I first got to know Alan when we were in elementary school. We both lived in a predominantly Jewish neighborhood of Baltimore. When there was a Jewish holiday, he was the only Gentile in one class and I in another, so we were thrown together.
I wore glasses and was overweight, but he really liked me. I could never understand that. 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 was working in a hospital, I began to see some of the awful realities of life. I realized these things in Alan were wonderful characteristics to keep you going through life. I began to love him more and more.
Alan asked me to marry him, and I accepted. Unknown to me, he had already been involved in homosexual activities for seven years. But the first two years of our marriage were ideal. We didn't fight; we had a wonderful time. We didn't go through any of the crises we saw many of our friends experiencing. But after our two girls were born, all kinds of things began to come out from my childhood, a variety of insecurities and anxieties. I had a thyroid problem which caused some personality problems. So Alan had two little girls and a wife who looked like she was going to go off to an institution. It must have looked overwhelming.
I think it was shortly after our second daughter was born (after five years of marriage) that things really began to go down the drain between him and I. It was just before this time that I came to know Jesus in a personal way.
I remember a vision I had one night. 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. I said, "You know I'm terrified of water. I can't do it. I cannot bring myself to jump off this boat." 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 really feel this was the beginning of my life with the Lord. I guess He was preparing me for what He was going to take me through during the next ten years. I still had no idea of Alan's involvement with other men.
It was within a matter of six months of that vision that life became hell for Alan and I. He was unable to give to me at any level, as he got further into homosexuality. I felt more and more destroyed as a person.
Several years after this, 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, and set about "curing" the person. So I began to read through 10 books on homosexuality.
As I read, I began to realize that the preconditioning factors were right there in Alan's life. I started looking more closely at the things that my husband gravitated to. It was very difficult for me to accept it, but it became very apparent to me that this really was the problem.
I never confronted Alan about it. Perhaps I was afraid of losing him. And I never spoke to anyone else about what I suspected. So I had this knowledge in my heart for five years, but never expressed it to anyone. God was the only one I communicated with on any honest basis for those years.
About four months before Alan's healing, I began to attend a prayer group. Unknown to me at the time, most of the women involved had alcoholic husbands. 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 being his mother. I had to stop building a perfect rosey-colored world to cover the mess our lives had become.
God showed me He was unable to deal with Alan, because I insisted in shielding him from the pain. I realized I was saying, "I can take better care of him than God can." It was only a month after I decided to really give him to the Lord that his life was totally changed.
It happened on November 26th, 1974. Before Alan left for a prayer meeting where he accepted Jesus 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, comes in after a prayer meeting and chases after you, you know there's been a change! It took a few days for Alan to realize how great his healing had been. He knew he had become heterosexual.
He also 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 he was very distressed. I wanted to make it easier for him, so 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 ahold 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. I dropped down on the couch in an exhausted stupor for about 3 hours.
When I got up, I felt different than I'd felt in years. But rage continued to come out of me for another 2-3 years. I also experienced great difficulty with the sexual aspect of our marriage.
But God began healing me. The beginning of the journey to wholeness was to find out who I was. It was something I'd never done before. 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, to find my identity in Him. When He spoke to me 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.
I believe a woman finds out who she is by listening to her Creator-not to the world around her, or even to her husband. Then some of the tougher steps came in, such as telling Alan when I was upset, when something he'd done angered me, when I felt lonely. I had to honestly confront him, and stop
centering my life around him and his needs. I'd 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.
I could finally 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'd 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. I think many of the underlying problems in our marriage have been healed.
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 or more healing 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. God wanted us to have this child. In my inner knowing, I heard God say to me, "You never have to fear again." Our son was to be a sign to me that Alan would never go back to his previous lifestyle. And every time I look at Stevie, I know that I have nothing to fear. It's really beautiful what God has done in our lives.
Willa is the wife of Alan Medinger, Director of Regeneration in Baltimore, Maryland. Her husband's story of sudden deliverance from homosexuality in 1974 is available through our office. Distributed by Love in Action P.O. Box 753307, Memphis, TN 38175-3307: 901/542-0250