The Rulebook on Life

The Rulebook on Life Hero Image The Rulebook on Life Hero Image

“I rarely picked up a Bible, so I wondered how it could help me develop a relationship with Christ. How much would the Lord change me? In some ways I was scared to find out.” – Amy Stephenson

“I always wanted to look right,” said Amy Stephenson. “I read a lot of self-help books, and my identity was wrapped up in being the perfect mother. I held myself up to a standard of perfection that would never be attainable. My children and great need to do things right were my idols.

“I had head knowledge about God from the theology courses and other classes I’d taken. In fact I’d spent more time reading books about the Bible than I ever did reading Scripture. Hugh and I had attended church for over 20 years but never really learned about God’s grace. I hadn’t killed anyone. I didn’t lie, cheat and steal. What need did I have for a savior if I didn’t do anything wrong?

“My identity as a perfect mother was shattered when we went through a serious family crisis. I’d been clueless, so when trouble came it hit me out of nowhere. I crawled into bed the first day and cried all day long. The more I tried to control the people in my life, the more out of control things got. When that didn’t work, I tried chocolate.

“God used the pain in our family to bring me to my knees and make my heart teachable. I started coming to Watermark regularly, going to The Prodigal, a Watermark ministry for families in crisis, and to re:generation, our biblical recovery ministry. I met people who not only knew the Bible but applied it to their lives. I had no idea that God’s Word had so much advice on how to live and parent.

“I rarely picked up a Bible, so I wondered how it could help me develop a relationship with Christ. How much would the Lord change me? In some ways I was scared to find out. I certainly saw people at Watermark’s baptism day who had been changed. How could a guy like Sam Brown, who had been seriously injured by a roadside bomb, believe in God? How could a woman who had just learned that she and her husband would never have a baby possibly want to serve and follow the Lord? I didn’t know, but I knew I wanted the kind of faith they had.

“Over time, my husband and I realized we were broken and needed Christ as our Savior. We met with a couple of people from Watermark who spent more than three hours answering our questions about the Bible, and that really ministered to us. We started exploring God’s Word on our own after that.

“I saw God transform my husband into a godly man, and that really encouraged me. Going to an all-girl’s school, I was taught that I never needed to follow any man. But the more I saw God making changes in Hugh, the more I knew that I could follow him as he followed Christ.

“God was changing my heart as well. I’d always been a self-medicator with food, and I’d struggled with sugar addiction for most of my life. I tried on my own to stop but couldn’t. I started working in a 12-step program, and God used that as a catalyst to change my behavior.

“Another part of my story was that before Hugh and I were married, we had an abortion – a secret we wanted to

take to the grave. When I got to Watermark, I found out about a ministry called Someone Cares, which serves women who have had abortions. Taking part in that ministry was huge for me. It was like an old bandage was ripped off and Christ came in and cleaned up my wound. I felt like I was broken, and receiving the forgiveness of Christ for my past sin was absolutely transformative. I was truly aware that I needed my Savior.

“The Lord has changed so much in my life since then. Hugh and I are excited about the same things again. We really are a team. There’s no more yelling or trying to control things. If something at home derails, we can trust that we’ll all be OK because the Lord is there.

“When we first came to Christ, we were so worldly and broken. It was great to be in a place with other broken people who knew they needed the Lord. The first verse I memorized was 2 Timothy 3:16. I really can’t get over how much wisdom is in the Bible. I joke with my friends that I was looking everywhere for the rulebook on life and parenting, and it turns out we had it all along. I just didn’t know it was the Bible! Through reading the Bible, community, prayer and solid teaching, I’m being transformed from a skeptic to being ‘all in’ for God.”