By God’s Design: Overcoming Same Sex Attraction: A True Story

by Judith Hartzell

Genres: Christian Living, Cooking & Lifestyle, Inspirational, Ministry

ISBN: 9781620205198

272 pages

Price: $15.99

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What happens when a man finds himself sunk in a downward spiral of risky homosexual acts and he knows no way to escape?  And when he is about to lose his prestigious and profitable career, along with his marriage, and even his life?  The answer would have been certain tragedy for Alan Medinger if not for a praying wife and the mercy of God. Restored and inspired, he went on to establish a ministry for same-sex-attracted people (Regeneration of Baltimore, Maryland), where he and his wife, Willa, influenced hundreds to turn from homosexuality and seek holiness.  Through their work with Exodus International, they influenced thousands more. When quarrels and dissension affected Exodus in Alan’s last years, he predicted its demise and explained how ministries would continue to succeed without it. Through Alan and Willa Medinger’s story in By God’s Design,  you will learn the truth about homosexuality, its causes, its healing, and how the church can help.


“Stalwart” is a word we shouldn’t use lightly, but what better term describes Alan Medinger? For decades he was a consistent voice of integrity, and for many of us, a reliable co-laborer and friend. Reading Judith Hartzell’s book had me laughing and crying, remembering the man she’s so well profiled. Anyone interested in ministry to the same-sex attracted, or in the rigors of ministry in general, will enjoy this much-needed account of a big hearted pioneer. -Joe Dallas,Author of When Homosexuality Hits Home and The Gay Gospel? How Pro-Gay Advocates Misread the Bible, Founder of Genesis Biblical Solutions

Alan Medinger’s life story needs to be remembered simply because so many today are frantically trying to forget. His story remains a billboard of the power of Jesus to change a life. Many thanks to Judith Hartzell for writing a life history full of grace and truth. – Peter Hubbard, teaching pastor at North Hills Community Church and author of Love Into Light: The Gospel, the Homosexual and the Church

When asked to read “By God’s Design” and offer my comments, I intended to read only a chapter daily as a part of my devotions. The book was so interesting that I often read two or three chapters, even when it put me behind on the rest of my day. Judith Hartzell recounts, with documentation, the planning by gay activists for “normalization” of homosexuality and how it shifted the culture of our country, juxtaposed with the early years and development of ministries to those same-sex attracted. Although both accounts are useful, the encouraging biography of Alan and Willa Medinger gives the book vitality: putting a human face on homosexual attraction and God’s power to cleanse and heal. I know of no family that better typifies the growth process for manhood, how God can heal a wounded spouse and how God uses those healed to bring healing to so many others. Alan and Willa’s conversion and multi-year struggles to live out God’s design in their lives provides hope for all of us who struggle with life-dominating issues. These two finished well. —Reid Lehman, President/CEO of Miracle Hill Ministries, Author of God Wears His Own Watch

For anyone who cares for the LGBT community, this is a must read. Alan’s story of transformation and his decades of ministry to the sexually broken gives him unique authority to share the power available in the gospel of Jesus. This book is an important addition to the current conversation about homosexuality: Jesus doesn’t just accept and forgive people, he transforms them. —Ron Citlau, Senior Pastor of Calvary Church, IL, Author of Compassion without Compromise: How to love our gay friends and keep the truth

I am so thrilled to see the Medingers’ story in print. Alan’s testimony of transformation is amazing and genuine. I worked alongside him in ministry for years, and his Christian testimony was solid and enduring. —Bob Davies, Past president of Exodus International, Co-author of Coming Out of Homosexuality with Lori Rentzel and of Someone I Love Is Gay with Anita Worthen
Willa and Alan Medinger were an inspiration of hope and encouragement to me in the beginning formation of Whosoever Will Ministry. Their quiet, patient encouragement in allowing God to lead by His Spirit is something I’ll always treasure. We were taught to listen to God for ourselves, and to follow His direction. —Penny Dalton, Co-founder Whosoever Will Ministry

I am excited that the life and work of Alan and Willa Medinger have been saved for history. I can think of few better than Judy Hartzell to catalogue their lives. This man, this couple, meant so much to so many. He poured into my life and helped shape me as a man and as a leader. His book Growth Into Manhood helped start me on my journey of growing as a man. At his death, I drove eleven hours with my son to his funeral, telling my son it was important to respect this man of honor with our attendance. —McKrae Game, President, Hope for Wholeness

Alan and Willa Medinger provided inspiration and stability, as well as love and laughter, to generations of men and women seeking hope and healing. Judith Hartzell has captured the essence and beauty of their presence in all of our lives. Thank you, Judith, for such a vulnerable telling of the life story of our beloved friends and valued mentors. This book is a must have for all who knew the Medingers, as well as for those who desire to know what God can do in the area of same-sex attraction with lives that are fully surrendered to Him (and to the vital experience of the authority of scripture). Judith’s account is not all “rosy” but it is true in its recounting of the pain, the beauty, and the ultimate powerful transformation of Alan and Willa as individuals and of their marriage! —Jeanie Smith, Director of Set Free Ministry

It’s wonderful that many will have the opportunity to read about Alan and Willa and the work they have done as pioneers of the ex-gay movement. Alan was true to who he was when speaking to a group, writing a book or just sharing with friends. He was all about shining a light on the path for other men to follow, men who were trapped in the bondage of the homosexual life. Willa was his colorful life companion who had the same burden for wives of those men. We miss you dear friends and thank Judith for her tireless journey in making this book available to all. —Anita Worthen, co-author of Someone I Love Is Gay

I am so grateful that the lives of these two remarkable people will be remembered through the pages of this book. They were pioneers in a difficult and often unrewarding work that brought new life to so many people. Both were always honest and open about their journey through life, and this openness brought the right balance between hope and the reality that nothing seems to be easy in this life. Alan was a bright light lighting the path to other men trapped in the bondage of homosexuality. The love Alan and Willa shared for each other was a true love story. Willa was always there for Alan, his encourager and his defense, and his burden was her burden. —Frank Worthen, Founder and Director of Love in Action in California and of New Hope Ministries; Author of This Way Out and Destiny Bridge, co-founder of Exodus International and past president of Exodus International


For twenty years Judith Hartzell studied Christians’ experiences overcoming same-sex attractions, and for a decade she served on an ex-gay ministry board of directors, all of which resulted in this book, the life-story of Alan Medinger and his wife, Willa. Judith earned a B.A. from Cornell University and an M.A. from the University of Michigan and published two biographies of Mayo Clinic’s founding family. The mother of three grown children, she lives in South Carolina with her husband, Tom, and their dog, Fergus.