I can’t control my mouth. I’m a cynic. I’m an addict. I’m a victim. I’m fearful. I can’t change.
These statements may echo our experiences, but if we allow our experiences and brokenness to define us, then we shut out the possibility that we can be restored to the glorious image of our Creator.
The First Step of Answering “Who Am I?”
“Who am I?” is the question that haunts us. This question will tease our minds until we first answer the question that Jesus asked Peter: “Who do you say that I am?” Only when we answer with Peter, “You are the Messiah,” meaning our savior and deliverer, will we be able to hear the Lord’s answer to our question, “Who am I?”
Our identity is like clay, molded by experiences, relationships, and our responses to them. This clay is vulnerable, especially in the impressionable young. Sometimes, unguarded clay can be malformed or disfigured when touched by the gnarled hands of traumatic experiences, abusive relationships, and inappropriate responses to them both.
Laura Perry’s Transgender Lifestyle
For example, First Stone Ministries recently published the compelling testimony of Laura Perry, who lived a transgender lifestyle for eight years. Laura grew up in the shadow of her hyper-stressed, “super-Christian” mother. Her mom communicated the message that Laura was a nuisance, while she doted on Laura’s more quiet, compliant brother. The intense jealously this bred, combined with being molested at age eight, and female problems in her teens, was enough that Laura threw her female identity into a deep cistern.
Laura began fantasizing about being a boy due to her intense hatred of her own gender. She began to seek out sexual experiences, became addicted to pornography, and pursued sexual encounters with strangers. A local transgender group then encouraged her to pursue her new identity, so she received heavy doses of hormonal therapy, a double mastectomy, and surgical remove of all female organs to fully become “Jake.” Laura’s name and body were changed, but her deep depression and dissatisfaction stayed the same. She recalled, “The outward cosmetic change had done nothing to ease my identity crisis.”
Transformations & Finding Their Identity
As Laura was transforming, her mother was undergoing a transformation of her own. Laura’s mom surrendered her self-righteousness for an enticing faith in Jesus. The two of them began to talk daily about a Bible study her mom was leading. Then Laura heard a radio broadcast discussing the rising transgender issue. She wished the host would return to more mundane topics, but instead the words spun her identity around like clay on the potter’s wheel. She was reeling.
Two questions came to her in a vision from Jesus:
“If you stood before me tonight, what name would I call?” and “Do you trust me?”
Taking Part in the Death & Resurrection
Laura affirmed her trust in Jesus by letting Jake die, a death that she mourned with deep, anguished sorrow. In the dark night of her soul, she wept with painful grief for three days. One can imagine Jesus with her in the tomb, waiting to guide the resurrection that was soon to come.
Leaving Jake’s clothes in the grave, Laura attended a women’s Bible study and encountered a love beyond anything she had experienced through a sexual partner. Life and freedom were her resurrection inheritance, and in the light of love, her true identity was revealed.
Finding Our True Identity
Instead of gender reassignment surgery, do we let the Word perform identity reassignment surgery? Do we have courage, like Laura, that allows the Lord to transform every aspect of who we think we are at the deepest level?
All too often, we identity with our sin and brokenness more than we identify with the image of God. We must look to YHWH, the great “I AM,” to confidently answer the question, “Who am I?”
Our true assignment is to reflect the image of God in Christ. Love calls us to identity with Him.