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Informed By God, Not The World

“You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, be on your guard so that you are not carried away by the error of unprincipled men and fall from your own steadfastness, but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory, both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.” 2 Peter 3:17–18

“I would not describe my childhood as happy. I continually compared myself to others. I was so lonely, and I didn’t understand why,” said Kate Romero. “Anyone with a different perspective would see a kind, bright, successful young lady, but inwardly I struggled for peace.

“From a young age I knew I was saved by God’s grace alone, and I could never earn my salvation. However, as Peter encourages us all to grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ in 2 Peter 3:17-18, my heart did not yearn to grow nor did I understand why I should grow in Christ’s likeness.

“When I was younger, I didn’t know how to process my feelings in a healthy way. This caused me to be very guarded and controlling for fear of being misinterpreted. Growing up, I was often superficial with my friends and family, and kept my feelings to myself. Eventually, after withholding every feeling, I would blow up at my family in anger and hurt because of unmet, unvoiced expectations.

“Because I grew up going to nearly every church function, attending a private Christian high school, and then choosing a Bible college, the Scriptures seemed more like a textbook to me – like a distant set of words that didn’t really make an impact on my everyday life. Comparison and loneliness led me to continually search for the perfect formula for acceptance and peace. I did not understand that life was found by personally knowing the God of the Bible, or that He loves me so much He provided a way for me to know Him intimately through His son.

“When I moved back to Dallas after college, my parents and sisters were members at Watermark. I started to attend church on Sunday mornings after encouragement from my dad, and eventually started the membership process. The first steps and joining a community group with other young women were struggles at first. I was learning how to confess my sins, read the Bible, and share my feelings, and it was completely out of my comfort zone. Before, I was very superficial, fake, and lacked depth. I feel like I didn’t know who I was, because I wasn’t very introspective. I didn’t have a lot of people in my life, so it was challenging to be vulnerable and open. This new season with community felt like riding a bike with training wheels.

“In this season, I continued to lean on my own strength for support in my life. My mom told me about re:generation, Watermark’s biblical recovery ministry. My first inclination was to say, ‘No, I’m fine. I’m saved. I’ll figure it out on my own.’ But I knew I was stuck. Going into re:generation, my intention was to get a couple of quick tips to improve my life and head out, but that’s not what happened.

I’ve learned through studying the Bible and abiding in Christ that only He can transform my heart and my life.

“The first night I went, I was fearful to share what I was thinking and feeling because I thought it would seem like I was venting and complaining. But I quickly realized it was a safe place to share my feelings, and it was the first place in my life where I felt heard and not invalidated. It was eye-opening to understand that I truly didn’t know Christ like I thought I did. By studying scripture, I learned why I should be informed by what God has to say about me rather than what the world has to say. As I understood more about God’s love for me, I realized His genuine and vulnerable love for us is the perfect example of how to love and serve others.

“While learning more about His heart and character for me, I was able to fully trust Christ with my life. Now I can see who I am with a relationship with Christ is completely different than who I was in my early twenties. My life was isolated before, but God was faithful to love me and bring loving people around me. He put people in my life who encourage me, speak biblical truth into my life, and want to see me trust the Lord instead of myself. God also provided me with tools to help me gain a full dependency on Christ and a changed outlook on how I lived and handled my relationships with others.

“Now, I serve with my husband, James, as a leader in re:generation. I see this area of service as a tool of discipleship in my life and our marriage, as well as an instrument of God’s grace in others’ lives. I’m not ‘fixed’ and I don’t have life all figured out. I am just making a daily decision to abide in the Lord and His word. This opportunity of leadership has continually pointed me back to Christ and reminds me how desperately I need Him as my Savior every day.

“I love being able to see how Christ changes lives. It’s not the re:generation curriculum that changes people, it’s having a personal relationship with Him. Sometimes this is often the first place people feel loved and heard in a world that’s not always loving. As a leader, I am able to watch and encourage people to grow to be humble and willing to let the Holy Spirit work on their hearts.

“I’ve tried all of the things I could think of to make my life better and make me feel accepted, but all of my attempts fail. I’ve learned through studying the Bible and abiding in Christ that only He can transform my heart and my life.”