This is one of the most amazing stories on sharing our faith I have ever heard. Just sent this out to hundreds of pastors and Christian speakers in our monthly Evangelism Illustration. To sign up for these or our prayer updates look to the upper right hand side of our blog and enter your email address and which lists you want to be a part of.
"I think what you have a tendency of doing is repeating what was done to you," Janet said.
The violence she experienced at home spilled over to fights at school. Janet developed a reputation as a bully and a tomboy.
When she was 12, Janet was sexually abused by a relative and later a boy from her church. Janet started rebelling and doing drugs to deal with the pain.
Janet finished high school and went on to college. She still used drugs, but there were other problems. "I was starting to become more attracted to women," she said. "So many men had hurt me that these women, I thought, were a lot more like me." Over the next few years she struggled to put those thoughts aside and even went as far as dating and getting engaged to a man she met at a local church. However, she fell into a lifestyle of homosexuality with a close woman friend.
Janet was confused and scared, so she went to her pastor for advice. "He said three things to me. He said, 'call off your wedding, get counseling, and tell your fiancé,'" Janet recalled. "Well, I did one of the three. I told my fiancé what happened, gave him back his ring and I walked away from the lord."
For the next 14 years, Janet lived a homosexual lifestyle and moved from relationship to relationship. She became deeply involved in drugs, cocaine this time, and developed bulimia. "My life was miserable. It was starting to go literally down the tubes," Janet said. "But I was refusing to come back to God."
She and her girlfriend decided to get married.
"We went to see a priest," Janet said. "The priest told us that what we were doing was okay, that we would still go to heaven. And so we went out and got engagement rings because we thought, ‘we’re going to get married.' he said it was ok. I wanted both. I wanted God, and I wanted to live a homosexual life. I wanted to find a way to have both."
During that time, something strange happened.
"There was this church called Maple Grove Assemblies of God. Every time I would go past this church, it was almost like I stepped out of myself and I was in that church," Janet said. "I would look at my girlfriend and go, 'I’m going to go to that church someday.' and she would look at me like, 'what are you talking about, Janet?'"
Then one night, she had an odd encounter while she was working. "I left at 3:00 a.m. And told them I was going to the store," she said. She struck up a conversation with a woman in the grocery store parking lot as they were packing away their groceries in cars next to each other. "I said, 'ma’am, what are you doing out here at 3:00 a.m. With all these groceries?' and she said, 'well, I just dropped my son off at college.' and I go, 'what college is open this time of night?' and she said, 'North Central Bible College.' I began to tell her that I was a backslidden Christian and that I’m living a homosexual life, and she pulled out this brochure - Maple Grove Assemblies of God," Janet said.
The woman invited Janet to a women’s bible study.
"And me, not thinking in my right mind, I said, 'sure, I’ll go.' and I came in with these sweat pants on, looking grubby, not knowing what to expect," Janet said. "I’m in a room with nine other women, just beautiful women, feminine, and I thought, 'what have I gotten myself into?' so, I’m sitting there with my head down, feeling so ashamed, thinking these women are cruel, they’re going to chew me up and spit me out. Everyone introduced themselves, and when they got to me, they asked me my name, and I said, 'my name is Janet.' and I said, 'I’m living a homosexual life. But if you help me, I will live my life for the lord.'"
Janet was surprised by their reaction.
"They didn’t talk about me. They didn’t tell me I dressed stupid. They allowed God to change me, they didn’t try to change me," she said. "One of them came to me a few months later and her and her husband were praying and they felt in their heart that I was supposed to come and live with them. Well, I sold my home, asked my girlfriend to move and at the age of 40 I moved in with this Christian home for a year. And it was the most amazing thing to watch this family have something that I never experienced."
And Janet’s heart began to heal.
"God started putting, great Godly men in my life," Janet said, "men at church that would just come up and give me a hug. And as I continue to be around people that love me and care about me, God continues to heal me from the inside out."
Ten years later, Janet is active in her church and ministering to others who want to leave the homosexual lifestyle. She wants them to know that healing is a process, but that they can experience complete freedom in Jesus Christ. She has written a book about her experience entitled Called Out, and shares her story regularly at churches and conferences. You can read more of the story and watch the testimony video here.