“I worked 70–80 hours a week, sometimes even more. There was no time for anything else…I was enjoying what the world had to offer, but my soul was dying. – Samantha Dupaquier
MY SOUL WAS DYING
“It was my dream job – designing bridges for a worldwide engineering firm. I loved it, but that job came with a steep price,” said Samantha Dupaquier. I worked 70-80 hours a week, sometimes even more. There was no time for anything else. I was enjoying what the world had to offer, but my soul was dying. At 25 years old, I was flown by private jet to meet with a client in Florida. I’d worked 110 hours that week and was physically ill from the lack of sleep. In my hotel room before the flight, I read Mark 8:34-37 where Jesus asks what it profits a man to ‘gain the whole world and lose his soul.’ That’s exactly what my life felt like in September of 2015. I was enjoying what the world had to offer, but my soul was dying.
A VERY DARK PLACE
“I have always looked to the opinions of others to find my value. In high school, I looked for validation in athletics and good grades. I was exposed to pornography during that time as well. I was already striving to find my value and worth in sports, good grades, etc., and pornography exposure was a catalyst to looking for worth in my physical appearance and relationships. That’s when my eating disorder started and when I began abusing diet pills and pain medication. I lived for the approval of my friends, teachers, and of course, boys.
“Alcohol, drug use, and unhealthy relationships took me to a very dark place in college. On more than one occasion in both undergraduate and graduate school, I was sexually abused by someone I knew or was in a relationship with. I dealt with the pain and shame of those assaults by accelerating my use of pain pills, sleeping pills, and liquor.
“Although my life was out of control, I knew there had to be something out there bigger than myself. I started to go to church on my own, and for the first time I heard the truth of the gospel. I wasn’t a believer yet, but I started to understand that Jesus died for me while I was still a sinner. I didn’t need to ‘clean up’ before coming to Him. Learning about His unconditional love helped me choose to get out of the unhealthy relationship I was in and make some changes.
CHANGING MY LIFE
“I finally surrendered to the Lord in December of 2012. I started living in community with believers who modeled authenticity and God’s grace in their lives. Those women were there to support me as God began changing my life – from eliminating my abuse of pain pills to addressing my eating disorder. I saw my life as one that was treasured and valuable to the Lord and had a purpose far greater than myself.
“The Lord completely transformed my life – especially the value I placed on my career. I changed jobs a couple of times, and God used each instance to gradually loosen my idolatry of my profession and move me toward working in ministry. Later, I applied for and was accepted to the Watermark Institute, a discipleship and training program that helps equip people o serve in vocational ministry. The workload in the Fellowship is challenging, but I’m learning things about God’s Word that I never knew before. It has also been great to have people on staff at Watermark to mentor and support me as I find out more about what it’s like to serve in ministry fulltime.
“As part of the Fellowship, I serve at QuestCare, a Watermark partnership clinic providing healthcare to people in need. We have seen patients from 118 different countries, so the Clinic is basically an international discipleship opportunity in my back yard. We make both the gospel and healthcare accessible for people who may feel forgotten, caring for them with compassion and serving them with excellence. We want our patients to know they have innate value to the God who created them in His image.
“Through serving at the Clinic and with Reclaimed, Watermark’s ministry to reach and restore women who have been trafficked in the sex industry, God has used my story of sexual abuse to share the gospel. I’ve had the chance to tell many women that God loves them and is so grieved by abuse that He sent His own Son to die for us so that we might have eternal life.
“The gospel is the love story that every little girl longs for. God’s love is so much greater than anything I looked to for value or affirmation. God was with me, even in the darkest moments, and He cares about me deeply. The Lord is both strong and sweetly tender, and God’s love for His people has truly captivated me.”
We are now accepting applications for the Watermark Institute (Fellowship and Residency Programs) for 2018–2019. The purpose of the Watermark Institute is to provide biblical training and real-life ministry experience. Applications are due on February 1, 2018. Check out watermark.org/institute.