Living With Purpose

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“When I was in my early 20s, I had everything I thought I wanted,” said Stacy Powell.” I knew all the good clubs, I had a nice job and great friends. But I still felt very empty.

“In high school, I saw the people who were drinking and partying, and it seemed like they were having fun. I decided to see what it would be like to put being the ‘good girl’ aside for just one night. I went to my very first party and broke every rule in the book. One night of that wasn’t going to hurt, right? I was so wrong. When I passed out from drinking, some boys took advantage of me.

“I woke up the next day feeling robbed. I thought God would not love me anymore because of what had happen. I wrongly believed I deserved that kind of treatment as a consequence of choosing to disobey. I used those feelings as an excuse to spend the next three years giving myself over to men, relationships and alcohol.

“I lived a double life in many ways, acting one way in front of my church friends and like a completely different person when I was partying. I didn’t know what it was like for someone to struggle well with their flesh and temptation, because I had never seen anyone confess honestly in the church I’d grown up in. I didn’t know what it was like to experience victory from sin.

“About four years ago, I prayed that if there was more to life than the party scene, that God would show me. The next day at work, a friend offered to have lunch with me, and that’s when she asked me questions about Jesus. I claimed the Christian life at one point, but sadly, I was not sure if I believed it anymore. She told me her story, which wasn’t all that different from mine. She talked about Christ’s love for her regardless of what she had done. I was intrigued, because it was the first time I’d ever heard someone confess boldly and share about the Lord.

“Another girl from work invited me to the Porch, and when I went there, I loved what I heard about salvation through Christ alone. Then I started learning about biblical community. The friends I was hanging out with back then were not going to get me anywhere if my goal was change. So I decided to give community at Watermark a chance, if only to make LIVING WITHIN MY PURPOSE some new friends. I hated it at first, because people were so honest and confessed all the time. No way did I want to do that.

“Then one of the girls asked me, on a scale of one to 10, how sure was I that if I died I would go to heaven. I knew I was trying to live both for this world and for the Lord, and I was losing at both. That day I finally understood God’s unconditional love for me and decided to trust Christ.

“About three months later, I heard about Unashamed, a discipleship weekend that Watermark offers here in Dallas. I was timid about talking about faith, but I went through the training and learned more about sharing the gospel with others. I never expected that Unashamed would be the most amazing experience of my life.

“The goal of the Unashamed weekend is to build relationships and share the hope of Christ with people in our city. That weekend we went to Uptown, the place where I often went to bars. I spoke to a girl sitting outside a bar. She was very receptive when I talked to her about the gospel, and she chose to trust Christ. It was so exciting to speak the name of Jesus to someone in that setting, and even more wonderful to hear someone talk about the Lord as well.

“I left that conversation feeling so thankful for freedom in Christ. I could have been that person sitting at the bar that night. But instead, God chose me to be the recipient of His grace. I was so thankful to be His vessel that day, and that I have found life in Him.

“Today I know what it’s like to live within my purpose. The reason God put me here on earth was to know Him and to make Him known. Unashamed was really the first time I shared about God’s grace. I’ve spent the last two years abiding with Christ and living a life that is free from guilt, shame and chasing things that will never satisfy. There is such joy in knowing that I’ve received grace from God that I could never earn or deserve. That’s something I cannot go a day without talking about!”

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