I was born and raised in a Christian home in Odessa, TX with six siblings, including four who were adopted from Ukraine. My early roots were very Southern Baptist, and although I trusted in Christ at the age of seven, I was filled with legalism and anxiety from a very young age. When I was 10, my parents left that church and started what we called Watermark Odessa. We would livestream the Watermark service into our living room and had about 40 people coming to our house for church every Sunday for about 3 years before we got plugged into an official local church. During this time, I saw my parents take their faith seriously, and their lives were changed by the power of the gospel right before my eyes through the faithful teaching of God’s Word at Watermark!
In junior high and high school, I really struggled with the effects of grief after experiencing loss and death. I did not know how to express my feelings in a healthy way, and turned to self-harm and other destructive patterns to regulate my emotions. During this time, I believed the lie that my sin was just between me and God, and bought into the narrative that He was constantly angry and disappointed in me. After graduating high school, I attended Link Year, a faith-based gap year program in Branson, MO. Here, I experienced for the first time that confession and repentance is God’s provision for us to experience healing (James 5:16). Since then, I have learned that God is attentive to me, and that His sovereignty is never divorced from His steadfast love and compassion. His perfect rule is marked by unending forgiveness, gentle patience, redemptive healing, and fatherly compassion (Psalm 103).
After completing Link Year, I attended Grand Canyon University (‘lopes up!) and graduated with a degree in criminal justice in April of 2022. I knew I wanted to do vocational ministry, and hope to one day fight human trafficking internationally! With these goals in mind, I had the privilege of completing the Watermark Institute (class of ’23) and am so grateful and excited for the opportunity to be part of the Kids Team. What a gift for kiddos to grow up knowing their Creator truly and rightly from such a young age! I enjoy rock climbing, live music, and trying new restaurants—so please let me know if you have any recommendations!