After having lived almost a decade as a man, Laura Perry has embraced the gender God assigned her. Her journey to living as the woman God made her is a result of her submitting to God through faith in Jesus.
A popular trope among preachers is that placing your faith in Jesus will change your life. Sadly, many people hear that statement and embrace a “live my best life now” mentality about Christianity. They believe that placing their faith in Jesus will solve all of their problems and they will live a life free of worry and fear. Perry’s amazing story is a reflection of how true change is wrought by Jesus. And it’s also a story that contains struggle and heartache, which is why faith is a necessary component.
Laura Perry was raised by Christian parents in Bartlesville, Okla. Her parents, Paul and Francine Perry, who were members of the town’s First Baptist Church, made sure that their children attended church services as often as possible. Speaking to Baptist Press, Laura relates, “I grew up going to church constantly. I was in Sunday School, children’s choir, GA’s, Bible Drill, VBS and more.” Sadly, though, she confesses, “But ultimately I lacked a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.”
From transgender to transformed: Laura Perry's ‘prodigal’ return answers mother's prayers https://t.co/fej9WPEM2K
— Baptist Press (@baptistpress) August 9, 2017
Throughout her childhood, Laura struggled with gender issues, including not feeling like a girl. By the time she reached her twenties, Laura began living as a man.
One of the beautiful aspects of this story is how Laura’s struggles translated into spiritual growth for her parents throughout Laura’s time living as a man.
After they discovered that their daughter was living as a transgender man, Laura’s mom, Francine, admits that she was devastated. “At first I said, ‘how could you do this to us, after all we have done for you?'” Francine said.
Baptist Press reported that “though she had support from friends in church and in her ladies Bible study, Francine felt depressed and isolated because of the family’s plight. Out of a sense of desperation and hopelessness, Francine began to dive deeper into God’s Word.”
“I realized, through our ‘prodigal child’ experience, that I had a more works-based faith in Christ, a more legalistic mindset,” Francine explained. “I was Pharisee-like in so many ways.”
“God, though, began to soften Francine’s heart. Her ladies Bible study group began to lift up Laura in prayer,” the article went on to say.
Even though God was working in her parents’ hearts, the trials and struggles were far from over. Laura dove deeper into her life as a transgender man, including hormone treatments and surgery. At one point she sent her parents a letter imploring them to accept her as a man. Her parents responded by praying even more and asking others to pray with them. And the prayers worked.
“I bought into the lies of Satan, believing that my sinful choices would make me happy,” Laura said. “Inside, I was miserable and searching for real peace.”
One of the ironies in all this is that Laura’s partner, though transgender, was politically conservative. Being exposed to conservative talk-radio and ideology caused Laura to become “fascinated with the idea of absolute truth.”
This quickly transitioned into Laura listening to sermons. Over time, God began to change Laura, and she began to refer to herself as a Christian. She says that eventually, “God opened my eyes to the truth. He made me realize that the transgender life was not His will for my life, that it was a dead end. But I was still conflicted.”
The transition from the sinful lifestyle of transgenderism to embracing her identity in Christ, which includes her God-given gender, wasn’t without its bumps. By God’s grace, her parents and their church came alongside Laura and loved her. They didn’t expect an immediate transformation, but dug in to do the hard work of loving, praying for, and counseling Laura.
After making the decision to leave her transgender life behind, Laura moved in with her parents and continued her healing. In August of 2016, Laura publicly made a profession of faith in Jesus and was baptized. As Laura grows in grace and the knowledge of Jesus, she continues to be counseled by her pastor’s wife.
Two of the takeaways from Laura’s story are that no sinner is out of the reach of God’s saving grace, and that parents with wayward children should devote themselves to loving and praying for them.