Throughout most of my life, I never belonged. I always felt excluded, and I questioned my sexuality and my gender. I hated the idea of being feminine because it was so foreign. I didn’t feel like a girl, but I also didn’t identify as a boy.
I made my first meaningful connection with another woman when I was in my mid-teens. We had such deep intimacy and love that our bond set a standard for my other relationships for several years. Though I occasionally dated men, and briefly in my early 20s was married to a man, I never developed fulfilling or lasting relationships with them.
I “came out” when I was in my early twenties after my brief marriage fell apart. I felt lesbianism explained my childhood and young adult experiences. I thought I was finally being authentic and true to myself. As a dyke, I felt powerful and asserted myself in stereotypically masculine ways. I adopted men’s attire and a crewcut.
During those years, I found family and support as a lesbian living within the gay communities of large cities. I decided I wanted to attend seminary, and I did so as one of just a handful of openly gay students. After seminary, I began working with youth but questioned my faith.
In that season I reevaluated what I believed about God, what I believed about the Bible, and what I believed about myself. Through that process, I realized it was possible that some of my ideology had been wrong. I resolved to follow my faith sacrificially, which required re-evaluating what I understood the Christian sexual ethic to be.
Up to that point, I believed I was born gay and that God had created me that way. As I further studied Christian doctrine, eventually I no longer believed I was born a lesbian. My experience of God’s love, the Christian community around me, and my desire to pursue a life of prayer had a dramatic influence on my life.
I came to terms with the impact misogyny had on my self-perception and pursued pastoral care and counseling that addressed childhood hurts and perceptions. Above all, I acknowledged I had rejected myself as a woman.
I did not specifically seek change in my sexuality; nevertheless, I began experiencing changes in my sexual desires. I became attracted to a man, which was one of the most unexpected and humiliating experiences of my life, since I had so fully identified as a lesbian. He and I got married and have had a strong marriage of thirteen years thus far. Today I am happy, joyful, and feminine—all things that I never was while living as a lesbian. I am no longer sexually attracted to women. Rather, I am a strong advocate for their empowerment to overcome the effects of injustices against them.
Originally published on elizabethwoning.com.
In her early 20s, Elizabeth Woning “came out” as a lesbian and embraced the LGBTQ community. She attended a Presbyterian (USA) seminary openly lesbian, but upon graduating, an encounter with Jesus dramatically shifted her perspective. Over time, her relationship with God led to transformation and healing. Today Elizabeth is free of same-sex attraction and happily married to her husband, Doug. She teaches at the Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry and is a member of the Moral Revolution team. Her ministry highlights the power of intimate relationship with and knowledge of God to bring identity, wholeness and fulfillment. She is passionate to provide consulting to church leaders as they navigate the complexities of sexual and gender identity in our culture. Elizabeth holds a Master’s Degree in Theology and is a licensed pastor at Bethel Church.
Note from the MR Team: We don’t want to make light of a complex issue or pretend that it has simple, formulaic answers that work across the board. It is also not our heart to invalidate the feelings, struggles, or experiences of others. We do want people to have the freedom to follow the convictions of their heart and seek after the life the Lord is calling them to. We do want to be a voice of hope to the person who is wondering if change is possible or if anyone has ever experienced it before. We do want to encourage people to seek the Lord above everything else, to love Him with all of their heart, soul, mind, and strength, and to watch Him do more in their lives than they ever thought possible.