In Acts 11, Peter doesn’t argue with the Jerusalem Council about whether or not Gentiles are acceptable to God. Instead, he simply tells the story of his meeting with Cornelius and friends, and how he observed the Holy Spirit at work in their lives. In similar vein this IDAHOBIT (International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia), I’d like to introduce you to one of our beloved Sanctuary folk, Wenn, whose faithfulness shines through in the following testimony. Wenn writes:
It was 2015. I was on my way to Belgrade from London, via Frankfurt Airport in Germany, where I was to have sex reassignment surgery. It was a time of mixed emotions. My heart was beating with excitement and hope, but also uncertainty. I remember the song ‘Let your true colours shine through …’ (here) was sounding out loudly as I made my way to the departure lounge. As I looked up, there was a very large placard/billboard advertising a man’s wristwatch and the words ‘True Colours’ beneath the watch image prised over a very manly man’s wrist!
So often my Heavenly Father has spurred me on with words drawn on the back of a dusty removal van, spoken in prayer over me from a loyal friend, whispered on the tail end of some magic storm that blew through our open windows, or echoed from the pages of a novel. ‘Yes, Wenn,’ he was saying, ‘This is the right decision for you.’ I remember his smile and the joy of feeling led by his hand.
During the preceding couple of years, I had shared the dramatic news of coming to understand I was ‘male’ with my wife. At that time, we had shared our lives together as a same sex couple for close to 22 years. Initially, we desperately tried to stay celibate. Then one day, as I read John 8:32, I heard my Heavenly Father’s voice: ‘Wenn, you shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free.’ I knew the truth for me was that I loved a woman and I could no longer deny it. That was back in 1991.
Much later, in August 2013, the words of truth echoed again. I was a man, disguised as a woman. It was time to remove that disguise and be the man my head and heart knew me to be. It was time for my true colours to shine through. I was 32 when I finally took hold of that lurking, knowing truth: ‘I love a woman.’ I was 62 when I came to recognize that I was trans.
Coming ‘out’ twice (once as gay then as trans) didn’t draw my Christian family to embrace me and welcome me home, finally! Instead, I was shunned and asked to change my ways or leave the church. Church and Christian life was my whole life. When I gave my heart to Jesus as a thirteen-year-old, I knew his love and acceptance of me, whoever I was, was total. Although the church as I had known it, which had been the only home I had known for the whole of my early adult life, no longer had room for me, this wasn’t true of my Heavenly Father.
The past eight years (since the decision to transition from female to male) have held moments of feeling utterly lost, extremely exhilarated, times of dark hopelessness, and then a regathering of strength. Through it all my Heavenly Father’s love and acceptance of me hasn’t wavered. He has spurred me on and walked with me every step of the way. Eventually, in September 2020 we found our new spiritual home and community at Sanctuary Baptist Church in Warrnambool, Victoria.
Coming home in every sense of the word has taken its toll. But now we are here we are able to rest a while and bathe in God’s grace, goodness and love. Here I rest my head in his bosom and allow his words to wash over me … cooling, calming and complete.
Wenn B. Lawson
Emailed to Sanctuary 17 May 2022 © Sanctuary, 2022.
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