“For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:38-39)
“The Lord used everything in my journey so far to establish my faith in Him and give me a more eternal perspective. I have hope in God’s goodness because I have seen the goodness of His people. Because of Christ’s love, I’m a totally different person.” - Staci Popejoy
“I began to understand the bigger picture of God’s love for me the first time I saw my little girl,” said Staci Popejoy. “I loved her so much, and that love reminded me how much more our God loves me. I’m a single mom, and God has put an amazing community of women in my life to help me on the journey. They have been the hands and feet of Christ in my life when I’ve needed it most.
“I knew about the Lord as a young girl, but abiding with Christ fell by the wayside when I started searching for my worth in what men and others thought of me. In high school, I threw out whatever standards and morals I’d been holding onto and started partying and hanging out with the wrong crowd. Things got worse when I was sexually assaulted at a party when I was a senior. I wrongly thought I was being punished for my rebellion and was angry with God for allowing the assault to happen.
“I was so depressed after the assault that I did not apply to colleges on time. I ended up receiving an academic scholarship to Texas Wesleyan, and quickly found myself right back in the party scene. I longed to feel loved and appreciated, and I looked for that acceptance wherever I could find it – whether that was a relationship or in good grades or whatever award I was earning. I went to church periodically. I knew that God could make me feel good or whole, but I never really understood that God loved me.
“I found out about Watermark from a couple of friends, and started going to the Fort Worth campus with them. I got into a community group because I knew I needed other believers in my life who cared for me. I felt convicted and encouraged by every message I heard on Sundays, but for the first few months I was not sold out for the Lord. I still was living with one foot in the world and one foot in church. That would soon change.
“I was sexually assaulted again in college – this time by a friend I had known and trusted for many years. It was so painful, and I tried to get the assault out of my brain, but that was impossible. Because I was assaulted by someone in my close social circle, I lost many friends after I shared the truth. Then about a month later, I found out the stomach pains I was experiencing were not because of a virus. I was pregnant.
“I felt sure that everyone would reject me when they found out I was pregnant as a result of the assault. But my mom and dad were more loving than I ever could have imagined. They reminded me that having a baby is a good thing – that children are a gift from the Lord. When I shared the news with the girls in my community group, I was welcomed with open arms.
“Experiencing that kind of love and support from my community group was the first time I’d ever seen God’s love in the flesh. They helped me cling to Romans 8:38-39 during my pregnancy. Fully invested in my faith in Christ, I finally recognized my great need for a Savior and understood that my sins were bought and paid for by Jesus. It was comforting to realize that I have a Heavenly Father who truly loves me and knows what is best for my life.
“My community group supported me through the different emotions – anger, anxiety, and excitement – that I experienced throughout the pregnancy. I felt self-conscious about being unmarried and pregnant, and they encouraged me in my insecurity and pain. God used them to train me, love me, and to remove the dead leaves from the branch of my life so I could live to honor God.
“I can’t think of a better example of God taking what was meant for evil and using it for His good than my pregnancy with Emma. The Lord taught me to love and trust Him and that He would provide for my needs. No matter the circumstances, God was with me throughout the pregnancy. Every time I look at Emma, I’m reminded that God truly does not withhold any good thing from those who love Him.
“I shared my story on the Stand for Life website, and ended up meeting with another girl at Watermark who was in a similar situation. I had the privilege of offering support to her the way my community group supported me. I can now tell her and others that God can use anything – even an unplanned pregnancy – to shape us. The Lord used everything in my journey so far to establish my faith in Him and give me a more eternal perspective. I have hope in God’s goodness because I have seen the goodness of His people. Because of Christ’s love, I’m a totally different person.”