her youth, Beth struggled to feel loved and wanted by her father. She felt she must not have been good enough for him if he had wanted to leave. Beth’s stepfather was strict and emotionally aloof, and his lack of affection made her certain that he did not love her either.
Often, she cried herself to sleep in loneliness.
Even as a child Beth knew God was faithful, and she trusted that He would somehow heal the brokenness in her life. She imagined meeting a tall, handsome young man who would see her plight and love her. She dreamed that this fairy tale would solve all her problems, that if only she was loved by someone she could live a happy life.
In high school, Beth met a sweet, unassuming young man with blond hair and brown eyes whom she liked very much. He was the older brother of one of her good friends. “He loved Jesus so much, and I was just really attracted to that,” she explained. Their friendship blossomed throughout Beth’s high school years. Beth was so obsessed with Thomas that she thought certain he would ask her out eventually, and they would wind up married. He sent her a lot of mixed signals over the years, but she kept trusting things would work out in time.
Beth left for college with her heart still set on Thomas. By the end of her freshman year she had been turning down other guys. “I just was totally in love with Thomas and I thought we were meant for each other,” she explained. “I couldn’t date anyone else.” Beth’s friend, Thomas’ younger sister, eventually offered to speak to Thomas on Beth’s behalf. Beth accepted the offer, realizing that she couldn’t go on waiting for Thomas indefinitely. It was time for some closure.
Months passed after Thomas’s sister reached out to him. Beth could not understand what could be taking Thomas so long to contact tell her his thoughts. Finally, one day, his answer came.
Thomas’ email was long. To Beth’s great surprise, he told her that he had always struggled with homosexuality, but that he believed it was wrong and wanted to pursue a healthy heterosexual lifestyle. He liked Beth, a strange and unique feeling for him, and wanted to pursue a relationship with her if she would still be interested in doing so.
“Oddly enough, it was one of the happiest moments of my life,” Beth said. “I was just so excited and it wasn’t that big of a deal to me because I still believed God meant for us to be together.” Beth spoke to her parents and prayed before sending Thomas her delighted reply.
Beth and Thomas dated for ten months, most of which was long distance while Beth was away at college. But they called each other every night and prayed together. Things were exciting and fun at first, but over time, Beth started to feel a lack of affection from Thomas. She worried it was due to his same-sex attraction. “He would never touch me,” she said, “which I at first assumed was because he was being respectful, but eventually I started feeling like and realizing that he just didn’t want to touch me. And that was really hard.”
Things continued to grow weaker as time went on. Beth was afraid to ask Thomas what he was really feeling, so she just kept hoping. “I was frustrated, for sure, but I still loved him and I just really hoped he’d come around and commit to really loving me.”
When Beth came home for the summer after her sophomore year of college, she and Thomas finally talked honestly. “I hadn’t realized how much his struggle with homosexuality was still a part of his life. I guess I thought he was more ‘over it’ than he was.” In that conversation Beth asked Thomas if he thought she was beautiful. “He couldn’t say that I was,” Beth said with tears in her eyes. “He couldn’t get the words out. It was heartbreaking. I loved him. I wanted to marry him. And he couldn’t even tell me I was beautiful.”
Beth and Thomas ended their relationship in tears on both sides. Thomas felt helplessly unable to love, and Beth felt unlovable. “It was really tragic,” Beth explained, “because all Thomas wanted was to feel redeemed from this struggle with homosexuality, and all I wanted was to be loved. We both wanted this so badly but it just couldn’t happen. He really cared about me but he just couldn’t force his feelings to be there. So we broke up.”
The months that followed were some of the hardest of Beth’s life. “I felt like I had been ripped in two. I thought I’d never recover.” Beth felt no anger or bitterness toward Thomas at all. “He just didn’t have feelings for me. That wasn’t his fault.” On the other hand, she grew calloused against God, hurt that he would put her through this needless pain. She thought God must be cruel. Why had he led them to date in the first place just to break their hearts?
Ever so gradually, Beth began to heal. She chose to keep worshiping God, like Job did, even when she did not trust Him. This verse helped her rebuild her belief in God’s goodness: “Come, let us return to the LORD; for he has torn us, that he may heal us; he has struck us down, and he will bind us up” (Hosea 6:1). “I started to realize that God doesn’t owe me anything. It’s not like he took something that was mine, it was just his all along. And it’s kind of beautiful that I now have this thing I can offer up to him, this thing that was a beautiful blessing but now I can give it back to him.”
In the end, Beth does not regret any of the pain she’s been through. “It’s hard to explain,” she smiled. “But somehow, it’s this richness, this sweet joy and restoration of being healed by God, and being loved and comforted by him that makes the hurt worth it. I never would have known how comforting the Holy Spirit can be if I didn’t go through that.”
Beth sees God’s redemption of these events so clearly in her life. She sees the blessings both in their time of dating as well as in their breakup. A couple of years have passed and Beth has a new boyfriend whom she loves deeply and who has loved her in the way she always desired. She praises God for him, but also tries not to cling too tightly, recognizing God’s sovereignty over that relationship.
Beth also, through all of this, has learned a great deal about loving and understanding people with same-sex attraction. She finds it frustrating when her Christian friends suggest that if certain people just had enough faith, God would rid them of their homosexual feelings. “I think most Christians need to realize that there are other devoted Christians who struggle with same-sex attraction, believe it is wrong, and are not in sin. Sometimes God doesn’t change them – that doesn’t mean that they don’t have enough faith or whatever. God might not change them, and trust me, that hurts them way more than it bothers you. But sometimes God tears us so that He can be the one to heal us. And he’s God, we just have to be okay with that.”
Beth’s story means a lot to me. I pray you can begin to see the ways God is sovereign over your own pain and know the beautiful healing he can bring, as Beth does.
Share on Facebook
Share on Twitter
I'm busy working on my blog posts. Watch this space!