A Message from the Heart of God
As told to Jennifer A. Burnett, MD
Jan 16, 2005
How many of us have repeatedly struggled with life’s biggest questions? What Christian has gone through the pain of great loss, tragedy or rejection and not asked God, “Why?” Jennifer Burnett is a person who perhaps has had more reason to ask these difficult “Why?” questions as she was born with a rare congenital medical problem called “Gender Dysphoria”. Due to as yet poorly understood factors, sometime in early fetal growth, that parts of her brain which are responsible for our core gender identity (that which gives us the unalterable conception of ourselves as either male or female) developed as female whereas her birth sex (her physical body) was that of a normal male infant.
From her earliest remembrances, she knew something was not right and could not understand why she was physically not like the other girls. Thus began a life-long struggle to somehow hide this terrible secret and try with all her will and intelligence to play the role that she felt she had been assigned to. Yet, as it is in virtually all who have this condition, there is no medical or psychological intervention possible to bring the mind into accord with the body. Two years ago she finally reached the inevitable crisis that presented her with an awful choice- Death or “Transition”. She chose Transition (involving the use of hormones and other medicines, extensive counseling and finally surgical intervention) which is a long process designed to prepare the person for life in his or her new gender role. She completed her transition in 2004 and is now living and working as the woman she always knew herself to be.
Jennifer thus has a story to tell- of her struggles as a Christian to reconcile her faith in a loving and all-powerful Heavenly Father with what she initially considered to be a very great “mistake” on God’s part in allowing her to be born with such a devastating congenital disorder. Her growth as a person, her accomplishments academically and otherwise and her involvement and leadership in various churches and Christian organizations were all difficult to understand in the perspective of how “defective” she always felt herself to be.
This is a compilation of various lessons she has learned throughout her life and especially during her period of transition; this message coming, as it were “from the heart of God”. In her ongoing counseling ministry, especially to the Christian Transgendered, she has tried to bring comfort and consolation to those who are enduring the terrific pain, loss and rejection (often at the hands of their own Christian brothers and sisters) so many commonly face as they take the only course open to them.
This “message” thus forms the underlying basis of her counseling, reminding others that no matter what, their Loving Father remains in control and will “work all things together to the good” for those that love Him and are committed to doing His will in their lives (Rom. 8:28). Thus her writing can speak to all of us who have ever had to deal with any of the imponderable problems and tragedies that life often brings our way, resulting in our heartfelt cries to the Lord, “Why?”
It was not until her 52nd year that I had sufficiently prepared her to receive “The Answer” to the question that had haunted her throughout her life. For she had been born far different than any of the other girls- a difference that nearly every one of My other children, when they found out about her, could not grasp or would attribute to some moral, spiritual or psychological lapse in her character. It was thus a very long and hard life for her, carrying this “burden” that she very early on had learned to hide from everyone who knew her. For to let anyone know, even her own family, was to invite misunderstanding, derision and outright condemnation. She could not understand it herself, so how could she ever think she could explain it to others? She only assumed that she was somehow “defective” and “deformed”- either in her mind or the body she had been born with.
When she was very young, she used to dream of waking up and finding that her “outside” had been magically transformed into what she always knew she was “inside”. When she came to know of Me, as her mother had taught her about the God who answers the prayers of little children, she would secretly pray for Me to make her like all the other girls. Yet no matter how much she wished for it, dreamed it and no matter how sincerely she prayed for this change to occur, she always awoke each morning as the same child outwardly as she had been the night before. She was far too young to understand My purpose for all of this, though I ached in My heart even more than she did as she struggled over the fact that her prayers were apparently remaining unanswered. But I knew that there would be that perfect time in the future when she would be fully prepared and I would finally be able to answer her petitions in a far more glorious way than she could ever imagine!
Yet, throughout her early childhood, she had so many fantasies of what it would be like to be just like the other girls- to be able to play with them and dress up and do all the things that they did. Instead, she found herself forced to be with the boys her age, who were far more “rough and tumble” than she ever preferred. And as little boys will frequently do, they easily sensed that she was “different” and often teased her unmercifully. She was an easy mark for them and was always the one to pick on for anyone who wanted to promote himself higher in the “pecking order” of the group by picking a fight with her. She was the only one who could be counted on to immediately break down crying whenever she was taunted or provoked.
There were, however, a few precious moments when she was able to actually play with the other girls and enjoy their company. But even then, those to which she so closely identified and felt so at ease being around would always assign her the role of being the father or the baby brother whenever they would let her “play house” with them. She so longed to be able to put on the pretty dresses they did; and if their mother was there to supervise their activities, even letting them apply a little makeup and some perfume. But again, to actually ask that she be able to do the same as the other girls was to provoke questioning stares and almost instant chastisement with, “No, little boys do not put on girls’ clothes!” Then she would be relegated to wearing one of their father’s ties or putting on his old hat stuffed with newspaper so that it wouldn’t fall completely over her eyes.
Those times were the most difficult for her during her very young life, for if she cried because of the pain she felt of being denied even the opportunity to “pretend” that she was just a normal girl, there was always someone to inform her, “Little boys are not supposed to cry. Only sissies cry!” So she quickly learned to “suffer in silence”; to stifle all the emotions that would naturally come to her. She had to put up a “masculine” front so that no one would ever know that she was different. She thus became a consummate actress, fooling everyone; and eventually- for long periods of time later in her life- she could even fool herself into believing she was just a “normal” male.
So, throughout her life she would just hide behind this “façade” she had elaborately created and confine her tears to those private moments when there was no one around to see them but Me. She never knew that I was always right there, crying along with her, feeling her pain and all her anguished sobs. And she was forever questioning Me how come she wasn’t like the others- always asking the inevitable and as yet unanswerable question, “Why?” As the years passed, she was totally unaware that I had been carefully and lovingly preparing her for My Answer to her unfathomable question. With the passing of the years, through all these experiences and the suffering she endured, I was gradually changing her character and her “inner being” to allow her to finally be able to receive the wholeness she had so longed for all of her life.
I have such tremendous love and concern for all My children. Each one of you is special and of inestimable value to Me. Every single child born on this earth was lovingly prepared and watched over from the earliest time in their mother’s womb. So many people have questioned Me, however, as to why such a loving God as I could possibly allow a child to be born with birth defects. Some children appear (in the world's eyes, but never to Me) to be so hideous and deformed that they defy people’s ability to believe in Me as a loving and all-powerful God.
People just don't understand that it was My most sacrificial act as their Creator that gave them their ability to reject the very One who created them, willfully choosing to go their own way without Me! And as a consequence of their wayward choice, they brought sin into the world, and thereby corrupted My perfect Creation. This is what has caused the disease, deformity, decay and death that have subsequently ruled within the whole universe since that day!
It was never My will or desire that they make this wrong choice, for I too would greatly suffer due to the consequences of their decision. For I knew, even before the foundation of the world, that by giving you, My children, this great gift of love- your “power to choose”, it would cause Me and even deeper pain. For each and every one of Adam’s offspring would follow in his steps and choose to turn their backs on Me and My divine and perfect plan for your lives. And with this you all brought upon yourself spiritual death and eternal separation from the most loving One who created you to be in intimate fellowship with Him! And thus I would need to redeem you from the terrible consequences of rejecting Me by an even greater Sacrifice!
For in My boundless love for you, I had already found the way to reconcile the entire lost and hopeless world of mankind; yet at an incalculable cost to Me. It would demand the death of My own Son, whom I sent to live as one of you- to suffer each and every pain and sorrow that mankind had brought upon itself. In the greatest example of love that the universe has seen, I allowed My Son to experience a most humiliating and painful death- crucifixion on Calvary’s hill, publicly displayed amongst criminals, defiled and defamed; reject by the very world He had been sent to save! The perfect, blameless and Most-Holy One, dying for each and every lost soul. It was My greatest act of compassion and love! The just penalty for all of humanity’s sins- assuaged and paid in full by the death of My “Only Begotten” on a cross two thousand years ago!
It is only in the understanding of the greatness of My love for all My children, and My willingness and patience to do whatever it takes to bring them to the fullness of their growth in Me, that the Answer to questions like Jennifer’s can be found. For I delight in taking the poor in spirit, the weak and the most rejected of all My children, and making their lives shine with the glory of My handiwork, reshaping them into the image of My Son. There was no mistake in the way I created her and others like her, even though her mind and body were not in accord. I do ALL things for a purpose, though that purpose may often take a lifetime to be revealed.
I know that it is hard for My children to grasp this concept because you have been born into a temporal, finite world. Yet, I did not create you “but for a season”; but for an eternal existence- for a divine and never-ending life as citizens of My Heavenly City to come. But many of My children lack this perspective and consider it a waste of time to spend so much of their lives just learning to become what I want them to be before their earthly existence quickly comes to an end. Yet from My eternal perspective, this brief interval that they spend in this world is merely a “preschool” to prepare them for their real lives which are yet to come. Learning to view themselves from this “eternal perspective” is absolutely necessary for My children to understand and finally receive “The Answer” to all of life’s most important questions.
I have shown this principle to you in so many ways. Does not My Creation teach that the best things in life take time to be achieved? Do you not have far more pleasure in a meal carefully prepared than that which comes “in an instant”? Do not the best wines take years, even decades to mature to their maximum robustness? Do you not relish and pay top value to own and savor such rare commodities as these? So too it takes all My loving care, patience and usually a whole lifetime before most of My children are finally ready to become the glorious “saints” that I have designed them to be!
Indeed, your entire existence on earth is a continuing educational tool to teach you that which is necessary both to fulfill My purpose for you here and to build your character and mature your inner being for your heavenly existence to come. The life experiences that I arrange for you, no matter how disjointed and confusing they may seem at the time (even the ones that that you think could have no possible good purpose!)- all have a place in molding and shaping you into what I want you to be.
My servant Moses spent his first 40 years learning to be a leader of the Egyptians. His next forty years were spent in the loneliness of the desert, learning to be a “leader” of sheep. Thus, eighty years were spent preparing him for his ultimate purpose, to become the leader and spiritual example to the children of Israel. (And he will tell you that of these two experiences, leading all those dumb sheep around the desert was far better preparation for “shepherding” the people of Israel than his time in Egypt!)
Many of My children question why I have made this learning process so difficult and often painful. Why suffering is such a common theme in the lives of My dearest saints? First, you must understand that I found it necessary for My own Son to endure incredible hardships during His lifetime, to be rejected and reviled and suffer an excruciating death in order to “perfect” Him. So, how can you who wish to follow in His footsteps ever expect to escape the testing and tempering that your own Savior and Lord had to endure?
Only in godly suffering can I create the empathy and compassion in you that will reflect My divine love to the world around you! How can you reach out and touch those who are hurting in the depths of their despair unless you also have drunk of the same bitter draught as they? I sent My Son to humble and empty Himself, taking on the form of man and to endure everything that Satan could throw at Him. This is what it cost both Him and Me to redeem all of you. Now, I have chosen you to be My witnesses, My ambassadors to a lost and suffering world. Therefore you also must you endure these very things if you wish to be My servants and become like My Son.
There are many of you who are prone to repeatedly wander away from Me, just like a wayward sheep. They so often get themselves lost and in trouble, necessitating My direct intervention to bring them back into the safety of My sheepfold. Yet, it appears to be in their very nature to repeat the same mistakes; never learning, no matter how much suffering they cause themselves and those around them! I will then be forced to take some special steps to prevent that which seems to be their ultimate fate- to wander away so far that they will never come back again.
A true and compassionate shepherd, rather than lose a sheep such as this, will sometimes choose to break one of its legs, preventing the sheep from being able to move at all. At this point, it is entirely helpless and would surely die if the shepherd did not take it up on his own shoulders and carry it wherever he goes. He sets it down beside the best grass and helps it drink the cool waters it so regularly requires. He holds it high, away from all danger and never allows the sheep to be out of his direct care. By the time that this sheep’s fracture has healed, it will never, ever leave the side of the shepherd!
So too I may allow the most severe tragedies to befall some of My children, totally disabling them; maybe bringing them to the point of longing for their own death! Yet, in the aftermath of such “senseless” losses and sorrow, I will come to them (if they allow it), to bear them up- to lovingly minister to their every need, to care for them just as the shepherd did in the story above.
You will recognize these special "sheep" of mine, for they are the ones who have learned to stay so very close to Me, never leaving My side! They may even experience physical discomfort to be apart from Me, even for a short time. They are the most sensitive to their own sinfulness and quickly confess their faults and failures in order to prevent anything from coming between their Shepherd and themselves. Their greatest joy is to continually dwell in My presence. Their daily desire and prayer is to do what pleases Me and to bring glory and honor to My Name. This too is part of the Answer to Why I allow so much suffering in the lives of many of my saints.
In the midst of adversity, when they are experiencing some of life's deepest sorrows- that is when My saints will often experience their greatest spiritual growth. When they are confused and frustrated, possibly feeling abandoned by Me (though they never are!) and when they are even despairing of life itself- it is then that they can display the most precious commodity on earth be displayed! Faith- trusting and holding firm in Me despite everything that circumstances tell you to the contrary, is what pleases Me the most.
Despite all the sudden losses I allowed My servant Job to suffer, in the midst of the most severe testing possible, he uttered one of the strongest statement of faith that is recorded in My Word- “Though the Lord slay me, even then I will continue to trust in Him”. Job was put through the Refiner’s fire and his faith remained firm. Such faith is what I desire all My saints to display!
Though it is only through this very difficult process that true and lasting spiritual growth can be achieved, how few of you are willing to face such trails and testing! How rare it is to find someone who can “rejoice” in their spirit when these trying times come to them. How difficult it is for them to not grumble and lose heart when adversity strikes! But for those precious saints who have learned this secret, whose faith in Me transcends their earthly circumstances- these are the ones that will consistently triumph through all their pain and loss! They become even stronger and grow more and more into the very image of My Son. Surely the “crown of life” shall be theirs!
In the spring of 1984, I released Jennifer to experience life for the first time as her true self. It was an extremely hard time for her, during which she faced many crises and losses. Yet it was also a most glorious time, for she finally had a chance to put away the façade that she had had to display since her childhood. She could begin to blossom into the woman that she knew deep-down inside she was always meant to be. I gave her six wonderful months for her to experience the joys of living the life she had always desired from her earliest remembrance.
But at the end of that time, I asked her to trust Me and do a most extraordinary thing- something she could not understand and made absolutely no sense to her at the time. I asked her to “put away for a time” her new life and again resume the role of a husband and father. Having previously reached the point of suicide, which had brought her to that place where she had to either Transition or Die, she was of course questioning her ability to go back to living a role she had never been equipped for. But she was willing to accept My assurances that I would provide her the grace, day by day, to fulfill her “duty” as the father that her children would need while they grew up.
As the years went by, she was indeed able to do what I had asked her. By My grace and power, she got through this long and difficult time of struggle one day at a time. It was never easy, for she had known what life was like to be living as the woman she always was in her heart and soul. But so much time had passed (almost two decades!) while she raised both her children, she began to doubt that she would ever again experience being her true self. She even assumed that I had somehow forgotten about her and that her earlier commitment to Me to return to her old life was really a “death sentence”- that she must go on living as a male to the end of her days. She didn’t realize that in My request that she trust Me to keep her through this time that there was also the promise of her future as the woman of God that I had designed her to become!
In 2003, after 19 years of “hope deferred”, she saw her last child preparing to graduate and “leave the nest” for a new and independent life away in college. It was at this time she again became severely depressed and despondent. It seemed to her that I had withdrawn My daily grace to continue living the masculine role I had asked her to resume so long ago. She found it increasingly difficult to get up each morning; and she longed for death rather than to continue to live such an onerous a life. She was even “passively” trying to kill herself, overeating and ballooning up to 236 lbs! Her blood pressure and cholesterol soared. But she did not care, for she just wanted her life to end and be set free from the torture of trying to be someone she was not. Almost daily, on her way home from work, she contemplated running her truck into the freeway abutment to “gracefully” exit this world (in a manner that others would assume was an accident).
That Fall, on September 29th, after weeks of repeatedly praying for Me to just take her life, I came to her in My overwhelming Presence. In the midst of her agitation and hopelessness, I spoke the words that she had so longed to hear but never thought would come, “Jennifer, it is your time”. The waves of joy and peace that flowed over her, the outpouring of her tears and sobs at My joyous proclamation of her final release from her “prison”! This was to be the beginning of the cleansing and healing process that I would use to bring wholeness to her in the months and years to come.
There is no greater joy than to know that the deepest desire of your heart is finally coming to pass! Though she would endure even more pain and loss due to the “transition” that she would be making, it was, after all, the only path that could lead to a viable life for her. She restarted hormones after a two-decade hiatus and her estrogen-deprived brain quickly responded. Her depression and anxiety fell rapidly away within the first week. The feminine brain I had blessed her with while she was yet unborn quickly adjusted to what it had always needed. Her thoughts and emotions returned to that which she had known only once before. She was again experiencing life in a manner that only a woman can truly understand- with a far different outlook on her world. She was once again and finally feeling normal!
In the months to come she embarked on the long and painful road of "Transitioning". She began the hundreds of hours of electrolysis that she would eventually need. I also led her to a very special doctor who would not only provide for her Transgender medical care, but would offer her the encouragement and wisdom that she so desperately needed. (This doctor had a very intimately knowledge of Jennifer's anguish and confusion, for she had already taken this same path, transitioning 4 years previously.) She also was seeing a gender therapist and visiting a wonderful Christian counselor whom I had particularly prepared to receive her.
So few of My "normal" children are able to accept My “Special Ones” like Jennifer. Far too often they are so unloving and judgmental of those who are "different" or are experiencing life in ways that they can't comprehend. But just because they don't understand something does NOT it a "Sin". There is no inherent sinfulness in bringing wholeness to one's body and mind, for this too is a type of healing that pleases Me!)
But one thing I did ask of her- that she would not allow herself to so quickly focus on the external, as is often the case for those in early “Transition”. I therefore gave her these verses from 1 Peter 3 to memorize and make her own: “Your adornment must not be merely external- braiding the hair and wearing gold jewelry or putting on dresses; but let it be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God.” Though she so wanted to dress up and put on makeup, to once again see herself as the woman she was inside, she refrained from this at My bidding. She resisted the urge to buy the skirts and blouses she saw in the women’s clothing catalogues and didn't even apply a hint of lipstick until I told her that it was the right time.
This was absolutely necessary, for I had something far more important for her to concentrate on in her first few months- the cultivation of the “inner beauty” of her spirit. I led her to some wonderful Christian authors whose books spoke of the healing of the “wounded feminine heart and soul”. They focused on the development of a spiritual mindset and character which is far different than any man’s. For who needs more healing of the “inner woman” than those who were born transgendered and had to suffer by living in a gender role they were never meant to fill? In those first few months, through the divine ministry of My Spirit, Jennifer began to experience this healing and to finally enjoy a unity of her mind, body and spirit that she never had before!
Throughout her time living as a male, she had desperately tried to “perform” for Me- to prove herself “worthy” of being My child. She had come to know Me as her Savior and Lord at the age of 12, but she always felt herself to be “defective” and therefore unacceptable to Me due to her inherent mind-body disunion. She would always strive to do so very much to please Me in order to make Me love her, little realizing that My love for her was already complete and unconditional!
She had never understood My reason for permitting her to be born Transgendered. She was even more dismayed because I had chosen not to answer all her earlier pleas to heal her, despite all her prayers, going to special "healing services and having the church elders lay hands on her so many times. Back then she had assumed that I was unresponsive to her heartfelt cries for help because she was somehow unworthy of My love and compassion due to her being "deformed"- an "abomination" to Me and to the world! All of this pain she was suffering (she presumed) was therefore the punishment she deserved for being so sinful. Jennifer just couldn’t comprehend that she was not a "mistake"; that there must have been some terrible error when she was being “knitted together in her mother’s womb”. But finally, during this time of her Transition, I convinced her that My allowing her to be born transgendered was really a special gift to her- a blessing which would now be revealed through all that I would accomplish in her!
And through this time I would also bring about that what she most truly desired in her walk with Me- to have a continuing relationship manifesting the “first love” she had experienced in her early Christian life. She had previously tried to worship Me as a male, for that was the role that she had been forced to assume. Thus she had tried to emulate all those male behaviors that she had seen in the men at church.
But one cannot truly worship and have intimate fellowship with Me while acting a part, for I must be worshipped “in spirit and in truth”. When Jennifer finally became her true self, being healed of the decades of wounding that being forced to live as a male had caused her, she was set free to worship Me in her feminine spirit. She began to experience a closeness to Me she had never had imagined before. Those around her often noticed the “radiance” that shown from her while she worshipped Me, even during the early times of her transition when she still had to appear as a male in her former church.
Her relationship with Me as her Loving Father soared as she was able to understand that I had a purpose for making her the way she was. And then, as I taught her more about herself and the special ministry I had prepared for her, she could finally rejoice in the precious gift that I had given her! Her entire character began to change as she opened up her true self for others to see, especially to those who likewise suffered from being transgendered. She was able to touch their bleeding and wounded hearts with the same care and compassion with which I had previously touched her own.
Gradually she learned to become a clean and holy “channel” of My love and My healing Spirit. And she finally was able to take her eyes off herself and focus on Me, trusting and resting in My power and direction in her life. She is presently becoming the woman of God I have always meant her to be! And Jennifer now realizes that such growth and intimacy with Me has only come about because I made her this special way and allowed such painful this to happen in her life. She knows not just in her head, but in the depth of her heart, that she is My very special daughter and she loves Me with all her mind and heart and strength. I have such wonderful plans for her and have prepared a life of great joy for her in the giving of herself to help many others who are hurting!
So many questions Jennifer has asked Me throughout the years; often on her knees or flat down on the floor- with a multitude of tears in her eyes and grievous pain in her heart. Though decades had passed before she found the “Why” to all her pleas and most ardent prayers, throughout this time I had been slowly and carefully preparing her to receive the Answer to these deepest of all questions. And so it is with all My children. I am always your Loving, Heavenly Father! But a good father will not give to his children that which they are ill-prepared to receive. Therefore it may take many, many years before My answers come. But are you willing to be patient and wait for My timing in giving them to you?
I am constantly at work in the lives of those who truly and honestly desire to know Me- who ardently crave the wondrous wisdom and knowledge I can impart. I am always ready to bless the soul of anyone who sincerely seeks Me with all their heart! I am a gracious Father who rejoices in rewarding those whose deepest desire is to daily please Me in all they say and do. These are the sons and daughters whom I seek as the eternal inhabitants of the City of Joy that I have so lovingly prepared for them!
Many feel that what pleases Me can be found in doing sacrificial labor and producing “great works” in My name; accomplishments that too often glorify themselves far more than bringing praise and honor to Me. For even the “miraculous” can be achieved by those who have little knowledge of Me. Remember My warning to those who proclaimed “Did we not cast out demons in Your Name?” For they shall be dismissed with “Depart from Me, for I never knew you”. These people have failed to see that the greatest “Work of God” is not that which can be externally perceived, but rather that which occurs deep within a person’s heart and soul and spirit as they yield themselves fully to Me and My will for them!
What I seek is to transform every one of My precious children into the man or woman of God that I desire them to be. As each one comes to love and trust Me completely, abandoning themselves to My care and ministrations; as they willingly submit themselves to My refining fires of testing, pain and loss…These are the ones whom I will mold into the choicest of My saints! Their uncomplaining submission and whole-hearted acceptance of My will for their lives is the precious product of a lifetime of growth in Me. It is in this that My ultimate Answer comes. It is in this assurance that My saints will find their joy and peace and rest in all of life’s most difficult questions- their faith perfected and their character transformed into the glorious image of My Son!
May those who have ears to hear be receptive to these words of encouragement that I give to all My beloved children!