Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth: These days, it’s becoming increasingly trendy for young people to question their God-given gender. Laura Perry encourages us to be proactive.
Laura Perry: We need to be teaching young girls why it is good that God made us girls and why that is so special and wonderful. We need to prepare them for the lies of the enemy. This is the pervasive lie in the culture right now against these young people, and it’s a great opportunity for the gospel.
Nancy: This is Revive Our Hearts, a podcast dedicated to helping women experience and enjoy their God-created design. Today is June 4, 2021, and I’m Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth.
Well, throughout this week we’ve been taking a deeper dive into some difficult but important and timely subjects. Our new friend, Laura Perry, has been helping us to understand what she was thinking when she was walking in that world of transgenderism.
Laura: There is a deep, profound wound. It’s based on self-rejection. It’s for, whatever reason, “I don’t like myself. I don’t like who I was created to be. I don’t like who I am. And so I’m going to reinvent someone else that doesn’t feel this pain, that people don’t hate. I’m going to be someone that people love.”
In my mind, people loved men. Women weren’t loved. Women were discarded and used.
Nancy: Laura underwent significant body-altering surgeries. She received hormone treatments. She legally changed her name to “Jake.” But then, miraculously God rescued this precious woman from her darkness and confusion.
We also heard from Laura’s mother, Francine, as she described the deep agony she felt over her daughter’s choices through those years. Francine shared transparently about how the Lord showed her areas in her own life that He wanted to transform. And what a beautiful work of grace God has done in both of these women’s lives.
It’s been a powerful and touching week here on Revive Our Hearts. I’m so grateful to my co-host, Dannah Gresh, and to our friend, Mary Kassian, and to our producer, Phil Krause, and our entire production team for their hard work in pulling all this together.
As we continue thinking about this topic, Mary Kassian starts by pointing us to the One who designs us however He determines to be best.
Mary Kassian: Isaiah 64:8 says, “But now oh Lord, you are our father, we are the clay. And you are our potter, we are the work of your hand.”
Elsewhere in Isaiah, the Lord says, “You turned things upside down. Shall the potter be regarded as the clay, that the thing made should say of its maker, ‘He did not make me?’ Or the thing formed say of him who formed it, ‘He has no understanding’ (Isa. 29:16).
I think that’s the rub of the issue right there. What we wrestle with when we wrestle with questions of our identity is: “Who exactly has the right to define us and say who we are? Who has the right to determine who we are?”
The answer that we get from culture is: “We do! We have the right to say that for ourselves.”
But the Bible claims that because God is our Creator, it’s God who has the right to tell us who we are and how we ought to live. We do not have the right to define ourselves. He is the Potter. We are the clay.
Nancy: Now, today, Dannah Gresh, Mary Kassian, and Laura Perry continue their conversation by looking at a variety of practical questions when it comes to the topic of transgenderism and disordered sexuality. Here’s Dannah.
Dannah Gresh: I have a list of questions that I want to blast through. This is what I might call “practical questions.” Many of us are just now coming into contact with a friend or a family member struggling with gender dysphoria. Help us engage with them. Help us love them. Help us be a part of their redemption story by answering some of these questions that really are on the top of our minds.
First one is the big one. What’s the big one, Mary?
Mary: The big one is this: What do you say to someone who says, “I was born this way”?
Laura: I would have said that, too. I was absolutely convinced I was born that way. But, the reality is, that no matter what you’re feeling now, our feelings don’t constitute who we are. Only God can define who we are.
But, secondly, in a sense, we are all born that way. We are born in a fallen nature. We are born sinners, and we all need to be redeemed. There are some in the Christian community that are using that as an excuse to say, “Well, I’m going to keep the identity, but I’m just going to live celibate, or I’m just going to not live in sin.”
But God wants to redeem that identity, too. He wants to truly make us brand new, restore us to who He originally created. Like Mary shared earlier in 2 Corinthians 5:17, it says, “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature. Old things are passed away, behold all things have become new.”
I think if we hold on to that identity, and we say, “I’m a trans-Christian,” or “I’m a gay-Christian,” or whatever, we really are hyphenating our Christianity. We’re stopping short of the true power of the gospel of Jesus Christ that raised Christ from the dead, that can overcome any sin, any feeling, any desire, any belief. He can truly redeem us and make us brand new.
Dannah: I love that!
I have a friend whose sister is now living as a man. She, too, has had her chest removed. And just this morning I prayed with that friend, told him we were going to be talking together. What a lifeline of hope it was for me to say, “This was ten long years, but Jesus captured her heart.” You gave him so much hope!
But one of the things that he asked is, “How do you interact with a family member? How do you do Christmas? How do you do Thanksgiving? How do you do birthdays when there’s that tension? Is it easier? Should they just give up and say, ‘Come back when it’s all fixed?’ Or do you keep pursuing?”
Laura: Well, my parents kept pursuing. There were times I would cut them off. But I think we have to remember a couple of things.
One: I think we can be a good influence in their life. We can point them to Christ, but we are not their Savior. I think we need to remember that first of all. If we think that we are their Savior, we will do everything according to how they’re reacting or to how they’re receiving.
Remember that the devil is a liar. My parents didn’t know any of the stuff that was really going on internally. So much of what I was seeing and what they were saying was actually getting through and was having a far more profound effect, and I hadn’t told anyone.
Like the letter from my aunt, or even my parents a lot of times would just talk about . . . they stopped focusing on my sin. This is the one thing I would suggest: Don’t focus on their sin. Focus on Christ, and what He’s done in your life.
Jesus said, “If I be lifted up, I will draw all men unto myself.” And, of course, He was talking literally on the cross. But I think it’s also true when we’re sharing the gospel. Yes, people need to be aware of their sin. I knew where my parents stood on this. It’s not like they never said anything. But after a while, they just kept glorifying Christ. I mean, I could see it in them. They were being changed by Christ.
I think that’s the biggest key I can give any parent, anyone out there. Let God do a deep work. I know so many parents have been absolutely transformed as they’re waiting on these prodigal children. They draw closer to Christ, and as they began to be transformed by Christ. I began to see the difference in them. It was like a bug being drawn to the light. I mean, I was so fascinated by what was going on with my parents.
But as far as specifics of Christmas and things like that, treat them just like one of the members of your family, just like they’ve always been. I’d treat them like the daughter they’ve always been or the son they’ve always been.
My parents never used the male pronouns or the male name, and I would get mad. There were times I wouldn’t speak to them for a while. But I knew they loved me. I just kept trying to figure out ways to manipulate them to do what I wanted them to do. But I knew they loved me. I didn’t want to hear it. So I would go away for a while.
But I’m so thankful now that my mom never did. In fact, her not calling me Jake was like a . . . Every once in a while she would call me Laura. It would drive me crazy. I would get really mad, and I’d boil up at her. But when she would, it was like a tether to reality to me. It reminded me of who I truly was. And I’m so thankful that they never gave in on that.
Mary: I love that you said that the point is to exalt Christ, not to fix the behavior of the child, the prodigal, the sister or the brother. Ultimately, sinful behavior is a symptom of a deeper problem. And the symptom indicates that something is not right in that person’s relationship with Christ. To get to the root of the problem, people first need to address the conditions of the heart.
Dannah: Right. And what I’m hearing in your story—and I’ve heard this over and over again for every prodigal, no matter what their prodigal issue is, no matter what their pig trough is that they go to for fulfillment and then don’t find it—they already know what the Bible says about what they’re doing. It’s not like it helps to remind them. They know what they’re doing is sinful and wrong. They need the love of Christ. They need the friendship of Christ.
And another thing about your story as I listened is how God pursued you through all of that. And I think of two of the gospels—Matthew and John—described Jesus as a friend of sinners. It’s interesting that Jesus was given that name by His enemies as kind of a derogatory thing. Like, “Oh, that friend of sinners.”
Mary: He uses it for Himself then. He affirms.
Dannah: “Yes. I am a friend of sinners.” What does that mean for the friends, the family members of a prodigal? How do we reflect that heart of Christ practically?
Laura: Well, I think we look at His example. He was a friend of sinners. He loved them. He went and sought them out—like the woman at the well and the woman caught in adultery. But He didn’t leave them in their sin. He didn’t beat them to the ground. I mean, even with words. He didn’t berate them. He didn’t tell them how horrible they were. He would speak the truth to them, and then He would say, “Go and sin no more.”
But He spent time with them. He listened to them. The woman at the well, He has this conversation with, and He treats her like a woman. He doesn’t treat her like this filthy sinner or like the woman who came in and anointed His feet with the expensive perfume. So we know that He loved them, and He drew them near. But He also didn’t leave them where they were.
Dannah: That passage where the woman comes and anoints Christ’s feet, that’s one of my favorite stories in all of Scripture. I think I love it because I’ve been both that sinful woman washing Jesus’ feet, and I’ve been the Pharisee.
Mary: I’ve totally been both, too.
Dannah: Yes. And the Pharisee says (in his head. He doesn’t say it out loud. It’s too dirty of a thought—but he says in his head), “If you knew what dapado” . . . I don’t know if I’m pronouncing that correctly, but, “If you knew what manure, if you knew what filth was within this woman’s life, you wouldn’t let her touch your feet.”
And Jesus says, “I know. I know. I know.”
He wants to be touched by her. He wants to be in relationship with her. I love that story.
Mary: That reminds me of Romans 2, verse 4, “Do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance?”
So you have two sides of a coin right there. You have His kindness, His gentleness, forbearance, patience, His coming close and touching what some people view as untouchable, drawing near. And at the same time, you have Him desiring our repentance.
You see, God doesn’t leave us there in the place where He finds us. He doesn’t leave us in a place of sin and brokenness and darkness. He wants to bring us to a better place.
Two sides of the same coin. Deep compassion on the one side, and on the other, He draws us to deeper levels of wholeness and holiness and freedom—freedom, fullness and fruitfulness in Christ.
Dannah: I want to ask you a few questions about children. I have a deep, deep burden for the little women in the Church, in the Body of Christ. I run a ministry called True Girl for girls aged seven to twelve. We’re increasingly getting more and more emails on this topic with moms saying, “What do we do?”
So I have two questions. The first is: What do parents need to know?
I was shocked just recently to discover that in many states a school does not need to notify a parent if a child is expressing transgender questions. These same kids can’t get a pain killer or a tattoo without a parent signing off on it, but they can get help transitioning from their schools and don’t have to tell Mom. California made that law in 2013. Michigan followed in 2016. New Jersey, 2018. Recently, Wisconsin is coming up with some legislation. I didn’t know that. I would want to know that if I was a parent of a child in a public school.
What other things might we not know that we need to know for the sake of helping our children?
Laura: First of all, I think we need to be proactive. We need to be teaching young girls why it is good that God made us girls and why that is so special and wonderful and prepare them for the lies of the enemy. This is the pervasive lie in the culture right now against these young people.
So I think we need to be proactive in warning these children about the lies of this culture—just having discussions. We don’t need to scare them and breed fear, but just have a conversation about how the culture is establishing these ideas and how everybody thinks this is so wonderful. Just explain to them why this is a lie, why this is not good for them.
It’s a great opportunity for the gospel and to talk about how this is a fallen world that is cursed by sin and that people, when they don’t love God, everything gets turned upside down. Love is hate. Hate is love. Good is evil. Evil is good.
I think it’s a great opportunity for a conversation with your kid. If this is a little girl, ask them if they like being a girl. If not, why not? How do they feel like they fit in with other girls? Things like that—just ask them some good questions.
Dannah: And don’t freak out if you have a son at three years old think it’s cool to paint fingernails with his mom. He might be artistic. It might just be, “Oh it’s blue, glittery paint! Let’s put it everywhere.” Right? It could be that.
Dannah: Don’t be freaked out if your daughter wants to go hunting with Dad.
I have lots of friends. When I was writing about this topic in Moms’ Guide to Lies Girls Believe . . . Both of you have had some angst over being female. I never had that.
I didn’t realize how common it was for women to experience that—a bunch of women who had. As their parents allowed them to explore whatever was interesting to them—hunting, painting your nails, whatever—in a safe way, and also had the biblical guidelines of what it means to be female, by the time they were young adults, they loved being a woman.
Mary: Statistics, I believe, is that 80 percent will naturally outgrow and get over any gender dysphoria they might have. Wrestling with gender is a natural phase that children go through in their development, trying to figure out their own identity.
With me, I was with my dad in the workshop, and I learned to use tools. My parents didn’t discourage that. And yet, at the same time, they constantly affirmed that I was their girl. I think that was critically important. They didn’t say, “Oh, you like tools and masculine-type of activities, so maybe you were born the wrong gender.” Of course, that was a totally different era.
But this is what we’re facing now. Nowadays, parents are told, “If your little girl expresses masculine interests, or your little boy expresses feminine ones, then you better give them permission to change their gender . . . and you’re hateful and unloving if you don’t.”
Laura: Yes. And what’s so funny about that is that the activists get so angry at us making all these stereotypical, “How dare you tell a little boy that he can’t paint his fingernails,” and yet, when they embrace transgenderism, they often become very stereotypical of the opposite sex. It really does drive home the point, I think, that they don’t actually become women, and girls don’t actually become men. They really are doing the stereotypical thing.
There’s something so much deeper and so much more profound in being male or female.
Mary: Many, many young girls pursue transgenderism because it’s trendy or because of social pressure or because politically correct ideology and professionals push them in that direction.
Mary: The secular book that was recently published that asked the question, “What are we as a society doing to our little girls in pushing them toward transgenderism?” Instead of teaching them that womanhood is wonderful and beautiful and worthwhile and how to feel good about their femininity, we tell them that if they are uncomfortable with being a girl, they can simply discard womanhood and become a boy instead.
I just want to read a couple of quick Twitter comments from people who regretted transitioning and have detransitioned.
When I sought to transition, people said, ‘Good for you!’ When I sought to detransition, people asked, ‘Why?’ My detransitioning was questioned more than my transitioning ever was. My transition regret was picked apart far more than my gender dysphoria ever was.
Another person said: “When I had a double mastectomy, I got 400 likes on Facebook about it.” And then, she said when she decided to detransition, she didn’t get many likes at all, and many of her Facebook friends fell away.
When girls transition, they are heralded as being courageous and brave. And they receive a lot of attention and support. But they don’t receive nearly as much affirmation and support and attention for just being a girl.
So girls today are counseled to become trans, and they’re encouraged to become trans rather than to deal with their gender dysphoria.
Laura: In Romans 1:32, it says “Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them” (KJV).
I think that when people are living in sin . . . I’ve talked to so many that have lived in those lifestyles. They have told me that they knew the whole time that they were living in sin, and they knew that they were not right with God. But if they can celebrate somebody else’s sin, then it makes them feel better about their own sin. I think that’s why we see that so much.
When we’re doing the right thing, even if some of these transitioners haven’t necessarily come to Christ, they’re still doing the opposite of what the world wants. But Jesus, talking about us, when we have come to Christ, and when we’re doing these things, Jesus said, “If you are of the world, then the world would love its own, but I have called you out of the world. Therefore, the world will hate you.” (see John 15:19)
Dannah: Yes. We can feel that right now.
Laura: So we’re going to be persecuted, and we’re going to be hated. Plus, Satan is really behind all of this. He wants these kids. He’s really destroying . . . I mean, this is abortion for all future generations. Think about it: If he can make these kids sterile, then he’s committed abortion on their two, three, four, five kids—however many they would have had—before they ever get started.
Dannah: There are so many intellectually honest (I would tag these people as conservatives. I would not tag them as Christians) scholars and psychologists who are saying, “Stop the madness. You cannot transition these children. You cannot sterilize them when they’re young. At the very least, wait until they’re adults for that to happen.”
And what’s happening is we’re not, They’re becoming adults and saying, “Oops. That really was a mistake.” It’s just not even logical.
I think of that verse about how the Bible says that we become double-minded in all our ways. And when we become double-minded, we become unstable. (see James 1:8)
So over here on one side, the culture is saying, “Tolerate everything. Tolerance is our theology.” And then they’re saying, “Oh, but your tolerance has to match what we tolerate. And if it doesn’t, we can’t tolerate it.”
Dannah: That, I think, is the very definition of double-mindedness. Is it not, my friends?
Mary: Exactly. Proverbs 14:12 says, “There is a way that seems right to a man,but its end is the way to death.”
Now, all the ungodly paths we take fall into that category. Transitioning to be a gender that God did not create you to be is not worse than other sins. Every way that goes against the way of the Lord is a destructive path. It could be lust, pornography, adultery, hatred, slander, gossip, bitterness. Ungodly actions and ungodly attitudes can seem so right to us. Yet in the end, these things lead us away from the Lord, and, paradoxically, take us away from the freedom and wholeness for which we so desperately yearn.
Dannah: Well, Laura Perry, I’ve got to say: I don’t know if you had any friends applaud you on Facebook when you were as brave as you have been to detransition, but I want to be the first one to say, “Wow! You are an inspiration! You are an encouragement! You are a lifeline of hope for the moms and grandmoms out there whose prodigals, for a various number of reasons, are far, far from the Lord. You’ve reminded us that He is a redeemer, and He gets the final say.”
So I just want to say, “Thank you!”
Laura: Thank you so much. I’m just so grateful to Jesus for never giving up on me, for setting me free, for delivering me. Like I said before, I never thought I’d feel like a girl again. I am so blown away at what He has done.
So I just want to encourage anyone who’s listening just trust in Him. He alone can heal you.
Nancy: Wow! What an encouraging word of hope from Laura Perry.
And, Lord, I just want to stop again and thank You for Your amazing grace and Your intervention in the life of this woman. She was a prodigal, but You brought her back home to the Father, and You transformed her thinking in every way imaginable. We give You thanks.
And we think of all the other prodigals whose hearts You want to transform and are in the process of doing. We continue to pray for that, for Jesus’ sake, amen.
Well, Laura has been talking with Mary Kassian and Dannah Gresh. Mary’s going to be back in a moment to close with a final thought, but first, I want to mention that I’m thrilled that Laura will be with us at Revive ’21 this fall in Indianapolis. So I hope you’ll be able to join us whether in person in Indianapolis or in a special online experience that we’re designing for those who can’t be with us in person.
To register for Revive ’21, or for more information, go toReviveOurHearts.com. And let me say: Seats are selling out quickly for the onsite Indianapolis experience. So if you want to be with us in Indy, be sure and sign up as soon as possible.
Now, Laura’s written a book about her journey. It’s called, Transgender to Transformed, and we’re offering that book to you this week as our way of saying thank you for your gift of any amount to Revive Our Hearts. We’re a listener-supported ministry, and that means we depend on donations from friends like you to sustain our outreaches here in the United State and around the world.
Your donation today is an investment in the lives of women who need to better understand God’s design for their lives and to experience the joy of living that out. If you’d like to make a donation, you can visit us atReviveOurHearts.com, or give us a call at 1–800–569–5959. And when you contact us to make your gift, be sure to ask for a copy of Laura’s book, Transgender to Transformed.
Wow! This week we’ve heard the amazing stories of Laura Perry and her mom Francine, both of whom had to take God at His Word—at times, in spite of their feelings—and had to step out in faith.
Now, next week we’ll look at two men in the Old Testament who also learned to live by faith in the promises of God. I hope you won’t miss it.
If you want to get a head start, over this weekend, why don’t you spend some time in Numbers chapter 13. Read that chapter and ask the Lord to show you what it means to live a life of faith in the promises of God.
Now, to close out our series this week, I want you to hear a really important word from my friend Mary Kassian.
Mary: I just want to speak for a moment to the girl or young woman that is listening to this program and who is struggling with her identity as a female. I’ve been there a bit, Laura. I can totally understand that journey. And you’re listening to this, but you’re hearing all sorts of messages out in the culture that tell you your pain and dissatisfaction with your body and with your identity will only be resolved when you turn away from being a woman and transition to become a man.
Dear one, let me tell you this: Transitioning will not heal the pain in your soul. That is a wound that will only be made whole as you move deeper into a love relationship with the God who created you and who loves you so dearly through Jesus Christ His Son.
So will you turn to Him? Today, will you say, “Yes, God. I agree that You are the one. You are the One who has the right to define me and to tell me who I am. Please show me the path. Show me the way. Be near.”