The Lord be with you
Earlier this week I attended a conference of which the topic was the homosexuality/transgender/etc. culture in the USA and how we might address it as Christians committed to the Scriptures and the Lutheran Confessions. One of the presenters was Beth Ogne. I felt her testimony was particularly powerful as she once considered herself a lesbian but has since left that lifestyle. I asked her if I could post her testimony on our blog and offered to do it in a way that would protect her identity. Not only did she grant me permission, but also said that I could use her real name. Still, as her husband is a LC-MS pastor, I was unsure. Having her real name attached could also impact his life. So I asked him, and he also granted me permission to use their real names. Given the current climate in our country, I feel this is very brave of them. There are many who will condemn Beth and deny her experience. In the end, though, it is her honest experience.
Below is Beth’s testimony. The small modifications I’ve made are in brackets and are basically included for clarification. The title of this article is also mine. If you are interested in seeing the sermon where she gave her testimony you can go to lcoos.org, go under video sermons and click on 3-13-16.
Testimony of Beth Ogne
Everybody has something they’re ashamed of or embarrassed about. I am ashamed of my sin, as we all should be. The problem comes when the world tells you that you are okay just the way you are. That you can be who you want to be.
My husband and I have talked a lot recently about when its time to share my testimony. I believed God would lead me and give me the gentle push when its time. Its not easy to share something that might make people look at you differently. But with the recent legalization of homosexual “marriage” in our country, we felt that now was the time.
My story begins when I was about 18 or 19 during a winter storm. I had made a few friends in college, mostly my dorm mates and cheerleading friends. On this particular occasion, we were snowed in. A friend had asked me to sleepover since many of our friends were at home during this storm. So we were alone. I don’t need to go into detail, but this friend shared some of her past, which included relationships with both men and women. I don’t know why I engaged in this particular sin, I had never wanted to be with a woman. I enjoyed my friends as friends and that was the end of it. But today, I crossed the line, pushing our friendship into something more, something it was never meant to be. From this point forward, I was in a homosexual relationship with a friend. And it forever changed me.
I experienced my first love, and my first heartbreak. When this friend decided to end the relationship, I was completely heartbroken. If we had remained friends and never crossed that line, I would not have experienced the heartbreak and depression that I did following this event. I cut [myself] and sought affection from those around me.
I never told my parents why I was depressed, so they were completely confused and therefore, unable to help me deal with this – not that they would have known how to counsel me in this situation. I had a few friends who helped me through this troubling and confusing time, but I never got Christian counseling or help.
Still, in the midst of my first heartbreak, I was still trying to seek God. I knew deep down that what I had been doing wasn’t what He had for me. I began sporadically attending a church on campus. This helped me heal from what I had considered a heartbreak, but since I hadn’t even addressed or dealt with my sin, the problem wasn’t solved. It was more like putting a band-aid on [a gun] shot wound without removing the bullet.
I began to “get my life back together,” but without God in the center of it. I dated one or two guys, but wasn’t really interested in them the way I thought I would be. I began to wonder if I had always been homosexual and just hadn’t realized it. That’s what the world would ’ve had me think, anyway.
A year or two after the first relationship with a female, I found someone else. We started as friends, though I knew she preferred to date women over men. Again, I found myself crossing a line that should never have been crossed and engaging in sinful behavior once more. Ultimately, what I did was ruin another otherwise good friendship. The sad part is that we both knew who Jesus Christ was and acknowledged him as the Savior of the world.
I was in this relationship for over 3 years. During this time, I could feel God working on me. I knew that this wasn’t right. This was not the way my life was supposed to look. I wondered how I could ever have children while being in this relationship. Was I willing to “marry” her?
I also sought to find out what God had to say about the subject of homosexuality, though I wasn’t very thorough. I wanted someone to tell me that what I was doing was okay in God’s eyes – that I was in love, so how could that be wrong? I went to a blockbuster and found a video that basically told me that, yes, God did condemn homosexuality in the bible. However, in this particular passage God had also condemned wearing clothing made of more than one material as well as eating shellfish and such [probably skipping through Leviticus and pulling out passages like 11:9-12; 18:22; 19:19; 20:13]. So, the video told me, this was all old news. We didn’t need to live under this law anymore. The video negated to say anything about the other verses in the bible [like 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 and 1 Timothy 1:8-10] in which God condemns not only homosexuality, but many other sins which are prevalent today.
This seems to be the same tactic that some liberal christian churches are using to deflect what God clearly says on the subject matter. They’d have us believe that God loves you the way you are, and Jesus died for you so you can live however you’d like as long as you acknowledge Jesus as the Savior. Indeed. Even Satan acknowledges that Jesus is real, but Satan does not trust Him.
After this video, I felt a little better, though in my heart I still knew better. I just didn’t want to change. I was happy with the way things were for the moment. I didn’t want the relationship to end and until the day God changed my heart, I saw no real reason to end it.
I began teaching where I met my future husband at a school fundraiser. At the time, I was still engaged in my sinful relationship. I approached him and he began a conversation with me about Christ. He told me that he was a Lutheran pastor and I told him I had been raised Lutheran (though I didn’t know there was any such thing as a synod or a difference among Lutherans). I told him that I had been looking for a church home and he invited me to worship. A few weeks later, I did attend worship at the church where he was a pastor. I fell in love with this church. The people were kind, loving, welcoming and joyful. I began to attend regularly and soon began new members classes with [Pastor] Chris. During these classes, I still didn’t share what my life looked like outside of the church, aside from the normal day-to-day [things]. I began singing at the church, still hiding my sin.
It was another month later, right before Christmas, when Chris got the truth out of me. I will never forget the conversation. He told me that everyone was a former something – maybe drugs? abortion? sex outside of marriage? At this point, he had built a relationship of trust with me as a parishioner in the church. So, I shared.
First, I shared about my college relationship and the heartbreak that followed. He probed. I got uncomfortable. Eventually, he asked the question I didn’t want him to. Are you still engaged in this kind of relationship? I answered yes. The moment was here. Chris showed me 3 verses in the bible that spoke directly to homosexuality. There was no denying what God had to say about it. I understood. I would not get validation for my sin, but instead, the answer I had been looking for but didn’t want to admit and already knew. He told me that I couldn’t have it both ways. There would be a “tearing” inside of me – the side that wanted Christ in my life and the side that wanted to stay in my sin. One side would win.
Chris asked me what I thought about what I’d read. I stayed quiet. He then looked at me, with eyes that pierced my soul and words I can’t forget. “You know what you have to do” (both a question and a statement it seemed). I nodded. He said “When?” I answered “When I’m ready.” This time I genuinely felt God speaking through him as he said “Be ready soon.”
I went home that night and fell to my knees by my bed. I cried and asked God to forgive me. I told God that I knew He was right, I knew what I needed to do and I needed help. I cried because I knew I would never have any kind of relationship with my girlfriend again. I cried because I knew I was going to break her heart and because mine was breaking.
The tearing was real. I could feel it. But I wanted God in my life more than ever. I knew I could do what I had to do and I asked God to be with me and give me the right words. I asked Him to be strong for me because I didn’t feel strong. I asked Him to give me the words to say. I cried more than I had in a long time, and then I went to sleep. Meanwhile, I hadn’t told my parents the truth so again, they couldn’t help support me. But, I had Christ now. He was my support.
So a day or so later (because of the holiday), I made a phone call and asked the girl I was in a relationship with to meet me. When she pulled up to the meeting place, I cried and quickly prayed again for God’s strength and aid. I don’t remember everything that I said to her in this moment, but I do know that I told her I couldn’t do this anymore. I felt God telling me enough was enough. The truly beautiful part was that, though we both were crying, she understood. Remember I said that we both had been raised in Christian homes and knew who Jesus was. She didn’t question why I was no longer going to be in a relationship with her. In fact, she told me that she had a feeling when I began going to church and became more and more involved in the church that this might happen.
As I left that day, I felt the weight of the world (or my sin really) lifted from my shoulders. I no longer had to carry it. Jesus Christ literally lifted it from me that day. It was not that I had chosen Jesus. He had chosen me. The choice I made was to listen and do what I knew was the right thing. I can’t say that things were easy right away. There was exchanging of things that had to take place. But this time, I had Christ with me.
Looking back, I can’t believe how much my life has changed. I am a Christian. Out of the ashes of my sin, God grew something beautiful. After all was said and done, God blessed me with a wonderful man – the man who boldly told me that day to “be ready soon.” God used Chris to do what He was called to do – to tell people about the love of Christ and help them see that we all sin and fall short of God’s glory.
Chris and I began dating a few months after all this had occurred and were married 8 month later. We now have three beautiful children (including the one who stole my heart in the classroom those years ago). No, life is not perfect but having Christ at the center has made all the difference. I did not struggle with the depression or sadness that occurred after my first homosexual relationship. I’ve never looked back. I no longer even have the same desires I once did. I’m not attracted to women.
I didn’t change because my female relationship was awful or without love. There was love there. But it wasn’t Godly. Godly love would’ve meant friendship, not a homosexual relationship.
The biggest part of sharing this testimony is that the love of Christ changes everything. It only changes, however when you admit the things you’ve done and repent. I would not be where I am had I ignored the warning Chris gave me and accepted that I needed to change. I feel incredibly blessed that Christ never gave up on me. He knew better and He wanted better for me.
The people who push the homosexual agenda want you to think that you are okay where you are. You can do what feels right to you. God says different. I want people living in homosexual sin to know that you can truly change, but only after you’ve accepted that this life is not good. It is not what God wants for you.
The law we are up against as Christians doesn’t allow for people living in homosexual relationships to change. But God does. We need to stand up for what is right and good. God says that marriage is between one man and one woman. I’m hoping that by this testimony, others will stand up and share their stories of how Christ’s love changed them.
Blessings in Christ,