Fellowship of the Parks
A Family for Everyone
Swimming! Splashing! Sliding!
A totally free event for the entire family at Chisholm Aquatics Center, 2200 Norwood Dr., in Hurst. Invite your friends and neighbors! There will be baptisms at the start of the evening.
I learned the Bible stories and was taught about Jesus at an early age. When I was 13, I chose to be baptized after recognizing that I truly believed in God and what I had been taught in church. I expected something supernatural to happen once I was baptized, but it never did. Despite my disappointment, I continued to believe that being a Christian was about the same things—going to church and being good.
I experienced my first breakup with a girlfriend at the beginning of my sophomore year of college. It was the most emotional pain I had experienced in my life up to that point. I was already drinking alcohol but it became excessive and my means of escape. Over the next couple of years I got more into the party scene and before I knew it I was not the person I wanted to be.
Eventually, I came to take a hard look at my faith. If I wasn’t being good and going to church, I didn’t feel any reason to call myself a Christian. I felt if I were to die, I would probably not get into heaven. Although I was having a great time on the outside, I was falling apart on the inside.
I moved into an apartment complex my junior year simply because it was going to be a great party scene, and it was. To my surprise God used that place to bring me back to Himself.
I met a girl I liked, and when she started going to a Bible study group that met inside the apartment complex, I went as well. After going a couple of times, the group leader invited me to meet with him one-on-one in the mornings to study the book of Ephesians. I agreed to meet with him. As I read and we discussed what the Scripture meant, I began to realize that my faith was built on some misconceptions.
The verses that pierced me the most were Ephesians 2:8 and 9, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast.”
I discovered there was no amount of “being good” that could earn my salvation. I realized I was a sinner, no matter what I did, and because of this I was separated from God eternally. I understood God had sent Christ to live the sinless life I could not live, and to be the perfect sacrifice I needed to atone for my sins. I knew there was indeed a great work that had to be done to earn salvation, but Christ had already done it. Trusting in what He had accomplished on the cross was the only thing I needed to do. It was at this point in my life I became assured of my salvation, and being a Christian became more of a mission to follow Christ than to be religious.
Since trusting in Christ alone, I live with the security that my eternal state is safe with Him. I fall short every day, but I trust in God’s grace to finish the work He started in me. Through Fellowship of the Parks and friends we met in a LIFEGroup, my wife and I have been encouraged in our walk with Christ. We’ve learned so much about how God uses His people to demonstrate His love.
Before knowing God and having a relationship with Him, I struggled with depression. Honestly, I don’t remember ever not battling with depression. I was severely picked on all through grade school because of my weight. I never felt like I could amount to anything.
I thought I was useless, ugly and pathetic. I got to the point of wanting to commit suicide to end all the hurt I had inside. When I finally started to seek out and rebuild my relationship with God, tragedy struck. At one of my daycare jobs, I learned that a child in my class passed away. I resented God which led to hatred toward Him. Before this, I had never thought of turning my back on Him but I did after the sudden death of this child.
My boyfriend at the time, who is now my husband, finally got me out of the rut by telling me how worried he was about my faith and kept reinforcing to me that God is loving. As I wrestled with this, I finally got the courage to go back to church. I struggled, however, to connect with God or anyone at church.
Soon after getting back to church, my parents were in a motorcycle accident that killed my father. I was always a daddy’s girl, so when this accident happened, it really took a toll on me mentally and I felt myself slipping back into the dark.
As I passed Fellowship of the Parks on my way to work one day, I felt as if God was telling me this was going to be my church home. That weekend, my husband I visited and right away, we knew it was true. Everyone was so friendly and inviting. The preaching was very relatable and it just seemed real to us.
Within a week, we had a chance to go to the Starting Point class and become members of FOTP. After this, I finally had the courage to fill out a Connection Card and admit my struggle with my daddy’s death. That is when I was first told about the GriefShare group. Going through GriefShare helped me realize that my daddy’s death happened for a reason that I may never know, but God always has a plan for everything. I strongly believe that my walk with God became stronger as a result of the tragedy.
When we joined GriefShare, the leaders told us about the importance of LIFEGroups, and so we joined David and Tiffany Bates’ Couples group. Being part of their group helped us meet new people and it give us the courage to volunteer in the areas God had already made us passionate about. We now serve on Wednesday nights with the students—my husband with the band while I teach the 7th grade girls. I never thought I would enjoy it so much. I am so grateful to have found such an amazing church where I can open up and connect with people about who God is. I get to help young girls who struggle in a similar way to how I did.
My battle with depression is ongoing but it helps me so much to know that I have a connection with a God who loves me for who I am. God has used this church to bring us closer to Him than ever before, and I know that I can conquer anything with Him in my corner.