(Photo courtesy of barefootblonde.com and photo of Melinda and her son courtesy of Melinda Serrano)
A Father’s Will and a Mother’s Mission
By Melinda Serrano
In my early twenties I had a son who was 7 years-old and a daughter who was five-years old. I was in a relationship which I believed was an unhappy one and I had fallen out of love. I decided to “take charge” of my life and go out into the world and “live it up.” I felt I was too young to be tied down with a partner and children. It didn’t take too long for that relationship to end and as life went on, I did not realize that I was detaching myself from my children emotionally and relying on my parents to give them what I couldn’t at that time. Their father perhaps too angry or hurt to realize was also detaching himself from our children, especially from our son Justin. After many failed relationships I met my husband Billy and 20 years ago we found Christ together and made Him the center of our lives.
By this time my children were teenagers they were growing in the Word as well as spiritually serving alongside my husband and I. Our home is Calvary Chapel Montebello. All three of our children grew in worship there. One would imagine how blessed I felt as my children, my husband, and I were all living a life in Christ. I couldn’t have been happier. Meanwhile, while we were living a Christian life, my son was falling apart with internal turmoil and struggling with homosexuality. Justin’s struggle shook our faith and our Christian foundation as well as exhausted our family’s mental and emotional health. From the age of 18, Justin struggled with homosexuality, than drugs to numb his shame and the pain that he felt.
As a young Christian, my heart was focused on sharing the Gospel with friends and family and participating in varies ministries such as Blended Families and marriage ministries. As I was going through these challenging times with my son, through much prayer God was able to work in my heart and I realized that His will would be my mission. That mission was to help those who are struggling with homosexuality, their families, and help them heal and offer comfort to them just as Jesus Christ has done for me and my family. 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 in the New Living tells us that God comforts us in all our troubles so that we may be able to comfort others in the same way He has comforted us. In this time I also realized through this journey that it is not always about others in our lives that are hurting. The Lord has shown me how I also hurt and how I need him in my life daily more than ever. He revealed my weakness and shortcomings in relation to how I was dealing with my son’s struggles with homosexuality. Isaiah 57:18 reminds us of the love and healing and comfort He gives us regardless of what we do and that is the way I have chosen to love my Son Justin.
Through Living Stones Ministries (a nonprofit Christ-centered organization in Glendora, California) I fulfill what I believe to be God’s will and my mission in life to help heal the pain some of us go through when our children, friends and family members struggle with homosexuality. We provide a place to come share grief and pain concerning homosexuality. We offer referrals for psychological counseling and most importantly a place where you are loved as God loves us all.
Today I am thankful to the Lord, His glory and mercy that my son Justin is a healthy, spiritually driven young man. He has been sober of three and a half years and is currently working and living at the Dream Center in Los Angeles. He is Assistant Director of Marketing and continues on his journey and spiritual growth. He looks forward to starting a family and sharing his story through his own mission and Gods will for him and his future.
Overall, I want you to know that God is faithful and we need to trust Him in everything we do. As I reflect on those challenging times I feel so grateful for trusting the Lord with my sons’ life and I realize the Lord loves him more than I could begin to imagine. Only the Lord knows his future and the plans he has for Justin and that’s okay. As I reflect without fear for my sons’ future, I am reminded of his favorite scripture Jeremiah 29:11 that says, “‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and to not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’”