Revive Our Hearts Radio

When a Son Says, “I’m Gay.”

Leslie Basham: Angela Yuan got on a train to visit her son to tell him goodbye. She then planned on taking her own life.

Angela Yuan: I felt there’s nothing I could live for because family is everything for me. My husband and I had already gone through a divorce. And my oldest son at that time was rebelling. He left home. Then my younger son declared that he was gay and said there was no way he could change, so he left home. So what else did I have left?

Leslie: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss for Friday, August 28, 2015.

If you have young children at home, be advised. Today’s program isn’t graphic. But it does include a discussion of some mature themes. Here’s Nancy.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss:We are very blessed to have with us in the studio this week a mother and son who are here to share their journey of faith and the amazing, transforming, redeeming power of God in their lives. As I’ve heard the story of Christopher Yuan and his mother, Angela, both of whom are with me here in the studio today, I’m just reminded of the story in Luke 15 of the prodigal son, and how God is such a redeeming God, a reconciling God, a restoring God who brings hope out of hopeless places and light out of darkness and joy out of depression and discouragement.

That story of the prodigal son and his return home is so beautifully illustrated in the mom and son that we are going to hear from this week on Revive Our Hearts. So, Angela Yuan and son, Christopher, welcome to Revive Our Hearts.

Christopher Yuan: Thanks so much for having us.

Angela: Thank you for having us.

Nancy: You were speaking in the area yesterday, and I had a chance to go hear you. When I saw that it was on your schedule to be in this area, near where our home base is located, we contacted your office and said, “Is there any way you could come and share with our listeners?” I’ve been hearing bits and pieces of this story over a number of years. And it’s really a privilege to get to meet you, Christopher. And then Angela, we met fifteen years or so ago, back in the late nineties at a Revive Our Hearts conference at your church near Chicago. We had a chance to connect then. You were just a new believer at the time.

Angela: Yes, I was, Nancy.

Nancy: But God has done such an amazing work in bringing you both to faith and in restoring your lives. In fact, you’ve written about that story in a book called, Out of a Far Country. Now our listeners may recognize that term, a far country, as coming from Luke 15 where it talks about the prodigal son who went and wasted his family’s living in a far country. And so I love that title, Out of a Far Country. And the subtitle is, “A Gay Son’s Journey to God and a Broken Mother’s Search for Hope.” And that already tells a little bit about your story.

But I want to take us back to that day in May of 1993 when Christopher, you had come home from dental school. You were in your junior year. You were with your family at the dinner table. It was really tense. And I know, Angela, you remember that evening so clearly because you were getting ready to confront Christopher over something you had found. Just tell us how that evening unfolded.

Angela: I remember Christopher came home. I thought he came home for Mother’s Day. I just thought I would welcome him home because we hadn’t seen him for months. But just before he came home, my husband found a video tape in the crawl space. I remember because this had happened before; I was scared to look at the tape. I told my husband to view the tape. It happened to be male pornography.

Nancy: Gay pornography.

Angela: Gay pornography. So at the dinner table I was hoping my husband would bring this up, but he didn’t. So when I confronted him, I said, “Christopher, are you still . . .” And Christopher seemed to know what we were talking about, and he said, “Yes, Mom. I am gay.”

Nancy: So, “I am gay.” Three words that were about to change your life in a major way.

Angela: Yes. It’s really nothing you can describe. I was shocked and shaking, and I stood up. The minute I stood up, I fell on the floor. I felt so bad. I don’t even think I had tears. I just totally collapsed. I don’t even remember seeing anybody around me. I didn’t see my husband. Everything was black.

Nancy: So you’re devastated.

Angela: I was so devastated.

Nancy: And Christopher, how are you feeling at this point? What are you thinking?

Christopher: Well, my mom had given me an ultimatum. She said, “You must either choose the family or choose homosexuality.”

Nancy: This was the same conversation at that dinner table?

Christopher: Yes, at that dinner table. And I think, looking back, I understand now. Especially since we were not Christian, we did not have any foundation for living for God. And for Asians, Chinese, our values were so much wrapped around the family. I think that’s very important, but to the point where almost that’s the main emphasis for life. So for my mother, family was everything. So it would have been a no-brainer for my mom, that this was an easy choice; that it would obviously be the family.

Nancy: She thought you would say, given the choice, I’ll take my family.

Christopher: Very obviously because of her culture and because she couldn’t understand. For me, though, I was born here. I am of Chinese descent, but at that point, I didn’t want to be Chinese. I wanted to be American. I wanted to be like everyone else. And so family was just something that was dispensable, and that was not important to me. And my homosexuality, being gay, was just as big a part of me as being Chinese. And at that time, I thought it as even being probably more important.

So I thought, Well, I can’t choose who I am. I can’t even choose being Chinese. I couldn’t choose being gay. This is how I thought back then. And so I just said, “Well, if you can’t accept me, then I have no other choice but to leave.” And that just crushed my mother.

Nancy: And your friends back in Louisville had kind of prepared you for that to be the way it turned out.

Christopher: Yes. And they gave me the whole story line of, “Well, this is how our parents responded. They don’t understand. They are old-fashioned. They will just reject you. And they will kick you out of the home.” And in a sense, that is what I wanted. I wanted that freedom. I wanted to be able to live my life not having parents looking over my shoulder, telling me what to do or even having that pressure of parents telling me what to do. So I already expected that. I let that narrative in my mind play out.

Nancy: Now let’s back up. There were a lot of things that led up to this moment. Christopher, you have already stated that your family was not Christian at that time. And Angela, you really had no interest in spiritual things or in the Lord at all at that point in your life, right?

Angela: No. I thought as long as I did what I was supposed to do and be the best I could and be an honest person, then I didn’t need religion. I didn’t think that there was a God.

Nancy: So you would have considered yourself, looking back, as an atheist at that point.

Angela: Yes.

Nancy: And to add to that, not only did you not have the Lord, but maybe because of that, your marriage was not in a good place, either, at that point. Describe where you were in your marriage.

Angela: Ever since we got married, it just got worse and worse and to the point that year, we had decided to go through with a divorce.

Nancy: So you had been married how long at that point?

Angela: Twenty-eight years.

Nancy: You had two grown sons. Why were you pursuing divorce?

Angela: Because I felt it was hopeless. Even both my sons were encouraging me to just go my separate way with my husband and just get a divorce.

Nancy: Because there was a lot of tension in the family or in the marriage? What led up to that?

Angela: We had a lot of fights. Almost every day we were just very unhappy. Both my sons told me, “It’s hopeless. Why do you keep trying? Why don’t you just leave and have your own life.” And they just really encouraged me to just get divorced. So I we went to talk to the lawyer and prepare the paperwork.

Nancy: You’ve talked about how your husband was a very quiet man. It seems like there wasn’t much communication in the marriage.

Angela: No we didn’t have much communication. I feel like we didn’t have much communication. Sometimes the husband thinks differently. I felt like he was just by himself and he did not understand what my need was. And my case it’s more like the in-law’s between my parents and his parents.

Nancy: Who were back in China?

Angela: In China. In Taiwan. But there is still that tradition, the Chinese tradition to have a hold on their children.

Nancy: So you felt he was more loyal to his parents than to you?

Angela: Exactly. Yes.

Nancy: So you’d had years of life without the Lord, marriage without the Lord, and now you have a son who is involved in something. Was a lot of your brokenness over this the sense that this was going to bring shame to your family?

Angela: Yes. It would is very shameful to lose face in the Chinese culture. And also, personally, I just felt betrayal. I already felt my husband’s betrayal, now it was my son.

Nancy: And Christopher, for you, this wasn’t just a sudden foray into this lifestyle. It’s really something that started with exposure to pornography at an early age.

Christopher: A very early age, Nancy. I recall back to when I was about nine years old. We had some good friends of the family, and we would visit them over the summer. They were good friends of my parents. We would spend overnight at their place, and I found pornography in the bathroom. The father just kept it there underneath the sink. I remember looking at it and that was when I realized I that had this affinity towards the same gender, and I was scared. I believe I was about nine years old. And you know, at nine years old, I don’t see it being very healthy for any nine-year-old to be stumbling across pornography.

Nancy: Or any age at all.

Christopher: Any age at all. Thank you. To have any of those desires to be awoken because it’s so early. It was so confusing, in addition to me. No one ever told me, but I felt that this did not fit in with the other boys. I don’t even remember at nine years old the other boys even chasing after little girls. But I already had this kind of pull. So that was probably the beginning of when I realized that struggle. But I kept it pushed down, just hoping that it would go away. That it was somehow some phase and I would become like one of the other boys.

Nancy: But that is exactly what you didn’t feel as a child is that you were fitting in to be like one of the other boys. Because you were different in a number of ways, you felt.

Christopher: Yes. I never, never really felt like I fit in because I was Asian, because I was sensitive. I loved music and the arts, and I was horrible at sports. So in almost every way I didn’t fit in with the American boys that were playing on the playground and getting dirty.

Nancy: Were you teased for being different?

Christopher: I did. I got teased not only for being different, for being Asian, but also for being short and kind of what people would call effeminate. I was called names. You know, Nancy, often we say, “Sticks and stones will break our bones, but words will never hurt us.”

Nancy: Not true, is it?

Christopher: It is so not true. I mean, one simple word can just devastate a child for months. So this was the kind of input I was getting. And it greatly impacts a child—the names that they are called. I really think it affects their spirit. So from that young age not only did I have that struggle, but I felt that I was different. And, people even today say, “Well, I knew I was different from a young age so therefore I must be made this way or born this way.”

But I realized the reality is, we are all different. I think we should realize we are different. And that is a good thing that God created us to be unique, to be special. Yet sometimes when you are a little bit too unique or maybe too different, then society kind of frowns upon that.

Wouldn’t it be incredible as the body of Christ to come alongside these people that are seen to be outcasts and different and to say, “You know what? You are precious in the eyes of God as a daughter of God, as a son of God. Even though your peers are calling you names, God loves you. God loves gifts, and He’s given you these gifts to be precious."

Nancy: I know one of the things you have a burden for is about the importance of parents protecting their children from exposure to pornography to the extent that that’s possible. And you are kind of on a campaign about that aren’t you?

Christopher: Yes. I believe strongly. I think things would have greatly changed if I had not been exposed to pornography at that young age. Not to say that I wouldn’t have struggled or had these feelings, but certainly not that young. I really strongly implore parents of children or grandparents to be sure that your youth, children, young adults, have stuff on their computers—Internet filters, accountability programs—just to block and to hold each other accountable. In Internet there’s a lot of wonderful things, but there are a lot of things that can be detrimental to our spiritual growth.

Nancy: And you actually recommend a couple of programs that can help if our listeners will go to ReviveOurHearts.com we’ll put links to those couple of programs. I appreciated the fact that you have pointed out some that are free.

LINKS:

Free Internet filter

Free Internet accountability program

Free Bible-based courses to help people be free from habitual sins

Paid Internet filter/accountability program 

Paid Internet filter/accountability program 

Paid Internet filter/accountability program 

Christopher: Some that are free. Yes. There are some that cost money, but also some that are free. So I think it’s really, nothing should hold us back. I think this is so important as adults we have the responsibility to shepherd and protect our children.

Nancy: And so, coming out of a non-Christian background where you weren’t shepherded, you weren’t protected, you had made some choices. Then continuing into your teen years, and by the time you got to college or dental school, were you actively pursuing this homosexual lifestyle?

Christopher: Well, through high school, college, I just kept those feelings pushed down and in secret because I was really hoping that they would somehow go away. I even was in the Marine Corps Reserves for a little while thinking, Well, maybe I can find my manhood this way and fit in. But they didn’t go away.

So when I was in my early twenties, I went to dental school in Louisville, Kentucky, and that was finally when I came out of the closet. I was open to my friends, my classmates, there in Louisville. That was after that first year in dental school in Louisville, University of Louisville, that’s I went home and had this confrontation with my mother.

Nancy: And at this point, Angela, your marriage is hanging by a thread, and you are absolutely devastated. You just must have felt at that point that things couldn’t get any worse.

Angela: That’s right. Yes.

Nancy: But they did get worse. In the midst of that journey and this is where I love seeing how your story has unfolded, there was a God who was pursuing you and your son and your husband. It was going to be a number of years as that journey unfolded. And that’s why we are going to take a few days to tell this story. But here you are, Christopher. Angela, you’ve given him this ultimatum, “Choose the family or homosexuality.” He says, “I can’t deny who I am.” And he walks out the door?

Angela: Yes.

Nancy: And leaves? You go back to school? Where does that leave you, Angela?

Angela: It left me just hopeless. After I got up from the floor, that was already evening because that was at dinner time. And naturally, I couldn’t fall asleep. I felt that this was going to be the end of my life because there is nothing that can hold me back on this earth.

Nancy: You thought there was nothing left to live for.

Angela: Yes. I felt there was nothing I could live for because family is everything for me. My husband, we were already going through a divorce. And my oldest son at that time was also a rebel. He left home. Then my youngest son declared that he was gay and that there was no way he could change, so he left home. What else did I have left? So I went to a minister, and he gave me a pamphlet on homosexuality. And with the pamphlet I went to the train station and I thought, Well, at least I want to say good-bye to Christopher.

On the train I was reading that small pamphlet, and I think that God is just amazing. He didn’t give me a book, because I didn’t like to read. If he gave me a book, I probably would not have read it. He didn’t give me just one page, that’s too little. He gave me just enough. I think this was twenty pages long, enough for me to understand what was happening.

I remember I was holding onto that pamphlet and on the train I started reading that pamphlet. And through that pamphlet, that was the first time I understood unconditional love. I thought I loved my children, I loved my husband. And that was not it. Now I understood that God’s love is unconditional.

Nancy: Now, we’re going to pick up that story right at that point when we come back tomorrow because what happened on that train ride was really transformational for you. I hate to leave our listeners hanging here, but we are going to do that. And just to say that you know already that God is a redeeming God and He is in the process of redeeming these lives that are on a path of destruction.

But I want to encourage our listeners to pick up a copy of this book, Out of a Far Country, by Christopher Yuan and his mother Angela Yuan. The subtitle is: “A Gay Son’s Journey to God,” and he wasn’t anywhere close on his journey yet, we’ll get there, but then “A Broken Mother’s Search for Hope.” And really, there were two prodigals here. You were both in the far country. The details of your lives were different, but God was bringing those circumstances to bear to cause you to look to Him to bring you to the heavenly Father.

I know we have a lot of listeners who are perhaps in a place today where you feel there is no hope. Maybe it’s because of situations in your family—a divorce pending or a prodigal child. Maybe it is something that is entirely different—a terminal illness, or a situation in the work place—but you feel like it’s hopeless. As we listen to Christopher and Angela tell more of this story over the next couple of days, you are going to be so encouraged, believe it or not, as we see God intervening from heaven to bring these prodigals home.

And this story has been beautifully written in this book, Out of a Far Country. It’s available through our resource center. In fact, this week, if you’ll send a donation of any amount to Revive Our Hearts to help this ministry continue helping people who are in hopeless situations, as you send a donation of any amount, we’ll be glad to send you a copy of this book. Just give us a call at 1–800–569–5959, or go online to ReviveOurHearts.com, you can make a donation there.

You can also find links to those Internet filters and accountability helps, those programs that Christopher mentioned that are available to help with protecting your Internet usage in your home and some other resources we’ll have available there. But get in touch with us. Let us know you’d like a copy of this book, and we’ll be glad to send it to you when you make a donation of any amount.

And be sure and tune in to Revive Our Hearts tomorrow when we continue our conversation with Christopher Yuan and Angela and we see how the Lord began to intervene to bring these prodigals home.

Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss is an outreach of Life Action Ministries.

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