the shape of leadership

Called Out

Finding freedom from same-sex attraction

Janet Boynes on May 30, 2023

When I graduated high school and left home, I was determined never to look back.

My childhood had been a series of horrors. My mother had seven children, by four different men. I often witnessed my stepfather hitting her. And as I entered my teen years, one of the men in Mom’s life started sexually abusing me.

During college, my life changed for the better. I heard the gospel, accepted Christ, and received the baptism in the Holy Spirit. I also became engaged to a loving Christian man.

Still, the unresolved trauma of my past haunted me. I secretly wrestled with anxiety, feelings of worthlessness, and same-sex attraction. Although I didn’t realize it at the time, I was a prime target for spiritual attack.

One night during an unguarded moment, a woman I worked with initiated a sexual encounter, and I went along with it. Afterward, shame and condemnation flooded my heart.

My fiancé forgave me, but I couldn’t forgive myself. I called off our wedding and stopped attending church. At a time when I most needed Christian community, I made a devastating decision to turn away from the fellowship of believers — and from the Lord.

For the next 14 years, I gave myself over to a lesbian lifestyle, drifting from one unfulfilling relationship to another and finding nothing but confusion and despair.

I hid behind a facade of pride, but I knew what I was doing was wrong and destructive. No matter how hard I tried to justify my sin to myself and others, I never had a moment of true peace.

Because I’d once known the Lord and experienced His saving power, I recognized He was my only hope. When I saw people on the bus reading their Bibles, I wanted to run to them and say, “Could you please help me? I’m a backslidden Christian, and I don’t know how to get right with the Lord!”

There was a church near my home, Maple Grove Assembly of God in Maple Grove, Minnesota. As I drove past the building, I often felt drawn to it. I even told the woman I was involved with at the time I longed to attend that church.

I thought God had abandoned me. Now I know He never stopped pursing me. Even when I was deep in sin, God was working to bring me back to himself.

What I most needed was exactly what I received: an active demonstration of
God’s love and mercy breaking through my prison of sin and guilt.

The Lord ultimately used an unlikely conversation with a stranger to reach me. While visiting a grocery store at 3 in the morning to pick up supplies for my cleaning business, I asked a woman in the parking lot why she was shopping at that hour. The woman said she had just dropped off her son at North Central University and was preparing for a trip.

Knowing North Central was a Christian school, I started talking about spiritual matters. Right there in the parking lot, I opened up about my pain, rebellion, and hunger for God. The woman invited me to her church — Maple Grove Assembly of God, the campus I had driven by so many times.

I not only attended the church, but I also joined a women’s Bible study there. Although I desperately wanted Jesus, I had no idea how to return to Him. The women in that Bible study showed me the way and walked alongside me. They answered my questions, prayed with me, mentored me, and ministered to me with Christlike compassion.

If someone had confronted me with a judgmental attitude or even a hint of condemnation, I would have turned away. I already had enough condemnation boiling deep inside me.

What I most needed was exactly what I received: an active demonstration of God’s love and mercy breaking through my prison of sin and guilt.

One of the women from the group even invited me to live with her family for a time, giving me an opportunity to see what a spiritually and emotionally healthy home looks like.

Not long after rededicating my life to the Lord in 1998, I sensed a call to ministry. I started by sharing my testimony, telling women’s groups and anyone else who would listen about the new life I had found in Christ.

In 2006, I founded Janet Boynes Ministries. And in 2018, I became a credentialed Assemblies of God minister. Seeing people come to Jesus is my heart’s desire. Among other things, I train church leaders to minister to people who are struggling with homosexuality and gender confusion.

I am convinced a prayerful, compassionate, Spirit-filled Church is the key to bringing deliverance and hope to those who are caught in these lifestyles.

First Peter 2:9 says, “You are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.”

To reach those who are coming out, we must live and proclaim the gospel as those who are called out.

No one is beyond the reach of God’s mercy. I am living proof. If Jesus can transform me, He can change anyone.


This article appears in the Spring 2023 issue of Influence magazine.

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