This is such an encouraging story. We need more of these honest, and clear testimonies to the power of God to transform lives. They are needed to counter-balance the message in the general media that homosexuality is a good thing, and that lifestyle has to have special recognition, nor can they change this sexual orientation.
The stories laid out here clearly show that things like childhood molestation, a lack of understanding and good example from parents, and pornography, can all lead to a person becoming confused about their gender identity. In that confusion they are hungry for love, and will seek it where they feel safe.
Unfortunately, those safe areas are, for the most part, all based on physical contact, and very shallow. It cannot meet their emotional needs for a long time. The constant begging for attention, and infatuations only lead to one heart-break and crisis after another. It is not a happy lifestyle.
I was so glad to learn through this book that there are thousands of people who are coming out of this diviant lifestyle, and that there are disciplined groups like Exodus in San Fransisco, with its other branches, that have an effective plan for helping people to turn to God, to renounce their past, and to work at rebuilding good habits in place of the old, building good, healthy relationships, and even - as now do the Paulks, have a healthy hetrosexual marriage, and children.
Thinking it over, I believe I can say, "There, but for the grace of God, go I." Dysfunctional homes are so rampant, it is no wonder there are such a number of people drifting into homosexuality. (The junk in the media, ie. TV, movies, and music, etc., doesn't help prevent it either!)
This is why this testimony of these two people, parallel in many ways, just thrills me. They were brought to wholeness. It is good news! May we have more of such stories.
The particular copy I read, is published through Focus on the Family, and had a black and white photo section in it. We can see how two very normal looking children and young teens drifted into a strange culture while in college. There is a photo of John, who spent some time cross-dressing, as Candi, the very feminine alter ego he developed. It will give readers who are not used to such extremes a little surprise.
On the other hand, I was so glad for the happy photos of them, getting married, and with their beautiful son, Timothy. He was born after several miscarriages, and very much a wanted and loved child. They have had another son since the book was written.
Bottom line? Who should read and benefit most from this book?
I'd say Christians who need to get a better handle on the issues of homosexuality, and to put faces to the "sin out there" that frightens them so much. This will help to give your most compassion, and a sense of gladness that God is at work in such dear souls too.
Secondly, those who are confused about their gender, perhaps have even slipped into lesbian or homosexual relationships - you need to read this too, to see that there is a way out. You can be loved in a healthy and whole way! God does not hate you. He stands ready to draw you out of that - into wholeness and peace. Yes, He will win you out by His marvelous love.
I dare you to read this book and be unaffected!