Who I Once Was

I still sometimes hold my breath as I share my testimony.

Why would I hold my breath sharing my testimony? I’m a happily married woman with three healthy children in a nice suburban town. I have a handsome husband, lovely friends, and I go to church. It’s because I wasn’t always her. I was a very different woman who was not in pursuit of God. I was in pursuit of the desires of my flesh, which at that time, led me deep into a homosexual relationship.

I hold my breath now because I wonder if people will still wonder if that is really “who I am” and am now just hiding behind some heterosexual Christian lifestyle. That’s the elephant in the room for me, especially if someone’s read my book. It almost seems like it would be easier to talk about if I were recovering from substance abuse. I really don’t know that for sure, but it seems like it is slightly easier for people to wrap their heads around having once had an addiction to a substance and now living a lifestyle to avoid it.

Total Transparency

I want to be clear about my testimony because I don’t want to misrepresent my God. Jesus didn’t come into my heart and rid me of sin; He covered it, and me, with His love. I did not stop sinning when I accepted Christ. But as I felt His covering, His embrace, and His power coming to life in me, I began devoting more and more of my life to loving Him back, and my desire for sin started to change. The more I knew of Him, the more I was able to recognize my sin as a wedge between us.

This might sound crazy to some who are currently entrapped in this lifestyle themselves — I understand the intense pull of it. But it’s actually not crazy or complex. It’s as simple as this: my heart began to crave Him more than my sin. It was a paradigm shift. I wasn’t expecting it, and I definitely wasn’t pursuing the shift. I didn’t intend to stop my sin. I just pursued Him and everything else followed. The desire of my heart became more for Him than for anything, and I do mean anything else.

I’m not a “recovering homosexual.” I’m a recovering sinner, being made whole and clean and righteous in my Father’s sight, one day at a time, by His grace. This recovery will take the rest of my life, and I’m good with that.

It’s because of this massive paradigm shift in my life that I could never deny the existence and the power of my Lord Jesus Christ. And when I look to Him, instead of the world, His perfect love casts out fear to tell this truth. And the truth, my friend, is fulfilling and incredibly freeing. I’m in the most beautiful company and in the most intimate way possible, abiding in Him, and Him in me.

No other name could have saved me from me. No other love could have changed who I once was.

Joanna Sanders is a graduate of Villanova University and Moody Theological Seminary. She’s the author of Fire Women: Sexual Purity & Submission for the Passionate Woman and the co-author and editor of DiscipleTrip by Dr. Joey Cook. She’s also the founder and head writer of Colossians46.com, which provides biblical content support, writing, and editing. Most importantly, she is wife to Geoff and mom to three godly men-in-training. Her blog name “The Landing” comes from the account of the Ark resting on the mountain, creating a settled place — a landing — for man to start over, which echoes her new life in Christ.

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