His Unwavering Pursuit

“I no longer live in survival mode, because my head and my heart know that the Lord is sovereign. God has worked on my heart, and I realize that everyone is the same at the foot of the cross. The opinion of man is not what defines or saves me.” – Kailea Humphreys

“I struggled with self-worth and insecurity throughout my teens,” said Kailea Humphreys. “I knew I could never measure up to the works-based idea I had about God. At some point, I quit trying to please the Lord and focused instead on how I could feel good and be happy.

“After moving out of my mother’s home, I tested out of high school and hit the party scene. Feeling that my life had no purpose, I was very depressed and resorted to unhealthy, destructive behaviors to manage my pain and insecurity. Finally, I left everyone behind and decided to travel around the world. It sounded so romantic! I bounced around from hostel to hostel for years until my visa expired. Left with no other option, I moved back to the United States.

“All I wanted was to be good enough and to be chosen, but the boyfriend I found wasn’t the man of my dreams. His infidelity, drug dealing, and jail time left me feeling unwanted. Convinced I was not enough, I chose to change my outward appearance through surgery and disordered eating. I thought I needed to look different if I was going to feel complete.

“My self-esteem continued to worsen, and my loneliness was louder than ever. In desperation, I started praying. I didn’t know Jesus, but thought I’d give it a try. I asked Him to bring someone into my life because I felt so alone and purposeless.

“Weeks after my prayer, I met a guy from Texas on Facebook, and within a month of our initial contact, I was on a plane to meet him. Fueled by a desperate desire to settle down, we were married two months after our initial online conversation. Of course, things weren’t lovely, happy or easy. I had no friends in Dallas, and my new husband was over-protective. Just after a year, I left and headed back to California.

“The divorce papers had been signed, however, Taylor refused to quit our marriage. He had been attending services at a local church and reached out to reconcile and ask for my forgiveness. In a state of total brokenness, I prayed to Jesus again and asked for help.

“I grew up with no knowledge of who Jesus was. At 31, I wanted to know Him and was ready to surrender because I knew I couldn’t do life on my own anymore. Despite my family’s oppositions, I felt that being with my husband at Thanksgiving was what I needed. Months later, I showed up at Watermark’s Easter service. I was so impressed with the authenticity and straightforward approach of the pastoral team. I started to attend more frequently, but with walls around my heart. I still didn’t have a relationship with Jesus, but I found myself praying to Him, nonetheless.

“I professed my belief in Jesus, but I still wasn’t sure about all of the claims of Christ. Unwilling to give up, I attended one of Watermark’s Core Classes. I asked for help in understanding God’s Word, and for the first time in my life, someone prayed with me. That was such a significant experience.

“I also took part in re:generation, Watermark’s biblical recovery ministry. Learning that the Lord had been pursuing me all along brought me to my knees. Because of God’s great love and mercy, I am no longer defined by my past, the opinions of others, or my performance. I am defined by Christ alone. I am not rejected but set apart. (Deuteronomy 14:2) I have an overwhelming sense of peace because I know the Lord hears me and chooses me. I no longer live in survival mode, because my head and my heart know that He is sovereign. God has worked on my heart, and I realize that everyone is the same at the foot of the cross. The opinion of man is not what defines or saves me. (Galatians 1:10)

“If I were talking with someone who was walking the path I was once on, I would tell them to give Jesus a try. Ask Him, and the Lord will help you. You don’t have to wait to have it all figured out. Jesus truly is the only way to fill the void of self-hate and low self-worth. Knowing that my worth is solely in Christ is a miracle in and of itself. “Since completing re|engage, one of Watermark’s marriage ministries, Taylor and I know how to navigate problems with the truth of God’s Word. We married each other for the wrong reasons, but now our anniversary is God’s day and not about us at all. We have been humbled, and we have tools for biblical conflict resolution and forgiveness. Excitement about the future isn’t something I’ve felt before, until now. My story isn’t over! I’m new because of Him. I have a purpose, and my life is a miracle because of His work in my heart. Intimacy with the Lord has given me peace and courage. I am thankful for my freedom in Christ and His unwavering pursuit of my heart.”

– Written by Amy Tubbesing

FOLLOWING JESUS: FOUNDATIONS OF CHRISTIAN DISCIPLESHIP Thursdays, May 18 – June 22 • 7–8:30 pm • The Loft What does it mean to follow Jesus? What practical steps can you take to cultivate a deeper relationship with Christ? This class will answer these questions and others as you learn the foundations of Christian discipleship. Gain a deeper understanding of the Christian life and a clear way forward to grow in your relationship with Jesus. Cost: $10 or $30 with Kids’ Ministry (advance registration required). Register at: watermark.org/core.

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