“It’s been freeing to share the message of God’s grace and love – a basic truth that I didn’t get as a child. I tend to use a lot of words for something very simple: God loves and cares for you. What a privilege to share that with others.” Emily McCoy
“Rule-following,” said Emily McCoy, “is what most of my early church experience revolved around. I read the Bible and was baptized at 11 years old. But it was not out of a response of love. I was terrified of going to hell. Faith seemed more like a math equation than what it’s truly about – God’s love and grace.
“My sophomore year in college, I went to Uruguay to study. It was the first time I’d experienced a different culture, and it changed my outlook on the world. I couldn’t reconcile the believers I met in South America with the check-the-box life I thought I was supposed to live. I met faithful Christian people in Uruguay, and their example of faith rocked my world and caused me to question the legalistic culture I grew up in.
“As I returned home and began my teaching career, I was searching. I spent months studying other faiths and filling the void with food and alcohol. Something was missing, and I wanted to figure out what it was.
“The first time I heard about God’s grace was when I came to Watermark. I learned that the Bible wasn’t about a spiritual checklist. It’s about Christ’s sacrifice and God’s love for me. Because of Christ’s work on the cross, every time I mess up it is not a death sentence in God’s economy. It’s because God loves me that I have faith and a desire to follow after His heart.
“As I got into community at Watermark, I met people who loved me for who I was and not for the ‘good’ things I did. God used that to change my heart as much as anything else. I started seeing value in myself because of who God says I am. I started taking better care of myself and trusting in the plan God has for me.
“I’m a teacher by trade, so the Children’s Ministry seemed like a good place to serve. Every Sunday we teach the kids that God loves and takes care of us. It touches me to see how the Lord teaches the children, much like He teaches me. Like a two year old, I don’t always listen to what God says. But God is patient, and continues to work in all of us.
“I’ve always had a heart for kids, and about a year ago the Lord began opening the doors for me to become a foster parent. I’d spent a long time defining myself as a teacher, a runner and a traveler. Through time in God’s Word it became evident that all of those things should be given up to the Lord. I went through the Equipped Disciple classes at Watermark and continued surrendering more and more things to the Lord. I trusted in God’s plan as I went through the foster care process. God’s provision of community has been particularly special to me in the way they have loved and helped me love my foster daughter.
“As a single parent, it’s easy to say ‘I’m too busy’ when it comes to spending time with the Lord. My community group helps me stay grounded and in touch with what is really important in my walk with Christ. I’ve been on my knees a lot this year as I’ve become a parent. My daughter has come from a hard place, and it’s difficult to feel adequate as a parent sometimes. I needed my friends, and they have been there for me and reminded me of the truth.
“Like with the kids I teach at Watermark, I’m now reading the Bible with my daughter, and she is learning about Jesus. We started with Christ’s birth, and when she read about the crucifixion she was so sad. Her reaction reminded me of everything Christ’s death means to us. It’s amazing to teach her about faith – something I’ve taken for granted at times. Before she did not have a concept of being loved by God, and now she does.
“I’m really grateful for the encouragement and love I’ve received from the leaders and other parents as I’ve served in the Children’s Ministry. It’s humbling to see how serving at Watermark has touched some families’ lives, and they in turn have touched mine as they have reached out to my daughter. It’s been so freeing to share the message of God’s grace and love with others – a basic truth that I didn’t get as a child. As an adult, I find that I tend to use a lot of words for something very simple: God loves you and He cares for you. What a privilege to share that with people in my life.”
Looking for a place to plug in and serve? Our Children’s Ministry is looking for volunteers. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information on how to volunteer.