Before reading this blog post, I suggest your reading days 1 and 2 of this interview. Simply click on the links below to read them.
My Interview with Stephanie Greene, Day 2: I Once Was Gay… Coming Out
As we come to the last of this three-day interview, please allow me to thank you for reading about Stephanie’s journey. She is a very special lady, someone who has experienced God and is willing to let her story be known. Because I knew that she might be questioned, even attacked, by some who didn’t understand her heart, I asked her if she wanted me to use her full name. Her response… “You can use my full name in your blog. I am not ashamed of any part of my life, nor am I afraid of any comments or attacks that might come my way. I know what God has done in my life and I know that He is all over this, and that He is standing with me. I know that God will help me through it. So carry on, my brother. God told me the day He saved me that my life is an open book, so let's open it up!!” Stephanie, thank you so much for opening your life up to the world. I am inspired as I’m sure are many others.
For those of you who have been following along these past two days… As you read the conversation today, you’ll understand why Stephanie is willing to take shots for her honesty.
Rick: What did God do to transform you?
Stephanie: It is amazing how God uses people. Let me start at the very beginning of this stage of my life. In 2005, I was injured on the job and had to have outpatient therapy. When I met my therapist, I knew then there was something different about her, and that somehow, we would be friends. At the time, though, I did not know fully what that meant. After my therapy ended, I wondered frequently about her, but as I am shy by nature, I never bothered to call her or stop by the clinic to visit.
I am a therapist myself, and in 2007, my boss mentioned hiring a new therapist, and it was the same girl who was my outpatient therapist in 2005. She was now going to be hired as my supervisor! So okay, we are working together, time to form a friendship! She came in late 2007, and God began using her right away. She spent a whole year inviting me to her church. She was very nice about it, and not pushy at all, so I did not want to hurt her feelings, but I had no intention of going to church. So I spent a whole year giving every excuse in the book why I could not go.
Christmas 2008 rolled around, and God went into overdrive. I have always loved music…..listening to it, singing it, playing it (although I had not really played anything in a very long time). My therapist friend invited me to her church to hear their Christmas program. I love Christmas music, so I blindly decided to go. It takes me 20 minutes to drive to that church, and on the whole drive that night, I was terrified to go, but at the same time, I felt something pulling me there. I just knew that once I got there, either the entire building would fall down around me, or everyone would see me for what I really am and make me leave. To my surprise, I was received with nothing but love, so I comfortably sat and listened to the music. God pulled me gently back to Him through music.
After that night, I began to occasionally attend church services, and I found myself practically racing to get to church every time I went, because this God I was coming to know now was nothing like the overbearing, vengeful, unapproachable God I knew growing up. I wanted to know more of this God. It wasn’t long until I realized that my life was all wrong and I was in such a mess that I didn’t even know what to do. In late January 2009, I reached out to my therapist friend, and she helped me pray the Sinner’s Prayer and receive forgiveness for the mess I had made of my life.
I thought things would be better after that, and some things were, but the real battle for me had just begun. Because now I was consumed with trying to figure out how I was going to be a Christian, active in church, and be gay as well. I never hid any detail from anyone at church, because I wanted to make sure I was truly following God. And since I didn’t really know how to talk to God or how to listen to God, I had to depend on others. Well, having so many people tell me “you can’t do……..” this, that, or the other and be a Christian, and at the same time tell me, “You have to listen to God” became very overwhelming. I didn’t know if I was hearing God’s voice, or hearing their voices echo in my head. The crazy thing is, one by one, for different reasons, all these people were suddenly separated from me for a time. During this time, I heard God’s voice, as He told me that He is all I need. I learned then, to let people talk to me, but know that I need to take everything to God and wait on Him. So that is what I did, and 4 months after I was saved, God released me from the bondage of homosexuality.
The total break actually did not come until April 2013, 4 years later. You see, I am very codependent by nature (shy and codependent is NOT a good combination), so back in 2009, when God emptied me of every homosexual tendency, I did not really worry too much about my then partner leaving because of the change in me. She almost left, but ended up staying in the house for 4 more years. It was a difficult 4 years, because even though the relationship we had for 10 years was dead, we still tried to be friends and at least cohabitate in the same house. But there were some days when not a word was spoken between us. It was very hard living that way. Part of me wished she would have left back in 2009, but part of me is glad she stayed as long as she did, because at least there was another body in the house. I spent those 4 years in constant frustration because I did want to ask her to leave, but I didn’t know how I would even begin to have that conversation with her. Then the day came in March of 2013, God said to me, “It’s time.” And I knew exactly what it was time for. It was time for me and her to be done completely and for her to leave. Remember I just said I had spent 4 years being frustrated because I had no idea what I would even say to her about wanting her to leave……..when God told me it was time, I had no trouble finding the time or the words. It was an ugly ending process, but after 14 years of living together, she and I have finally parted ways.
Rick: How is your life different since your transformation?
Stephanie: A very dear friend of mine tells me all the time that God works in reverse, and I believe that! I have always been a back-of-the-room type of person that you never hear a peep out of. Now I am on the front row of the choir every Sunday, I play in our church orchestra, I always have something to add in Sunday School class, and I look for every opportunity to talk to others about God.
I see God differently. As a child, I saw God as this big, unapproachable, vengeful tyrant, but as an adult, I have felt the heartbeat of God as He has literally wrapped His arms around me and pulled my head to His chest for rest. I see God as father, teacher, healer, provider, friend, always approachable, and always waiting to hear even the smallest detail of my day. I am learning to see God in everything.
God restored some of my musical talent that I had let go. In grade school, I played flute, but after, I pretty much let it go, except that I collect all types of flutes. The day I was saved, God told me to get my flute out and play it. I hadn’t played it in years, but I played it that day like I had never laid it down, and I have played it in the church orchestra ever since. God has also opened up new musical doors for me. In just one year, I have picked up the bass guitar and I am the backup for our church bass player, and I have also had many opportunities to play my hand-drums at church.
I have never really cared much for children. I do love my nieces and nephews very much, but the truth is, I have always had to take nerve medicine to be able to be around them for any length of time. God has, through transforming me the way He did, given me a new love for children! In fact, I feel as if I have new eyes to see everything with and a new heart to love with, much like a child. When I think of God, I think of Him with all the excitement of a child about to get her first ice cream cone! God has used this new fondness for children and my love of music to put me on the leadership team of our church’s children’s choir (grades 1-6). I would have never imagined I would be doing anything like that!!!!
I am looking at my whole life differently because of God. I am learning to take nothing for granted. I am not the healthiest person in the world, but God is showing me that my body is His temple, and I have spent many years not honoring His temple, so now I am in the process of rebuilding my temple to better serve Him.
Rick: Why do you think God transformed you?
Stephanie: God does not wish for any of us to perish, and the way I see it, I was on a one-way path straight to Hell. I think, probably somewhere way deep down inside me, even though I had been on this death-path for many years, there was some very small part of me that knew that everything I was living for was wrong. I think God reached way down inside me, to that very small part, and lifted that small part to the surface above everything else, so that small part of me could cry out for help and save the rest of me. A part of me was still willing, so when that part of me realized that God still loved me after all I had done against Him, that was all I needed for the transformation to start.
Rick: Why do you think many people who are gay long to be transformed but struggle their entire lifetime?
Stephanie: I think there are many facets to this question. I remember a time about 8 or 9 years ago, when my former partner and I were living in another town, and we lived two houses down from a little country church. I decided to go to that church one Sunday, and after that, all I heard out of my partner and our friends was, “You can’t go to church and be gay too.” So I didn’t go to church again. I gave in to peer pressure.
I think there may be some rather harsh Christians in the world who cannot separate the sinner from the sin, and maybe treat the gay person so unChrist-like that a protective wall goes up that blocks total transformation.
Perhaps those who wish to be transformed struggle due to fear of letting go of their identity. That was a huge fear of mine, because being gay is who I was. Without that, who would I be? There are some days when I still struggle with gender identity. I know I am a woman, but for years, I shopped in the men’s department for clothes. Now, I am trying to make a shift to dress more womanly, but there are some days when it is very hard for me. I have had more than one meltdown in the middle of a store because I was alone trying to buy a skirt or something. Then I go screaming and crying to God, and He reminds me that it doesn’t really matter what I wear, and He certainly does not want me to try to dress up and be uncomfortable. All that matters is that I am His child and I am seeking to do His will.
Another aspect of struggle may be where there is a committed relationship and one partner is afraid of hurting the other, so the chance for transformation is squashed.
**You must know that the only thing that has made my transformation “easy” is that I learned at age 40, that the God who I was told at age 21 did not love me anymore, never stopped loving me! I no longer needed any of the substitutes I had been using to replace Him for years! That was enough to make me go running after Him!
Practically every day since the day I was saved has been a learning experience with God. I have learned that my old patterns of thought no longer work, and my old behaviors no longer work. God has taught me many things, including the most important thing… He is all I need. People will disappoint, but God never disappoints.
God graciously provided me with the energy and the time to put my story in book form as it was unfolding. If you would like a copy of my book I would love to send you one! The cost of each book is $7 (just to cover the cost of printing, binding, and shipping), payable to Stephanie Greene, 1619 Osborne Street, Humboldt, TN 38343.
Thank you so much, and God bless you!!!