Lindsay – 2016 Graduate
I was born to an amazing, loving, Christian family. I was raised in church and learned all about God and the Bible. Although I knew who God was, I didn’t truly have a relationship with Him. At age seven I accepted Christ as my Savior at a summer church camp. From that point on, I knew God’s hand was on my life, but I didn’t allow Him to have complete control. A few short years later, I began my decade-long run from God. In middle school, despite my involvement in sports, I felt like something was missing. In order to fill the void, I integrated myself with the wrong people. I started experimenting with alcohol and drugs and soon became sexually active. I knew it was wrong, but the temporary pleasures and acceptance outweighed the consequences. I was constantly seeking out trouble. I started self-harming and restricted my food and over-exercised in my teenage years. I liked the attention but didn’t realize that deep down there were deep-rooted insecurities and a need for acceptance. My constant rebellion created tension between my parents and I, and I projected my anger towards them. When I was 15, our family moved, and I continued down the same road. After graduating from high school with pretty decent grades, I found a college to run away to. I began to get involved with the rebellious crowd, yet again, and found myself partying more and more. I eventually started selling drugs to help support my habit. I thought I was invincible. It was only by the grace of God that I didn’t end up in jail or dead. I was sleeping with multiple guys on campus, getting in physical fights with my roommates, and consuming more and more drugs just to get me through each day. God allowed me to hit multiple barriers, but continued pursuing me even though I was running as hard and fast as I could away from Him. I eventually dropped out of college and went through cycles of sobriety. I got in a very serious accident and promised God I was done with running from Him and being rebellious. I had great intentions and really meant it at the time, but only managed to stay sober for 26 days after the accident. In February 2011 I found out I was pregnant. I didn’t even allow myself to think there was any other option, and at eight weeks pregnant, I had an abortion. I continued heavy drug and alcohol use to numb the pain, regret and shame. I began thinking my life would never be anything, so after being convinced by my drug dealer, I began prostituting myself. My life was ridiculously out of control.
My mom told me about Mercy after she ran across it on the internet while looking for Christian treatment centers. I felt absolutely hopeless and felt like the program was a last ditch effort for me. After being accepted, I finally saw a glimmer of hope again. When I arrived, I didn’t know what to expect.
I arrived at Mercy motivated and determined, but after a few months I allowed distractions to get the best of me. In the midst of this, God showed me that He is in control, and I needed to trust Him completely. With my counselors help, I was able to identify the real culprits. I realized that most of my issues stemmed from the same root – shame. I started seeking out God to fill the void in me and not external things.
While at Mercy, my counselor helped me dig deep to find the root of my issues. Every single obstacle, challenge, and assignment taught me something. The lies I once believed, I have been able to constantly negate with the truth. Replacing false beliefs with truth statements from the Word of God has been a powerful learning tool for me. For parts of my stay, I assumed the only time I could spend time with God was in quiet prayer away from everyone. When living with so many other women, finding “quiet time” isn’t so easy. I learned how to find God in the midst of anything. I mean it literally when I say He is with me always. Learning to be intentional with my time has also been important for me. I have gained insurmountable freedom! I never imagined I could attain such freedom and experience a complete life transformation. God didn’t just clean out all of the junk, He gave me a complete heart transplant and has renewed my mind. Once I FINALLY, completely surrendered everything to Him, He was able to take His rightful place on the throne of my heart. I’ve learned to trust that His plan for my life is perfect.
After graduating from Mercy, I’m returning home, something I never thought I would do. God has brought much restoration to my family relationships, especially with my parents, and I am excited to see how much more He has in store. I have such a peace about this next step. In the fall, I plan on attending a discipleship program, Youth With A Mission, which I am extremely excited about.
I am eternally grateful for every single supporter that has made it possible for me to be here! If it weren’t for them, I wouldn’t have had this opportunity to have another chance at life. I know God is the one who has truly transformed my life, but if it weren’t for Mercy and everyone who makes it possible for Mercy to stay up and running, I wouldn’t have been able to get the healing I so desperately needed. From the bottom of my heart, THANK YOU!