God's Love Changes Us
My name is Aaron. I am a male. I am heterosexual by God's design and by my choice.
I was born and raised in New Zealand as a male and regretted, if not despised, almost every memorable moment of my life as a male. From as young as 3 or 4 I knew I was different from other males. Especially my dad and older brother. I spoke differently, I played differently, I expressed emotion differently, and when I was hurt or rejected I dealt with it very differently.
Perhaps it was this difference that led other, older males to find pleasure in my body from such an early age.
As I grew through the teenage years I found life as a male to be very challenging to say the least. I could not understand why the girls' uniform at intermediate and high school was allowed to be such a lovely mix of colours, but the boys' uniforms were usually a mixture of battleship grey and royal or navy blue.
It seemed no matter where I went, all I saw were men and boys my own age in dowdy colours playing scrag, rugby or war games. There they were trying to kill each other and I was running around playing nurse.
I hated violence. My life goal at twelve was to become a worker for VSA and promote peace and world healing. I liked the thought of doing this in places like Africa, Siam and the Islands where men wore more flamboyant and colourful clothes.
By the age of fifteen I knew I was stuck with being a male so long as I lived in a male society. So I chose to flat on my own and change my name. I became known as Sandy Duncan and began dressing in more adventurous clothes. By my seventeenth birthday I was living sixty percent of the time in my feminine role. At eighteen I took the final step and started hormone treatment with the intent of saving for a sex change in Australia in three years' time.
At twenty, life as a woman had not gone as I had planned. Jobs were scarce, and I had resorted months earlier to prostitution to make ends meet. Along with this change in employment came the demons of drug and alcohol abuse and I struggled to keep my head above water.
I hated my self and Sandy hated living with me. You see, we had developed totally separate personalities. Aaron was allowed out at home when no one else was around. The rest of the time Sandy was in control. The personality split had started with the first hormone and ended with the first customer.
I, Aaron, had become uncomfortable to say the least with Sandy's behaviour, but I felt powerless to do anything about it. Her appetite for affection, sex and drugs was too much for me to deal with. So I chose to bow out and every day die a little more until the day came when I was no more. After all, that was what I had always wanted: to deal a fatal blow to the thundering images of my own masculinity.
After two treatment programmes, one in a psychiatric unit and the other in Hamner Springs, I found a tenuous sobriety and a measure of control again. I was still weak inside and desperately fragile from the verbal and sexual abuse of Sandy's life.
I thought I had a chance at life again but as the weeks of sobriety increased I found myself losing control as Sandy adjusted to the new dynamic of being sober. It did not take long before I lost control to my stronger feminine counterpart again, and with it all hope of living.
Three months before my twenty-first birthday God spoke into my life through two young female street evangelists. They shared how their God loved me where I was at, and how he saw what I was like inside and loved me anyway. Three days later at a crusade in Hamilton I gave my life to Christ, and Sandy gave up fighting against me and life.
For the first time we had a place we could meet face to face without tearing each other apart. You see, Christ loved us both. He knew that together we could make a beautiful person, but separated we were destined for a short life and an early grave. So in his grace he provided an area in our mind for us to sit and talk. Along with that he provided families that would allow us both to be present and loved.
As Christ's love grew around us we began to notice some small changes occurring. Sandy became even more feminine and I began developing as a man of God. Over the next twelve years God would work wonders in our life. There were three milestones over that time that allowed God even more access to our heart than before.
The first was meeting my wonderful wife, Lois. She was an awesome beauty. Her inner life and beauty was everything that Sandy and I had tried to achieve and we both fell instantly in love. This also led to confusion. Part of me loved this fine woman as a man loves, but the woman inside was having an intimate relationship of her own with this woman. After long nights of confusion there came a fusion as Sandy and I started the journey to become one.
The second milestone for us was the day our pastor made tracks in our direction during a teaching on rejection. Don Barry was the first man in my life to hold all of me, man and woman. At an altar call he came to us and said that the Father heart of God wanted to hold us in his arms of love. I'm not sure how fast I backed up to the wall or why, but as fast as I seemed to move, God in Don moved equally as fast.
Before I knew it Don had embraced me and Sandy and I wept as we were surrounded by arms of love that would not let go. Neither would they require anything of us in return for their love. God had sealed us together, we were now inseparable. We shared all emotion and feelings together and what one thought the other knew.
This continued for over five years, as we struggled to come to terms with marriage, sex and children. Sometimes I would laugh at myself as I debated whether I was mother or father. Other times I would cry as I thought of how much my wife and children loved me. All the time small shifts in our heart were leading to an eventual landslide.
Life is not an instant thing, and neither is change. I am so glad to serve a God who has all the time in the world to make the changes he wants. After knowing the Lord for twelve years as Aaron and Sandy, the day came when during a Living Waters Conference my beloved Sandy was to breathe her last.
She had been getting weaker for some time, ever so slowly. I had not realised it, but for some months Sandy had not spoken. I knew she was still there, but she had become terminally silent. Then one morning I woke and I could feel a significant shift as my beloved Sandy began the process of saying her final farewells. I felt immensely powerful and incredibly empty all at the same time as Sandy talked about going home.
I walked to the beach holding Sandy's quiet and beautiful frame in my heart. Nestled in a blanket of love she silently breathed her last and with all the grace of a dove in flight she left me standing there, her presence gone forever. I placed what was left of my friend's memory in an imaginary boat and set her adrift on the waves.
I sat down for a long time and cried tears of great sadness and joy as Sandy disappeared from my life. I made a cross of remembrance from some driftwood and quietly walked back to the conference. I still have that cross - it reminds me of God's constant unfailing love.
From that time I have found a new freedom in my own sense of masculinity. Sandy has left a legacy of emotional depth that I could not possibly have fathomed on my own. Together we found the courage to look life full in the face, and now with her gone I look in the mirror and I thank God for his mercy and grace. I praise the name of Jesus every time I call myself a man and I have a new appreciation for the corporate expression of his love and character.
I now sit in my lounge at the tender age of 37, and look at my four wonderful children. I give a little smile as I think of the way they remind me of myself, and I try to allow some leeway for their individual views on life. Just as Christ allowed me to be myself and allowed Sandy to be who she was.
My God is so much bigger than me, my family or the church. His love now extends beyond the limit of my world and is able to touch others where they are. My God is bigger then the pain I still bear.
If I have a testimony to share it is this. My God loves you with such intensity that he gave his most precious gift - himself in the form of his son. He gave himself freely so that we could all afford to take up his offer of love.
He does not require you to change before he will love you. He knows that change will only come when you can love and allow yourself to trust him to hold your pain and discomfort. He chose to die for you knowing that if he did, then he would be able to leave a path for you to follow. He rose from death to show you he has the power to see you through the darkest nights.
He will never regret loving you or dying for you. You will never exhaust his kindness or mercy, and never be able to earn his grace and love. He loves you always because you are.
God bless you as you change daily to his likeness.