Note: Today we’re sharing the second part of Laura Perry’s story. If you didn’t catch it previously, you’ll want to check it out before diving into today’s post. Read it here!
Laura Perry was at a crossroads. Lying on the operating table, the jagged, dotted lines drawn across her chest marked her as prepped and ready for the next stage of her gender transition: a double mastectomy. She was about to become one step physically closer to being a man and living her life as “Jake.”
But God didn’t see “Jake” lying on the table. He saw Laura—His daughter, Laura. That day as doctors worked to turn Laura into someone who looked more like “Jake,” unbeknownst to them, God was at work on their patient as well, prepping her to be transformed into someone who looks more like Jesus.
Laura began to have doubts about the surgery, but she felt it was too late. She was terrified she would die on the operating table, so she began to cry out to the Lord. God, in His kindness, answered her prayer. “I was so excited when I woke up; I was so relieved!” Laura recalls. “I really thought there was a real chance I could wake up in hell, but I was so determined that this was who I was, that I was willing to roll the dice. I was absolutely convinced this was the only course I had.”
The Long Path to Freedom
Physically, Laura woke up from her surgery that day, but it didn’t take long before she was lulled back into a spiritual sleep. She says, “When I woke up, I quickly forgot God, and I forgot my prayer. I was on my merry way. I thought I was going to ride off into the sunset of eternal freedom in this new identity. But God didn’t forget me, and He didn’t forget my prayer.”
Like a tiny pebble nestled firmly in her shoe, God continually brought people and circumstances into Laura’s life to remind her He had not forgotten.
A few weeks after her surgery, Laura remembers her supervisor at work confronting her:
She came to me one day and she got in my face and she said, “Look! I don’t know what’s going on here, but you’re depressed. You’re moping around; you’re not working as hard; you’re unmotivated. I don’t know what’s wrong with you, but I want the old Jake back!”
I was stunned: “What are you talking about? I’m the happiest I’ve ever been in my life!” I blew her off and thought, Whatever, I’m still recovering from surgery. I’m fine. I went home that night so mad and I thought, What is she seeing in me that I’m not seeing in myself?
Laura soon began to see a problem: “I began to realize I actually had been very depressed. I’d been telling myself I wasn’t, but I had realized that my surgery hadn’t made me a man.”
Looking back on that time, she remembers:
I felt so stupid! I remember thinking, Why did I think that cutting off part of my body was going to make me a man? I remember looking at my birth certificate and my driver’s license that said, now, that I was male. But I knew the truth. I knew that nothing had changed, except that I no longer had breasts.
So I thought, Well, maybe another year of hormones, maybe eventually this will be real, it just needs a little more time. So another year goes by, and I still realize how fake all this is. The gender dysphoria is really not any better. In fact, it was worse in a lot of ways, because now everybody believes that I’m a man, but I still know I’m living a lie.
Still, she persisted. In 2012, Laura had all of her female organs removed, which, in turn, eliminated all female hormones from her body. But that didn’t make her “feel” like a man, either. So she began to look her last option: “As I began to look at the final surgery, which I had planned to have all along, what they call ‘genital reassignment’—which really should be called ‘genital mutilation’—no one had told me how horrific these surgeries are and the damage that they do to people.”
Laura felt completely stuck.
Here I was, halfway transitioned. What was I supposed to do now? No one had ever told me what I was supposed to expect. I really hadn’t even thought about the fact that I was not going to be able to father my own children. I just hadn’t thought about it all the way through, biologically. I was so devastated.
I remember feeling like some kind of freak, in-between. I really began to understand I was never going to be a man, but I didn’t want to be a woman. I thought, Well, this is the best life is ever going to get. I was very depressed.
God Was Still at Work
This was a dark point in Laura’s story, but even then, slivers of light continued to break through. Laura says, “Because of my parents’ prayers, everything that was happening in my life that seemed to be going deeper into the lifestyle, the Lord was using to turn me around and to draw me to Him.” That even included her partner—a transgender man, living as a woman. Laura describes him as a conservative—one of the only conservatives she’d ever known in the transgender community—and that made him unpopular to say the least.
Why does he believe what he does when everyone’s against him? she thought. Her partner’s determination to remain true to what he believed politically started Laura on a truth-seeking journey of her own:
We started with talking about politics a lot, and eventually I just began to really seek the truth. This was years before I came out of the lifestyle. And then my partner was also like a mirror to me, because I could see the truth in him that I couldn’t see in myself.
It was so obvious that he was a man dressing as a woman, and he was putting on wigs and makeup, the pretty shoes, and all these things, but he was not a woman!
Slowly, Laura’s eyes were being opened.
If God had not forgotten her prayer on the operating table (even though Laura had done her best to put it out of her mind), where was He now? He was right there beside her. Laura says, “God had been working on me throughout the years, sort of softening me to the idea of God. I didn’t want to be a Christian, but I was sort of open to it a little bit.”
And there’s someone else who hadn't forgotten about her: Laura’s mom, Francine.
Despite all of the challenges, Laura and her parents had maintained a relationship. They saw each other occasionally, and would sometimes spend holidays together doing normal family stuff. They loved her unconditionally, but Laura’s parents would never let her forget who she truly was. And it drove her nuts.
I was constantly reminded of who I really was. Just being around them would remind me that I was their daughter, and I didn’t like it very much. At the time I probably would have blamed it on the fact that they wouldn’t call me “Jake,” and they wouldn’t use the male pronouns. But the reality was, just being in their presence reminded me of the truth of who I was.
They didn’t have to say anything, because I had all the memories—there was always this internal knowledge . . . this constant reminder of who I really was. And I know a lot of that is the result of prayer, but I think some of it is just natural as well. You know, every time you look in the mirror, every time you go to the bathroom, there are so many daily reminders that what you are doing is fake.
But you always hope that it will be real one day, and that’s why you keep going.
Laura kept going and her family kept loving, sometimes from afar, but to what end?
Transformation: Hope Revealed
In the end, God used three things to bring Laura to Himself: His Word, her mom, and a website.
Laura and her parents went through a period where they had very limited communication, but one day Francine contacted Laura with an interesting request. Francine led a ladies Bible study, and the ladies had asked if she could put the content on a website. Francine knew nothing about creating a website, but she knew someone who did: Laura.
Laura agreed to work on the site for her mom, and as she began to build it, the Holy Spirit began to tear down walls in her heart:
As I began to work on the website, I began to read her lessons. And as I began to read her lessons, I began to see for the first time in my life the heart and the character of God.
I began to see something I’d never seen before about God. I began to call and ask [my mom] questions, and as I did, I realized that my mom had changed! I asked her what had happened, and she began to tell me how she had been transformed.
It was at that moment that I knew the gospel was true. I knew that Christ was alive, because I could see the transforming power in my mother. I went home that night and began to confess my sins. I really didn’t believe that God would save me. I thought, I’ve done too much, I’ve been too bad!
But as I began to cry and to pray, the Lord intervened in my life in such a radical way when I truly put my faith and trust in Him.
I was so radically transformed. I knew I was never going to be the same! My desires, everything, began to change about me when I gave my heart to Christ. He changed me so completely that I knew I was a brand-new person!
Even as “a brand new creation,” Laura was still at a loss as to what to do about her transgender identity. She remembers saying, “Okay, God, I recognize this wasn’t Your will, but I don’t know what to do about it now. I’m kind of stuck this way. I’ve had these surgeries, I’m legally male.”
She tried to sweep her conviction under the rug, but God would not let go of her heart. Every Bible verse she heard began to convict her. Romans 1 reminded her of the fact that “either you will worship the Creator or you will worship the creature.” She felt that God was asking her, “Are you going to identify how I created you or how you want to create yourself?”
I came under such heavy conviction. For about two months I begged the Lord with all my heart to take my life. I just didn’t see any way out. I’d seen myself in this deep, dark pit that I couldn’t get out of.
I said, “Lord, I have no way out!” It reminded me of Matthew 16:24–26 (KJV),
If any [one] will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it. For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and [forfeit] his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?
I knew the Lord was asking me to walk away from everything, and I didn’t know what to do. I could just picture my life as this ash heap of brokenness. I said, “Lord, if You can do anything with my life, it’s Yours, whatever You want of me.”
I had a clear vision of Jesus getting down on one knee; He reached His hand down into this pit I was in, and He asked me, “Do you trust Me?”
Laura answered “yes” to Jesus that day. She walked away from everything she had known for nearly a decade—her partner, her job, her identity—in order to follow Jesus Christ. Was it an easy walk? Absolutely not.
At first I felt like I was absolutely dying. I grieved and I grieved and I grieved. It was harder than anything I have ever done in my life.
But as the Lord began to heal me and began to set me free and began to show me who I truly was, it began to do such a work in me! I began to get so free! And I remember thinking, I never thought this was possible!
Today, Laura’s mission is to encourage others who might be struggling:
I could not have foreseen the freedom the Lord would give me. I stand here today, and I have no desire to go back! He has completely healed and set me free, and it has been all through the work of Jesus Christ, as He has discipled me and He has taught me His Word.
Laura believes that the freedom she has found in Christ is available to all who cry out to God for deliverance.
Psalm 107:20 is my life verse; it says, “He sent his word, and healed them, and delivered them from their destructions” (KJV). It was the Word of God that healed me and delivered me, and I can tell you that freedom truly is possible if you will surrender fully to Jesus Christ and to His Word.
Not everybody has the feelings go away entirely, sometimes it takes many years. But I can tell you there is true freedom in Christ!
Evil Is Powerful, but Jesus Prevails
Look around your community this month. Look beyond the rainbow flags, the acronyms, the Pride celebrations, and the culture wars. Look for the “Lauras”—broken people, suffering under the weight of sin of all sorts, and tell them the truth you first believed: God knows your name and your frame; in Jesus you’ll find true, rich, lasting, real transformation.
And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified
in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. —1 Corinthians 6:11