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Safe as a Woman

“I felt uncomfortable in my own body. I felt unsafe.” Anne Paulk remembers, “I felt responsible for what an older person did to me.” When she was just three years old, she was exposed to pornography and molested. In that moment her sense of safety and self-identity was destroyed.

Looking back, she states, “I literally, overnight, dressed more like a tomboy. I was no longer interested in dolls. It was everything to do with throwing off the feminine because it was unsafe. When I was about six years old, a little girl made a pass at me, and then she kissed me. What I realized right then is I felt like I had power as opposed to being powerless than the other circumstance. And that ignited a lesbian desire later on in life. That was really the starting point of that turning of my feelings.”  

Raised in a Christian home, Anne suppressed her same sex feelings through high school, but that changed we she went to college.

“I found myself quickly getting involved in alcohol and drugs on campus. They were everywhere. And that also gave me room to explore my sexual desires. I started going to a college campus advisor, a peer related person who said, 'It's no problem. The Bible and homosexuality go just fine together.' And I just sensed that there was something off about that, even though I wasn't--I didn't really know God. I knew of Him, but I didn't know Him personally.”

Desperate for love and community, Anne attended gay support groups on campus, but one night during a meeting she heard from the Holy Spirit.

“It felt like a ray of light from heaven hit me right in the middle of this gay meeting," says Anne, 'The love that you're seeking, you're not gonna find here.'” 

She continues, “And I thought, 'Oh no,' because I had banked all my hopes on that, that I would find a female partner and we'd get married or have a relationship like that and live the rest of our lives together. I knew that voice was telling me the truth. I was very destroyed. I felt so sad. I ran off and asked God who He really was.” 

“I'd said, 'If you are the Christian God, which I hope you're not, here are the things I need to see happen. Boom, boom, boom, boom.'" 

Anne marvels, “And He answered all of them. I didn't tell anyone else that. I didn't give anybody else a chance to fulfill them. And God came through. In two weeks, I began to be surrounded by Christians who actually knew Him, and those led to conversations where He became really apparent.“

She began attending Bible studies on campus. One night she says she had an amazing encounter with the Jesus she'd always knew about, but never known.

“The last night we were praying, everybody with their heads bowed and praying,” states Anne, “And I was pretending, you know, this is what you do. You put your hands together, you bow your head. And a person was in that room, a person who is full of grace and kindness, and full of authority. And He just revealed Himself to me that He was in the room weaving in and out amongst the prayers of the saints.

But around me, there was such a gap. There was a hole. It was void. And I knew that night, I told the pastor afterwards, 'I have to have the Person who was in that room in my life. I would give anything to have that Person in my life.' And that night I accepted Jesus to be my Lord and Savior."

"And literally felt like God had filled me, energized me, filled me up with joy in a way that was hard to describe.”

At first Anne's new faith in Jesus gave her a freedom from same sex attraction, but four years after becoming a Christian she fell back into a lesbian relationship. Broken and desperate for change she reached out to a ministry in California that ministers to the sexually broken.

“It gave me an example of people who are actually walking out faithfulness to Jesus with same-sex attraction. It gave some examples of really far down the line of some people who were now married to people of the opposite sex, who had kids and were thriving in that relationship. 

They were no longer daily and moment by moment dealing with same-sex attraction the way I was. And so, it kind of gave me a longterm view of what could be and what was happening with other people. And that was really helpful and very encouraging to me.”

Anne found the keys that set her free from same-sex attraction. Soon she felt safe as a woman again as the love of Jesus filled her need for intimacy.

A smiling Anne says, “What was surprising to me is within five years of working on issues in my life, forgiving people, particularly the fellow who molested me when I was younger - that opened a door for me to enjoy being a woman. And enjoying being a woman and really thriving in it with my relationships with other women kind of began to fill up my cup. Then I noticed that men are different. That eventually, this pathway led to me getting married. I never would have guessed that. And then having three children. I was given a bounty of beauty in place of my struggles by the King of kings and the Lord of lords. He walked me through that step so that I could become more the woman He always intended me to be.”

Today Anne champions healing from same-sex attraction as the director of the Restored Hope Network.

“I am so grateful that the Lord raised me up to be a leader in this movement of helping people leave homosexuality. That is joy. It is absolute joy for me.”

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