I was a professing Christian for most of my life, then at 44, God actually made me one.
"But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit," Titus 3:4-5
Up till then I'd walked aisles and prayed the prayer several times over, and cried plenty sorry tears, but my sorrow was never more than a worldly sorrow and my faith was in vain. However I was sincere..really truly sincerely sincere! Little did I comprehend the utter impossibleness of "sincereing" my way to God or with Him in heaven.
"Jesus said to him, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." " John 14:6
I was a false convert.
The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit." John 3:8
Married at 18, twin boys by 19, those early days were a blissful time. I loved being a mother and wife. Skipping by fairly normal (whatever "normal" means) kid-raising years, our boys had been out of the house a while and by all accounts were happy, healthy young men on their way to productive lives of their own . Still youngish ourselves, husband and I were happily settled-in to the empty nester life. We had financial security, the home, the toys and plenty of friends to share with. We had "arrived", that is, if that's all there is to life in this world. Collecting stuff and good times. Yeah, I was feeling pretty great about my life, myself and about God at this point. So lets go!
"Or do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God's kindness is meant to lead you to repentance? But because of your hard and impenitent heart you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath when God's righteous judgment will be revealed." Romans 2:4-5
Then one day something was revealed that I'd NEVER expected to hear - that one of our boys is homosexual.
After the subsequent shock of this had settled and we talked-notably about his experiences as a child and feeling "different", I was relatively resolved that our son is gay. Since my worldview had been (primarily) shaped by the world and not the Bible this was not a huge deal to me (as such). I'd seen the documentaries and felt sympathy for those who from childhood had agonized so deeply and secretly to be free of their "unnatural" feelings. Even my own son cried out to God to take these feelings away from him but to no apparent avail, as he later told us. To this day my heart is pierced to think of it.
But same sex attraction really isn't the problem, I would later come to understand.
At the urging of our other son (whom God had taken hold of in high school) I went to my bible for the first time in many years. You see, even though I called myself a Christian, even having attended some churches and bible studies over the years, I never stuck with those things. Because of course those things got in the way of our pursuit of happiness. Other than vague recollection I really wasn't aware of what the Bible fully said to homosexuality. So what was the purpose in it? Why were some people wired this way? I believed God didn't make mistakes, so I set about to find out what His word said.
(a part of me knew this was much bigger, it had to be more than about my kid's sexual preference but what??! Deep in the recesses of my all but solidified heart was the tiniest clodlet of fertile soil, reserved just for a certain time..)
So I did keyword searches on a bible site to help me find the pertinent verses ("homosexuality" "homosexual"...). As I waded through the scriptures into the wee morning hours, you know, to investigate another persons sin, I could sense something deep inside my own self was being awakened. Since finding this out about my son (a story in itself) my head was in this very strange place, a weird sort of constant intermittent spin mode. I retired for the night, anxious to get back to more reading after some sleep.
The next day I picked up a bible my parents had given us. By this time I was reading beyond the "pertinent" scriptures and pouring through whatever came before and after and beyond. The context of what I was reading was beginning to take shape and I was being drawn in. I don't even remember exactly which verse I was reading when I broke down, (I wish I did!) but as I read, God began to reveal Himself to me and for the first time in my life I saw myself as God saw me and it wasn't pretty.
I saw God's holiness and it wrecked me. In those moments I became so ashamed of myself and my sin that I was weeping uncontrollably. The words "all those years I've wasted" repeating themselves over and over and over in my head and out my mouth.
"And the foundations of the thresholds shook at the voice of him who called, and the house was filled with smoke. And I said: "Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts!" Isaiah 6:4-5
But soon came the Joy.
As I realized what was happening to me my sorrow turned to Joy; "So this is what it means to be born-again!!" I was alive for the first time in my life and I knew it. I knew God had just saved me, I knew that my standing with Him had just been made right. I knew I'd have entered an eternity in hell, separated from God had I died before that day. All that I once believed about God, about humans, about all of life was completely wiped away and replaced by the true revelation of God's word and of His Son. God turned my world right-side-up. That day my life changed for real, forever, for eternity.
This truth and these thoughts do not come to a person naturally, only the supernatural working of the Holy Spirit in the heart of a person can explain what happened inside me.
"For by grace you have been saved saved through faith, and this is not your own doing, it is the gift of God, not a result of works so that no one may boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them" Ephesians 2:8-10
We love our son deeply and unconditionally, that will never change, only continue to grow. We do not pray for his sexual orientation to change; we pray for a change in his heart that only God can provide, that God grant him repentance and faith just as with us.
We are believing and trusting and crying out to Jesus for our son's salvation.
~ "There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death...For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees?...And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. ~ Romans 8: 1-2; 24; 27-28
(more detailed version here)