By Amanda Fujarski
I grew up in the Catholic Church, which, for me, meant that I knew a lot of facts about Jesus, but had little understanding of how His life affected my own or how to have a true relationship with Him. Because of this, I grew up trying to be good and do things right, the way Jesus did. But without true knowledge of Him and His ways, I consistently fell short. I eventually stopped trying so hard to be “good.” There was a void in my life that I continually tried to fill by gaining the approval of others, improving my physical appearance, increasing my store of earthly treasures, partying in college, and so on.
The first time I heard someone speak of Jesus' grace and salvation as a free gift was not until graduate school, when I met my best friend, Nicole. She and I grew close during grad school, and she consistently pointed me toward truth as we pursued our education. After some time, it became clear to me that she had something that I did not: a ceaseless joy, a certain beautiful grace that I was unable to imitate no matter what I tried. It was about the time that we both relocated to Dallas that I realized—that light in her was Jesus.
I wanted to know more. A friend directed us to Watermark, and specifically to the Porch ministry. Through Nicole's discipling, diving into community, and hearing truth consistently spoken at Watermark, I finally understood and accepted that I am a sinner who is unable to do anything on my own that would make me right with God. But, in Jesus' death for my sins and His victorious resurrection, I am justified. Romans 6:23 taught me that “the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is everlasting life through Christ Jesus our Lord.” This verse is so meaningful to me as it reminds me that Christ's provision for my eternal life is a gift; I've done nothing to deserve or earn it.
This realization set me free from my struggle to make people think I was good, and has allowed me to let Christ show His love and goodness to others through me. I acknowledge that anything I do well is not through my own power. Jesus has changed the relationships I seek and the way I manage them, the way I spend my time and money, and the way I look at life. He continues to convict me to grow in patience, to trust Him more fully, and to serve and love others in a way that glorifies Him. I'm so thankful for the love and mercy He shows me every day!