“Motivated by God’s grace, I have the desire to show others Christ’s love so they might know Him as well. I am in no way perfect, but through obedience to Jesus, I’m free to enjoy life now.” – Bryan Robert
Freedom. It’s a feeling that once seemed unattainable for the people sharing their stories today. But the lives of Jordan Caruso, Katrina Saugier, Bryan Robert, and Emily Utz have been changed, not through self-help and self-will, but rather through laying down their desires and placing their hope in God’s grace. Here’s how the Lord has transformed their hearts as they have walked faithfully in a relationship with Christ.
“I grew tired of the old, shame-filled life I’d been living when I came to The Porch at Watermark and met many authentic, genuine people who loved the Lord. I grew up knowing the gospel, but this began my journey of actively trusting Christ and following the Lord.
“I’d always felt so broken down because I was once in a relationship that was very degrading, and I had an abortion. Over time, I learned that because of His sacrifice, I was washed clean by Christ and forgiven. Finding my purity in the Lord after experiencing such shame made me feel like a new creation.
“Although I understood I was made new in Christ, fear always held me back from sharing my story with women with experiences similar to mine. The first time I was asked to share my story at the Porch, my mother was the only one in my family who knew about the abortion. But I decided to trust God with my fear and speak out. That was a very freeing moment.
“My heart goes out to women who feel like they can’t discuss their experience or even serve the Lord because they’ve had an abortion. I felt like I would carry this pain forever, but now I’m on the other side and know I’m forgiven. I handed over the sin of my abortion, and the Lord washed me clean.”
“I once wanted to be my own god and have control over my life. It was all about what Bryan wanted to do: partying, drinking, and having fun. You only live once, right? But I was a dead man walking.
“But in the summer of 2011, I was playing basketball at a local church and met a guy who serves at Watermark. He took me to lunch and shared the gospel with me. I didn’t understand what it meant to be saved by grace through faith in Christ (Ephesians 2:8-9), and that conversation got me thinking.
“Many things were falling apart in my life at the time, and the way I was living wasn’t working. So I asked, ‘God, if you’re real, would you help me?’ I felt an overwhelming need to get to know the Lord and His Word
“From there God began to radically transform my life. I learned about God’s character, and why the Bible really can be trusted. As I prayed and read God’s Word, Isaiah 65:1 really got to me. The passage says, ‘I revealed myself to those who did not ask for me; I was found by those who did not seek me.’ I had been found by a God I didn’t know before. I wasn’t looking for Him, yet the Lord pursued me and radically changed my life.
“After I began walking with Christ, many sin struggles fell away. For example, I figured there was no way I’d ever stop finding my identity in relationships, but God changed how I see those around me. Motivated by God’s grace, I have the desire to show others Christ’s love so they might know Him as well. I am in no way perfect, but through obedience to Jesus, I’m free to enjoy life now.”
“I’m filled with gratitude when I think about all the ways God is working in the life of my family. For years, I felt like I didn’t know what I was doing as a parent because I didn’t grow up following the Lord. Now I’m learning how to parent in a Christian home, and I’m committed to doing this well.
“I’ve grown in walking with the Lord more consistently and have made the choice to go down the narrow path with Him. We’re raising our kids and making the decisions that I always wanted to see growing up. I’ve come to understand and accept that Christ really wants the best for my life, and that’s very encouraging and freeing.”
“The last several years have consisted of me releasing things I’ve been holding onto and deciding to be all in with Christ. I never knew the power of Scripture and that it applied to me. Romans 8:1 was once just a saying on Pinterest or jewelry. But it’s now the essence of my life. I’ve never known full surrender like that before.
“I’ve always wanted to plan everything out, so the most freeing part of my life now is that I have no idea what’s next for me. God has proved that He’s got me. Now, if He gives me a nudge, I will go anywhere and do anything. I wake up each morning with a sense of awe, wondering what the Lord will do with my life. I’m a woman who truly understands I belong to Jesus.”