Love Wins,  Relationships

When he became a she – walking in love

walking in love blogThe other day, Zac and I went into a retail store and were greeted by an associate.

I soon recognized the associate as someone I used to go to church with years ago. Someone close to my age, who I had shared many years sitting next to in our small little church.

But, he had changed.

He was now a she.

I could tell my friend recognized me, but didn’t think I would recognize them. They helped me around the store and their hands were shaking almost uncontrollably the entire time.

I knew why.

They were afraid.

Afraid of what I might say if I caught onto who they were.

Afraid of seeing the shocked Christian look of horror on my face.

Afraid of my judgement or God knows what Bible verses I just might hurl at them.

Afraid of being shamed.


I decided to end their torment and break the silence.

I looked up with a big smile and said, Hey! I know you!

My friend stood back a bit and sheepishly admitted I was right.

I smiled even bigger and said, It’s so good to see you.

We talked for a while…a long while actually. I asked about their family, parents, siblings and where they were living. They shared pictures of family and we laughed and talked about everyone we used to know.

After a while, it became more like two friends catching up than about a judgement fest.

I hugged my friend.

More than once.

I left that store with a pit in my stomach. And not for reasons you may think. My heart was aching because of what the church has done to people just like them.

Now, you may think, Wait a second, Anna. The Bible says…

I know very well what it says. And I cherish it. I’ve built my life on it.

Here’s the deal though.

The more time you spend with Jesus, the more you can’t help but start to act like Him. And, guess what?

He loves.

The sick.

The poor.

The religious.

The sinner.

He loves them all.

And not the kind of Christian love that says, “I’ll love you but never talk to you because I disapprove of your behavior”

No friends.

Jesus wasn’t intimidated by behavior.

He wasn’t afraid of behavior that society frowned upon (remember the adulterer stoning thing?)

Yeah, this is the guy we are supposed to be acting like.

If he wasn’t afraid of “sin”, we shouldn’t be either.

Jesus re-defined love. He radicalized it. He made any other kind look like a cheap imitator. And, this love is exactly what the world is starved for.

If I’m going to love like Jesus, then I don’t have the right to be uncomfortable. I don’t have the right to just walk away and ignore. I don’t have the right to think that I’m better than you because my perceived sin or “issue” isn’t as obvious and is kept hidden behind some false religious exterior.

If I am going to follow Him, then I can’t be afraid to jump in the mud with you. To walk beside you and learn your story. To feel your burdens as though they were my own. To listen…really listen.

Jesus was never uncomfortable.

But, he knew we would be.

That’s exactly why He left us THE comforter…the Holy Spirit.

The closer I walk with Him and the more in step I am with the Holy Spirit, the less I am afraid.

In fact, what I find I am fearing more is being without Him. I have grown so dependent on Him that the idea of not hearing him, terrifies me. It’s my life line.

When we left the store, Zac looked at me and said, How did you do that?!

I was like, Do what?

You were so normal! Didn’t you feel uncomfortable at all?

I’ll tell you what I told him.

All I felt was love.

Like, literally that’s it.

Love looks someone in the eye and sees what others don’t. And, the more I walk with Jesus the more normal and constant that is becoming.

Nothing mattered to me more in that moment that loving my friend. It’s like all of the crazy love, mercy, joy and kindness that Jesus has poured into me, was ready like a freaking freight train to come barreling out of me.

I didn’t see their perceived sin, issue, choices, whatever you want to call it. (I don’t know the right way to say that. Please, don’t send me hate mail over that sentence)

I saw a person. With a soul. With a story. A person I knew as a friend. Someone who I cared about.

That’s it.

Just simply love.

I can’t help but think, what a different world this could be if more people decided to really get to know Jesus. Like for real. Like at home, in their car, on their phone – just got to KNOW Him.

Because, when you get to know Him, you begin to become like Him. In the most natural, organic way. It isn’t forced. It isn’t difficult. It just becomes your normal.

(And, I am recklessly in love with the Jesus normal!)

We need more Jesus normal.

We need more conversations and less judgmental gossip (eh prayer) sessions.

We need more open arms and less closed circles.

We need more eye to eye contact and less recited speeches.

We need more people willing to serve. Willing to be humble and admit they are not perfect either.

We are broken and we need healing.

And it doesn’t start with comparing yourself to others thinking you are better – it begins when we humble ourselves before Him and admit we are nothing. When we finally come to the end of ourselves, that’s where He can begin.

And, that’s the strongest place to be.

So, here I am.

Completely imperfect. Completely in need of Jesus to work through me every single moment of every day. And completely convinced that He was and still is the ONLY answer to our brokenness.

(See follow up post on When to Speak the Truth in Love here)



*I’m all about healthy, respectful discussion from all sides on this topic. However, due to the amount of negative comments (many were deleted) towards others, the comments have been disabled.  Peace*

Author. Blogger. Speaker. Momma to 4.


  • Carrie Rhoades

    Thank you so much for sharing this. This seems to be my “soap box” issue in life. The issue I have a holy discontentment about. You put it in to words so beautifully. Thank you.

  • Laurie K

    Very well said. It’;s hard, not judging, being a friend; which is so often what someone in this situation needs. I have a friend who I knew for 5 years, we were very close, both single moms. We took care of each others kids, she helped me through so much. She moved away and we lost touch until I found her on facebook a few years ago. She is now “married” to a woman. I was so shocked at first and it really hurt my heart. But it didn’t change our memories, how much I cared about her… care for her now. I chat with her every once in awhile and its hard to believe that our five children are all now grown and off at college, living life on their own. I pray for her, that she is happy, that she is well and I pray that she will remember the truth of His Word. I applaud you for making your friend feel better in the situation. I hope that you continue to pray for them that they might see His light in you and others that God has cross their path. God’s blessings to you as well. *hugs*

  • j

    tannersp3, here is a cut-and-paste from the website ‘Bible Gateway’ in answer to your request for specific scripture references…

    the Gospel of John, 1:10-13 (emphasis v. 12) (NKJV)

    10 He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. 11 He came to His own,[c] and His own[d] did not receive Him. 12 But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: 13 who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.


    John 8:31-47 (NIV)

    Dispute Over Whose Children Jesus’ Opponents Are
    31 To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. 32 Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

    33 They answered him, “We are Abraham’s descendants and have never been slaves of anyone. How can you say that we shall be set free?”

    34 Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. 35 Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. 36 So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. 37 I know that you are Abraham’s descendants. Yet you are looking for a way to kill me, because you have no room for my word. 38 I am telling you what I have seen in the Father’s presence, and you are doing what you have heard from your father.[b]”

    39 “Abraham is our father,” they answered.

    “If you were Abraham’s children,” said Jesus, “then you would[c] do what Abraham did. 40 As it is, you are looking for a way to kill me, a man who has told you the truth that I heard from God. Abraham did not do such things. 41 You are doing the works of your own father.”

    “We are not illegitimate children,” they protested. “The only Father we have is God himself.”

    42 Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love me, for I have come here from God. I have not come on my own; God sent me. 43 Why is my language not clear to you? Because you are unable to hear what I say. 44 You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies. 45 Yet because I tell the truth, you do not believe me! 46 Can any of you prove me guilty of sin? If I am telling the truth, why don’t you believe me? 47 Whoever belongs to God hears what God says. The reason you do not hear is that you do not belong to God.”

    There might be other references as well, but I did a simple and quick search through Bible Gateway to find this. is another search site I use. I hope this is helpful to you. Wishing you and all readers the best.

  • Tammy Davis

    Truth in love. The issue isn’t the church. I see you know this. It’s sin. Sin is sin. It does’t preclude us from loving deeply. It is GOD who changes people. May you be used to bring about that sweet redemption in this person’s life. May we all live with the commission we have been tasked with. Jesus ate with the sinner and tax collectors. Thank you for speaking.

  • rascalkc

    There are too many comments here about the responsibility of ‘sharing the gospel’ with the transgendered person. Why are you assuming they’ve never heard it? My oldest child, born female, is struggling with a transition to male. They were raised in a Christian home, surrounded by professional ministry (grandpa, uncles, dad), and spent years feeling dysphoric and depressed. My child knows the gospel. It may not be the future I had planned for this precious child, but you can bet we’re loving them no matter what. At this point, the only thing changed is the clothing worn, which I can’t imagine anyone categorizing as a sin. The separatist language (“We” and “Them”) is going to isolate these in the Christian community more than anything else.

  • David R. King

    I hope that there are other options than judgment and acquiescence. Love involves far more than “being nice”. May your re-initiated relationship lead you to feel sick not only for the judgmentalism in the church, but also the brokenness in your friend that has led to this heart-rending and wounded choice. Judgment is OUT – spot on. But incarnational relationship demands more than merely going along for the ride. It is unkind to simply acquiesce without bearing the burden of this destructive choice and its consequences. We have to care deeply. I sense that you will.

    • Mary Stapleton

      Remember that whatever you believe about the bible’s ‘inspiration’…the various books, documents and letters written by flawed human beings with their own prejudices and with the knowledge of their time.. The ones which eventually ended up in the bible were picked by flawed human beings again with their own take on things. Whether or not one believes God speaks to people, most would agree that Christians and others mistake what they think thy hear sometimes. There is no more reason that the writers and compilers of scripture were any less prone to mistaking what they believed God was saying to them than anyone today. What is more Christians are not even agree on what constitutes scripture, some include the apocrypha, and others do not. What is certain is that none of these people understood what we know now of hormonal influences on the brain in the womb which at its extreme can lead to a female brain in a male body and vice versa . This means there is the full spectrum of sexuality from varying ‘straight’ people maybe being attracted to the more masculine or lore feminine of the opposite sex, to bisexual, to homosexual, to transgender. None of us can help the sexuality we were born with so it’s expression in a loving relationship, or conversion or the wrong body cannot be a sin. No one says it is a sin if a person is physically born neither male nor female, so why if the brain is affected separately from the body? Under an electron microscope the brains of transgender people are physically different.

    • LesF

      We are not to judge the nonbeliever, however if a brother or sister in Christ is sinning then we have an obligation to talk with them with the goal to restore them. The example in the article, they leave out, go and sin no more. Even when talking with the woman at the well he exposed her sin, not in a hard way but did expose her sin. I pray for those that struggle, however God has made us who we are, and our DNA confirms if we are male or female.

  • Kelly

    Of course, being transgender isn’t in itself a sin, only practicing homosexual sex is, and of course there is no way to know for sure what their personal habits are simply by their clothing, although it might be a clue. When Jesus spoke to the woman caught in adultery, he was speaking to a believer in the coming messiah. He knew for sure what she had done so he addressed it. On the one hand he was loving, in the sense that he “didn’t condemn” her, but he did not just “love” her by speaking affirmative words of acceptance. He told her to quit that sinful behavior. If we are really to be like Jesus, and we know a believer has fallen into sin, we would remind them about the forgiveness that awaits them if they repent, like Jesus did.

    • Nancy

      That is what I was going to say. Yes to be like Jesus we not only love, but instruct from God’s word. Jesus was loving and spoke out of love “Go and sin no more” he said to the woman at the well. People need reminded that “repent” means to turn from or turn away from a behavior or act ; to sin no more. It would’ve been of little help to only love and not instruct as to what she needed to do. After doing this, the person needs to allow God to work in their life for change.

  • laura

    I appreciate and respect what you shared here. However, whey then did you call your friend “they” instead of “her””? Your friend is now a “she” or “her”. I think we need to commit our love to transgendered individuals 100%, and identify with them as they identify themselves, yes?

  • raybarnhart1968

    Clearly, you have a big heart, but I just want to say that what you did in that store, with your old friend is really just human decency. Don’t be too self-congratulatory. And I find it disturbing that your friend or husband or whatever he is, looked at you like you’d done the most heroic thing in the world by treating a fellow human being like a fellow human being. I don’t doubt that your intentions are pure, but the last thing your old friend needs is your pity.

  • Albert Spinks

    God is love .and we should love one another’s .no matter how our lives have Chang .love one another .

  • Debbie

    Normally I wouldn’t respond but believe I am supposed to. We just had a pastor speak at our church whose parents divorced when he was young and both adopted the gay lifestyle. He later accepted The Lord and was called into ministry and speaks openly about this very topic. I learned a lot. The main point Of his teaching is that Jesus lived a life of grace AND truth. Not one or the other but BOTH. The author of this post mentioned the woman caught in adultery and how Jesus didn’t condemn her. This is true, however what she’s missing is that, in john 8:11, he ALSO said,”go now and leave your life of sin.” Regarding the woman at the well, same thing. He didn’t avoid her because she had 5 husbands and continued to live in adultery but he didn’t ignore her sin either. He called it what it was. Jesus accepted both women as a child of God, but he did not approve of their sin. Big difference. Grace AND truth. The author is correct in living our lives according to Jesus example, however we can’t pick and choose which parts we like and leave out the rest. I believe it is a trap that our culture is blindly falling into that we take a side – grace or truth. Individually, both are dangerous and NOT the example Jesus lived. Our ultimate calling is to love people and point them to Jesus. He is the only one that can change peoples hearts. I hope you will read these passages in Gods word and pray for Holy Spirit guidance. And if you want to check out more about the pastor I mentioned, Google Caleb Kaltenbach.

  • Nina

    Thank you. What a great example of love. I think there are appropriate and less appropriate places to discuss politics or theology — but one thing that is never out of place in our day-to-day lives is Christ-like love!

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