“I started struggling with anxiety in elementary school,” said Lauren Lubke. “It was the start of codependent behavior patterns. I was very dependent on my mom and had a hard time being away from home. I carried my struggles with anxiety into high school where I discovered new ways of coping. I drank with my peers and was applauded for being ‘the life of the party’ when I was drunk.
“Quickly, I became very close with a teammate who introduced me to this new lifestyle and friends. In hindsight, I can see the codependency I had on my mom was transferred to this friend. I needed her approval and wanted her constant attention. I noticed a difference between her friendship and my other friendships. This emotional dependence and connection led to a physical relationship for three years.
“I accepted Christ at a young age, but I didn’t know that following Jesus means to daily surrender all of my sinful desires, my anxious thoughts, and my longing to be loved and accepted by others. I was miserable and started to question everything, including my identity. How could a loving God create me to have this desire that I wasn’t allowed to walk in? I never set out to feel this way or desire these things. I’d cry myself to sleep and wrestle with thoughts of wanting to end my life.
“Even though the relationship ended, I continued to carry the weight of unconfessed sin. I thought college would be a fresh start but living in secret felt exhausting and heavy. To cope, I continued partying and drinking and started having inappropriate relationships with guys. I looked for security, comfort, and approval from people, completely unaware that Jesus is the only one who could satisfy all of my desires.
“After an arrest for public intoxication, a season of waking up guilt-ridden each morning from my actions the night before, and searching for my identity in relationships, I finally hit rock bottom. One night, I came back to my sorority house drunk and had a conversation with a girl in my pledge class. I told her how miserable I was. The next morning, she came to my room, concerned with what I shared, and very genuinely asked me, ‘Are you okay?’ This felt like the first time someone was truly asking instead of assuming I was okay. She listened to me and invited me to a college ministry event. That simple invitation was the beginning of a life transformed by Christ.
“Through God’s Word, specifically 1 Corinthians 6:9-11, I really understood and felt God’s forgiveness. Verses 9 and 10 list people who will not inherit the kingdom of heaven, including drunkards and the sexually immoral. Verse 11 changed my life, ‘But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.’ I realized that even me – a girl who was enslaved to drunkenness and a homosexual relationship – is seen by the Lord, washed clean by His free gift of grace on the cross, sanctified, and fully forgiven. The moment I understood that God’s grace is offered to me regardless of the ways I fall short (Ephesians 2:4-5), I chose to turn from the way I was living, and in full surrender, pursued a relationship with Christ.
“I went on to attend a post-graduate Christian leadership program, and after listening to a message about confession, I felt a strong conviction to tell my entire story. I never talked about my past sin publicly because I felt I had committed the one sin no one talked about. I was met with grace, compassion, and love. A weight had been lifted and I slowly learned how to walk in freedom.
“Through processing and tools I learned in re:generation, Watermark’s biblical recovery ministry, God was faithful to help me identify and acknowledge idolatry as the root of my sins. I was putting people in the place of God, looking for value and worth outside of Christ, and consistently desiring emotional intimacy from people. Friendship was designed by God to be an act of service and sacrificial love, but codependent friendships are completely selfish, self-focused, and sinful.
“For a long time, I wrestled with finding God’s purpose for my struggles, but He is using my story in ways I never could have imagined. I am able to walk with other young adults through similar struggles at The Table, Watermark Frisco’s young adults ministry. He is using me to encourage others that God is good, He is for us, and we don’t have to do life alone. Jesus is better.”