“My family would faithfully go to church every Sunday growing up, and that continued throughout my childhood. I had a basic understanding of church and who God was, but I didn’t have a deep understanding of a relationship with Christ.
“The summer before eighth grade, I went to a church camp, thinking it would be a good way to get away from my parents for a week and hang out with friends. When a friend wanted to give her life to Christ one night, I went along to support her. But when I walked with her, a wave of emotion came over me, and I felt the need at that moment to give my life to Christ and accept Him into my life. A lot about religion and faith was decided for me, and this was my time to make an active decision for myself.
“Even then, I feel like I didn’t have an intimate relationship with God. I continued to live life the way the world told me I should – I partied a lot and did things that were not honoring to my family or the Lord. I neglected my relationship with Him.
“Sundays felt like a reset for me. I would go to confession, be forgiven, and pray a certain number of prayers to just start over for the next week. I thought if I did some good and confessed, it would balance out everything else. I made an effort to pray for other people, but I never focused on my relationship with Christ. I stopped going to church for years because it felt unnecessary and unimportant.
“I lived all over the country for the next ten years until I wanted to move back home to what was comfortable and familiar. I bought a house near my family, but as I settled, I realized friends had moved away, and my hometown wasn’t really home anymore. Loneliness started to move me into a depressing season. I realized I was trying to fill my life with things like money, living in a specific place, and trying to find satisfaction and approval from others. Everything just left me emptier and emptier to the point that I felt like an empty shell of myself.
“In desperation, I started praying consistently for several months. I wanted God to be a priority in my life. I knew I’d neglected that relationship. I wanted to know Him and know more of Him.
“Then, a few months later, I had an unexplainable desire to move to Dallas. I decided to sell my house and take a risk in Dallas with a true fresh start. This created a sense of worry, anxiety, and fear that I was making another wrong decision in my life. But I ultimately had such a sense of peace about it. I think this was one of the first times I was actually in tune with where God wanted me to be.
“While in Dallas, two separate people told me about The Porch, Watermark’s ministry for young adults. I knew it was a great place in Dallas to meet people, but I had no idea that God would eventually use this ministry to impact my relationship with Him.
“I was so impacted by the first message I heard at The Porch. I couldn’t believe what it felt like to hear God’s Word for such a long time. The message felt so personal and intended for me, even in a room of thousands. It specifically addressed things that I was experiencing and clearly showed me that God knows us and knows what we need.
“I decided to come back on a Sunday just to see if what I felt on Tuesday was just an anomaly. But it was clear this was just what I’d been praying for months! I asked God to bring Himself back into my life and show Himself, and He did.
“I look back at my twenties and see I needed guidance, support, and love, but I didn’t look to God for those things, and I didn’t surround myself with Christ-followers. Through membership at Watermark and serving with The Porch, I’ve met some truly close, dear friends who I can be completely honest and vulnerable with, and it’s reciprocated. God has blessed me beyond measure in the area of true, genuine friendships.
“Knowing the gospel of Christ and what He sacrificed for me has been truly life changing. It shows me the extent to which God yearns for us to have a relationship with Him for eternity. It is a reminder that I must trust God through all things. God truly knows and controls the timing and destination of our path.
“Even when I was living a very different life and not prioritizing God, He was still definitely always there with me. I look back at my life and only see His endless pursuit, grace, mercy, and love in ways I didn’t even know was Him.”
Every Tuesday at 7 PM, young adults in their 20s and 30s gather to worship and learn about Jesus at The Porch. Join us this week!