Spirit-Led Woman

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Anne Paulk, who struggled with same-sex attraction, has some advice on how the church respond with grace and love to those struggling with same-sex attraction. (iStockPhoto.com)

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My husband and I were speaking at a conference about hope for those who struggle with unwanted homosexual feelings. When I saw the protest line forming on the sidewalk, I had a strong desire to go out and speak with the protesters. After praying, I walked out to meet the protesters.

"Hi," I said, "it's a nice day to be outside today. How are you doing?"

Then one of the women approached with a sign that read, "Anne, come back to us!"

"Well, I'm not coming back to you, but I did come out to you," I said. The play on words caused some laughter and enabled us all to relax a bit.

Finally, one of the lesbian women asked, "Do you think anyone can change?" A wonderful conversation began about God's redeeming love for all people.

I shared with them the hope that I had received from 1 Corinthians 6:9-11. Although the first few verses seemed discouraging, I found hope in verse 11: "And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God."

"If homosexuality is truly an issue of sin," I shared, "I knew God could help me!" In the end, they all signed the poster they had made and took a picture with me.

I couldn't help but say: "I thought you were the 'Lesbian Avengers.' The name sounds really tough!"

"Well, we're not really that tough," one responded. A young woman also seriously inquired, "You are not going to find our homes and set them on fire, are you?"

I couldn't believe my ears at first. "No, absolutely not!" I said. "We host these conferences because we want to offer the hope that we searched for so desperately years ago."

Amazingly, last year I was reintroduced to one of the women who had protested at the church event. She was attending Focus on the Family's Love Won Out conference and telling me about how she had surrendered her life to Jesus! It was a thrill to meet her again--this time as a sister in Christ.

Another example concerns a friend who reached out to her lesbian neighbors. Following a windstorm, Julie and her husband, Brian, noticed that the debris in the yard next door had not been cleared. They gathered the felled branches and began cleaning up the neighbors' trash.

Later, the women approached Julie to thank her. Tears welled up in the neighbors' eyes as Julie demonstrated Christ's love and then told them, "We love you." Little do they know that one of Julie's best friends left lesbianism.

Another friend engaged a lesbian couple in a discussion about Christianity and began meeting with them to discuss "things of faith." I encouraged her to avoid talking about homosexuality with them until they brought it up.

As she continued going through the Bible with the women, they realized who Jesus was and how much He loved them. They longed to give their hearts to Him.

My friend gently talked about the costs of discipleship, repentance and letting go of homosexuality in order to fully obey God. She also kindly explained that letting go of anything was a process, and homosexuality was no different.

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