Elizabeth Woning thought she knew God. As an openly lesbian seminary student, Woning spent countless hours studying theology and the Bible.
A female friend was the first person to invite Woning into the gay community. The two women were part of the same Presbyterian denomination and both held to a version of faith that was very focused on social justice. As their denomination began to affirm same-sex marriage and homosexuality, Woning and her friend both came out as lesbian.
After Woning graduated from seminary, she began pastoring a church in a rural area. She says her demeanor at that time was very masculine, which one day caught the attention of an evangelistic pastor in the community.
"A local pastor saw me, and he said, 'Oh, I'm going to minister to her,'" Woning says on the Charisma News podcast. "So he approached me to share the gospel but was really surprised to find that I was pastoring at another church ministry."
Woning and this pastor became friends, and he invited her to one of his church's outreaches. This pastor's church was very charismatic, Woning says, but her denomination did not believe that the gifts of the Holy Spirit were for today.
"It happens that the night I showed up, the Holy Spirit came and a lot of students got filled with the Spirit," she says. "So it was a super messy, chaotic night. ... But in that setting, a 17-year-old boy approached me with what he called a word from God. And in that setting, he proceeded to tell me something that I had been praying about for years."
That moment struck Woning because she didn't believe Christians could interact specifically and personally with God. That young man's accurate prophetic word forced her to wonder if she truly knew God like she thought she did.
"I had this revelation that God maybe knew who I was, and I thought, I have no idea who He is," she says. "So that began a journey for me of reading the Bible ... discovering God's personality, and then ultimately engaging Him and experiencing His love—which is what led me out of the LGBT community and identification as a lesbian."
Listen to the podcast to hear the supernatural way God led Woning to form Equipped to Love and CHANGED with Ken Williams.
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