I Am New

I Am New Hero Image I Am New Hero Image

“I’ve been going to Watermark for about 16 years, so I’ve been surrounded by biblical truth as I’ve grown. In fourth grade, I accepted Christ thanks to a little folded card that communicated the gospel and the truth of Christ in a visual way that I could grasp and understand.

“Unfortunately, I was introduced to pornography in eighth grade, and that became an addiction through high school. I always told myself that I would ‘fix it’ before going to college. I started dating a girl, and our relationship crossed both physical and emotional boundaries. I knew what was right in God’s eyes, but I deliberately chose something else. My sin began to take a toll on me, and I found myself in such an unhealthy place that I made a plan to commit suicide. 

“Somehow, my parents knew I needed help. They signed me up for re:generation for students, a ministry at Watermark for students grades 6-12 to find healing from past hurts and sin. At the beginning, I was not open to the idea of recovery. I wanted to ‘be fixed’ on my own timeline, not when people were telling me to.

“One day, I was asked to go into a room before church where my parents, community group, and leaders were waiting. They had learned of my plan to kill myself. Through this meeting, they reminded me of their love for me, and most importantly, God’s love for me.

“After that meeting, I was encouraged to live how God calls us to live, but for some reason, I still held back from sharing and confessing some of my sin to God and my community. 

“Then, on the way to school one morning, I was in a bad car wreck. I was speeding, lost control, and crashed. I was stunned and unsure how to handle the situation. A woman came outside her house when she heard the commotion and calmly made sure I was OK.

“When she learned that I was on my way to school, she asked me if I had lunch for the day. I told her no, so she packed me lunch while I called insurance. I noticed she was reading her Bible and eventually learned she also went to Watermark.

“I opened the lunch later that day and found a note the woman had written that simply stated James 1:17, ‘Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.’

“That moment was one of many in which the Lord made it very clear to me through our church body that He provides even in the smallest ways to let us know He is with us, and He is good.

“This near-death situation felt like a wake-up call. I was nearing the end of my senior year, and I did not want to waste any more of the time I had left with my community and leaders at Watermark before leaving for college. For the next few months, I dove deep into God’s Word.

“Once I was in college, I knew no one. I felt like it was a fresh new start, which in a way was great, but it was also difficult because I didn’t have any accountability. Before I even realized it, I was trying to please my peers instead of pursuing the Lord and following Him faithfully. I started to drift away from practices like praying and reading my Bible that I was so diligent in doing just a few months prior. I found myself in the same terrible place as years before. I was in a continuous cycle of sin, trying to do things I thought would bring me satisfaction.

“As a consequence of my actions, I ended up on academic suspension and had to move back to Dallas. I decided to start re:generation, Watermark’s recovery ministry for adults. God began to put people in my life to help with my recovery, and I was able to dive deeper into God’s Word to find the root causes of my sin. I was reminded that it doesn’t take long to drift away if you’re not abiding in God’s Word and surrounded by godly people who can hold you accountable.

“After commencing from re:generation, I knew exactly where I wanted to serve: re:generation for students. Only a few years ago, I was the student who begrudgingly went because my parents signed me up. I had been in the exact same spot as the participants. Now, I get to help remind students that God deeply loves and cares for them and provides hope and healing.

“My story is made up of a lot of mistakes and learning from those mistakes, and I think a lot of young people can relate to that. I'm still dealing with earthly consequences from my poor choices, but eternally it doesn’t matter; with Christ, I am new (2 Corinthians 5:17).”

re:gen for students is for anyone in grades 6-12 who is seeking God’s help with the brokenness in their life and is willing to do the work required by this 12-week program. The next session begins on January 23, and registration is open now.