“I didn’t see that God was someone I could go to for help. I thought I had to fix my own life.” – Lisa Parker
“I didn’t think God was in control of my life,” said Lisa Parker. “I thought God was watching, and if I didn’t do things right, I would be punished. I didn’t see that God was at work in my life. I thought I was on my own.
“Growing up, my sister and I visited several churches of different denominations. When I was older, someone came to our house and talked to me about Jesus. That’s when I trusted Christ, and I was eventually baptized.
“Later in life, during my second marriage, I went on a business trip to Brussels with my father. While I was there, I was violently raped by a man who was on the trip with us. I didn’t tell anyone what happened and got on a plane the next morning and came home. When I got home, my mother knew something was wrong because she could hear me screaming in the bathroom. She took me to the emergency room, where they treated the damage caused by the rape.
“After the rape, my marriage fell apart, and I was really lost. God didn’t seem to be in my life from Monday through Saturday, so the only time He came to mind was on Sunday. When I tried to go to church, I would cry and felt too ashamed to say what happened to me. I didn’t see that God was someone I could go to for help. I thought I had to fix my own life.
“In 2006, I married a wonderful, Christian man and felt led to go back to church. But he’d been through a great personal loss, and it was hard for him to go to church with me. We did start talking about God’s Word together, and he eventually started going to church with me.
“When I walked into Watermark, it felt like home. At the service, I filled out a card, and a girl named Katie Beth got in touch with me. She asked me some questions, and I told her I didn’t know much about the Bible. I thought it was a book of parables – stories to teach me how to live a better way.
“From there, I got into a women’s Bible study at Watermark. When the girls there found out that all I had was a King James Bible, they got together and bought me a New Living Trans- lation. Even then, my Bible vocabulary wasn’t big. I was always looking up something, from Orthodox to Pentecost.
“The ladies in my small group made everyone feel comfortable from the beginning. I met other women my age, and that made Watermark feel much smaller. As we studied together, these ladies became community to me.
“I learned so much as I studied God’s Word for the first time. With each book of the Bible I read, I discovered more about the Lord. Bible study gave me a place to ask questions about how God’s Word pertained to my life, and I started applying what I learned.
“One day, I shared with my small group that my goal was to learn to pray so I could pray with my family. At the end of our meeting, my small group leader asked me to pray, but I didn’t feel like I knew how to pray at the time. The girls encouraged me and said all I really needed was practice. So I started praying everywhere – with my dogs, at home or in the car. Then at Christmas, I prayed with our larger family. We never prayed as a family before, so that was a big step, and I think they enjoyed it.
“As I continued to apply God’s Word to my life, my relationships began to change. I learned to accept and love my family members. Prayer actually started making some of my family gatherings a little easier.
“One of the most important things I’ve learned is that we can ask the Lord for things. When I was raped, I didn’t ask God for healing. What I discovered in God’s Word is that when I refuse to ask the Lord for something, I miss the opportunity to allow Him to do things for me. So now I pray, knowing that God takes care of everything in His own timing.
“For a long time, the rape left me feeling damaged, unclean, ruined and unworthy. Now, I see the bigger picture and that God always loved me. The Lord helped me move past the tragedy, in the same way Joseph moved past his brothers’ attack on him and forgave them. God is using that difficult experience to help me. Because of Christ, things keep improving, even when there are temporary setbacks and pain.
“I came here to Watermark certain I couldn’t do life on my own any more. Friends prayed for us, and we have seen God answer in abundance. Both my husband and I see the Lord involved in our daily lives. Each day, I have peace that I’ve never experienced before.”